As the temperatures drop, the leaves begin to show and we all settle in for the holidays, I suddenly need to create needle in hand. Something restful, something still and quiet and meditative. I like to think it's the song of autumn that's turning me to needlepoint, aided by this warm cup of tea and the spell of the fireplace; but then again it may just as well be my globe of a belly! Yes, let's just sit here, be still, BE.
Choosing a project wasn't easy this time. I wanted something decorative, some sort of embroidery. This "home" rainbow piece by Anna Maria Horner is finished as a pillow in her Needleworks Notebook. I've always love-love-loved the project! A pillow so fine wouldn't last long in my home, but as a wall hanging it'll do nicely. And now that our home addition is coming to a close, I know just the wall that'll suit it!
Luckily I already had a rainbow of Appleton crewel wool on hand, purchased ages ago as color samplers from Wool & Hoop. You could also do the piece in embroidery floss, but I like the idea of a matte finish. Seems less fussy.
Anna invites readers to choose their own word, but "home" seems exactly right for me. Home is the place I most like to be. It's the place I get to dress up and embellish with my handmades. The place I school my children and work. And most of all at this moment, home is the place I hope to bring my newborn baby after next Tuesday's induction. Please. Please. Please.
I penciled on the "home" template a flow of rainbow colors to guide my stitchings and transferred the outline onto Kona Candy Green with Saral transfer paper and a knitting needle, used as a stylus. Though I adore Anna Maria's neutral background, this shade will stand out better on my cream walls.
The work is slow, methodical and delicious. I'm using a long/short stitch that's sometimes also a split stitch, as suggested in the book. At first I was a bit alarmed at how slow it progressed, but a few days in I'm now a little concerned by how fast it is progressing! Addictive for sure.
This last photo makes it seem as if my background is puckering something fierce. It's actually a very subtle pucker; the lighting is exaggerating here. After noticing the pucker I wondered if Anna Maria added the linear hand quilting to her background fabric on her pillow to hide any pucker flaws. I plan to do the same! I'll hand quilt the background to a little batting as a final step. Otherwise, I'm trying not to pull my stitches too tight. Any other advice to minimize background puckers? If it was coming out as bad as it looks here, I'd be starting over; but, fortunately, it's not nearly so bad. Still, always room for improvement!
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