Sunday, 22 January 2012

blackwork and the little goddess

The blackwork project is finished. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, choosing the most appropriate pattern for each element and trying to make sure that I used a variety of tones in the image. I'm rather pleased with it as I'd not done this before. I did find it trying on the eyes though, and could be seen on numerous occasions with the needlework almost stitched to my nose in my attempts to see where to place the needle next! Now, skipping quickly over the fact that I've not done the other counted thread pieces, I'm moving on to my little Goddess cloth, which I introduced here.

These are the two designs, the one on the left was intended to be the one I worked from. Barbara gently commented on the amount of detail when I was drawing it, but I wasn't quite listening.
The final piece of stitching is to be no more than 15cm high. Once I realised how small this really is - I grew up with feet and inches - I could see that the image on the left was just too complex to fit in, Barbara was right, so have used the one on the right, which was my original rough drawing from our splish splash splosh day.

One aspect of the course has been to develop our understanding of techniques. The prick and pounce method of transferring a is one I've known about for years, but always avoided as it sounded so fiddly. You trace your design onto some reasonably robust paper,  use a needle (very carefully!) to prick holes around the outline

secure the paper on the piece to be worked, then "pounce" by gently dabbing/rubbing powdered charcoal through the holes and onto the fabric.

What a faff I've always thought, can't be bothered with all that poking and dabbing and stuff. But actually it works really well, better than carbon paper in this case as the fabric, being backed with muslin, had a slightly uneven texture, making it hard to get the carbon paper to transfer properly. With this I ended up with a nice neat little set of dots to guide me, which I then sketched lightly over with a Pitt pen - an idea I picked up from Jude's video on the Magic Feather project  A firm shake and all the charcoal falls off leaving me with a clear outline to allow me to begin.

I've done some practice runs for the face and the main body, just to see how the threads and stitches went together. Again, this is something I'd not bothered with before in embroidery - but then my past embroidery has been restricted to six stranded embroidery floss.

Part of this course has been about experimenting with different threads as well as cloth and stitch; such delight! When I was last in York I went to the Viking Loom with Jen and had to be steered out as there were so many good things to buy. I came back with some Stef Francis and Edmar threads in delicious colours, some of which will be used in this piece.

When I'd finished the design on the left above, I showed it to my good soul. He took one look and said - that's your daughter.
She's a little older than this now - OK, about 19 years older - but I do see what he means!

Seems appropriate somehow; Mum's hankie, my stitching, Jen's spirit, three generations in one Goddess.


  1. I am full of admiration. Not only does the blackwork look wonderful, but you're obviously learning and enjoying the whole process. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you so much, yes, it is splendid fun but finding the time ..... Hah!

  3. i'm loving your goddess cloth. look forward to seeing the progress. and thanks for visiting my blog. yes. lots of fairies around as my 7 year old neighbor points out to me all the time.