Stitchers are wonderful, patience is a virtue, a finished cross and strawberries

Some time ago I showed you a lovely little goldwork design from Samplers & Antique Needlework Quarterly, and told you I was looking for an affordable copy. The publishers didn’t get back to me about letting me work from available pictures if I paid them the price of the magazine, so I kept scouring eBay and so on. Then I found a kind lady in Canada who was selling a copy of the magazine, and who, after some correspondence, was willing to take out the pages in question and send them as a letter. Yay! She sent it the very same day, even though it was a Saturday, and even gave me a partial refund on the postage when it turned out to be cheaper than she’d expected.

Samplers & Antique Needlework vol. 38

Those pages were in the post but hadn’t yet reached the UK when I got an email from Kathy in America, who reads these outpourings of mine and found that she’d picked up a copy of SANQ issue 38 in a pile of second-hand magazines. She wasn’t interested in ever stitching the goldwork, she wrote, so would I like her to send me the pages? What a very kind offer! I told her that, if all went well, I should have the design in a few days, but asked her if I could get back to her should anything go wrong. It didn’t, and the pages arrived some days later, but that week two phrases were often in my mind: “Stitchers are wonderful people!” and “Patience is a virtue” … if only I’d been willing to look around a bit longer the lady from Canada would still have had a complete magazine to sell.

By the way, having seen the cover pictures of the design only, I hadn’t realised how tiny it is. I suppose I should have realised that as it is a pin cushion it wasn’t likely to be huge, but even so I think I’ll enlarge it a bit before stitching it. To give you an impression, it’s the part circled in red on what is a normal-sized magazine page.

It's a very small design!

I’ve finished the floral cross! And I’m quite happy with the result on the whole – it’s my first “proper” silk shading project, as the only thing I’d done before was a 1-hour RSN workshop quite a few years ago, where we did a toadstool in long-and-short stitch (to which even then I made some changes; why is it that I can’t seem to stitch anything the way it was designed?). One of the petals on the blue flower is a bit wonky in spite of working a split stitch outline first, but my husband, bless him, says nature is wonky too and it adds to the artisan look of the thing. I do like the placing of the little yellow stitches in between the petals rather than down the middle of the petals as I’d first planned; more like a rather large forget-me-not this way.

The cross finished (flash) The cross finished (no flash)

Remember the strawberry motif I mentioned earlier this week? Although I still want to stitch it Large, I’ve decided to have a go at it on a smaller scale first. I’m afraid it’s jumped the queue, but the flowers are still there, they will get worked as well! I picked on the strawberry design as a quickie because this weekend for various reasons I can’t work on Orpheus, and I do want something to stitch. So here it is, transferred with one of my new pens on to the Normandie fabric, with a selection of silks – Gumnut stranded silk (yellow and light green) and Gumnut silk/wool (dark green), Dinky Dyes stranded silk (whitish) and Gloriana Silk Floss (pink/red).

Fabric and threads for Grace Christie strawberries

5 comments on “Stitchers are wonderful, patience is a virtue, a finished cross and strawberries

  1. Re stitchers being wonderful: it takes one to know one, I think!

    The floral cross has turned out beautifully, and a forget-me-not is appropriate (and they do tend to be unruly in their habit). Do you have an idea for its use?

    I’ll be very interested to know what Normandie fabric is like for stitching. I often eye it up online, but have never actually acquired any since my experience of surface stitching has been limited to wool and twill. Time to branch out?

  2. I’m thinking of framing the cross and using it as an Easter decoration; something that size would normally become a card, but I really don’t want to part with it!

    I’ll let you know about the Normandie – it certainly feels quite nice, and took the transfer very well (the few darker spots are me lingering with the pen, not the fabric’s fault).

    Definitely branch out, it’s fun 🙂 ! What are your experiences with twill, and is yours the darker, thicker UK twill or that Legacy linen twill Mary Corbet writes about? If the two samples I was sent are anything to go by, the latter is much lighter and more supple.

  3. I’ve used various twills over the years, but the fabric we used for the Great Tapestry was marvellous — oatmealy in colour (as it was woven in Scotland, that’s hardly a surprise — perhaps it’s a requirement?), slightly stretchy, a good handle and a pleasure to work with. Not sure who made it, although I know they have been in business for 170 years or so, and I suspect this was a bespoke project. If I have any piece left over (although I think we had to give it all back…), would you like a bit?

  4. That would be great Serinde, thanks – just a scrap so I can compare the stiffness and the feel of it. The oatmeal-coloured one Barbara sent me has “Lockhart” written on it, does that ring a bell?

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