Let's start with the autumn leaves wedding souvenir pillow for the younger brother of the groom who received the white rose and lavender pillow back in May. You could say that the pillow itself was the first one's little brother too as it was a little smaller, the design was simpler and quicker to work as I was using wider gauge threads. More on that later.
The green leaves emoji you see above and may recognise from WhatsApp et al was, basically, the commission I received back in August, along with the wedding date and a 'neutral colour' for the background. The bridal pair are very fond of leaves, woods and that kind of thing, and they often used this emoji as their symbol during their courtship and engagement.
The groom's mum initially asked if I could do it just as in the emoji - all rich green, but, as you can see, there simply isn't enough detail in it to make a worthwhile embroidery of any size. It'd be ok as something about an inch square, but it's much too stylized to be any good as a thread painting. So, I changed it to a more autumnal mix of colours, using this image I found on-line as a bit of a guide. I zoomed the emoji to the right size on my tablet screen and traced it off there. (Do you know how hard it is to trace off a screen? Never mind one that keeps altering the size and jumping around if it feels too much pressure from your pencil!!?) I then typed the numbering using the most rustic and woody looking font I could find, printed it out and made the following working design diagram, which, unless you're very new to my blog (in which case, Hi! Welcome☺), you'll have seen a few months ago.
The '10' was just that tiny bit too high up, so I compensated a bit when tracing it off onto the light beige/cream slub silk in my usual, high-tech, no expense spared style! ☺
I chose Madeira Silks to work with this time as they're much thicker than Pipers Silk Floss and have less sheen - perfect for the more rustic look needed for leaves. Ok, yes, much, much faster to work with than the finer ones too. Definitely no complaints there!
Here is the initial palette of autumn leaf shades I chose to work with. It's also quite clear in this photo why I needed to re-wash and press the light silk. Actually, I'd forgotten, but this fabric can be awfully 'papery' to work with. I actually threw the last piece I tried to start a project on away as it was so unlike fabric and I couldn't bear the texture. I'd worked on enough pieces of silk to know that it shouldn't have been like that, so, suspecting an over-zealous application of something with a stiffening effect, I headed to the washbasin with my trust Ecover delicate fabric detergent and some regular laundry softener, and gave it a good rinse out - after having washed a sample of the same fabric and pen to make sure I wasn't about to mess up my tracing.
The brown fabric shown underneath the main piece is a lovely, rich, reddish brown shade that came in a theme pack from The Silk Route a few years ago. It was great to be able to use it for a perfectly matching project as the colour is really a dark copper tone. Gorgeous!
Next up was making a start on the stitching by working the leaf sprig stem and beginning to outline one of the leaves.
The next day, I had to go and visit my mum in hospital and picked up a yellow and dark orange leaf of a similar type to the ones I was working as a colour and shading reference. (My well-informed-on-nature friend, Emily, helped me to identify beech leaves as a possible type.) As you can see from the outlined first leaf below, I'd woefully missed the mark when it came to how bright the colours needed to be! Back to the Madeira Silk thread drawer and out came some much more vibrant shades to work with.
Here's the final line-up of colours and tools that were used in this project - including the sewing cottons that were needed for the finer leaf veins and the cute chocolate cupcake pincushion that a friend made me last spring and that really came into its own during this project.
Next time: progress on the leaves!
UNLESS you'd like me to mix the projects up a bit?? I have six whole projects to blog, including the finishing up one. Would you like to see one at a time? A mix of two or three at a time? Or all of them in rotation? What do you think? Click over from your reader software and let me know. They've all to be done and are all complete, so any order is fine with me. You say.....
I also have a year end summary and projects planned for the year ahead to post (as well as how the ones I've started are coming on), plus a report on how I managed to downscale some of my stash - halved my fabric, can you believe?! So, lots coming up. Hoping to get my blogging umph back. It's been gone for about two years now and it would be nice to get well and truly back into it. No promises, but I'm going to try. ♥
Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017