Tag: Frolicking Teddies
The logo on the Frolicking Teddies Cot Blanket was an interesting element to work. It consists of a letter “S” superimposed over an ice cream cone. Clearly as a graphical element, it needed to be consistent in feel – achieved by using the same thread in each part of the logo – but I also felt that stitches that would work for the “S” might not work for the ice cream cone.
In the end, I used the ordinary Braid Stitch for the ice cream cone, producing a strong, textured line. This is actually an easier stitch than it looks, and in fact when I have a broad line to cover, braid stitch is one of my favourites.
The “S” was a slightly harder question. I wanted it to be solid and “blocky”, and yet not to have excessively long stitches that might catch. I also wanted the thread to show to its best advantage. In the end I stitched most of it in vertical satin stitch, but outlined it in stem stitch and then created an ornamental line down the widest part, taking my cue from the pierced effect sometimes used for capital letters in illuminated manuscripts. I think this may well be the element I am most pleased with!
As this was a commission, of course I signed my work. One of the Marching Teddies is kicking a small cartouche in which my initials are worked – in Morse Code, as has become my habit, using French Knots and Bullion Knots.
I decided to line the Cot Blanket. With silk, of course. Although I rather doubted that it would be used except on special occasions, I thought it would be better to protect the back of the work from little kicking feet and little sharp nails! Attaching the lining was a time consuming operation, since I had to make sure it was very firmly attached, without pulling or dragging at any point.
I also provided a tiny leaflet explaining the idea of the design and saying a little about how it was done. This was my very first real commission, and I am glad to report that the client was delighted.
The “Frolicking Teddies” were created in response to a commission to produce an heirloom Cot Blanket for a much-anticipated first grandchild. In the initial stages of planning, the child’s sex had not been determined, so we planned a gender-neutral design of Teddies. I was also asked to include the logo of the family ice cream business, so in the end settled on a story of exuberant, star-jumping teddies down one side, with the logo in the lower left corner, and a procession of teddies with ice-cream cones in their hands (sorry, paws!) walking from left to right.
Once the child’s gender and name became known, I chose the colour for the logo and embellishments, and then added his initials in the top right hand corner. The initials gave me some concern, in fact. I usually use Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch when I want a heavy line, but when I’d completed the Teddies and the logo, I felt that that would create too heavy an effect in the top right hand corner. I settled on Heavy Chain stitch, which produces a smooth, strong line, but doesn’t have quite the overbearing personality of the Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch.
Since the commission was explicitly for an heirloom, I used cashmere blanketing as the base fabric. Fortunately, since it’s not easy to get in the UK, we were visiting my husband’s family in Australia at the time I was sourcing the materials. It’s really a lovely fabric to work with, and I still have some left, awaiting further inspiration. Or another commission!
The teddies are worked in long and short stitch using Paterna Persian wool. The only challenge there was the tension of the stitches, since it was especially important not to pucker the fabric. At the same time, I didn’t want the stitches to be too loose and snag on anything…
The ice cream cones were worked in stranded cotton, and the logo, initials, and the Teddies’ scarves were all worked in a standard variegated pearl cotton. Each scarf is worked in several rows of a different line stitch – stem, chain, Portuguese knotted chain, and so on. This was a way for my passion for stitches to inform and adjust the design, while remaining closely within the brief.