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Posts Tagged ‘books’

When I first got interested in blackwork I decided I wouldn’t burn myself out on it. Typically, when I start a new craft I read as much as I can about it and then tackle a project that captures my interest. Usually, this involves a skill set I just don’t have yet. I slog through it until it’s finished or I just can’t look at it anymore.

I paced myself with blackwork though. I bought some blackwork books and decided to flat out copy the fill-in patterns from Lesley Wilkins Beginner’s Guide to Blackwork. Here’s the first:

I remember giving my boyfriend progress reports. “I’m half-way through the first pattern,” “I’m finished with the first two rows.” After completing this it got so much easier and I decided to tackle the second page of fill-in patterns:

It went so much faster because I’d improved so much. “I’m half-way through the sampler.”

Boyfriend: “The whole thing?”

“Yep.”

I was done before I knew it. There are two other pages of fill-in patterns but I’d cooled my heels for far too long and I had to move on to something else.

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I’ve “sketched” some new designs for my mom’s sampler. Previous designs are here.

I took one of the bees and after a lot of fiddling I came up with this:

I had to try out both versions but I think I’ll use the second as a band in the sampler.

The motif on the right is adapted from an image of a vintage iron transfer I found in the flickr group Hoop Love. This may be the final version.

The motif on the left is based on a band from theĀ Beginner’s Guide to Blackwork by Lesley Wilkins. I also have Traditional Blackwork Samplers by Wilkins as well. The Beginner’s Guide has more “raw material” in that it’s mostly filling patterns and bands whereas Traditional Blackwork Samplers has, well, samplers.

In fact, that’s where I found this:

Or rather, that’s where I found this in pieces as part of a larger band in a sampler. I don’t know if you can tell but almost every quarter of these two motifs are different. I had charted them on graph paper but I really needed to see them stitched up before I could make a decision. Only the bottom two on the right are the same and the design I finally settled on before I realized (with the help of my boyfriend) that they aren’t even my style. Seeing them in context with all of my other designs really highlighted the differences and I decided to scrap them altogether.

This all leads up to the focus of the sampler: an embroidered comic! It’s a little macabre but I couldn’t resist.

The story is that the beekeeper is trying to smoke the bees to sleep in order to gather their honey and they take offense to this.

In the second “panel” they swarm out and he throws the smoker over his shoulder in surprise. The empty space where the smoker and his arm used to be draws attention to the swarm and then this draws the eye to the right where the dotted line indicates the smoker’s movement.

He runs with the bees hot on his tail. I positioned the flower (and plan on adding a second) to indicate a left to right movement and the swoop of the dotted line-smoker-bees also helps this I think. I’ve since re-charted the dotted lines and the smoker to fill up the empty space in the center bottom. I’ve also re-charted the position of his arms:

I think I’m going to use the fragment on the left. These were my “sketches” of the beekeeper figure and I didn’t bother to fill in the netting of his mask.

Back to the comic though: The fourth panel is the beekeeper’s demise. Here the viewer sees the beekeeper in repose (maybe he’s just sleeping) and holding a flower. I squeezed two actions into one panel and I hope it works. The bees have used the smoker against the beekeeper. This development plays on the previous two panels and the device I used to show movement. The technique used to tell the story turns literal within the story.

So, that’s the comic and what I have for the sampler thus far. I think my mom will like it and find it funny and I decided it was more important to give my mom a present that was from me and have it be off-kilter rather than something I found in a book (not that there’s anything wrong with that) that didn’t represent my aesthetic.

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Like most people, I have craft ADD. Here are some pictures of my first but not current love: Ribbon embroidery.

This is my grandmother’s Christmas gift half finished. I got really into folk art and bought a bunch of books (bad me!) and chose this image from Pennsylvania Dutch Designs (International Design Library).

The other books in the picture are: Folk Art Cut & Use Stencils, Scandinavian Folk Designs (Dover Design Library), Russian Folk Arts and Crafts, European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) and 250 Stencil Designs from India (Dover Design Library).

Whenever I get into a craft I think it’s the best possible craft and no other form can compare to the wonderfulness of that particular form. I liked how dimensional ribbon embroidery was, how quickly things stitched up, and the relative accessibility.

On the other hand, silk ribbon isn’t available locally and I’m hesitant to buy loads of silk ribbon over the internet (about the only thing I won’t buy I think).

Here are some shots of my grandma’s present finished:

I put it in a “Collection Cabinet” from Michael’s so that the embroidery wouldn’t get smooshed and the viewer can open the frame and touch it. It’s impossible to resist touching the stitches so I decided to make it easy on whoever ends up looking at it.

She cried when I gave it to her. She said, “It’ll last long after I’m gone.”

To which I replied, “Oh, Grandma! That’s because the ribbons are polyester.”

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