I needed a project to take to hospital with me. It needed to be straightforward - without charts or elaborate instructions to follow but interesting enough to keep me occupied. I chose Gary Clarke's whitework bag Blossom from Inspirations 90. I liked the design and the candlewicking technique as well as the finishing touches of corded sides, tassels and covered beads.I thought, however, the embroidered element might not keep me sufficiently occupied, so decided to go with the extended design outlined at the end of his Inspirations article - a block of nine of the designs. I figured this would make a much larger bag using the same principles.
I traced the nine designs on to a piece of ecru linen using pencil and assembled the various hanks of candlewicking thread I had in my stash. The night before I went to hospital I did a little practice on one of the designs to see how it would go. To my horror, the soft candlewicking thread absorbed the graphite from the pencil marks. Although this would wash out at the end of the project, I couldn't face spending 10 days in hospital embroidering in the resulting dirty grey colour. I therefore hunted through my stash and pulled out a range of coloured perle threads that did not absorb the graphite and packed those to use.
This proved to be a good tactic. The first I used was a variegated red hank. It covered the pencil well, had great texture and the variegation gave variety.
The knots took me the best part of a week to complete.
I decided to place one motif on the back. I had used up most of my specialised perle thread by this time, so tried the most varied hank of Anchor stranded multicolour I had - using three strands. There was rather too much navy, I thought, so I removed some of the navy sections from the pieces I cut.
The original design has a twisted cord along the side of the bag and a tassel with covered cord on each lower corner. I decided that the larger bag would be better without these - at least in practical terms, if not aesthetic.
I'm pleased with this project. It had sufficient interest but the simplicity necessary when recovering from an operation and it has made an attractive and useful bag.