She's still alive!!! Not Mary Queen of Scots, but me! More on me later...
I feel like I need to "reintroduce" my introduction to this current applique project, "Queen Mary's Garden." Just a quick recap of the first three posts.
I am recreating an early 17th century embroidery piece into an applique quilt. The piece appears as motif blocks embroidered very close together, worked on loosely-woven waste canvas with a tent stitch (like modern day needlepoint.)
There is not even enough of a margin between the motifs to cut the "squares" apart. The ladies cut around all parts of the flowers, fruits, leaves, and stems (leaving just the barest amount to turn under).
The motifs were then appliqued onto a larger fabric piece, often overworking the appliqued edges with more decorative embroidery stitches.
These motifs were called "slips" due to the Herbals beginning to be published at that time. These books contained sketches and descriptions of herbs, flowers, plants, and trees. The "slip" is where the plant sample was cut from the plant, removing it before sketching.
Larger motifs were most likely applied to bed drapes, larger outer garments such as capes, and wall canvases. Small ones were used for garments and accessories.
Even though the beautiful embroidered "sampler" I am using as inspiration appears planned as a wall hanging, experts are doubtful of that conclusion. The motifs are so close together, perhaps to make the size of the canvas smaller to fit on the frame. Also the outer edges are raw and there is no stitching covering the background waste canvas.
Someone had the job of drawing representations of the sketches from the Herbals onto the waste canvas. He inked them on in black, then they were outlined in black silk on the ink, and worked in colorful silks to fill.
The early Herbals were black and white...ladies filled in colors that pleased, not necessarily colors that were actually biologically accurate.
Lighter lines are ink, darker lines are silk stitched.
Filled with tent stitches. Background waste canvas left unstitched/unfilled.
Whole piece. Notice there are extra flowers crammed into empty spaces.
They took advantage of every inch of waste canvas.
My inspirational embroidered piece was stored away and unused for some reason, along with other pieces, as below, full of the same motif repeated several times. Being stored away from sunlight kept the colors fairly vibrant for 400 years.
Before I fell off the deep end last year, I had blogged about the first three blocks. They are pictured below, followed by four more. I tried to describe, in a grid pattern, which motif was my inspiration for each block (referring to above photo).
"Damson Plum" (3rd row, 2nd column)
"Lazy Lily" (7th row, 1st column)
"Honey Belle" (1st row, 5th column)
"Bleu Columbine" (1st row, 3rd column)
"Country Rose" (1st row, 6th column)
"Rain Lily" (7th row, 2nd column)
"Sugar Snap Peas" (4th row, 6th column)
I was very faithful to reproducing each block...for the first couple. Some design changes had to be made to accommodate using fabric applique rather than embroidery. The bottom row is cut off, probably due to the photography, so I guessed on much of the content of those blocks.
I decided there were some flowers that were too similar to others. I have also taken some liberties, changed colors, invented colors...I even added more blocks!
The original piece contains 42 "blocks." I have added another seven to make it 49 blocks, 7x7. I wanted more fruits! There are still other blocks I want to add, and may.
Maybe as bonus blocks.
I am making patterns of these as I go along, just in case anyone was wondering... :o)
I'm still contemplating borders, as this piece has none. I am studying other linens and art from the early 1600's for this. Little hearts and swags will not do! I am also trying to decide how much space between the blocks...a sliver, or more? I'm not planning on sashing.
Finally back in stitches,
On a personal thread, for the curious, WHERE HAS SHE BEEN? I have really appreciated all the emails of concern. I apologize for not answering in a timely fashion and causing worry.
It has been a difficult year, which has made me isolate and focus on one step at a time. Eyes and finger have been unusable for some time, so no sewing, typing, holding a pencil, playing piano...no fun at all. Thank God for the occasional puzzle!
- Riley graduated from college in the spring, we got her moved to Atlanta in the fall.
- I had double cataract surgery, and am having trouble going from being extremely near-sided vision to a little far-sided. I can probably thread a needle at 20 feet (if my arms were longer), but I need so many different reading glasses for anything closer than 10-12 feet. Sewing, piano and computer require three different strengths.
- I had a second surgery on my "Weasley-bite finger." I had high hopes before, from the surgeon, but results were not what was predicted. Instead of being bent at a 90 degree angle as before, my right index finger is at 45 degrees. I will have to work hard to keep it from scar contraction back toward 90 degrees.
- My father-in-law in PA is suffering from advanced Parkinson's. He's had to go into a facility...three years of one aide per shift at home was no longer enough to help him. Clean out of his home, auction in a week or so, and then on the market. Plus we've been spending a lot of time visiting with him at his new home. He is in hospice care. Steve has been there since Christmas, since he has the ability to work from anywhere. I have been back and forth, coming home for short bursts to check on the property here.
This is the same kind of thing most everyone has been or will be going through. It has been a gut punch for me. It has been almost 6 years of life-altering events. But I have hope for the future.
See ya soon...really!