My Very First Appliqué
Rummaging in the archives is a very salutary experience. This indescribable piece of appliqué is the first embroidery I did without guiding holes in the fabric (like the little mat I described in an earlier post). I remember starting it when I was visiting a friend – it was a rainy day, and I think her mother was at her wits’ end with us. She sat us down with fabric, needle and thread, and (I suspect) prayed for peace and quiet..
Even though the stitches are dog-legged and the colour choices leave a lot to be desired, the piece still reveals things about Rachel-the-Stitcher that I recognise today. One side of the piece for the house is sewn down with blanket stitch, two with running stitch, and one with zigzag back stitch. You can take that two ways – either as evidence of my butterfly mind, never sticking to a single method, or as evidence that even then I was thinking about the implications of a stitch. Blanket stitch is a good “grounding” stitch, because of the combination of uprights and horizontals, and the zigzags are rather reminiscent of the wavy edges of some roof tiles.
The tweeds chosen for the windows and the pattern-woven braid for the door also show early signs of thinking about what I’m doing – the square patterns of the tweed recalling leaded windows and the pattern-woven braid creating a different texture for the entrance.
The braid edging glued to the frame is also symptomatic of a tendency to over-complicate, which I’ve not eradicated to this day. I think I keep it under control, but that is all I’ve managed to do…
Incidentally, like all those little girls of long ago, working on samplers with their governesses, unaware that students of social history and students of needlework would be poring over their work in the future, I noted on the back when I finished the piece – 30th September 1975. Unlike most of those little girls, I also noted – in so many words – that “It was fun.”