Saturday, May 23, 2015

A New Bed!

As you know, the bedroom at Daviot House has undergone many transformations - it has really been a difficult space to get right, a long and narrow room, with little space for a bed.

First, I liked the idea of an alcove bed, but sadly, it was so far at the back that you couldn't see any of the embroidery on the pillows and bed sheets... plus it left a huge area of unused space at the front.

The next incarnation was blue with a single tester bed, but sadly, someone pointed out that it looked very 'French', which I think was meant as a compliment, but not the look I was trying to achieve AT ALL!  It's good to have comments, they put things in perspective.    So I went back to the drawing board and tried to figure out what I wanted, and how it would all fit it.

Then I found this room in Provost Skene's House in Aberdeen. 

 Small, Scottish, white walls, dark antique furniture, and best of all, a four poster bed to adorn with embroidery.  Perfect! So this has been the starting point, and I'm gradually getting closer to completion.

A simple stone fireplace, with the initials of Daviot House's first inhabitants, Alexander and Flora MacGillivray, built exactly 400 years ago.  which reminds me, I must get on with organising a giveaway soon to celebrate!

Crewel work curtains and bed hangings are made from printed material for now, as you know it takes AGES to embroider things!  This way, I can feel that the room is 'public ready' without being stressed out about completing the sewing.

This bed was the best find ever (I think it was originally Irene who used one in her fabulous Tenement) - just the right size to be fairly imposing, as old beds were, but not too big for the space.  And look at all that embroidering potential!  Hangings, pillows, sheets, bed spreads, steps, the list is growing....

The bed is from Ashwood designs, and it is perfectly made.  I will be visiting them again!

Here is the portrait I painted of Flora MacGillivray, dated from about 1614.  I found an orginal painting of the time that had the cherry tree in the background, which I thought was really lovely and unusual.  It also gave me the colour scheme for the room, which is shades of cherry red and dusky pinks, and not, dare I say it BLUE!  Who would think!

Here is the start on the bedclothes - a bolster embroidered with tiny needlepoint and straight stitches, a design I came up with one sunny afternoon.  I have embroidered directly on to the cotton, which must be about 60 count, though I couldn't say exactly,  I will be applying this motif to the bedsheets as well.

So, lots of work in store, but I am very happy with the results so far!


Monday, May 18, 2015

A Stitch in Time

I thought I'd share some of my miniature sewing items that I have collected over the past couple of years. As a lot of embroiderers do,  I collect antique sewing tools, and thought I should have a miniature version too!

 To contain them, I bought a delightful sewing table from Masters Miniatures, and made the stumpwork box box.

Inside the stumpwork box is a pair of working silver scissors by Don Henry (I think I bought them from S P Miniatures), a tiny pin cushion that I made from a scrap of silk and some entymology pins, and the most miniscule thimble I have ever seen.  As you can imagine, these items are safely put away in the box, otherwise I would lose them! (you can see the size of my sewing thimble in the background for comparison)  

The lid of the table lifts up to reveal its contents, nicely tidied away beetween projects

A button box, needles, an embroidery hoop, sewing threads, and a silk bag filled with skiens of silk, ready to be wound on to the thread winders. 

 Someone has recently finished a silk embroidery, with the inscription 'je vous aime, faites-vous de même' (I love you, do you the same), a motto I found on a tiny box from the 18th century, similar boxes of which with various mottos were given to sweethearts, and often kept in sewing boxes.  I am searching for the right size frame to put this embroidery in.

For my wedding last year, I received as a present this beautiful Georgian sampler, which has been in my family since it was made in 1834 by my great x 4 grandmother when she was nine years old! 

It is unfortunately very faded, as was obviously exposed to too much light, but I am so glad to have something with such sentimental value.  I would like to recreate many of the embroidery motifs, such as the rabbits and tree below,   This sampler is such a connection to the past, and I am very priviledged to be able to admire it up close every day.

While browsing at a local flea-market here in Lyon, I found another sewn treasure - perhaps not as impressive as the sampler above, but in its own way, very charming.  For the princely sum of 2 euros (really, you can find amazing treasure here sometimes), this poor, simple sampler was begging for a home.  

Made in 1904, though without a name, the colours are still really vibrant, but the stitching itself is damaged and incomplete.  It has such a naive style, most likely quite a young child made this.

This little sampler inspired me, of course, to start sewing some miniature ones, which I hope to finish and frame up soon.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour inside my miniature sewing box!