Border Transfer

It may not be very obvious in the line drawing, but although the two sides of the corner sprig are very similar, they aren’t quite identical. I wanted to keep a sense of movement and flow, without the chaos of having every little bit different, so in the end I chose to create my corner sprigs based on two slightly different straight sprigs. In this photo you can see that the rose leaves are pointing in different directions, and the broom flowers are arranged differently.

Line drawing of the border for William Marshall

When I did the line drawing, I took my guiding sprig and turned it through ninety degrees for each corner. By doing that, there’s a sense of continuity, whereas I think if I had reflected the design in a mirror line through either the vertical or horizontal crosses, it would have created a rather stop-start effect. I was much impressed, years ago, by a programme about the carver and sculptor Grinling Gibbons, which said that he always aimed for balance rather than symmetry. I like that, it feels more human somehow, so that’s what I try to do too.

Begining to transfer the design by stitching through a drawing on tissue paper.

Now, however, I have to transfer the design to the border. Clearly that’s not going to be possible using prick and pounce or a drawing method, so I have chosen to create a drawing on tissue paper of the main elements, and running stitch along the design lines. I am hoping that this will be sufficient!

In any case, it allows time for the extra thread I had to order from Devere Yarns to arrive..

Finally, two Announcements:

  1. The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that the Ko-fi link went away and is now back (plug-ins not playing nicely!). I’m still hoping to put together an exhibition and a book about Dreams of Amarna, and any support, whether financial, moral, or material (suggesting venues, publishers, copy-editors) would be gratefully received!
  2. You may also noticed the lack of a link to Twitter. I’m mostly on Mastodon now, as, for reasons that anyone else who’s been on Twitter lately will probably understand very well!


  1. Sue Jones says:

    Rotational symmetry is often more interesting than other kinds. The necessary touch of randomness will be added by the tiny variations of hand-stitching, in due course.

    It’s looking very nicely balanced so far.

  2. Aiming for balance rather than symmetry is a good idea, it will give a pleasant ‘flow’ for the eyes to move around the frame.
    If the tissue paper breaks and you have a problem following the drawn lines, making cardboard templates for the stitch lines, the edges of the petals and leaves could be a good idea. If the templates are pinned with care so they don’t shift stitching will be reasonable stress free.

  3. Carolyn Foley says:

    I find the tissue paper method works well. I use a lighter weight sewing thread, 80 to 100 and find this doesn’t break the tissue paper. However, I do not transfer all the design this way only those that are large enough and are at regular points in the design, the rest I can fill in by eye.

  4. Karen says:

    I really like the idea of balance over symmetry, and your border is looking really effective. Totally understand re Twitter – I’m feeling the same and thinking about getting away from there, but haven’t made a run for it yet. It’s a shame really because there is a nice community in my little corner of the Twittersphere – but can’t in any way condone the behaviour of the new owner….