Monday, May 10, 2010

The Mermaid Is In Her Grotto

I had a lovely Mother's Day weekend, getting to do just what I wanted, so now I have my finished needlework to show you.

Here is the mermaid, with garnets in her hair and a rather fancy mirror.

Here she is in her grotto, but not quite done.

And here she is in the grotto with fish, shells and semi-precious stone chips. I am especially please with the freshwater pearl in the shell - that is a real shell from a family vacation that actually stayed joined.
I am very happy with how it has all turned out. And it was so much fun. For the final bits I was able to consult my own copy (as opposed to the university library copy which I have returned) of "English Embroidery in the Metropolitan Museum, 1580-1700:'Twixt Art and Nature". My DH got it for me for Mother's Day and found it online at list price still in the shrink wrap!! If, like me, you missed getting this book and now can only find it for over $100, you will appreciate the find. I was able to look through the pieces in the book that had water to decide what I wanted to do with the purl since the instructions gave a couple of suggestions for variations.
Now I have all the amazing leftover threads to hoard. I've always had a problem using my best threads for small or experimental things, and these threads need something really wonderful. So I have some thinking to do. In the meantime, I have a coif to work on and the president's challenge for my EGA chapter to start (and finish by our June meeting!).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Little Bit of Tail

I'm alternating my time between the coif and the mermaid, doing a 2 week each rotation so there is some consistency in my work. I've already let the family know that I want to stitch the whole of Mother's Day weekend except for a trip to the art museum to see the new wing and have lunch in the new restaurant there. If you want to see the latest on the coif, hop on over to the Gentle Pursuits blog.

That was before the meeting, this mermaid work is from the past weekend. I finished the fins for the end of the tail a while back. There is a gilt strip worked into the buttonhole lace that is really nice. The skirt is done with a new thread - a silver silk twist similar to the gilt silk twist from the Plimoth jacket project. The silver is a little harder to work with than the gold. I think the twist is a bit tighter so it doesn't flex the same way. According to Tricia's remarks in class, this was just a trial run and it should be fine once they get it to the point where they are producing enough quantities to sell. The kit included some peacock feathers to put around the edge of the skirt, but Tricia encouraged us to be creative with our mermaids, so I did something different. I'm fond of pearls so I used some tiny white beads to edge the skirt to keep things in scale. I have some small, cultured fresh-water pearls and some mother-of-pearl beads as well, but they were too big for the edging - I'm thinking of putting one or the other in the mermaid's hair.
Next I went to the fish since the head and tail were on the same needlelace pad as the mermaid's tail pieces. The head and tail were stitched onto some felt and then I carefully sewed down the spangles to form scales. The sample had a mix of gold and silver covering the body but having studies zoology, I felt the need to be a bit more realistic. So I carefully covered the body in rows of gold, and then used the silver for some fins. The fish is just over 1 inch long.