I had a lovely time at the shop looking at threads and driving the staff nuts looking up equivalence charts. The pattern is designed for Kreinik and Gloriana threads - not so easily come by in Adelaide. What I should have done before I left home was google "Han Phoenix", since I now know the designer, Denise Williams, has posted DMC equivalents to the Web! As it is, I came home with a fabulous pile of threads - silks for the phoenix, and also some acrylics to add to my stash of threads for embroidering Australian wildflowers in the Brazilian style.
The thread colour markings on the Han Phoenix pattern were not very clear, so the colours turned out to be a exercise in creativity. I read a bit about the phoenix in various cultures and tried to capture the gold-red tradition as well as a bit of the blue tradition since these were all reflected in the names of the recommended Kreinik/Gloriana threads.
I used the recommended white 28 count linen, since I still have a supply from my mother's stash. I gridded it up to give myself as much help as possible. I also tried out a little bit of acrylic thread because of the vibrant colour, but quickly reverted to silk!
In the end I used mostly Madiera silks, with a couple of Gumnut Buds and a lovely purple/blue/green variegated hand-dyed silk that came as a gift from The Gift of Stitching.
Once I got into the swing of it I became addicted and found it hard to put down. A couple of midnights found me still stitching.
I really love this design. It is so elegant, poised and flowing.Each stitch is over two threads, but around the edges there are some tiny one thread stitches that give the effect of feathers.
As I stitched I pondered what to do with the finished piece. I had thought, of course, of making a bag, but part way through remembered a box (well, several boxes, actually) I had bought a couple of years ago with lids to be embroidered.
I dug out the box I had in mind and it was the perfect size. This spurred me on even more.
When I had finished the assigned stitches I went back over it and added a few tiny stitches to integrate the blue and red amongst the gold.
I did a temporary lashing of the piece as soon as I finished - I really wanted to see what it looked like before I went to bed. The next morning I undid it, trimmed the threads at the back, cut a piece of wadding more accurately and re-lashed it carefully to keep it straight.
I decided to visit Hetty's Patch and check out their hand-dyed felt for the inside base. This comes in fat quarters - so of course, I now have extra felt to use on something else!