Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Spring Stitches


I have finished my spring embroidery hoop, and just in time for summer too! I'd like to tell you that I need to see, smell, touch and generally experience each season before I feel "moved" to "create"...but no. Really, it's just that they take a while to do and I've been working on lots of other things in between which is code for I'm not very organised. But these are an absolute joy to make, they really are. I love thinking about what to include in each picture and planning them. I actually sketched this one out first (I usually just draw straight on to the fabric with a fading pen) and I think that helped. The naive, folk style hides a multitude of botanical inaccuracies, and issues of scale too, for that matter. 

It all starts with the tree. I always stitch that first, with lots and lots of tiny French knots slowly built up in layers. 


The multi-coloured French knots around the sky are just there for detail, for an impression of blossomy, springtime haziness. But the tree takes the longest, and everything comes together really quickly after this. 


The satin stitch tulips and daffodils.


The French knot grape hyacinths.


 And, my favourite, the pussy willow done in French knots and back stitch.


Trust me when I tell you that this is wonderful to run your fingers across. I've tried to photograph it here to give you a sense of the 3D-ness of it, the way the stitches stand out from the surface.


Then, when it's finished, I trim the fabric to a couple of inches bigger than the hoop with pinking shears, add a running stitch all the way round the edge, then gather it together and knot it nice and tight. I love looking at the back of a piece of embroidery. It's like a crazy, abstract version of the "neat" side.



So there we have it. One springtime circle.


Of course then I had to take down the autumn and winter hoops from the wall, just to see what they look like altogether...


...which prompted more mantel faffing and rearranging.


And that just leaves summer, which I fully intend to start soon and have done before autumn rolls around. I love being able to share my creative ideas and endeavors with you. I hope you like this as much as I do.

*****
You can see my autumn hoop here and my winter one here.

The tree and ladybird are based on a pattern from an old copy of Mollie Makes, issue 22. However, the tree has been very heavily adapted and changed by me since then. Everything else is from my own head. 


78 comments:

  1. It's wonderful! May favorite part is the tree blossoms.

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  2. I've been looking forward to seeing the finished piece, these really do look great, I love the flowers you've created on this one and the pussy willow looks great.

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  3. This is so gorgeous! I have been loving these seasonal circles, and the trees have been my favourite part. Just looking at all those colourful french knots is so calming, because I just know they must feel wonderful.

    Slán go fóill,
    Giselle

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  4. Beautiful! You did such a good job with it, Gillian. Your collection is really nice all together too. Well done.

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  5. It is beautiful! I love the pink 'blossominess' of the tree, the neatness of the stitches and all the colours you've used. Just wonderful! x

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  6. Absolutely beautiful! They will make such a lovely wall feature when all four seasons are done.

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  7. French knots are the best! Lovely work Gillian.

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  8. Those little teenie weenie knots... Oh my, what a work that must have been... But the result is sooo gorgeous ! Lovely, those embroidered seasons-scenes...

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  9. Beautiful, beautiful,beautiful!! Absolutely beautiful!

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  10. What a triumph Gillian, so pretty! Love the blossom especially, it looks so delicate. Beautiful x

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  11. I love it!!! So pretty xxx (and I take my hat off to you with those French Knots - can I heck get away with them - it takes me ages to do one!!)

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  12. They are all gorgeous Gillian but I especially love your latest....it's so colourful and your embroidery is so neat. I'm sure I couldn't do such a nice job as this.
    Jacquie x

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  13. What a beautiful way of capturing the seasons. You've done a fantastic job Gillian! I absolutely love the tree with it's gorgeous pink blossom. So looking forward to the Summer hoop now :) x

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  14. That is so pretty - I love the blossom, and they look lovely together. XX

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  15. That's really pretty Gillian - the blossom looks really 'frothy' if you know what I mean. I've been reading your blog for a while but have only just got the courage up to comment! You've already given me inspiration for crafty gifts ( wash cloths and body scrub last Christmas) and this is something else I would like to have a go at when I find some time. There's always something nice to see here when I stop by!

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  16. I cannot wait to for that tree in its leafy summer glory and to see what summer flowers you choose!

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  17. I'm totally in love with your embroidery! Love the French knots and the atmosphere of all tbe itens together. I' m feeling inspired to creat one. :)

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  18. So pretty Gillian, and such a tactile creation too. x

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  19. It's wonderful, and it looks especially good together with the others. I love the tree, the textures and colours are lovely. And the pussy willows have come out so well, I can see why they're your favourites. The mantelpiece is looking fantastic. Well done you! CJ xx

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  20. Its so pretty & they all look fab together!

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  21. Brilliant Gillian, I've been looking forward to seeing this seasons creation. These are absolutely beautiful and I can just imagine how lovely this one feels to touch. Loving the mantel display.

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  22. Beautiful Gillian, I see what you mean about the dimension, it definitely has a 3D effect to it. All of those little French knots must have taken ages to do, but they look so pretty and are ideal for blossom on your tree! xx

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  23. Ah you've done this so beautifully Gillian - your French knots are gorgeous and I do like the effect of blossom floating around in the air! You should be very proud of your excellent workmanship my dear girl!
    Joy xo

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  24. Aaaah! It is beautiful and as I mentioned once before, maybe you could go into pattern designing. Your french knots work beautifully and I'm so jealous. I have to do colonial knots as my french ones just don't work. Take care.

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  25. So pretty, Gillian! And they look so lovely all together on your mantel. Your are so talented!

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  26. It's really lovely! I like the idea of displaying the season. Beautiful!

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  27. I love it! You've inspired me to do some embroidery of my own. And they do look lovely grouped together - I'd be tempted to have them all up year round!
    Must do some practice sketches and think up some ideas...
    Sarah x

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  28. It's soooo beautiful and so neat at the back too! Only one to go now.
    Jacqui x

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  29. Absolutely beautiful. I'm completely in awe of your French knots and can't wait to see the Summer one. x

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  30. Absolutely adorable...wish I could be better at embroidery! xx

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  31. This is absolutely beautiful, so delicate and pretty. The French knots on the cherry blossom tree are amazing! All your hoops look so lovely together....I can't wait to see the summer one now! Hope you are having a great week so far.
    Marianne x

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  32. The tree with the many, many french knots is beautiful. But the pussy willow is genius! What a great project all in all.

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  33. That is absolutely beautiful. I would buy these in a heartbeat if I saw them in a shop x

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  34. How lovely! All those French knots :)
    www.thequietstitcher.com

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  35. It is just gorgeous Gillian! I have never been into embroidery - no one in my family did it, so I really know nothing about it, but these are so really pretty. Not the "old lady stuff" that I normally associate with embroidery.

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  36. Very beautiful Gillian!!! I can imagine this activity being totally addictive, I'd probably end up with a whole hoop full of french knots!!! :-)

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  37. I wish I could have one extra day each week just for embroidery, don't you? I completely understand the joy you get from the texture of French knots (I've made a similar tree with pink knot blossoms, too! ), and I love the design of your pictures. The pussy willow is my favourite too, I think, the colours are just perfect and I can almost feel their softness just by looking at them! I wonder what those little bugs will get up to in your summer hoop? ;-) Chrissie x

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  38. That is just beautiful Gillian - you have captured the grape hyacinths, the daffodils and pussy willow so well! I wonder how many French knots you made in total?
    Caz xx

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  39. I think this is my favourite hoop so far. It's the blossom. It's just perfect. And the daffodils.

    I have just typed 'your backside is nearly as neat as your front', then deleted it, then retyped it again because it made me laugh! Hahahaha!!!

    Heather xx

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  40. Stunning .Wow I love the back of them, you must be thrilled such beautiful work

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  41. Hey Gillian,
    The pussy willow is fab. They look lovely all together too. Clever girl.
    Leanne xx

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  42. Love, love, love this - it's just simply gorgeous. Somehow I missed the previous showing of your Autumn & Winter hoops, so lovely to see them all together too. Well done, it's a work of art.
    xx

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  43. Absolutely lovely. I do so admire your embroidery skills - it's not something I've done very much of. My favourite is the pussy willow too though the gorgeous cherry blossom is a close second. x

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  44. Wonderful work Gillian!!! Congratulations. Hugs :D

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  45. I'd like to find out more? I'd want to find out
    more details.

    Look into my web page ... cenaless como tomar

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  46. Oh, my goodness...that tree with all of those glorious pink French knots! Just beautiful! :)

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  47. How lovely Gillian.... I love the blossom tree..... And how the three hoops look together...
    Pati x

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  48. this is lovely Gillian… love the tree and the pussy willow! x

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  49. I love it on its own and I love it even more with the other 2. Those French knots are just beautiful, well done!!

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  50. I love your spring one best of all. My mum started a series like that back in the 70s, I don't think she ever finished the set, and they were from a kit, not designed by her. But it takes me back... she taught us to do backstitch, French knots and lazy daisies, and my sister and I each embroidered a bib for the baby we were expecting in the family.... which were also sadly never finished, or perhaps never edged. Never used, in any case! Your tree scenes look so pretty on the mantel. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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  51. Embroidery is something I'd love to learn, as well as knitting. They both seem such soothing activities. Beautiful work, Gillian.

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  52. I love your embroidery and I'm sure you enjoyed making it. Looking forward to seeing the summer version - soon!

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  53. This is such a lovely idea Gillian. The way the bulbs and blossom bloom through the seasons is so clever. Take care xx

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  54. At first I thought the grape hyacinths were my favourite part, then I thought it was the daffodils, but now I think it maybe the pussy willow. Just gorgeous!
    Lisa x

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  55. Your embroideries are just gorgeous. I can't choose a favourite! They look wonderful all together.

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  56. I think your perfect embroidery is a great success.
    Beautiful.
    Miss xx

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  57. This is so pretty and delicate. I am really looking forward to summer. Also, not only the execution is impressive on its own, but the fact that you design them yourself makes really a work of art :-)

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  58. These are so beautiful! I bought an embroidery book a few months back as the "next project" but got distracted. I will start planning some long awaited Christmas napkins- this may get done in time!

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  59. Your embroidery is so beautiful Gillian. The hoops look so good together. I do love the tree - it does look so tactile! Looking forward to seeing summer now...

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  60. Those are absolutely stunning! The french knot blossoms are gorgeous-particularly on the tree. Are they inspired by a particular scene? Can't wait to see Summer :-) x

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  61. Love it, the blossom is gorgeous though I think the daffs are my favourite. Together they are fab, I think what really achieves that is the continuity of design, you could sell the design! Xx

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  62. Wow Gillian these are so beautiful! The blossom is so delicate, is it a french knot (or something like that?) I am truly in awe of your embroidery & originality :-)

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  63. Oh my! You are really patient!!! This one is so beautiful too.

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  64. So lovely to read your methods, or 'process' as we should no doubt call it! The end results are utterly charming and they are looking so good all together now aren't they? Can't wait to see how summer pans out.

    S x

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  65. Gillian - I've just found your blog by chance whilst looking up peg bags. It's nearly midnight and I can't stop looking at all the lovely things you've made and the thoughts and happenings in your life and family that you are sharing with us. It's like finding a new friend! thank you so much. x

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    1. Ah, Maggsie, that's so lovely of you! Thank you very much, that's made my day.

      Gillian x

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  66. Hi Gillian, I think your seasons embroidery are beautiful, as are all your lovely makes. Could you please send a link for the patterns, I would love to make them. Thanks Tracy

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    1. Hi Tracy,

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      I'm sorry but there are no patterns, I just made them up as I went along. Elements of the designs were taken from an old issue of Mollie Makes, number 22, but the rest I just drew freehand onto the linen with a fading fabric pen then just stitched over it.

      Gillian x

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