In Which Good Things Happen – Eventually

PB Test Piece Completed
I promised to post a photo of this piece of stitchery when it was completed. The last stitch went in yesterday, and I have stretched and starched the piece, ready for framing. Considering that it was only intended as test piece for learning plaited braid stitch, I am very pleased with the result. The last few weeks, it has been growing terribly slowly. I was beginning to think it would never be complete. And then suddenly I was on the last leaf, the last length of thread, and it was done. Now I’m looking forward to starting another embroidery project; I’ve already got three or four ideas in mind to choose from.

My mother is out of hospital and back home with my father. She’s very pleased to be back. She was due to be released on Tuesday afternoon last week, and I went down to Bucknell to be there to help my father with her. But she spent the entire afternoon and evening sitting in the ward waiting for the ambulance. At half past eight, it was clear she’d need to be kept in overnight. I had to leave on the nine-twenty train as I was working the next day. Mum finally came back home the next evening, at six pm. Needless to say, she was very frustrated by this long wait. The staff on the ward were very frustrated and apologetic – they were lovely with her. The hospital transport service kept delaying her pick-up time – it was two, it was four, it was six, it was eight…  I think that there’s room for improvement in that service.

The launch of the Impressions exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum was a great success. We had an hour of readings by most of the writers involved, and the booklet of poems and prose looked very tidy and presentable. The exhibition is now running until late June, having been extended by a few more weeks. It was all done in a mad rush – and on a shoestring because all of the museum’s money is earmarked for the new building. “We’re not supposed to be having exhibitions at the moment” said Adrian Perks, a museum assistant and the driving force behind the writer’s group. So our exhibition was sort-of sneaked in quietly. We seemed to be heading for a total hodge-podge of unrelated exhibits at first, along with an equally scrappy and disorganised booklet of writing; but it all came together at the last moment, and we had nothing to be ashamed of.

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14 Responses to “In Which Good Things Happen – Eventually”

  1. Just beautiful!! I love the detached carnation petals. It’s a ptiy that the piccie isn’t closer up.
    I’m glad that your Mum was able to come home 🙂
    Blogging about HeartofThe Thistle and your realisation about trellis stitch. Expect some quoting 🙂 Thankyou again. I’ve decided to do the rest of the piece in Jacqui Carey’s trellis stitch.; It seems too great a pity to miss the opportunity to use and practise the stitch.
    I also just learnt PBS myself. I still have to practise getting the outside loops all exactly even, otherwise it’s going really well. Which gold thread did you use? I’m using B&J #371 and it’s really working well (same as used on the Plmoth Jacket)

  2. suetortoise Says:

    If you click on the photo, you’ll get to Flickr where you can see the large version – the original piece is 15cm square. The first picture of this project that I posted on Flickr has the threads listed on the Flickr page, too. The gold is a three-ply Madeira one – totally untraditional, but it has just enough weight for it to work. The single machine-embroidery metallic was too light and flimsy.

    I’ll look forward to seeing your trellis stitch. I’ve not tried it Jacqui Carey’s way yet.

    • Would you like me to send you some Benton and Johnson #371 thread to try? The rule is “use a silk core passing thread, not a cotton one unless you want to die of frustration”, so I have to wonder if you’ll really like working with a silk-core?? I have a couple of reels of the stuff, so can send you a few metres, no worries, and I’m dong a big post out of various things to friends next Thursday…

      • suetortoise Says:

        Thank you very much for that very kind offer, but I can get B&J threads easily enough over here if I ever feel the urge to try working with ‘the real thing’ – there doesn’t seem much point in you sending it all the way back here from Australia. As you may have gathered, I’m not exactly a purist when it comes to materials. Improvising with what is in my stash is half the fun.

      • No worries. I had it in my head that you were an Australian, then saw you were in England, where the B&J comes from, so was expecting an answer like this from you 🙂

    • Aha! Now I can see the piece properly…I was thinking that you’d done the Pinkes with the top layer punto in aria or seperately and applied on. How did you do them? I *think* you’ve done them straight on top of the lower petals but then I can see some petal edges sticking up just a little bit (I’m looking at the pinke at the top right).
      I love the 3 layers of petals, that I can see in the early photo,

      I *love* your strawberries! Beautiful classic design and lovely colour choices, 🙂 🙂 Succulent!

      • suetortoise Says:

        I did the petals attached at the edges – I used red/varigated for the backmost ones, then orange/varigated for the ones ‘on top’ and then the pink/varigated for the front petal. After that, I added the pink/pink edges to make the petals look more detached. It’s not punto in aria.

        The strawberries were great fun to do. I padded them with red chainstitch and kept changing one of my two strands as I worked my way up from the sand/sand at the bottom until I got to red/red. The leaves went on top and then the gold thread to finish off.

  3. This is beautiful! I look at all the embroidery blog posts every day on WordPress, but rarely find one that features ‘proper embroidery’! Thanks for sharing this. I think you’ve definitely proven that you can do plaited braid stitch now 🙂

    • suetortoise Says:

      Thank you Janet. ‘Proper’ embroidery is alive and well on the web. I am very encouraged by the amount of excellent work that’s out there, and the helpfulness of the folk who blog about it.
      I had a quick peek at your own blog – your doll’s house pieces are delightful.

      • Thanks! Yes, there is some good ‘proper embroidery’ if you know where to look. Is it me, or is it slowly making a bit of a come-back?

      • suetortoise Says:

        I think it is benefitting greatly from the Internet. It’s something of a minority subject, and those already interested can now get inspiration and help from each other worldwide. At the same time, people who are new to stitchery can come across things online and decide to try for themselves. I expect you find the same thing happning with miniatures.

      • With the miniatures hobby (and with embroidery too), the internet has been great for those people who are willing to use it 🙂 It has meant, though, that many high street shops have closed, as they just weren’t offering the wide range that can be found online, and often prices were higher because the shop owners had to pay high rents, staff costs, etc.

        But with good digital photography, and people’s willingness to share what they’re interested in, I think many hobbies have blossomed again due to the internet. Good thing too, I think! Hobbies are necessary, or we’d all go mad!!!!!

      • suetortoise Says:

        I think that the local embroidery shops were struggling long before internet purchasing took off. By that time, the ones likely to survive had helpful, efficient mail-order businesses to earn the bulk of their income, they advertised in specialist magazines and carried a good range of stock. If they still had a shop, it was a little Aladdin’s cave in a tourist-town – usually one getting plenty of overseas vistors – and probably did courses or had stitching clubs. Business rates and greedy landlords were slowly killing the rest, even during the height of the cross-stitch boom, while non-specialist outlets were selling the stranded cotton, etc that had been their bread and butter trade.

        On the other side, the ability to sell direct to worldwide customers has done wonders for the small businesses that dye threads, provide specialist tools, books and materials or make interesting kits. I still do my best to source things here in Shrewsbury first, before I buy online, and I always try to buy directly from the manufacturer where I can, so they get as much of the profit as possible – I want to see them thrive!.

  4. Ah – (re adding pink edges to the top pinke petal layer), I have a habit of thinking things are more complicated than they are.

    I did some strawberries in the same way on my big Elizabethan sampler – relly nice effect, isn’t it 🙂

    A friend is currently having fits because I’m *not* using “real” thread for my PBS – a real gold passing thread – B&J #371 is only gilt. But I’s is only praktising. She sent me some of the real stuff, so I’ll try it out, I’m making a cloth notebook of all my Eliz,. stitches – I’m currently testing the LH version of a bunch of surface stitches for a member of the SCA that she redacted from pieces, Lots of fun! Standard PBS is the first, but there’s several variations to go yet. I really have to get it together to blog about all I’m doing, don’t i!

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