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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Mountmellick ring cushion finish

This is where I got to at the Lady Anne's Needlework Spring Retreat with Nicola Jarvis's ring cushion in March of this year.

It sat reproachfully on my Lowery Stand waiting for me to finish the Blackwell Roundel and then focus on Mountmellick.

I was finding it difficult to proceed until I had worked out what I was going to do with it when finished. I didn't want a ring cushion. I can't imagine the circumstance in which I would want one. If my grandchildren were to ever want one, it should, I think, be designed especially for them. The work is rather too delicate to be displayed without glass, and I am not into framing work to hang on the wall. In the end, I hit on a display tray produced by Sudberry House and available through Australian Needle Arts. After much measuring, I found a tray that was the right fit and ordered it.  It took a while to come, but in the meantime, I could now get on with the embroidery.

On the Embroidery Retreat we had worked an example of each stitch on the project, but had not completed any section. I returned to Nicola's instructions and began at the beginning.

I had to work hard to get back into the rhythm, especially when I got to the satin stitch using a single strand of cotton.

I also learned a lot about working with white thread. Somewhere along the line I mislaid the stranded cotton and the cotton-a-broder. I had a supply in my stash, but the cotton-a-broder turned out to be not quite white - no doubt it had been so once, but it had discoloured slightly. The stranded stitched with small patches of discolouration - whether from handling or the affect of storage I don't know.

It does not show clearly in photographs, but it was obvious in the light. I purchased new thread and put another layer or so over the top.

In the end, I enjoyed the satin stitch!  When you break it down, step by step, and focus on the bit you are working, it is quite soothing.

It was, however, satisfying to get to the blingy bits at the end. This is where I discovered I had also mislaid some bugle beads and was just a few short.  I searched in the tin I inherited from my mother but found what I needed at Cottage Needleraft.

I was so excited when my tray arrived that I forgot to photograph it empty. I was concerned that, with the beading, there would not be enough depth for the piece. There was no way of telling until I had lashed the finished piece to card and tried it.

It worked! I now have a very useful and attractive tray, full of associations of original purpose along with wonderful memories of both the retreat and my subsequent work on it.

I have not been able to photograph it to show the sparkle to good effect. It glints and glitters in the light. I can use it for serving drinks - or for holding my stitching bits as I sit on my sofa.

It has been a lot of fun and hugely satisfying. I hope Nicola's original brings her much joy and sparkle.  It is such a generous project. I love the association - and the usefulness of my final product.

It also looks pretty good next to the roundel!


Monica said...

Yes, it does look good beside the roundel! I identify with so many of your challenges with this piece. I agree that it can be paralyzing if the piece doesn't have a clear purpose. I've also had white thread discolour, but mine was because I had it stored with darker threads. Your satin stitch is beautiful -- very smooth and even! I think the extra layer underneath was a benefit. :D

Excellent finish! I hope you will keep them both. :D

Jillian said...

Yes, the layering is a good lesson. I forgot to mention how much difference a laying tool made. I'm glad to know I'm not alone with the discoveries. I think I'll hang on to them both for a while.

margaret said...

you could not have found a better way to display this lovely mountmellick work you must be thrilled with it lovely.

Lyn Warner said...

I love the idea of displaying the work in such a useful way. It looks lovely! I'm sure you will have lots of enjoyment using the tray and seeing your work every time you use it.

Jillian said...

Thanks Lyn. You're right. It is useful for serving food and drink but also for collecting bits and pieces for stitching - and lovely to see the work.