First Voluntary Project – First Installment
For all that I have shown you a variety of pieces of needlework from when I was Very Young, this atrocious farrago, worked in my mid-teens, is actually the real start of my embroidery career. I found the transfer and fabric in a suitcase of cloth one afternoon when I was looking for something to do as a change from schoolwork. My other hobbies – playing in orchestras, singing in choirs, and dancing lessons – all involved my parents in ferrying me around, and I wanted something I could just pick up and put down again. I doubt that any of us had any idea what was about to begin!
It gives very clear evidence that skill in stitching and in colour don’t always come naturally – although in fairness to myself, I simply pulled threads from my Grandmama’s stash, because I wasn’t yet sure enough that I enjoyed embroidery to spend money on it!
I remember that I’d already discovered (I can’t remember how!) that Long and Short Stitch, and Satin Stitch, while simple in concept, are utterly infuriating to stitch, especially if you are learning from a book, so there’s not a scrap of either stitch in the whole thing. I had a great time leafing through Barbara Snook’s “Embroidery Stitches“, which Grandmama had given my mother, and picking stitches to try.
I started bang in the middle with the Rose, outlined in blanket stitch and with the petals filled in with Jacobean Couching. At the combination of scale of the petals and the stitch it looks much too busy, as it turns out, and it would have looked better if I had outlined the petals in a much darker colour to help differentiate them. Lesson learned!
I will write more about this, because although the thing as a whole is rather horrifying, as I look at it I think some of the stitch choices are interesting, but sometimes not quite taken far enough. Besides, it’s extremely gratifying to see that my work has improved very considerably!