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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Celtic Snake Cross-stitch Box


After my success with the Han Phoenix cross-stitch box lid, I decided to work a lid for another box I had stored, this one for my granddaughter who is interested in snakes, using a design from a book of Celtic Cross Stitch. The book has four designs based on intertwining snakes, and I chose one based on a figure 8 and four snakes.

My first challenge was to reduce the size of the finished work to the size of the box lid. The design was for 28 thread linen, and I calculated I needed to stitch it on 22 thread fabric to get the fit. A bit of searching led me to hardanger fabric, which is, I discovered, commonly 22 threads per inch. I found a sand coloured 22 thread hand-dyed linen at Stitches and Spice ordered a fat eighth for $15 and had it two days later.

To be sure of fit, and to keep myself on track, I gridded up the fabric to fit the design.

Following my Han Phoenix success, I wanted to use silk threads for this, so I began the outlines with a really dark brown Madiera thread I already had, following the 2 thread instruction (designed, of course, for DMC!). I soon worried that I should have used a single thread - both for economy and because it seemed so heavy, but once into it I decided to keep going and dashed off to Country Bumpkin for more thread.

I ended up using a variety of silks to fill the snakes - Madiera, Gloriana and Gumnut Buds. The variegation of the hand-dyed ones  worked well for the snakes.

There were some tricky bits around the faces.
I also had some difficulty removing the grid threads in some places. Maybe next time I will be confident enough to work with only centre tacking lines.

The finished piece looked good - and just fitted the lid as I had hoped. 

I then used some gold thread to outline  my grand-daughter's initials - BSDK- in the twists of the snakes. 

It was very subtle - too subtle, I decided, for an eight year old, so I added initials in cross-stitch in the lower right-hand corner and mounted the embroidery into the box.

I lined the box with the same felt I had used for my phoenix box.

This has taken quite a while, but been a very satisfying project - again, it has the variation of tasks that I like.


Anonymous said...

Such a great project. I really like the design and the box is just beautiful.

Jillian Mary said...

Love it. It will be an heirloom. I really think you should find somewhere to sign and date it..perhaps on the inside lid, or on the lining. When i think how i treasure a mere sweet tin with sweetpeas on the lid, which my father wrote my name and the date on in 1953, your grand-daughter's beautiful box richly deserves a similar reminder.

Jillian said...

You're right, Jill. I admit to thinking of it after putting the backing in the lid and not wanting to take the back off again. Maybe I will retrieve it and rectify.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Jillian - after your Christmas letter I had a look at your blog and I really like your work, and your perseverance. I was given a hand-made apron for Christmas by a friend, and realised again how wonderful hand-made things can be! Thanks for making your work available for us all to see.

Jillian said...

Thanks for visiting Elizabeth. I can't tell you how much pleasure both the stitching and the writing give me. I realize that not everyone is interested but it is lovely to find a few people who are and to communicate with them. I am also hoping it will become a record of interest to some women in my family one day.

Karyn said...

oh wow Jillian, both the box and the embroidery are lovely. Your granddaughter will love it and treasure it I am sure for a long time to come.
I do agree about signing it somewhere; she will love having that on there in years to come.
BTW, thanks for your comment about my quilt; sadly the photos really don't do it justice but I am happy with it, and so is he which is the main thing I guess.