A simple diversion

I’ve been doing a lot of very complicated medieval stuff lately, and complicated medieval stuff needs thinking about. As a result of this my brain hurts. So I decided to let myself do something easy and simple for a week or so.

So I’ve been doing this since the Monday after Tewkesbury (monday before last). When I’m finished I’m going straight back to the complicated medieval stuff. Honest.


It’s basically number 50 from Patterns of fashion 4 (Burrel collection), but in red rather than black. Colour change is down to me having a nice skien of cochineal dyed silk leftover from my last dye-a-thon. The book doesn’t say what the stitch is, but judging by the way the lines curve, and the way they sit out from the fabric a little ( double running tends to sink into the background fabric a little more) I made an educated guess at either stem or split stitch. I fancied doing some stem, so stem stitch it is.

It did occur to me a few days ago that maybe I should have done a template first, rather than just drafting it to the exact size shown in the book, but it was too late by then. I’m quite proficient at charging into things half-cocked, specially when I’m in the mood for a quick n’ dirty project.

I laid the lines out with a pencil and ruler (pinned the fabric to a board before marking to stop it moving)


Once I’d worked the basic grid, I did the rest freehand. Freehand isn’t really as scary as it sounds – if you can draw something you should be able to sew it freehand – the hard part is doing it for the first time, then you loose your fear of it. Besides which, with lines as fine as these, drawing it down is more of a liability than an asset, as it’s easy to stray from the lines, which may not wash away after completion. anything botanical can cope with a little bit of freehand wonkiness, and the original isn’t exactly perfect either.

First, draw the curve of the vine with your needle-


Then start working your way back along it, one flower at a time. Draw the vine tendril for each flower, and add the circular bit in the middle-


Next add the two side petals and the central one


Then the others, add the wiggly little tendrils as and when


And repeat. Nice, relaxing, and brainless…the tricky bit was actaully those wiggly bits along the side, they were much harder than the flowers.

It needs spangles next, many spangles. I was carrying this screwed up in a purse at Kelmarsh this weekend, which led to many discussions among those of us old enough to remeber about spangles the sweeties, and how we miss them, because we are old and sad and English, dammit. (NO, it doesn’t need to be on a hoop, the stitches are only a couple of millimetres long, so there are no tension issues, and stem stitch is roughly twice as quick without a hoop, so nyah, nyah, nyah. Also, hoops cannot be squished up and shoved into pouches).

The original doesn’t have lace, and I fancy lace. I don’t have anything handmade and appropriate, so this may mean making fake lace from little loops of buttonhole stitch along the edge. I also fancy a matching forehead cloth.

And now for something completely different – two furry idiots on an art deco mantlepiece


~ by opusanglicanum on July 23, 2013.

16 Responses to “A simple diversion”

  1. It may be ‘quick and dirty’ but I think it will look beautiful. It shows your level of proficiency that you can do something like this as an ‘easy’ project

  2. “Minimal” is not a style that appealed to our ancestors, and frankly I think they had the right idea! It’s looking lovely, and any little wonkiness will add to its charm!

    • he really doesn’t get it at all. It works both ways though – I think all those rare carnivorous plants he spends hundreds of pounds on are hideous too

  3. I think it’s great. A load of teeny-tiny spangles will give it some glitz without overwhelming the stitching. And it’s so much nicer stitching without a hoop when you can, isn’t it?

    • some people are complete and utter hoop nazis though, and insist you can’t do it properly without one. generally, I want to slap these people when I meet them. The spangles are looking very shiny

      • I’ve met these people too. I look at the very hand-friendly stitches the Elizabethans loved: chain, all sorts of buttonhole, coral – even plaited braid… Why do people want to make things more difficult rather than learning to work with the right tension?

      • I know! so many stitches are a piece of cake to make with one sweep, yet a total pain on a frame or hoop. I think there are some people who like to complicate things because it makes them feel superior to know the “right” way to do things (and of course this only makes one want to slap them all the more) and feel this gives them the right to sneer at others. when I’m restraining myself from slapping them I tell myself that if this shite means so much to them they must have really sad and pathetic lives

        damn, its hard to type with a Fab lolly in one hand!
        I may have a slight problem with fab addiction

  4. The spangles will look fantastic. I love that this is your no-brainer project. It looks fantastic. The color is lovely.

  5. Weirdly I was having the spangles conversation over a bag of opal fruits only last week.

  6. that looks much better than my attempt… it wasn’t wide enough so it really wouldn’t fit on my head. I should try it again, I love how yours came out!

    • I did mine to the size of the original according to POF4, and to be honest I should have sized it up a little, but I’ve done a wide 1/2 insertion seam and am adding lacy bits to make it bigger

  7. […] this was meant to be a no brainer project after doing lots of complicated stuff, but then I ran out of […]

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