With the snowflakes gently falling in front of my studio windows, I decided to crack on with Carolyn Pearce's Strawberry Fayre. Next up were the small pink flowers. The instructions advice to only use the lighter parts of a variegated stranded cotton (Hollyhock by Cottage Garden Threads). Unfortunately, these are pre-cut threads and the lighter part is the one-third in the middle... What a waste! However, I can't just use the whole thread, as the other parts are far too dark and of a non-compatible shade. I decided to save the Hollyhock thread for another day and substitute for House of Embroidery stranded cotton Lavataria B. That's one of the perks when you sell embroidery supplies, you have a very, very large 'stash' :).
The small leaves were filled using chained feather stitch. This is an interesting filling stitch I would normally not remember to use. Stitching the yellow primrose at the bottom, I made a few changes too. The instructions tell you to whip each blanket stitch with a pesky metallic thread. That's sound advice if you really hate yourself :). The metallic fibres constantly catch on your silk blanket stitches. Instead, I worked a few arbitrary back stitches to add the required sparkle. Much easier. Then the instructions want you to use a different silk thread to add two detached blanket stitches into every other blanket stitch. Now again, if you don't like yourself too much... Instead, I worked a normal blanket stitch edge around the whole flower. This produces pretty much the same look as the pictures in Inspirations do.
It seems that the Strawberry Fayre project follows a certain mantra: be as complicated with your needle and thread as you can be in tight spaces! This does not make for an enjoyable nor easily achievable stitching project. Struggling on your own can be quite disheartening. Luckily, I have a pretty amazing Instagram (@maerchenhaftesstickengrimm) following and they cheered me on. Basically, they gave me permission to change things when I saw fit and told me that they would still love me if I did so. Pretty amazing people, don't you think?
So, I stopped being hard on myself and I dived into the forget-me-not sprays. You make the tiny beaded flower heads separately and then you couch them into place. I really fell back in love whit the project. Maybe beads are the solution for everything?
To finish off the front heart, only the three strawberries remained. They are quite fun to do as well. What do you expect? They contain beads as well :). However, once these gorgeous red fruits were finished, my husband started an argument about them being raspberries rather than strawberries. To settle the argument, I ran an Instagram poll. Shockingly, 94% of the poll takers thought so too! Raspberry Fayre it is then...
P.S. If you would like to see how others tackle Raspberry Fayre, hop over to Janet Granger's blog for another detailed stitch along.
P.P.S. Please note: My studio is closed coming Friday and Saturday (23rd & 24th February) due to me attending my Aunt's memorial service.
Jessica M. Grimm
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