Another Landmark on Christus Natus Est

Another Landmark on Christus Natus Est

Another Landmark on Christus Natus Est

I’ve got to the point where the lower ends of the robes of Mary and Joseph have both been started, which also brings me very close to the other edge of the panel.

It’s been a little slow of late, partly because the weather has been frightful – grey and overcast. Stitching goldwork in bright sunshine is a recipe for eye fatigue (learn from my mistakes, Gentle Reader!) but at the same time the rich red of Joseph’s robe and the purple of the Christ Child both become quite difficult as the day turns darker. I’m finding that if I want to make progress, everything else has to come second to doing a row or two when the light is good. Sometimes I’m so busy doing other things that I only realise quite late that I’ve missed the best of the light. Very frustrating!

The other reason it has been slow is that I have so many needles in operation – ten of them! Every change of colour means putting one needle aside and picking up another, and while this is a tangible demonstration of progress, and therefore welcome, it does rather slow me down!

I’ve been talking recently with a friend who has been trained in icon painting, and it’s fascinating to hear about the layers of meaning and symbolism in the materials, preparations and even in the process. I’m working so hard on developing a technique here, that I’m not necessarily managing to turn my version into a spiritual exercise as well, although I do sometimes feel that I’m not a million miles away from stitching-as-meditation.

Well, St Benedict said “Laborare est orare” (“To work is to pray”). So maybe I’m onto something, after all.


  1. Janice says:

    The symbolism of icons must be a fascinating topic. And speaking of fascinating topics, if you didn’t watch Stephen Fry’s new series on Sunday, do try it – I think you will enjoy!

    And now on to Christus Natus Est, which is looking absolutely gorgeous. No matter that progress is slow. I think stitching becomes meditation when you lose yourself so completely in the work that you’re not thinking about anything else – must buy milk / must make tea / my thumb is hurting…. 🙂

  2. coral-seas says:

    I often find myself in a meditive state when stitching, particularly when doing something repeatative and rhythmic like couching.

    I can understand why you feel like progress is slow, and I know that techniques like this are slow going, but I think that you are making good progress and will start to feel that progress when you have reached the other side and have a change of rhythm.

    It is looking wonderful and with each update, we get a growing feel for how rich the finished panal will be.

  3. Lady Fi says:

    This really is superb and my absolute favourite of all your works.

  4. Christa says:

    It’s coming along beautifully! The color of the couching thread is gorgeous.

  5. The Japanese look on embroidery as a form of meditation. So maybe the slowness of the stitching is doing something for your heart?

  6. That’s a lot of needles to keep track of! It’s looking really good.

  7. karen says:

    I think a precious piece such as this deserves time and good light. Plus, you will prolong the enjoyment.

  8. Penny says:

    I often find punchneedle to be very meditative – especially if I let myself go to that inner place. I think ‘slow stitching’ is much to be prized.