The Crane – playing with silken thread, Part Two

Japanese Crane Design
Japanese Crane Design

Here is the Crane design, finished and ready to be mounted for display.

I picked a wooden pot from Framecraft Ltd. People who have been stitching for a long time may remember them as “Framecraft Miniatures”, and they were always a good source of silk gauze and other supplies for people interested in furnishing dolls’ houses. They also supply a huge variety of other items with spaces for inserting embroidery – you might remember my Homage To The Opal, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while.

View Of Crane Pot
View Of Crane Pot

Framecraft supply a plastic cover to protect the embroidery, but as my cousin isn’t the type of person to maul a piece of embroidery with sticky fingers, I decided she would probably prefer to see the embroidery properly. They also supply padding, but it is a light foam, and I substituted two layers of a very fine cotton wadding instead. The cotton wadding has a bit more substance to it, and created a nice firm dome, which looks much better when the embroidery is displayed without a plastic cover.

Crane In Place
Crane In Place

The colour changes and textural stitches keep the design from looking too stiff, but because the silk thread has a slightly matte appearance it looks soft and doesn’t dazzle the eye.

When my cousin took it home, she strolled around her house asking the Crane where he wanted to live. He chose the bedside table in the spare room, where his colours talk nicely with the wallpaper and the bedspread, and the wooden pot echoes the dark wooden bedhead and wardrobe.

 

The Crane – playing with silken thread, Part One

Japanese Bird
Japanese Bird

I decided to make a “Useful Pot For Putting Things In”, as Winnie-The-Pooh would have called it, for my cousin for Christmas. In fact, I cheated and merely embroidered a design for a lid!

I found the motif in the Japanese section of “Pattern Motifs: A Sourcebook” by Graham Leslie McCallum. I think it’s a crane. The design is very pared-down, and I thought it would make a good way to show off some of the superfine silk thread from Stef Francis, maybe even an excuse to use some more unusual stitches to see how the threads show them off.

Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch
Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may recall that I tweeted this picture of the stitch I eventually chose to use.  It’s called Hungarian Braided Chain, and I found it in one of those books by Edith John that I mentioned when I began embellishing the Circles Skirt. If you think of it as Heavy Chain with the needle weaving over and under the threads as shown here, you will get the idea.

I’m very taken with the stitch, in fact. It creates a fascinating textured line, and colour changes in an over-dyed thread bring it to life even more. I can imagine using it in plain thread  as an indication of braid on clothing, or ropes on a ship, or even simply in side-by-side rows to create a textured effect.

This is the first – so far unfinished version, in superfine silk on silk habotai. The relatively short colour changes in this thread create subtle changes from stitch to stitch, emphasizing the structural patterning and texture. When the destined pot arrived I decided the combination looked altogether too hot and bothered, and went rummaging in my stash again…

Close Up Of Stitching On The Crane
Close Up Of Stitching On The Crane

The fabric I finally chose is a rough dupion from The Silk Route, in a golden cream colour which is extraordinarily difficult to photograph, and I picked a slightly different silk thread, more restricted in colour range. Using four strands of  thread produced a lovely cable-like appearance, which you will see if you open the photo at full size.

The dark section of the design, behind the bird’s head, I worked in a dense version of trellis stitch, with horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lies all tied down with tiny cross stitches. Even working in a hoop or frame, trellis stitch cane be a bit of a challenge to stitch, but I made it in the end!