Stitching whilst plotting Gisborne…

I don’t know about other writers but sometimes I just need to move into some other area entirely… something creative but far from the word and the rules of wordsmithing. I attend an embroidery group on Fridays and I’ve been watching all the talented ladies put together a beautiful mirror frame designed by Jane Nicholas and surrounded with stumpwork insects and flowers. The results are little short of jaw-dropping and I really badly need to stitch one for myself. It’ll take me a year, I think… interspersed with the odd embroidered blanket…

I started the project 2 weeks ago. Found a length of honey beige Thai silk, traced the design on, mounted it in a frame and began. But the fabric was too raw and full of profound slubs which sent my stitching to a whole other area than where the needle wanted it to go. Ditched that one. Dug a finer pure cream Thai silk out of my supplies. Traced and tacked the design again. Mounted it in the frame. Began the chainstitch of the vine in deep green Au Ver a Soie silk threads and then whipped it. Very unhappy with the quality of the stitch. Unpicked. And again. Same. Tried again with two threads rather than three. Same result. Decided my eyes are really deteriorating. Final effort: I stitched the vine on the right side of the work in three strands of silk in stem stitch and then whipped it with two strands. Much better. May whip it again with one strand of a lighter green to give it dimension. So went back to the left side and did the whole vine in whipped stemstitch and am moderately happy.

Whilst all this was happening, I wrote the short-story of Gisborne for Bopress and made pencil notes on bits of paper as ideas dropped into the ¬†cluttered ‘Gisborne, the novel’ corner of my mind. It appears that such involvement elsewhere seemed to allow the writing side of me a bit of free rein…

Anyway, today I stretched some quilter’s muslin in a hoop and couched wire in the shape of leaves and began to stitch the first of about eight or nine detached leaves. Its a process of single thread stitching: a fine blanket stitch covering the wire and then the body of the leaf filled in fine single thread satin stitch. Not too demanding, except when the wire refuses to bend to the exact shape of the leaf you have traced.

I’ll tell you something: next week I’m going to the optometrist to have my eyes checked and to buy some magnifying lenses to sit on the lense of my stitching glasses. Hopefully then I shall be on my way with the fine, fine work required of this piece.