Dots, Stripes and Good News

Primrose in silk, 5 - leaves started

Let’s start with the very good news: my father is home from hospital, and is doing very well indeed. Apart from a slight slurring of his speech when tired – and he gets tired very easily – along with a slight slowing down, his recent stroke has left little evidence. He’s still not able to write very legibly yet, but he was working on his computer program within three hours of being home. Not bad for nearly 94!

Getting his house ready for his return was a chore as the central heating boiler needed repair, but that was fixed just in time to warm things up before he arrived. And his friends and neighbours and carers have been brilliant. A huge thank-you to Hereford hospital for their marvellous work in getting him through this. He is truly grateful to them, and they looked after him well, but oh, he is so very pleased to be out of there and back in his own home!

While I was down with him on Saturday, two lions were being put through their paces on the far side of the railway line. With two hedges and two wire fences between Dad’s garden and the circus’s winter quarters, my attempts to take photos of the lions failed. Then there was a tiger, and I tried video. It’s only a short clip and very much obscured by the intervening twigs and fencing, but at least you can see the tiger is not a figment of my imagination. I can’t post video on this blog, so here’s a link to the clip on Flickr.

Meanwhile the primrose embroidery is making steady progress. I spent a long, long time debating what stitches to use for the leaves. I wanted something with a finished effect rather like tiny French knots to create the texture I had in mind. After a lot of head-scratching and staring at stitch dictionaries, I thought: well, why not use French knots then? I’d hesitated because I imagined that working the knots as small as I wanted them would be very slow and awkward. After a little experiment, I used three strands of the 6-thread Devere Yarns filament silk with a single twist to the knot, which gave me the detail I wanted without being too fiddly to manage. All those little dots of colour are certainly slow to work, but not too slow to see progress. So far I have two leaves finished and the third just started. I love the way the three textures catch the light: shiny petals, less shiny stalks and the leaves with very little shine.

Primrose in silk, 6 - leaves continued

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5 Responses to “Dots, Stripes and Good News”

  1. Firstly, that is just *wonderful* news about your Dad. I’m so pleased. You and he have been in my thoughts.
    Secondly, how absolutely lovely those leaves are!!!! Just gorgeous. Such a wonderful contrast against the smooth stitches of the flowers.

    • suetortoise Says:

      Thanks for your kind thoughts, Megan. It’s been a tough four weeks but live is getting back to normal for Dad – and for me.

      I am very pleased with the texture of the leaves. It’s funny, I felt almost ‘guilty’ at using such basic stitches on this piece – I had to almost force myself to try massed French knots to get the effect of… massed French knots! We get so excited by all the strange, wonderful, complex stitches we learn; falling back on the useful, simple, go-to stitches seems to be letting the side down. And yet, those stitches are so familiar and have stood the test of time just because they are so very often the obvious choice and the best. I think I’ve finally learnt that lesson.

      • I hope you don’t have to go on any more long train trips in the rain – for whatever reason.
        I saw a similar effect used with gold passing thread (single loops) for the ‘scales’ on a frog in a Country Bumpkin magazine. I was looking through it with a friend and we both really loved that effect.
        We never know what we’ll learn next, do we? :-)

  2. So glad to hear the news about your Dad, and to see the great progress you’re making on this. The French Knots create a wonderful effect, don’t they!

  3. I’ve been watching this piece progress over on your flickr page Sue, and I have to say the leaves in french knots look amazing. They add so much texture to the piece. It was an inspired choice of stitch.

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