Grape Hyacinths, 3

You may recall that I rediscovered the grape hyacinths some time ago, and, once I’d completed the leaves, I decided that the flowers were All Wrong, and took them out. A couple of weeks ago, I think, you saw a post about that, and about the further experiments I made.

The little satin stitch dots were definitely a misstep, so I thought a little harder about what it was I thought so charming about the flowers, and decided it was the slightly ruffled edges of the florets.

The resultant flower head, with dark stitches over light, seemed rather too much like a chequerboard, so the ones you see here use blended threads, but the same for both layers of the stitch. That’s better, although I still have some concerns…

I think the stitches may be a little too long, and I should perhaps make them rather more compact (remember my obsession with scale of stitch – it hasn’t figured at all while I’ve been concentrating on the Amarna Family, but it’s something that I’ve been aware of, and working on, for a long time now).

However, by the time I’d done all of them the second (third? fourth?) time, I was a little weary of the design. I’ve put it away with a mental note to try to find it again in the Spring, and see whether it’s easier to come to a decision when I have the real flowers in front of me!

And now, Episode 38 of SlowTVStitchery is live. It discusses shortness of memory, the Neanderthals, and and the terrors of yarn chicken…


  1. Hi Rachel,
    I love the colour of these, especially mixing the threads, which brings out that almost luminous quality we see in the real thing. I think you may be right about the height of the stitches, the individual flowers on the plant are quite rounded aren’t they, like little bubbles of purply blue.

    And then I watched you stitching your angel, and thought several things, and must look for the book you are reading, and the programme you quoted, I missed that.

    The gold background (bargello?) has a wonderful quality even in the film, it glimmers. I have to charge you with responsibility for my buying several reels of gold thread yesterday with absolutely no plan in mind because I’ve been watching this. What thread are you using? It also really throws the figure of the angel forward.

    I think the key thing about her hair will be how much you do, or don’t want the texture to draw the eye, and how that balances with the face. I also wonder whether French knots would start up a conversation, friendly or otherwise, with the delicious pattern on the cloak?

    As to your tension problem, might you be able to fold a couple of layers of fabric (single layer of corrugated cardboard?) and, having loosened the roller, slip it in underneath the canvas so it can form an extra layer, then retighten. I’m thinking of the way brown paper or cardboard strips are inserted when rolling the warp on a table loom to keep the tension even across the width of the warp. That might not make sense!!

    Amarna? Oh you have my sympathy. On the one hand, revisiting it between now and the New Year means that you can begin to resolve what you want to do. On the other hand, it’s still quite recently finished; you might need to let it rest some more, to clear your vision. I would lean towards minimal unpicking, but I am an unruly non-finishing coward!!

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I think the single colour flower heads read much better than the two coloured ones. Simpler and cleaner, and makes the texture of the leaves more noticeable.

  3. I think layers stitches are very interesting, two basic stitches put together will get a new different look. These are really good for flowers.
    Well, you are right of course that Grape Hyacinth (in Swedish they are called ‘Pearl Hyacinth’) have small, round flowers, and maybe these longer stitches would be perfect for the larger version hyacinth.
    Here again you have the beauty of ‘home made’ stitches, you can easily change the scale and you get a new look.
    I am looking forward to what you do with this in spring.

  4. Lady Fi says:

    Ooo – so pretty!

  5. karen says:

    beautifully delicate flowers Rachel

  6. Mam says:

    I think the shape of the flower is more cork shaped with a rounded top.

  7. Jen Mullen says:

    I agree with Mam about the shape. 🙂

  8. Carolyn Foley says:

    All the experimenting! But I do like the flowers.