The little nuthatch slip is now finished and I think I did right by leaving out the padding.
I embroidered this version of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Mother and Child in 1998. I don’t know how large the original red chalk drawing is but my version is 4.5 x 5.5 inches. In the drawing, the mother might actually be sewing something but it wasn’t possible to say for sure from the greetings card that I used as my source. I had forgotten that I gave her a piece of needlelace. I’m not even sure that the fountain in the background is part of the original either.
Humpty and the messenger are off the hoop. I gave the piece a short rinse in cold soapy water and then lightly ironed it from the back before stretching it while still damp but I can see a couple of places where my marker still shows so when I return from Scotland I’ll wash and stretch it once more before taking it to the framers. The original John Tenniel illustration is only ever shown in black and white so the colours of the outfits are my choice. Calico background, DMC cotton embroidery threads, mainly long and short stitch and the messenger’s hat is needlelace.
I drew cheeseplant leaves (Monstera Deliciosa) on my original tulip vase drawing but then didn’t relish the thought of satin stitching lots of near identical leaves so I changed my design – to an even simpler version of what you see below. Extra colours and details were added as I stitched and I’m not sure if it still needs more of either but I’ll leave it as is until the tulips are done and then check the balance.
I placed my original tulip drawings under heavy-weight tracing paper and then pencilled the outlines. When I was finally happy with the floral arrangement I inked over the pencil work, taped the tracing to a sheet of perspex and lightly pencilled it onto the calico using window light. Partly to avoid having to begin stitching and partly for fun, I subsequently coloured in some of the tulips. Too bad that thread painting can’t be as easy!
I also did a couple of practice pieces on a smaller hoop this week to determine how many strands of thread to stitch the petals with in long and short stitch and I’ve decided to stick with my usual choice of one. The practice hoop will also be used for testing and or fine tuning thread colour choices for the flowers. Yesterday I actually took the plunge and began stitching a tulip on the main hoop but I’m not taking bets on how many times I’ll unpick it before I’m happy with it!
The pieces I embroider don’t normally take too long to do so for a change I’m challenging myself to embroider a vase of tulips which might take me through autumn if not also through part of the winter. Usually I just adapt something from a book or the internet but this time I’m actually designing it myself from scratch and I’ve already spent a few days drawing tulips and trying different ideas for the pattern on the vase. I’ve also selected various colour combos for the flowers but I’m sure those at least will change many times as will the stitching plan which is not yet finalised – I can’t make up my mind whether to use raised embroidery for some of the tulip heads or not.
I am busy stitching a couple of pieces that will likely become gifts so I won’t be showing those for a while yet but to prove I’m still here I thought I’d show you this piece that I stitched way back in 2003 and which was missing for several years until last week when I found it safely tucked away with other bits and bobs. I like old travel posters and they make ideal subjects for interpretive embroidery. This one is a french railway poster advertising the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany. The embroidery’s looking a little fragile so I intend to have it framed as soon as I get the call to say that my other pieces are ready for collection from the framer.