Sunday, March 16, 2014

Boxes and jackets

I have been making good progress on my first box.  I have the top done, except for some green purl that will hold down the Jane Austen in Bath enamel - the top of a broken box.

The front of the box is the Hampton cottage where Jane Austen lived. (do you see the theme here?)

I'm working on the sides which will include motifs from a sample Jane Austen stitched. Not sure about the back.

I'm also working on the top for a second box.  It will be a female rider on a horse.  It is for my daughter so the horse is white.  I had some gown issues so I'm redoing the needlelace.  And I will probably need to figure out how to make the white horse stand out from the white linen, but I'll get to that later.  Since the horse top fit on the same frame as the Jane Austen top and front, it may be a while before I get to make up the box.  But that's okay, I'm enjoying the stitching.

I have had reduced personal stitching time lately anyway since I have been popping down to Williamsburg on the weekend for the last month. It has been a so much fun to meet with all the local women and the women who have travelled from afar to embroider on the wedding jacket for Pocahontas. And I have enjoyed my chats with Brenda Rosseau, the Manager of the Costume Design Center of Colonial Williamsburg who has been running this project. She was sure the jacket could get done in time and it looks like she was right. The fronts and upper and lower arms are done, the back and coif are started and moving right along, and the small pieces, gussets and caps, are stitching up quickly.

Here is one of the caps that I stitched on yesterday.

Last weekend I did several motifs as well as vine shading and small flower motifs.  My favourite was this boar.

Really, I can't say enough about the amazing job Tom Hammond has done on the designs of the jacket.  Every creature or plant is wonderful and the overall effect is perfect.

Of course, there is still a forehead cloth to start on...

Can't wait to see the finished jacket at the wedding celebration.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Working on the Pocahontas wedding jacket

I've been to Williamsburg the last few weekends to work on the jacket mentioned a couple of posts ago.  It has been a wonderful experience.  So far it has been estimated that well over 300 hours of stitching and over 30 women have worked on the jacket. The design is fantastic!  I love all the motifs and while it is hard to get the stitching as detailed as the paper pattern, the shading really brings the pattern to life.  And it is an added bonus to be able to work in the design room in the Costume Building at Colonial Williamsburg.

These photos are from my first weekend there, when I stitched both Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8 and 9. I stitched on the upper arm piece.

I finished the oak leaves and stitched a beaver the next Sunday. You can see some of the stitching done by others on this upper arm piece. 

This weekend I stitched on the right front.  Here are the motifs I did today plus some photos of the whole right front so you can see how work is progressing.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Presentation of the Agecroft Coif

On Saturday, February 15 Gentle Pursuits finally presented the finished polychrome coif to Agecroft Hall. It has been fun working on it over the last 3 years, and it is a bit bittersweet after living with the coif for so long, but now it is ready to be part of the interpretive program at Agecroft.  First it will be on exhibit with the other coifs held in the Agecroft collection.  Be sure to go and see the coif and of course Agecroft Hall.

A professional took some photos and it is really wonderful what a black background and good lighting can do to make things look fantastic.

We all enjoyed going to Agecroft Hall again to make the presentation.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A New Jacket Project - A Waistcoate for Pocahontas!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the wedding of Pocahontas to John Rolfe, Preservation Virginia’s Historic Jamestowne will create a woman’s embroidered sleeved waistcoat worked in black silk inspired by a surviving garment in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London). This waistcoat will be worn as part of Pocahontas’s wedding attire during the commemoration on Saturday, April 5, 2014.

The original object is an early 17th century woman’s jacket embroidered with depictions of mythical and realistic creatures, flora, and scenes from Geffrey Whitney’s Choice of Emblems and Other Devices (1586).(click on red EBOOK-FREE button) The Jamestown jacket will replace these motifs with fruit, flowers, insects, fish, fowl and beasts specific to Virginia. A matching embroidered coif and forehead cloth will complete the suit.

The jacket in the London museum is embroidered with black silk on a plain weave white linen ground in four basic stitches: stem and outline stitch, long and short, and speckling or seeding stitch. Our adaptation will use those types as well.

Historic Jamestowne is seeking volunteers to assist with the creation of this garment. Skilled and novice embroiderers are invited to contact:
Julie Zellers-Frederick
Volunteer Coordinator

You will be sent a small sample to complete, demonstrating the stitch types present in the original garment. All skill levels are welcome. This special project is done in collaboration with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and their Costume Design Center.

Here is the sample kit I received:
If you've ever thought of visiting Colonial Williamsburg for a few day, or if you want to visit again, this is a good time to do it.  I know I had great fun going to work on the Plimoth Jacket and I can't wait to work on this one.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Catching up with 2013

It has been an exciting and busy year. I didn't realize I hadn't written anything her in so long, I guess because I have been posting on the Gentle Pursuits blog and my library blog. 

The big news is, the coif is done!  It has been over 2 years but it is finally finished.  I put the lining in and sewed it up over the summer. Pictures don't do it justice because the weight of the fabric with all the silk and gold stitched over it and the change in the feel from plain linen to stitched fabric makes it seem almost alive.  And truly, I had no idea how the colours would combine when I first ordered the thread.  Despite testing everything, you never know how it will combine when it all gets thrown together.  In a couple of cases, the borage and the carnation, I had to change things when we started stitching because it was obvious the original idea wasn't going to work.

So here it is.

I've had time to work on a few other things as well.  This sachet was done as our chapter president's challenge.  We had to use one or two ready made coasters to create something embroidered. Of course I have Cabinet of Curiosities designs on my mind.

Speaking of which, I finished the butterfly pinkeep and I must admit I love this technique.  I said the same after doing my small phone purse but I still feel the same after doing this.  I think part of the appeal is the texture of the embroidered piece.  I must admit that I did the flat rather than ruffled sides because I was lazy.  But I like the look of the flat sides too, so I'm happy with the finish.

This finish was inspired by another chapter member who brought her finished pocket book in.  I remembered I had the kit and pulled it out and finished it.  The wool and canvas for this piece were not so fine that I couldn't do it in the living room with less than idea light.  I'm contemplating one of those Ott lights that run on batteries for next to my living room chair - although right now I'm doing knitting as I watch TV so I'll save my money a bit longer.

This is another Cabinet of Curiosities piece.  A pincushion that used waste linen over silk so the design could be counted.  The linen threads were then pulled out leaving a slightly raised design.  I thought for sure I would have all sorts of problems pulling the waste threads but it all came out easily except for one place.  But I'm not sure I like the technique as much as the butterfly pinkeep.  But I'm happy with the way it turned out.

This pillow was from a Just CrossStitch magazine that I picked up at our silent auction.  Somebody had purchased the pillow form with the linen center and started the stitching.  At first I thought it would be an easy finish but then I realized why the person had given up on it - too many similar colours with small spots of each colour.  But I eventually finished it and it looks fine.  I'll be giving this one away since I bought it because I had a gardener to make it for.

This is my current project(s).  Again it is Cabinet of Curiosities. I've started on the small wooden box.  This piece of fabric has a box top and front for one box and a box top for a second box.   

I've started the first box top.  The design is similar to the one in the lessons but instead of a rabbit in the center, I'm going to use the silk wrapped purl to hold in an enamel box lid.  My husband found the enamel top only of a box depicting the Royal Crescent in Bath with a couple of figures - it was a Jane Austen box.  I've been trying to figure out how to mount the enamel for years and when I realized that the silk wrapped purl would gently hold it in place, it seemed like a perfect idea. 

I've added some strawberries and butterflies to the original design. It works up quite quickly but I'll have to stitch the other pieces before putting the purl on or it will catch all the other threads. The middle design on the frame is a drawing of Jane Austen's house.  Maybe not as fancy as the castles on the stumpwork boxes you see in museums, but not unlike the houses on many samplers, so I think it will work.

The bottom drawing is a woman on a horse.  The horse will be white and the woman will have light brown hair - my daughter and her horse. I will give the box to her.  The third box I have will need to be magical creatures for my other daughter.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 2013 finishes

So I have been trying to do some finishing as I wait for the coif to come back to be lined and made up.  I don't want to start my Cabinet of Curiosities projects until the coif is finished.  But this sweetbag is sort of a CofC project.  I started it before the class began, but the tent stitch motif lesson inspired me to finish it - as I mentioned in my last post.  I thought to do the background in faux silver but when I did a small test, I realized it would catch on everything and not wear well, so I did it is a light grey silk instead. I was especially happy with the cord and tassels I found to finish it with. 

I picked up this pillow kit at our chapter silent auction.  I made it for my SIL who loves to garden.  It was really easy to stitch so I could watch TV and stitch with no problem.
These are ornaments with a snowflake like motif I designed.  Both are on changable silk dupioni.  I love the silk and all the fun gold threads.  The purple has been made up as well, but I didn't take a photo.  I haven't decided which background colour I like best but I have more of both so I'm going to make some more. The secret n0n-gold thread is Opal Kreinik braid.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Never to Old to Play and Coif Update

I've been playing with silk. Lesson 6 of the Cabinet of Curiosities has been a blast for me.  I don't know why but despite many years of doing cross stitch from charts and needlepoint on painted canvas, it never occurred to me to draw and outline and fill it with tent stitch. Lesson 6 has the historical research behind this technique.  And the theory behind the colour choices and gradations.   I had already started work on a small purse on congress cloth to use at work for my cell phone and keys (most women's clothing does not have pockets!) so I started adding motifs.  The first was this butterfly from a coif pattern (the squirrel is from an old cross stitch booklet and the violet is from a Long Dog sample)
As well as a test of the outline needlepoint method, this play was a binge on silks as well.  So these are some silks I bought a while ago.  Somehow, as I played, I forgot all my reservations about saving silks for special projects and just used the colours I wanted to use.  And I have lots I've been saving.  So you'll notice there is no colour matching throughout all these motifs.  It is just practice for me using the technique before starting the butterfly pinkeep.

Aren't these overdyed colours wonderful? Gloriana Peacock Blue, Opulent Orange, and Red Clay.  It makes me happy just looking at the skeins next to each other.
I also tried a bug and snail.  The lesson learned from these is, use a higher count for small motifs in future.  The bug is in Kreinik braid - Opal.
The flower is from motifs from the Cabinet lessons.  As well as the small motifs lesson, this one included the colour theory lesson.  I really can't combine colours well, so I need to make sure I buy 3 or 4 shades in a colour family when I buy silks.
So here is my small purse/sweet bag so far.  I really love the outline and fill stitching method.   I plan on doing the background in silver, in one of the larger filling stitches mentioned in Lesson 6 that you see on the old sweetbags.
And here is the nearly finished coif!  There are two leaves left in silk for one chapter member who wants to do something.  And then the rest of the gold work is another member.  Once that is done, I'll have to think about making it up.  I have some linen for the lining, but I'm going to need to consult on how to sew it up.