Two wandering stars

As I was getting together the charts and materials for my little goldwork project and the impromptu Christmas tree, I came across some charts for ornaments by Mary Corbet. They consisted of a circle, a heart and a star, each with ever smaller concentric circles/hearts/stars inside them. I hadn’t saved any picture of what MC had done with these, but they looked just right for some unplanned, do-whatever-feels-right sort of stitching – exactly the sort of relaxing project, in fact, to take to my monthly craft group meeting at the library, so I transferred the star design onto two pieces of Normandie fabric (white and cream), hooped them up and put them with the Christmas tree. And as I couldn’t possibly stitch the stars using only the green, reds, yellow and brown I’d picked for the tree, a selection of other threads was added to the communal project box. I ‘m particularly looking forward to working with those jewel-like threads in the top left compartment, overdyed Vineyard silks by Threadworx.

Materials for some do-as-you-please stitching

As it happens I only got some work done on the Christmas tree, and not an awful lot at that. Well, it isn’t a very long meeting and there is also a certain amount of chatting going on, not to mention cake eating… So here is what the Christmas tree looked like at the end of the craft session, with a slightly wonky basket and various not-quite-round baubles. I originally started with the green stem stitch but then thought it might be a bit of a squash to get the baubles in afterwards so decided to finish the green last.

First session with the Christmas tree

Incidentally, I now know that stitching on the non-fuzzy side of the Rowandean fabric first time round was definitely a sound decision. The fuzzy side looks nice, rather soft and, well, fuzzy, but it is a magnet for any bit of thread fluff (not to mention cat hair) that comes within half a mile of it. Working on it with a very dark and rather soft thread (Caron Watercolours “Sable”) I found after a while that there was a film of dark thread shreds clinging to the bottom of my work, which, for lack of sticky tape, had to be laboriously removed with a wet finger.

There are still little fuzzy remnants clinging to the fabric, but they will just have to remain there I’m afraid; this was only ever a small amusing project for my own enjoyment, and it’s unlikely to be made into anything – it’s too big for a card, and I dislike sewing ornaments so I only do it if there really is no other option. For now it will live in my “designs by other people” folder, where it will spend its time discussing with the other pieces why most of them have at least one wonkily-stitched bit.

I enjoyed stitching this design, and making up the baubles as I went along; some of them are buttonhole, some chain stitch, some French knots, there are a few in satin and Rhodes stitch, and I’m sure I’ve missed at least one there – ah yes, fly stitch. The fishbone stitch star is embarrassingly uneven, and my only excuse is that it was stitched late at night because I wanted to have it finished before going to bed. If I were to do the basket again I’d choose one of the three stitches and do all three lines in the same stitch; the raised chain stitch would make quite a convincing basket, I think, as would the fly stitch if worked a bit more regularly. It might be fun to work a very small version in single strands of silk, or a very chunky one in #3 perle – perhaps as a seasonal cushion? But for now the stars are calling me, not to mention my little Jacobean goldwork project!

The finished Christmas tree

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