Sunday, March 11, 2012

I just spent a week on an embroidery project

And then, of course, forgot to get pictures before giving it to the recipient. Because I'm a little dopey like that. I think it turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself and its part of my A&S 50 challenge. It's not the first time I haven't gotten pictures of something for that. In fact I pretty much have completely forgotten to get pictures of any of them.

It's a padded silver brocade dragonfly with needlelace tracery in the wings. Tucked in to the wings are 2 thistles. I learned a new stitch, rya stitch, in order to make a fuzzy pile for the thistles. The bulb parts of the thistles are laid and couched. I had originally hoped to make a shaped bag like this 17th century
frog bag in the Museum of London

I padded two cardboard shapes of the dragonfly from cardboard with 2 layers of wool felt and then covered it with the silver and then made a mostly triangularly shaped bag of green silk to sort of accordion fold in between the frames.

It didn't work at all. The shape of the dragonfly is just not condusive to this sort of thing. Then I added the thistles curled in between the wings and the body to make the entire shape a much more solid triangle. Better, but it wasn't really what I wanted. Also, to make the top of the bag able to take a drawstring and draw in, I needed to flip the dragonfly so its head was pointing down and thus the widest part, the wings, was at the bottom of the bag. I continued fussing with that for a few days and adding more and more detail to the embroidery to try to get it to be a recognizable insect. Finally, at the 11th hour, I finished one side and felt pretty okay with how it looked, but there was still the second side to do and I was running out of time. The entire shaped bag concept still wasn't working. I'm pretty certain I now know why the two shaped needlework bags we see from the late 16th-17th century are frogs. Its the shape. The roundish/ovalish center body with non integral appendages is pretty much required. The recipient's heraldic dragonfly just didn't work shapewise. So, late Friday night I cut the entire side lose, making it into a heavily padded slip.

The changeable green to red silk I had intended to use was no longer viable as it couldn't support the heavy applique. Instead, I opted for a maroon colored pig suede I had kicking around. Using period applique methods, I stabilized the edges of the slip with a little glue and placed it on top of the suede and couched two lines of gold thread around the edges. I braided a quick green wool drawstring, cut some slits in the top for threading and then stitched around the edges of the suede with a saddle stitch. I considered lining with the green silk, but really didn't want to make the eyelets that would have been needed for threading the drawstring if I had done so.

Hoping to get pictures at some point and I'll update when I do.


  1. Hi Hastings!

    I *do* want to see pictures of your project if they become available (I really do!) but this note is because I saw a sari on eBay that has a huge beaded and embroidered panel with something very like your krin shape. At least it is like to my uneducated eyes so I just had to point it out in case it is just what you are looking for...for something.

  2. Oh my goodness! That's so fun. Added to my watch list and hoping payday gets here quick :)