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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blackwell Roundel

My last post on this project was from Windermere in March. This is the Jenny Adin-Christie project that we worked on at the Lady Anne's Needlework Spring Retreat. While a small piece, it is very detailed, with many steps and techniques. We had done something from each step but there was a lot of work to do to complete each one. My last photo from Windermere shows where I was up to.  
                                                                                                    I did not carry my work from the retreat with me while travelling. I didn't have a sitting frame with me and the work demanded greater care than I could give it. The Crewel Work Company kindly packaged and sent my projects on after I arrived home. It was only in early May that I had the instructions and projects set up and ready to go. I have been working on this one ever since - and not taking time out to write up my progress!
One of the things I love about a Jenny Adin-Christie project is the bag it comes in - a calico bag with a clear photo of the project firmly pasted to the outside and an identifying tag. These are so useful for working, storing, identifying and managing projects. I have all my projects in bags - since I love making them, but am  tempted to make myself a pile of simple calico bags that can be tagged in this way, or to find a way to adapt the concept to my existing bags.                                                                                                                              I have had the product I am aiming for constantly in front of me on the bag (This, of course, only works if you know what the end product will look like!). 
Jenny's instructions are also very detailed and sequenced. I went back to the beginning and worked my way through the project in order of the steps Jenny laid out. It mostly went smoothly - but in one place came close to disaster! 
The photos show my progress. It is delicate work - requiring (for me at least)  good magnification. I used a number of different magnifiers before settling on one attached to my daylight floor lamp.
I was doing quite well to this point. Then my attention faltered and I made an error in identifying the gold pearl purl I needed to couch down around the leaves and stems. Instead of the pearl purl, I used the cut purl, struggling to couch it (unsurprisingly, since it is designed for threading!). I persisted and got it almost finished with the wrong purl before I worked out what I had done.  
Some of it I could undo. Other sections, however, I was very reluctant to try to undo, given the silk organza on which the project is worked and the closeness of the fine couching. I opted for undoing where I was confident of not damaging the fabric,  and laying the real pearl purl over the other where I was not confident. Here you can see the real pearl purl laid around the outside, or on top of the wrong one. I then covered the mistake with gimp or the second row of pearl purl, or removed what I could.
I am writing calmly about this, but it rattled me and I am wincing at revealing the error in photographs. I had been so careful and followed Jenny's extensive and meticulous instructions so carefully, but made an assumption about packaging that was quite wrong - and in retrospect foolish. It came close to ruining the project. I recovered, but not without making significant compromises that a skilled needleworker's eye will pick up easily. I have progressed the project with some further imperfections - but nothing so dramatically wrong.. I tell myself that there is no way I would get this perfect with the limited experience I have of goldwork, and working on my own.
Here is the finished piece. I've learnt a lot from doing it, and am pleased to have finished it.  It isn't going to become my favourite kind of embroidery, and my eyes will be pleased to get back to  more forgiving techniques (not, however, before I finish the Nicola Jarvis whitework piece from the same retreat!).

I have ordered the small round box Jenny has designed for this project - it isn't the kind of thing I can put on a bag!

I am also grateful to Jenny for proof-reading this post and fixing my terminology. It is the generosity of a busy and committed expert. Thanks Jenny, on so many fronts.


Lyn Warner said...

It looks beautiful. I doubt that many will ever find the 'mistake'.

Monica said...

I like that you are "writing calmly" now! I can well imagine your horror at the time! It's happened to me, probably to us all. With a big mistake I usually will run out of the right threads before the end too. But, it's a beautiful design and you have recovered well. It will look great on a box!

Catherine said...

I too love Jenny's designs! They are so beautiful and unique, and I hear she is a wonderful teacher. This is a very pretty pieceand something you can be proud of, despite your problems!

margaret said...

have not come across this designer what an amazing piece you will have when completed it looks so complicated but with you skills I know all will be well