My holiday diary, my drawing with stitches, is back from the framers! I have no idea where we'll hang it, but I'm happy just to have it propped on the mantelpiece and enjoy looking at it for now.
I thought I'd show you how the project started, and then how it took shape over the holiday. It began when, having seen Jennie Maizels' holiday diary on Instagram, I thought I'd like to try one of my own, but I'd draw with thread rather than pens or pencils. It was all very last minute and spontaneous, and I didn't plan it much beyond selecting a piece of good quality white linen and working out that I'd want to draw an image per day, so seven in total. After sketching the text, I drew around a glass seven times to give me areas in which I'd put my pictures, mainly so that it wasn't all wonky.
This is a really terrible photo, I am sorry. I took it on my phone as my big camera must've been packed.
Day 1: Our holiday home, rented for the week. It had such a symmetrical, pleasing shape, like a child's drawing of what a house should look like. Ok, my version is a little off, but I know what it represents and that's the main thing.
Day 2: Our day in St Ives (and a browse around the Poppy Treffry shop) inspired this fishing boat.
Day 3: A cream tea at Kynance Cove. I was relieved to note afterwards that I had drawn my cream tea the "right" way, ie the Cornish way, with jam first and cream second. In Devon it's the other way round, I believe. The tea didn't come in Cornishware mugs, sadly, but I felt there was room for some of that classic crockery in my picture.
Day 4: Godrevy Lighthouse. How I loved doing all those little French knots for the grass, rocks and sea. They made me very happy.
Day 5: That really cheeky, tame seagull which stalked our fish and chips on the beach at Marazion. That was the only image I didn't draw free hand - I sketched it onto paper first then traced it. I'm not very good at animals or birds.
Day 6: A sandcastle, to represent our happy times at Gwithian beach. The little Cornish flag on top was an extra detail of mine. It seemed appropriate. The cross stiched flag could be neater, but that is my own fault for doing it in electric light, rather than waiting until the next day. I find I have no problem embroidering in electric light unless it's cross stitch and for that, I need daylight or I make mistakes.
I finished it shortly after we came home. It was so hard to find the time to complete it once we were back to normality, and this was definitely a holiday project. Here it is before and after it saw the iron:
I ironed it very, very gently, so as not to flatten the stitches. You can still see some of the fading pen here. I opted to have it framed without the glass front. This is purely personal preference on my part, but I always think the reflections on the glass get in the way and I like the way you can see and touch the texture of the stitches. Like the satin stitch on the cream tea...
and the French knots around the light house.
I had in the back of my mind throughout this project the memory of these tea towels my Grandma used to collect and bring back from her holidays. They used to say things like "Wild Flowers of Jersey" or "Birds of Great Britain", that sort of thing. Informative and useful. Some would have a recipe for something like a scone on them. Something about my holiday project reminds me of the vintage design of those tea towels.
I'm really happy with how it turned out. No, I'm delighted. Every time I look at it I remember a different day, a different part of our holiday. It's nice, during this cold, wet, abrupt end to summer, to remember sun kissed afternoons on the beach and how deep-down happy the sound of seagulls makes me.
*I used one similar to this. You can also buy pens which fade when ironed, but I don't like ironing too much on the embroidered parts of fabric in case it flattens the stitches.