Monday, August 30, 2010

Jane Turner Sampler - Another Band Completed

It's August. . . and hot. . . and the brain isn't quite at its sharpest.  So, some stitching on a nice straightforward band sampler should be just the trick, right? 

Well. . . yes and no.  With the above logic, I jumped into the next band of the Jane Turner sampler.  It turned out to be quite a chunk to bite off, but once I got going, it got addictive.  Step one was the double-running outline. . .a bit tricky to count because the pattern is more pictorial and less a repeating design.  It turned out the easiest thing was to work counter clockwise.

In many cases, at this point the band would be done.  Not so here.  Jane added a great deal of embellishment to her band including satin stitch and lots of trellis and spiral trellis sections.  Here's the finished band with all the bells and whistles.

I got a lot of much needed practice on trellis stitch with this band. . . including what seemed to me like rather odd uses of trellis. . . in the angled olive green stems, the 3-colored brown "snakes," and little fiddly acorns, v-shaped stem, and the barber-pole stem. 

Add the spiral trellis shapes (that seem to be almost magic in how they create their puffy swirls) and the resulting band is very textural indeed.

As I was working, I was thinking how different this band is from most samplers.  But browsing through photos online and in reference books, I think perhaps it's more that most of us pleasure stitchers today concentrate on samplers that aren't quite so complex.  If Jane were going to eventually do a complex casket or mirror surround with needlelace clothing and other effects, doing a band like this would make perfect sense.  And eureka!! the next large band of Jane's sampler is exactly that. . . a lady with needlelace dress.  I feel like I've caught onto some of the logic that may have underlain the original stitching! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Whipping Out Some Whitework

Planning is well underway in my local EGA chapter for year 2011 programs. . . so I'm pilot stitching like mad (yes, I know it's an excuse for not getting those "big" projects completed, but it's also true!).  Here's photo of what I've completed so far for one program -- on fancy drawnwork hemstitching. 

I just wish blogspot had an "add a smell" feature. . . because once I got these little sachet bags assembled, I filled them with dried lavender and they smell WONDERFUL!  And aren't the linen-look lavender lining fabric and matching ribbon just perfect for a lavender sachet?  And isn't it a little sad that today we rarely use our embroidery skills to beautify everyday articles?   Hmmmm...maybe I should pick up some stamped pillow cases to stitch. . . although I am NOT -- I repeat NOT -- stitching any dish towels or hand crocheting any pot holders! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Odds and Ends and Trellis Stitch

Another project that I have up and running this year is a reproduction of the Jane Turner Sampler of 1668, which is available through The Essamplaire  You can see the entire sampler here.  I find that with reproduction samplers, I tend to be drawn to the earlier ones (mostly 17th century), and I do like those with at least one central pictorial motif, like the lady in the garden of this sampler. 

Unlike some stitchers, I am not adamant about exact historical recreation, and I plan to only stitch this piece through the garden pictorial band and the two narrow "gardeny" bands under it.  I personally do not care for the unsymmetrical wide flower band near the bottom or the off-center alphabet, so I plan to just stop!

I have had several issues with this piece. . . mostly having to do with color substitution.  I found that a couple of the specified colors just disappeared into the fabric.  This is especially frustrating when doing reversible double-running, since under the best of circumstances you often can't really see what you're doing until you do the second pass.   Here's a photo of the top third of so of the sampler that I've either completed or have well underway.

An interesting feature of this sampler is that many of the double-running outlines (which I personally really enjoy stitching), are filled in with satin stitch.  It makes for a nice effect when finished, but is rather tricky to stitch.  Looking at a fairly good photo of the historic piece, it appears that Jane used filament silk for her satin stitch, which looks quite different than satin using DMC.  In order to get a result I liked, in my piece I've made most of my satin stitch horizontal across the little motifs, rather than vertically along the motifs as Jane did. 

My most recent accomplishment is the trellis stitch filling in the main stem of the band pictured below.  I've never used trellis stitch in quite this way. . . and procrastinated quite a bit before attempting it because I usually have issues with trellis stitch.  But much to my surprise, it came out pretty well.  (General rejoicing!)

Here's a close up of part of the band showing part of the double running outline before the trellis filling and with the filling stitches.

Interestingly, in her sampler, Jane only did trellis stitch in the longer and wider sections of the central stem and just filled the narrower W-shaped sections (like that circled in blue in the photo below) with satin stitch. To my mind, this ended up looking rather messy, so I took a DEEP breath and decided to try to do a trellis filling throughout.  While not perfect, I think it looks pretty good.  (More rejoicing!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mermaids and Manatees

I haven't been stitching much for a couple of weeks. . . at least in part because we've spent a relaxing week scuba diving and just kicking back in Key Largo.  Heavy use of sun screen and steamy hot temperatures are definitely NOT conducive to stitching!

But even in the quiet keys, my stitching projects kept popping up in unusual ways.  Several times at sunset we glimpsed a pair of manatees -- mom and baby -- in the canal right outside the apartment we had rented for the week.  It was fun to see them (well....sort of see them, since 99% of the time they were under water).  But it also brought to mind my little mermaid. . . . since one theory of the origin of mermaid sightings is that mariners caught sight of manatees and THOUGHT they had seem mermaids.  Is that really possible?

Mermaid as interpreted in my souvenir
ornament from Key Largo


. . . . well.....I guess maybe it could be possible, but if so, BOY those sailors had been away from home WAY too long, or had been enjoying their rum ration WAY too much.  Needless to say, my intent is that my 17th century style stumpwork mermaid more resembles the ornament than the manatees!