Let’s go back a stage. So I knew the 2nd swan would be quicker to do than the first as all the decisions had been made and I was essentially copying. This first pic is actually what I did last Sunday after the mega stitchathon. Over Thursday, Friday and Saturday I did the rest:
So it’s gone from this:
The finished pair. If it was mine, I would call it ‘Swans Kissing In The Snow’. I added just a sprinkling of french knots to prevent them looking like they were floating, like stickers.
I’ll even show you that taboo area – the reverse!
So here’s the technical specifications for all the embroidery geeks. The colour palette comprises 11 DMC Stranded Mouline (yep, that sheen comes from laying your stitches in one direction and is only cotton) and 1 shade of unbleached spun silk (the tail). There are 7 shades of white in the bodies, black and grey in the feet and 2 shades of orange in the beaks. I used a #5 Sharps needle for the whole thing. Some people may be surprised at this – it’s a basic household needle. But it’s my needle of choice – I like the even width, the size of the eye, the length. I changed it regularly to maintain the sharpness.
Here’s what I did in the finishing process: First, I went over the whole embroidery with tweezers and a magnifying glass to get rid of all the tiny bits of fluff and, lets be honest, cat hair, that had weedled its way between the stitches. I don’t want any of this trapped in the fibres then managing to work it’s way free and sit on the white mount or something when it’s framed. Then I removed the tacking stitches, lightly misted the reverse with water and pressed it with a medium iron. I didn’t spend any time doing this as the professional finishers will be stretching it anyway. On the reverse I trimmed away the cotton backing fabric to match the interior line of cutwork:
This is so that the dark wool fabric onto which it will be backed will show through the holes. Then I placed it onto the dark grey wool backing and cut a rough square, measuring 3cm border around the edges.
I know lots of people like to see my little hand in the frame for true scale so here you go!
Then I wrapped the embroidery in acid free unbleached tissue and sent the whole thing off. I think I will have it back a little while before I have to deliver it to my VIP so I will do a proper photoshoot.
It’s not perfect, to my little eye of course. But I can say in truth it is the best work I’ve ever done, and I’m going to enjoy my work without tainting it with my self criticisms. It is beautiful, and I am proud.
Now I have another 2 special commissions to do before Christmas! Little jewellery pieces though…watch this space!