Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas card inspirations

Sorry not cards to make for Christmas but sewing projects inspired by Christmas cards.

I wanted to do something for Christmas one year and I was struck both by a nice Christmas card I had received and my favourite piece of choral music, Handel's Messiah and in this specific instance the "for unto us a child is born" chorus. I liked the children of the world theme of this card and thought the image and the words went well together.

And so began my Christmas embroidery project.  My apologies to the designers of the original images, I don't have the cards and don't have the details.  I hope that these one off interpretations will be taken as homage and not a breech of copyright

I set no particular limits on this first design and used what ever threads I had to hand.  Finishing the edges off with two shades of bias binding and mounting it in a stretch frame.

I was pleased with the result although it took me a goodly while to finish.  Not as long from start to wall hanging as those it came after it however!



For unto us a child is born Nativity

As is often is the case once the first one was nearing completion I was already thinking what to do next. A nativity with crib scene done, a card received of the Three Kings or Wise men caught my eye and I started planning that out in my mind.

This time I did decide on a slightly different approach, that the three focal figures would be done in a new discovery for me, shiny Anchor Marlitt thread.  Tricky, slippery stuff to work with, still it has a lovely sheen. A few beads and that would make it just different enough to keep it interesting.  The longest bit to do on this was the stippling outside the sewn frame.  I used a variegated thread randomly sewing little dots of stitches to give a verdigris effect.  I quietly promised myself I would never do that again as it took so long.

Three wise men

Next the shepherds of course and it had to be from a Christmas card again as that was becoming my self imposed theme.  This time as I had received a boxed set of red heart thread as a gift, I decided to limit my colour palette to that set. I managed to keep to that except I needed to add another green for the middle section of grass and I did pop a bit of glow in the dark thread into the star.  There was a gap in me progressing this project once the shepherds were done as the sheep cried out for the little dotty thread method and it was months before I could bring myself to do it.  But eventually I got on with it and it was I think the right choice.  Grass and sky sewn with one strand of cotton also took a goodly while  (and another self promise not to do that again) so with my do and don't and pop it away for months on end method of working, this last scene took seven years from first marking the design to getting it framed up.  


Shepherds
Close up of my dotty sheep



And what next, well I was already contemplating that, the Herald Angels of course, although once I wanted them, cards with Angels on became few and far between, with friends and family passing on any they came across. I think I have a card to work from now, although for the first time it may take a little more moving the main figures about.  And of course there has to be a limit, a theme.  Well this time DMC's light effects and metallic threads beckon as being just the thing for angels.
angels yet to be
 I have the frame, the material and the thread but just yet have not finalised the design never mind got started.  Who knows how many years the next one will take.

Oh are you wondering what they look like on the back?  I don't subscribe to the idea that a piece of work should be judged by the back as much as the front.  But perhaps seeing how I stretched and stitched the back might be of interest so here they are, the behinds!



Well, although I don't fret about it, in this instance the behind is not too bad either!
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