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.
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.