Wow these past few months have been busy. I’ve been stitching up a storm, dancing, too. And writing. All the freelancing came home to roost this summer! Eesh. It takes a bite out of the day, doesn’t it?
All I really want to do is go to the beach. So I got to thinking. I’ve just designed a beach sampler, of which the pulled work mermaid in this post is part. I want to go to the beach for a week. I’m sure some of you do, too. So why not make it a “thing”?
BEACH RETREAT in February!
I put all the details for the retreat on this page, with a link to a registration form. The sampler will be photographed in its entirety sometime in November. It’s sand colors, has cross stitch, pulled work, and some specialty stitches, and a small cut-work design that doesn’t have to be cut (there’s a cross-stitch option). Don’t panic if you’re new to any of this stuff — we’ll go slow, just one stitch at a time! There will be lots of time for stitching and walking on the beach and exploring the area, and even dancing. I’d love to have you join me!
The image to the left is a stamped sampler that my Grandmother put on muslin for me and used to teach me how to stitch. Cross stitches and stem stitches. It took me 3 years to complete (I’ve never had a long attention span). If I recall, the only reason I DID complete it was that my mother wouldn’t let me start a crewel project to go with the one she was doing until I’d finished “the last thing you started and didn’t finish.”
It’s stitched in JP Coats variegated floss. Pink, blue and green. I started it at age 6 and finished in 1975, age 9. (And in true Romilly fashion, I didn’t put the starting date on it… who wants people to know how long you took to finish something?! In this I haven’t changed.)
Last week I took the time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. When I found it again in our storage room, I pulled it out, charted it, and stitched it on 28 count Cashel. I considered stitching it over one just to be annoying, but decided that was a bit of overkill. The new version? Charting + stitching = done in one business day.
The original is about 8 X 10 inches, and the restitch is about 4 X 5.
If you know where the original stamped design came from, I’d love to know. And if I can find that out, I might be tempted to ask permission to release the chart as a freebie for anyone else who wants to stitch it. (It’s possible that the original is actually out of copyright at this point: it WAS from my Grandmother’s box, but it could just as easily be out of a McCall’s magazine from 1969! It would make a lovely first project for an older child on 8 or 11 count aïda cloth with 4 strands of threads – in their choice of colors. I know I picked out the three colors on the original sampler. In the new one I used the new DMC Color Variations instead of the standard variegated, and I do like the result.
I think I’ll have them framed side by side in a double-opening mat.
Currently it’s only available on Etsy. If you want me to add it to the Golden Circle Designs site, please let me know.
When I kit things, I can’t afford to keep them affordable for you and still offer them wholesale through the distributor. I am happy to sell wholesale directly to your local shop, however! Feel free to email me for more information.
Click to make bigger!
I finished the ABC Deco piece from Broderie.net last week. Even though I actually started it in January (bad Romilly), I’m claiming it as a success in my goal to clear out (preferably by finishing) all of the WIPs that aren’t my designs! I’ve been a bit obsessive about this one, working on it in the early mornings before I go upstairs to the studio. Since I didn’t have a floor frame for it, I used the sewing method, and I have the holes in my middle finger on the right hand where I push the needle to prove it. I only added the thimble after I kept hitting the hole! Again, bad Romilly.
If I can get this obsessive about some of the other work in my box, I’ll have it cleaned out in no time!
And if I can get this obsessive about Tramatina, I’ll have a huge sampler chart available for all of you sometime this year – or at least by next year’s Nashville show!
In the meantime, my model stitcher is working on a square/pillow design from some of the motifs found in Tramatina.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the Art Nouveau, Art Needlework, and Arts and Crafts movements recently. All of them are related, and William Morris and his daughter May feature predominantly in the fiber arts movements of the times. So what have I been thinking, other than I LOVE this group of related styles?
I’ve been thinking about thoughts. William and May Morris believed that Berlin Woolwork was a scourge on embroidery. Berlin woolwork, for those of you who don’t know the details was worked in very fine wool (often equivalent to 2-3 strands of our cotton floss in thickness), and was counted from a chart onto lightweight canvas in cross stitch. It often reproduced a piece of famous artwork, or just pretty pictures. Uh oh. This sounds familiar. Could it be that this was just Counted Cross Stitch in wool? (Yup, it could. It is. It was.)
William and May Morris wanted to bring back what they considered the higher craft of “real” needlework. Crewel stitches. Design decisions on the part of the embroiderer. Silk threads. Embroidery that looked like stitch work and didn’t “just” reproduce a picture in pixel mosaic.
Now I’m not going to speak or type against counted cross stitch – I design the stuff, after all! However, I was thinking about the book I gave away a couple years ago… “Art of William Morris In Counted Cross Stitch”. And then I got thinking about the cross stitch woolwork “reproductions” of Morris designs that are found as kits in the needlepoint shop (Beth Russell?)… and my thought?
I think William Morris is rolling around in his grave in despair.
And I’m laughing. Because embroidery techniques rise and fall in popularity. And while counted cross stitch has been very popular over the years since the 80s (partially because it really IS easy as these things go…) the freestyle embroidery stitches are coming back. Look on Craftster at some of the finished projects. Look at the popularity of Sublime Stitching. Look at the wonderful embroidery on the Ning groups: Hand Embroidery Network and Stitchin Fingers. These are good things. And we’re richer for the variety.
Try new things. Be a stitching dilettante!