More stash, more students, a cross and a petal

As I was putting kits together for the course at Rugby’s Percival Guildhouse, I noticed I was getting a little low on some of the shades of Madeira Lana needed for the No Place Like Home project. There was plenty left for the class kits, but I have plans for this little house (watch this space…) so off I went to my two suppliers, only to find that one of them, from whom I got the larger reels of variegated Lana, no longer carries this thread! Fortunately most of the shades required were solids, and I didn’t need that much of them, so Sarah Homfray and her 25m skeins came to the rescue!

Madeira Lana for kits

One of the things I try to do in the course is to introduce different types of thread, and this wool/acrylic blend is one of them. It made its appearance in week 2. Which brings me to the students using the thread (who, in spite of the title of this FoF, are in fact the same students as the ones I mentioned last time, but “more students’ work” was a bit cumbersome). Here is how they got on with No Place Like Home (class plus some homework) and Butterfly Wreath (in-class progress). I’m really proud of how well they are doing!

Students' versions of No Place Like Home Students' versions of the Butterfly Wreath

When I manage to do some “free stitching” (that is to say not for future publication, or at least with no deadline for publication) I grab one of the many projects lying around that are awaiting completion. Some are fairly recent, like the hourglass stitched with Paintbox Threads materials (update soon), others were started as far back as early 2019, like Hengest and Llandrindod. Hengest is still languishing, but I’m getting on with the pretty jewelled cross. At the moment I’m working on the dark gold that surrounds the gems, and when that is done there is just the subtle bling to be added to the stones, plus possibly some decoration along the light gold circle. But for now I have to decide what to do when the split stitch of the gold frame doesn’t quite match up with the split stitch of the gems. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply filling in the gaps with more gold (orange arrow) – but should I perhaps make the gem corners a bit sharper by adding a few stitches in red (blue arrows)?

Gaps in Llandrindod

Perhaps I’ll work on something else while mulling that over… One thing which I hope to get to grips with in the not too distant future is silk shading or needle painting. You may remember that lovely book I got a while ago which has some exercises in it to try before starting on the full-blown projects – more about that in a future FoF, but another inspiration presented itself from quite a different corner recently. While we were having some pruning done in the garden a late rose got cut, and we put it in the kitchen in one of those tall narrow vases. It’s a lovely dark orange when in bud, but it goes progressively paler when it opens, and when it started to drop its petals I had a close look at one. Not only would the colours make for a lovely silk shading project, it looks like the stitch direction lines have already been pencilled in by the Creator smiley.

Our orange rose A petal with ready-painted lines for silk shading