Monday, 20 December 2010

Threads, Linen and Sampler News


And so, I finally have my threads ready to begin my coif. I am using a mixture of Gilt Sylke Twist and Soie de Perle. I have tried to choose a palette that is appropriate to the era as well as to my own sensibilities. Some of the colours will only be used once in the design. Examples are the Azure GST, for butterfly wings, and the soft grey, for the snail. I have been thinking about using the new kit from Thistle Threads for my snail, instead of my own design, but have not made a decision yet. That kit uses some really interesting threads and techniques, and I may use it just because it is so cute.

linen kingston 55 I am torn about the linen. Somehow my Kingston crème 55 ct. linen managed to get misplaced during my cross-country move, so I had to replace it. I purchased some Kingston white 55 ct. from a friend who has closed her needle arts shop, and am fairly happy with it.

linen antique

My other option is an antique piece of fine white linen. They are comparable in quality, from what I can tell, but the antique piece is somewhat finer, and has less slubs. Not sure if that really matters or not, but am trying to decide which to use.

I have made some fairly good progress on the sampler for my Thistle Threads Elizabethan and Stuart Gold Work Master Course. I have found that I have run out of two of the threads though, and am not sure why. I am using only one strand, per the directions, and am using every bit of the thread that I am able to. I try to have the mindset that they are very rare and precious, and that I have to use every small bit that I can, in order to mimic the 16th and 17th century stitcher as closely as possible.

I am well pleased with my work so far, and with the exception of a place where I cut the thread too close, feel that I have done a passable job with it. I am going to have to go back into the large honeycomb in the top left of the sampler and re-do a small bit, in order to fix that tail end that worked its way loose, but it should not be too painful to deal with.

Here are some photos of my work so far. I am really keen on starting the gold soon!!!

sampler top left honeysuckle small honeysuckle and lower left motif pinke and top center motif pansy flame stitch

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

coif progress

I have been studying Elizabethan and Jacobean coifs for about seven years now, and it all started with a photo of a gold and black coif at the V&A. I was able to visit the museum, and actually had one on one time with that coif, and several others as well. Since my journey began, I have studied the embroidery techniques that I would need to master in order to be able to produce an embroidered coif appropriate to this period, and I feel that I am ready to proceed.

There is a lot of back story here, but I am not going to go into all of my research and findings at this point. I am, however, going to post some photos of my final design, which I have only recently finished. I started drawing this about five years ago, perhaps longer. I have kept all of my concept drawings, and my embroidery practice as I have progressed.

This is my final drawing in this form, but I am going to take this and transfer the design in black ink to clean, white paper. When the design is drawn on the linen, the plaited braid coils will be drawn in a single, center line, as opposed to the two sides that are shown now. I did that for spatial reasons. I felt I needed to be able to "see"how wide the coils would be, so that I could properly size the motifs to fit in and around them.

My coif design is an original. I did not want to reproduce one that is in a museum. I studied, learned, and took what I saw and then created my own pattern. I made up several coifs out of linen, in order to perfect the fit for my head, and then started drawing, and redrawing my coif. I now have my Kingston 55 count linen, my Soie de Perlee, beautiful spangles and gold and silver passing thread from Golden Threads, and most of the Gilt Sylke Twist that I need. I am only lacking a slate frame of the proper size, but I am working on that.

Here is my final version. Any comments are welcome.