After the two experiments on my pre-sampler sampler I decided that the condemned blue & white daisy would be replaced by the more open version of the Cretan shisha variation. A closer look at the sampler confirmed something I had vaguely suspected before, namely that the 24mm sequin was too big for where it was. A rummage through my modest stash of shisha materials produced a bag of 18mm mirrors, which I bought for a class I taught some time ago. Just the size Mary Corbet was working with in her instruction pictures, so that would work very well – I could now be fairly sure that the 16-dots-only version of the Cretan stitch would come out all right. I picked a rather chipped mirror as I wouldn’t be able to use that in a class and it would do perfectly well for a sampler. (Do you find yourself doing that, when teaching someone to stitch, or passing on some threads or materials? Saying “well, it would be all right for me but I couldn’t possible give it to someone else”?)
As I had feared, the holes from unpicking the daisy were quite visible, and using a smaller mirror meant I wouldn’t be covering them with the shisha, so I mulled over various options in the back of my mind while working the Cretan stitch; I could go over the holes in French knots, or beads, or small sequins, or perhaps chain stitch. Oh well, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.
In the end, I decided not to do any of these things. I did add sequins and beads, but only to balance the overall look of the sampler, giving it a vaguely circular outline and filling in a few obvious gaps. The unpicking holes will be part of the sampler, a reminder that you don’t always get things right first time round. As for the Cretan stitch, I definitely like the way it turned out and will be using it again; probably only with the smaller mirrors, though, which I think look a bit daintier than the big sequins (unless you’re doing a really chunky piece that will be seen from some distance away, like a wall hanging).
In fact, as I was considering using this stitch again, I thought it would make rather a pretty floral design with some stems and leaves added. So back into the hoop went my shisha experiment, and out came some DMC floche, variegated stranded cotton and blending filament. Some stem stitch and fishbone stitch later the two shishas had become part of a flowery whole.
After that, it was a small step to cards. Using the less dense Cretan variation with a smaller sequin or mirror, with a scroll and a leaf to complete it, makes a quick and very attractive card for birthdays or other celebrations – and of course the colour of the flower can be adapted to the receiver’s preference. Tucked away in a drawer somewhere were some pretty aperture cards that were just the right size for this project, and, well, I’ll be making a few more of these in the near future! Not only that, but the design struck me as just the right project for the 2-hour workshop I’m planning in aid of our church’s building fund. Slightly different stitches, probably, like chain stitch and fly stitch; a blue background; cheerful yellow shell discs instead of sequins; some spangles…
But first it’s back to the golden bee and watering can, and, at some point, Orpheus!