Monday, February 19, 2007

It's a mystery!

This year, I've joined my first mystery group with Carol Tinson at Heirloom Embroideries. The mystery for the first half of this year, is a sampler which can either be stitched as a sampler with a drawn thread border, or finished as a huswif. I've chosen to work on the huswif as I've never made something like that before.

If you don't know what a huswif is, it's a kind of old fashioned, stitched, folding sewing case. There are some lovely photos of a sailor's huswif here (front) and here (back). Modern huswifs have also been designed by the Needle's Prayse and Sampler Cove (see the Quaker Huswif and Today's Heirloom Collection).

The reason it's a mystery is that when you start, you don't know what the design will look like. As you go along, parts of the design are revealed, but only those that you're currently working on, so that it's not until you complete the design that you know what it looks like! The risk is that you may not like the final design.

I stitched a number of Carol Tinson's designs last year, and I like most of her designs, I felt the risk of not liking the mystery design was fairly minimal.

Peachy biscornuMy favourite - Carol's Peachy biscornu

In joining the mystery group, I paid for both the chart(s), instructions and all the materials required. Carol usually offers excellent value for money, so I was quite happy to do so.

The first installment arrived round about the 7th February and I was certainly not disappointed! My pack contained an introductory letter, full and detailed instructions for this part of the design, a chart for this installment as well as materials - Hand Dyed Fibres silk threads by Vikki Clayton, a one-off hand dyed linen from Polstitches and a little gold needle.

My first step was to oversew the linen using my sewing machine to stop it fraying while I'm stitching. By the middle of last week, after finishing 4 Wishes, I was ready to get started.

As usual, Carol's instructions are very comprehensive and beautifully presented and laid out. The variety of stitches used looks intriguing and will offer some challenge to achieve.

The colours are all beautiful in antique green, red/pink and gold. The fabric complements the threads very nicely, varying in colour from similar to the HDF Verdigris to more of a parchment colour. I'll be very interested to see the effect of the shading of the fabric as mine seems to be fairly dark at the top and the threads don't stand out particularly.

I've also found the Vikkii Clayton silks and the linen very luxurious to stitch with - they feel wonderful in my hands. I'm using silk on other projects (my Chatelaines) they don't feel nearly so good! The little gold needle too just seems to add to the luxury. So a good experience so far.

My only small small gripe is the alphabet band which may be continued through the design. I'm just not particularly keen on alphabet samplers. However, it's early days and far too soon to judge without seeing any more of the design.

Now I just need to remember to go and pay my February installment .......


Julie said...

Hi Lesley, i enoyed reading your views on the mystery, i finished part 1 today after frogging the flowers as i did them in the wrong colour LOL (before getting too excited, i must read instructions better!!)

will add you to my blog roll if you don't mind

tintocktap said...

Julie - you're very welcome to add me to your blogroll!