I’m powering through the second one of these much faster than the first. I simply don’t have as much time to spend. And some of the choices I made took a very long time for an effect that wasn’t proportionally nice enough for the work required.
My RSN Crewelwork book came in. While I’m working in silk right now (definitely not crewelwork!), some of the stitches and methods used for crewelwork’s curvy leaf motifs made perfect sense for the acanthus leaves on my project.
A combination of long and short with fish bone stitches has given a very nice effect that’s quick to do. I’m running about an hour per leaf instead of the 5-6 hours I ran on the first one where I tried to build dimension and shading with dimensional stitches. The gold work is moving MUCH faster than on the first one because I’ve stopped trying to make it behave and just accepted that it’s difficult.
Three more events, and the reign is over, these Gauntlets get awarded, and I’m free to only do my personal projects and commissions! Ok, mostly commissions because I’ve gotten behind on those while doing all the calligraphy and random projects for the reign…
I’ve been working away on the gauntlet patches every night before bed. They’re coming along nicely! I’m using Soie de Algers and am very pleased with it. It’s so lovely and soft and shiny – really, it’s hard to believe that a year ago I didn’t believe a fellow artisan when she told me that it was so nice to work with I’d never want to go back to good old DMC floss. Truth be told, I want to embroider things just so I can work with the lovely silk. I feel very lucky to have a fancy needlework store in town that carries an abundance of silk and wool supplies.
Originally, I had bought silk plied through with a single strand of gold lamè to do the gold bits. A couple dozen hours into the first one of these patches, and I decided that I couldn’t do all this work with teensy strands of posh silks and top it with something so glaringly not medieval. So I went back to the fancy needlework store to ask about goldwork supplies. My research on or nuè made it seem like an easy solution for dealing with the gold bits, plus they’d be visually arresting.
“How hard can it be?” I said to myself. Yeah… no. Japan gold doesn’t turn a corner well. It kinks and bucks the turn. I think it took me two hours to untangle it after I thought it might work like a normal skein of embroidery floss. This little crown is actually made of evil and took another couple of frustrating hours to fill even though it’s only about the size of an Altoid. If I ever think of trying goldwork again, please remind me of how horrid this little bit of it was.
Unfortunately, Abraham put his wet muppet mustache on the fabric before I started, so I had to redraw the lines. Turns out Micron pens are not interchangeable with any old fine felt-tip pen.
Still, I think everything is coming along well for my first fine embroidery project – and the gold looks amazing, even if it is a total pain to work with.
I’ve been asked to do the King’s Gauntlets for the new reign. They’re an award given for service above and beyond to His Majesty. It’s an actual leather gauntlet that’s been decorated plus a framed award scroll.
For the glove, I’m doing an embroidered cipher in the style of a 13th century illuminated versal. HRM Aaron V picked which option he liked best, and I’ve gotten to work.
Here’s the design. It’s about 3″ square, to be done in silk and attached by appliqué to the glove leather. Oh yeah… There’s two of them to do!