Sunday, 30 November 2014

Beth Russell Orange border by William Morris: tapestry cushion

I found this kit in a charity shop at an incredibly low price.  It included everything - project bag, instructions, printed canvas, yarn, needle.  I had looked at these William Morris kits earlier, but the price had put me off.

It had already been started - about 15 per cent had been done.  I was pleased to see that the originator did the work in the same order that I would, starting with the shade at the top of the chart - except for white - and working downwards.  Her tent stitch was disorganised with an untidy reverse.  I decided to use half cross stitch as I usually do, despite the instructions.  I thought it does not matter as a cushion will not get heavy use, and it worked even though occasionally stitches disappeared in the weave of the canvas.  I worked it on a frame, but the finished work still had a slight slant.

The instructions were very clear about the numerous shades of green and easy to follow.  It turned out that one shade was missing - the one in use when the work was abandoned.  I went to Liberty who sell the kits to buy more, but they don't sell the Appleton crewel yarn used and they referred me to Delicate Stitches in Kentish Town.  It is a lovely shop with an impressive range of embroidery threads.  I had to walk past them with averted eyes, but they did have the shade I needed at a very reasonable price.

The blank middle was supposed to have space for your initials and year, or alternatively there was a pattern for bees, but I decided to leave it blank.  I enjoyed the stitching very much, but it did take a very long time.  That and the cost would put me off doing another one.

So I finished it in October last year, having started in in April 2012, and then I took a year looking for suitable fabric for the back of the cushion.  I wanted a dark navy velvet, but I couldn't find any.  I didn't trust the internet to get the colour right.  In the end I went for this navy corduroy, but it is not quite right.  It is a very nice cushion, and I like it very much.  It is obvious from the pictures that the stitching is far from perfect, but I don't mind it.  And I fell in love with Appleton crewel wool - I would very much like to use it again.

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