Since there was a flurry of activity leading up to GNW when it was all over there was a day or two of ‘hmmm … what do I do now?’ and for some strange reason that resulted in a rifling through my embroidery box to see what sort of UFOs (UnFinished Objects) I might have laying about as this would be the perfect time to finally get in and finish something.
At which point I picked up this –
I started this little cross stitch in 1998 about a year or so after I met Mr K. I remember working on it when I was in the RBH in about Jan 1999 and I remember being well into it at that stage. It has been picked up off and on over the last decade (yes… decade! :S) or so and every time I return to it, I ask myself the same question – WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING!?!?!?!!
It is worked from a commercial pattern (based on or inspired by one of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Musee de Moyen Age in Cluny Paris) on 32 count linen with a single thread of cotton floss over a single thread on the linen… now if you don’t know anything about embroidery then you won’t understand how ridiculously tiny and fine that is. If you do know anything about embroidery… you’ll be laughing your arse off about now thinking Borys is a mad woman and deserves every little bit of hell that it’s giving her. 😐
And I think it’s literally making me go blind! I am experiencing very tangible visual perception anomalies if I come to the PC and try and look at my monitors as I have just done now. Stuff appears to be swimming in front of my vision… which I am sure isn’t good. I’ve only got the background to finish and some fiddly finishing bits but now I’m in full ‘Grrr…must finish fucking project’ mode so I can’t put the damn thing down until it’s done.
At which point I guess I’ll be saying – well that was a long drawn out and exhaustive exercise in futility… what am I going to do with it now?
It must have been Rowany Festival 2005 that the Worshipful Company of Broiderers started working on a Company banner that would had lots of small split stitch heraldic devices on it. I made a tiny little device with my heraldry on it for the banner and enjoyed the tiny needlework so much that I came back from festival and decided to do another work in this style.
At that time I did some research into alms purses and wanted to make a silk alms purse in vibrant red and gold silks. The following year, I took my half done panels to the Company guild meeting at festival and got told the work was ‘too good’ and that I really ought do the background in metallic gold thread as this was the technique used by medieval embroiderers on very fine quality works.
At which point, I pouted and said ‘But I don’t wanna metallic gold purse, I wanna red one!’ or words to that effect…. thus relegating the project to the bottom of my embroidery box and there it languished for many… many… months.
Fortuitously, a friend was in the UK and happened to see at the V&A (and kindly document for me) a couching technique done in silk that suited the time frame and style of embroidery (Opus Anglicanum) that I was working my purse in. So I was off and running again…. but then my Dad got sicker, and I went back to work full time and the project got cast aside yet again.
Then one of the allied health professionals trying to put Borys back together again reccommended that I find something I could work on/towards to give myself a sense of accomplishment about my rather pain filled days which prompted me to pick it up again. And… low and behold… several weeks of sitting on heat packs and embroidering to distract myself from back pain later…. here is the finished product!
I finished, I finished I finished!!!
PS – If I had a functioning website I would have been able to put up all the documentation that goes with this project !!! 😉
Mr K took Angel out and about for most of the day, so I’ve been working on my ‘broidery. It is coming along quite well, but I am really paying for it – my back give me plenty to complain about when I’m too sedentary for too long, and it is absolutely howling at me now.
The laid work is a lot quicker than the split stitch, but strangely enough a helluva lot fussier and less forgiving. If the lattice lines are a bees dick out – it looks terrible, so I’ve done a lot more unpicking are replacing of stitches on the background then I did on the main figures. I’ll probably need to get some bigger frames to continue around the outside.
I’ve been staring at it so long now – that I’m suffering a weird visual perception anomaly… i can see a lattice laying over my field of vision and it’s rather disconcerting! 🙂 Especially on this LCD screen!
Sorry if this bores anyone who isn’t into SCA or medieval recreation etc.
I started an embroidery project about two years ago now. It’s an alms purse done in an Opus Anglicaum style of embroidery. The figurative work on it is done in a single silk tread in split stitch and the back ground was to be worked in coloured silk. Which is where i came to a grinding halt. The more I researched these purses, the more it appeared that that were largely worked with a background of gold thread and usually in an underside couching technique, which shit me to tears – as the gold looks horrid and flashy to my modern eye. It seemed logical that pieces like these would have been worked in coloured silk for people who couldn’t afford the more lush golden variant, but it seems evidence of these hasn’t survived. The project went on the back burner, and I haven’t picked it up since before Festival 2005 (so a good 18 months it has been sitting around).
Recently one of our local embroidery laurels found an obscure reference to the use of coloured silk being used as a background to Opus Anglicanum style split stitch figures, done in a gorgeous lattice designed laid work stitch! Talk about excited. I have my hands on photos of the pieces (they’re in the V&A and to the best of our knowledge don’t appear in any publications), so I am off and running again. I’ve done a few little practice sections to see how I like the stitch and it’s going to look fabulous in Madiera 0511 Red! Works really quickly too – so hopefully I will be able to get it done quickly. Yay! I am so glad I held out and didn’t work the background in gold thread like they all wanted me to!