Progress on my orphrey background
Currently, I am mainly working on my orphrey background. I will be teaching this design at the Alpine Experience in June. For the past couple of years, I have always combined written instructions with video. This seems to work well for my students. However, as the apartment next door is being gutted and then put back together again, my stitching and recording are very dependent on when the workmen are quiet :). So, let's check in on my progress.
As you can see, the tiled floor is in, the wall with the window has been completed, the sky was added and the basis of cloth of gold with the diaper pattern is in. The cloth of gold needs some minor further embellishment. I was going to do that today, but alas, the workmen are plastering, and it sounds like they are standing right next to me :(. Let's aim for tomorrow!
The diaper pattern has been a terrific candidate for demonstrating goldwork embroidery at my local open-air museum Glentleiten. People were fascinated by the simplicity of it and the lovely effect achieved. I even managed to get people hands-on involved. Two young girls, aged 8 (!), plunged right in and happily stitched a row on my orphrey. In the beginning, they stabbed around a bit before they found the correct hole with their needle. But I kid you not, after about 5 stitches their hand-eye coordination caught up and it all went very smoothly. By the way, I am happy for interested people to work on my orphrey. They can't really break anything. And it is much more fun than when you stitch a mock-up row on the side somewhere. Equally, I don't believe in doodle cloths. But that's a different story :). Would you be happy for strangers to have a go at your embroidery project?
My orphrey background also contains a technique I had not tried before: Burden stitch over gold thread. It is used in the sky. I was familiar with Burden stitch but was a bit sceptical about the gold thread. When you are working the stitch it almost completely disappears below the silk. So, my thought was: "at least the texture is pretty". However, when the Burden stitched area catches the light it really glows! It never ceases the amaze me how little light, natural or artificial, goldwork embroidery needs to reveal its full potential.
Have you ever worked Burden stitch over a gold thread in any of your projects? Would you like to have a go? My Journeyman Patrons find handy PDF instructions on my Patreon page!
I see what you mean, Cindy. However, as far as I know, we don't know what this was called in the medieval period. I think the only stitch for which we have the late medieval name is probably or nue. In essence, Burden stitch is Brick stitch over a foundation. The trouble with re-naming the stitch is that nobody then knows what you are talking about. Any suggestions?
I like brick stitch over a foundation thread, but I expect the Burden stitch has taken root and will have to do!
Helen Sewell Johnson
2 questions. 1] do you work the burden stitch horizontally or vertically? I learned to do it working across, then took a dlass with Alison Cole who said she had begun to work it vertically and found it much easier. Yours is beautiful over the metal thread. 2] the diaper pattern is worked over the whole background and presumably will be partly covered by the slip of the figure. I have always wondered how the diaper pattern was made to "match" if worked around a figure. Is this the usual way it was done?
I work my Burden stitch horizontally as I don't find the stitch difficult. However, it is often true that counted stitches work better one way for different people.I have choosen to work the whole background in diaper. Normally, there would be a void in the middle where the figure would sit. The void is a bit smaller than the figure so that there are no gaps. This saves time and material. However, nowadays many students don't want to work a figure as they don't like the religious nature of these pieces. That's why this one is going to be blank for the moment.
Helen S. Johnson
Thanks. I am still finding diaper patterns a challenge and was especially wondering how one keeps the pattern straight when going around the void.
Keeping the pattern straight when you are leaving a void is not a problem at all. The void is more or less oval in shape. You work the area left of the void first, then the top (or the bottom) below the void and than the right side. As each of these four parts touch each other counting the pattern through is no big deal. Hope this helps, Helen!
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