18 July 2009

Crewel World II

In Crewel World part one (click to go there) I talked about a rapier carrier I made a long time ago. The design incised into the leather (shown above) is drawn from a tile in a cathedral somewhere. Sadly, I've long since lost the original picture the design was based upon as it was many years and a couple of computers ago. Nevertheless, the design has been re-cast in whole or in part on a great deal of the garb I've made since then.

Yesterday, I did it again. For the lid of the purse I'm making I brought the design into a more Elizabethan vine motif and coloring while maintaining the original cruciform arrangement of the elements.

The design was drawn onto the green canvas with a stick of graphite (you can still see some of the marks in the photo below) and backstitched over the marks with crewel yarn to give dimension to the embroidery. The backstitching was covered with satin stitch, and buttonhole stitch using linen and wool thread.

I chose a darker background color that the off-white used in the inspiration garment (and other very similar designs scattered through the Elizabethan world). This is because my hand will go into and out of the purse fairly often, making this an item that will be especially prone to getting dirty.

The aforementioned inspiration garment can be found here: http://www.plimoth.org/embroidery-blog/. The folks at Plimoth were re-creating a heavily embroidered late-period jacket entirely by hand. This entailed reconstructing unknown stitches and techniques. I say "were" because the funding for the project has been canceled owing to the current economic troubles. (The embroiders involved have vowed to continue despite the lack of funding, so there's hope.) Follow that link, you will be amazed.

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