Friday, 12 August 2016

Afghan Alphabet

Time for a trip down memory lane.  When my BFF told me she was pregnant many a craft item followed. The log cabin quilt, the Noah's arc stuff and an Afghan.

The latter item was a new experience for us both.  The Afghan my friend bought came with 28 squares of the same size and she had no firm thoughts about what to put in them.  Well other than it had not to be too complicated as she was just making a start with cross stitch.  We thought about an alphabet and started looking for patterns.  Bears, kittens, puppies, roses, various animals all rejected as being too twee (and mostly too difficult) and just not sufficiently reflective of my friend or her husband or me for that matter.

Then she found in a magazine an alphabet intended for cards, three different designs on a magical theme:

Wizard (my friend's husband)

for me ? A dragon of course. 

and for my friend

the Queen

I do believe I have mentioned before that my friend likes rainbows, this factored into our plan, a rather mad plan. We would pick the colours for each square in the order of a rainbow . That sounds reasonable enough however, we took it a stage further every square would use different colours. So all red characters would be different reds and so on.

We spent two nights just choosing the thread.

We did agree to keep some elements the same, the colour of the castle for instance.

We took turns sewing I had it a week then to my friend for a week

Or if we went on holiday

 the Afghan went with us.

At the outset we had not chosen the thread for the letters getting something to go with all those different colours was being tricky.

Then my friend found this pastel shaded variegated metallic thread.

 it became not just the letters but also the jewel in the wizard's staff

 and the binding for the Queens hair.

We stitched all the green boarders first then on to the figures.

during this process some interesting differences came to light

I did not like sewing the Queens they were annoying me.
I sewed a lot of the thrones instead.

And a lot of the castles, although Wizards were OK to sew and we shared them out fairly evenly

I did however enjoy doing the dragons

You may have noticed that in addition to the changing colours other elements of each design alters from letter to letter. For the queens it is the style of the crown.

For the wizards it was the colour of the beard (we had considered altering the top of the staff but stuck to just a simple change here)

For the dragons ? the expression on their face. A little change to eyes, eyebrows and or mouth.

Which leads me to another mutual division of work. The backstitching.

Not my favorite thing by any means

However as she quite likes it

so my friend did the vast majority of the backstitching, I was in charge of the crown variations

We both did some of the lettering, although I think she did more than me

and I did all of the dragons, backstitch as well as the different faces had been my plan.  Z being asleep just fit with that letter.

So that was 26 squares all filled with letters however, you may recall there were 28 squares available for sewing.  We decided they should be signature squares.  Something that said US. They needed to fit in with the themes of the rest of the Afghan, magic and rainbow.

Mine was easy, a book, I love books.  A leather bound book with hints of a grimwar a pattern was soon located that would fit, fit was an important factor. 

For my friend a music lover and a guitar player her element seemed obvious also. A guitar, minstrels form a part of the fantasy world inhabited by Wizards and Dragons and Queens.  For the rainbow element, well as you cans see we went with, a rainbow to link the two squares.  Fit however became an issue, we could not find a guitar to fit, not that looked like one and then the angle was causing problems.  We talked it over and paused the project waiting for inspiration. It struck in the form of another mutual passion (my friend likes books too) boxes.  I like boxes my friend likes boxes so a wooden box, a magic chest. 

 Pattern found

we now had both signature squares

to complete the rainbow

and all together

Fantasy completed..well the sides are folded over and tacked down to avoid fraying (and has been for years since the x -stitch element was finished) but just how to finally finish it off.  That metallic thread whilst pretty is scratchy so does it get an nice backing of something soft or does it become a wallhanging. My friend has yet to decide. No rush, the baby is 10 now and there is time before this heirloom item needs to be finalised for passing on.

Oh and I have "shoehorned" this into the summer hop with serendipitous stitching, my linking skills are still somewhat feeble but here goes.... serendipitous stitching in-summertime-doopy-doopy-doo.  And my reasoning, well those holidays this project accompanied me on as holiday sewing were always my summer break.

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