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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Wordsworth Sampler Finish

My Nicola Jarvis-designed Wordsworth sampler, begun in March at the Crewel Work Company retreat arrived in the mail on 18 May. Along with the work of other students, it had been on display at the Wordsworth Museum.

It went straight into my Lowery stand. I've been working on it every chance I get. It is not very portable, and needs good light, so not great for working at night.

I had completed most of the right hand bird and just enough of other elements to get the hang of the stitches, so set about completing the remaining elements of the bird - the tail feathers, eye and white wing,

before setting to work on leaves.

It comes to life with texture.

Next step was the cottage. I completed the walls, then the roof, the windows and the outline. This was wonderfully satisfying to stitch - texture really giving it life.

The passion flower was a bit of a challenge.  The flower part was OK, but the stamens and seed pods were not like any passion flower I have seen and I struggled to make them recognisable in the variegated thread.

Although the many daisies are a little tedious to stitch, I love the effect. The stitching blends perfectly with the fabric and lifts it ever so subtly.

Having worked my way around the sampler from right to left, I then stitched the left-hand bird. This time I worked the red breast in the intended more open lattice rather than the finer one I had worked on the right. Variation should be my middle name!

I'm not sure what it is about this design, but I loved doing it. Some embroidery is worth doing to learn new skill. This was just pleasure all the way!

I had been itching to try the lettering. I decided to go the whole hog and fill it in with split stitch rather than sticking to the outline. I thought this did justice to the heavy downstrokes and light upstrokes so beloved of cursive as I learned it.

While doing it, I contemplated how to deal with the background which I did not want to leave untouched.

I settled for lines of running stitch in the variegated blue thread of the bird's head - a bit of a Kantha technique to indicate sky.

I had considered a number of options for display. In the end, I went with my first instinct of a tray. I ordered a large memory tray from Australian Needle Arts. These are manufactured in the USA by Sudberry House and I have used one before - also for a Nicola Jarvis project!

I spent a bit of time thinking about how to mount it in the tray. I lashed the fabric over the mounting board and tried it for size.

I then settled for a mount of striped blue silk from my stash.

I cut strips along the stripes and attached them using double-sided tape, mitring the corners.

I was delighted with the result.

The tray has a backing that adheres.

It isn't easy to photograph it with the glass. No matter where I put it, it reflects. The stitching and texture, however, it quite visible.

I have devised a way for the tray to hang on the side of a marble-topped wash-stand in my living room. It is visible as soon as I open the front door. It hangs on an S hook that sits under the marble and hangs down the side. The tray is easily removed for use and replaced for display.

I'm very, very happy with this - it has been a joy from beginning to end. Thanks a million Nicola and my fellow retreaters!

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