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Monday, April 16, 2018

Harp Needlecase: Jenny Adin-Christie

Those who followed my travel blog in March will already know a bit about Jenny Adin-Christie’s Harp project that I and my fellow Retreaters worked on inWindermere. Jenny designed the Harp Needlecase to replicate (and improve on) one held by the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere. The original was made by Edith Southey, the daughter of the poet Robert Southey, while staying with the Wordsworths in Dove Cottage. It is an amazing tool that we saw, and fell for, at the Wordsworth Museum in 2017.

Jenny’s work to reproduce it is extraordinary. It combines so many skills of embroidery, design and construction. Having achieved that, she patiently taught us, in tiny meticulously explicit, steps, how to make it.  Unusually, the kit for this has been made available more widely after the retreat, for anyone interested.

We began by stitching the design on silk, in both silk and gold thread.

The rod and its finial  was a lovely and enjoya
ble piece of work, completed during class.

I finished off the last of the embroidery at home late last week.

The construction began in class. It involved a bit of careful ironing,

a lot of pins, a bit of glue, and fine, delicate stitching.


I didn’t attempt the construction until I got home, had unpacked, attended to accumulated tasks and could clear an afternoon and a morning. The pinning and glueing took an afternoon. The night before I had been through the kit to re-identify and organise the many component parts, all in plastic bags carefully labelled. It would be very easy to lose something -especially while travelling. The only thing I was missing were some little pins to sit in the underside of the sound box to act as little feet. A pity, but fortunately the harp is stable without them.

Inserting the needles ( bespoke -manufactured in Japan to Jenny’s specifications) was challenging. I hadn’t expected it to take so long but the placement needed to be quite precise and I needed pliers to do it. I don’t think I will be taking them out to use on a daily basis (probably not in any basis!).

The final result took my breath away. I’m not sure, confident as I am, that I believed I could really make this. It is exquisite. I have ordered a dome to go over it. It won’t arrive until October.  I don’t usually go in for display items but this project warrants it, I think. 

How amazing is that?

Thank you so much Jenny! 


zetor said...

Well done! That is really beautiful.

Jillian said...

Many thanks! I’m glad you think so. I’m a bit in awe of it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jillian it is absolutely beautiful. Melody

Jillian said...

Thank you so much, Melody. It’s inspiring, isn’t it?

Anonymous said...

Jillian, you did a wonderful job. It is an amazing project.
I enjoyed following along on your trip.
Mary in NYC

Jillian said...

Thank you so much, Mary.😊

Margaret said...

Congrats Jillian! Well done. Looks beautiful.

Can’t wait to get back to mine. Margaret

D1-D2 said...

Wow! The results are gorgeous. It's such a tiny piece. I don't think I would take out the needles either lol It would be kept safe on a shelf for display.

Jillian said...

Thanks Margaret. It’s worth the effort!

Jillian said...

They are gorgeous, aren’t they? I guess it’s possible - but I’d have to be desperate for a needle!

Carol S. said...

Thanks for posting this! I ordered this kit and am excited to stitch it, so it's nice to see how the finishing process is done as well. Yours turned out just lovely!

Jillian said...

Thank Carol! Jenny’s instructions are excellent.