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On Thursday, I got a double set of goodies! The first was a order of new embroidery flosses I'd been waiting on for a while--the items were back-ordered, so I had to wait, wondering just whether the colors would work well together. I'm pleased to say, they do!

Here is a shot of the full range of thread I plan to use. In the top row, I have spangles, gold thread, rolls of Gild Sylke Twist and one roll of Soie Gobelins. On the bottom row, it's all Soie Perlee, which will be my primary silk for color work.  Needless to say, I need to get more gold thread (my recent effort making a priest's ordination stole pretty much sucked up two rolls of the stuff). By the way, I'm still working with color choices for the blues and lavenders--I am going to draw from the colors I have, but I'm not sure I'm going to use all of them.

The threads variously came from Hedgehog Handworks, Needle in a Haystack (who also supplied me with the linen) and Thistle Threads. These are all outstanding embroidery suppliers--I recommend them highly.

There's a thing about my choice of threads. For the colorwork, I'm using Au Ver a Soie's line "Soie Perlee." This is the thread used in the Plimoth Plantation Jacket Project  (i.e., my inspiration) --and it's got a super shiny luster--and is tightly spun, rather like a thin pearl cotton thread. However, it isn't the most commonly used product Au Ver a Soie sells--it's got a limited color range--and color cards are not available. Moreover, the local needlework stores (unfortunately, slaves to cross stitch and needle point customers) don't stock it. But--on the other hand, the silk thread lines available locally weren't filament silk (cheaper silk threads are made from chopped up fibers, which are far less shiny) and they also didn't have that nice tightly spun quality which makes detached stitches far easier.

So I took a shot in the barrel and ordered Soie Perlee. I think I'm a good gambler! The colors work together--and resemble the colors of the period.

My other goodie is Jane Zimmerman's "The Art of the Elizabethan Embroiderer!" A needlework friend recommended it to me--and while it took a while to receive it (Jane self publishes this)--it's fantastic! Jane has been fortunate to inspect several Elizabethan jackets and scrutinize their stitches. In this slim volume, she's documented a bunch of different variation filling stitches besides the standard detached buttonhole stitch. Squee! New stitches! I was so excited, I brought it to work Friday and read it over my lunch!

This weekend has not witnessed much stitching. I am expecting the onslaught of a month of houseguests, starting with my friend Joanna, who returns on Monday to DC to do initial research for her dissertation. Tomorrow is graduation day for several in my EFM group. So, my focus has been cleaning. However,  I am finding it rather tough to avoid spending a little time stitching....I've got a new lamp on the project and it's working much better, though the new stitches are challenging my innate lack of direction!
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What's Done So Far 5/10/10A background on this project...About a year ago I spent a weekend stitching on the Plimoth Plantation jacket project. Since I came in at the end of the project, most of the embroidery was complete, so I split my time between sewing on spangles and stitching in tendrils with gold passing thread. However, in preparation, I'd worked on the sampler project required for participation. It seemed deceptively simple--little shapes in detatched buttonhole stitch. I managed to complete and submit my sampler, but I hadn't been happy with the results.

Since then, I've practiced in a desultory manner--but slowly my skills have improved. A week before going on vacation last month, I realized a kit project I'd ordered wasn't going to be ready before I left. So, I decided to take the plunge and come up with my own project.

Initially, I attempted to scale up a design of an original (child's sized) coif--but I discovered that the repeats weren't nearly as regular as I thought they were! When I tried to add on new repeats, the design became a mess, so I scrapped that idea.

Then I came up with the idea of designing my own, much as drafters had done so in the era. They  adapted desired elements out of common motifs, usually onto a circular vine pattern. So, I started taking out jam jars to trace out circular vines and played around with motifs.

My design is mostly based off motifs in the 1608 Trevelyon Miscellany at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It's an original pattern book of embroidery designs from the Tudor period--and many of the designs in it are commonly seen in Tudor embroidered objects, especially jackets, coifs and cushion covers.  I'd seen the original book on display a couple of years ago when we'd gone to see a play at the Folger, so I returned to study the designs out of a facsimile edition the Library kept for public reference. 

To be honest, this is a big challenge for me. Those motifs are small, but they sure take a lot of time to stitch (though when I do it, I barely notice the clock)! As you can see, I've got a lot of work to do. I'm hoping that by journalling this, I'll keep a record for my own reference--a record not just for recalling the decisions and challenges I faced, but also to pull myself back to working on it once other projects seem more appealing. I figure to make my posts public--maybe it will inspire others to try it, too (if you do, friend me so I can get inspired back!

One thing I'm learning--I stitch much better by natural light. So, I have my little setup put by the sliding glass doors to the deck--it may not be south facing, but it's the best light in the house. It's a nice thing to do before heading out to work.

I held off posting this for two days due to difficulty posting the photo...it took me that long to realize LJ doesnt like bitmaps.

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March 2013

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