Our predecessors in our current house had a somewhat flamboyant decorative style, and we still haven’t replaced the Aztec inspired wallpaper in the hall. If the combination of terracotta and ochre makes it dark, that same colour combination also makes it seem warm, which in a draughty, 100-year-old house is a consummation devoutly to be wished. Especially since my Geordie friends tell me I’m “nesh” (translation: excessively susceptible to cold)!
Since it’s also Grade II listed, we can’t simply double glaze, so the first winter after we moved in, my mother suggested reviving the idea of “blackout blinds”, padded to reduce the draught. With my usual knack for complicating a perfectly simple project, I embellished the hall blind with an Aztec inspired embroidery in rusty coloured wools on a coarse cream linen.
I started with the Jaguar’s Head frieze across the bottom. The main outlines are in twisted chain stitch, and the spots and the eye are in rough satin stitch. The background lines in the lighter shade are in my favourite Cable Chain Stitch.
I enjoyed working the jaguars. The simplicity of the stitching and the rather stark line drawing combined to create something that was very easy to do.
Unfortunately I then lost my nerve. The jaguars alone could easily have created all the effect I wanted, but the expanse of bare fabric unnerved me slightly and I filled it with another motif.
There’s more going on in this one – feather stitch and star stitches, jacobean trellis couching and burden stitch (running vertically instead of horizontally).
I may yet unpick all that section and wash the fabric again to pull the threads back into line..
Although, as it stands, it provides a salutory reminder, every time I go past, that more isn’t necessarily more !