10 December 2019

A Garden for my Scissors

About a month ago, Lorna Bateman came to town to teach a couple of classes for my local chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA). She brought a lot of gorgeous threads with her!

Assortment of hand-dyed threads in garden colours

The first class was the scissors keeper from her recently published book Embroidered Country Gardens.

Cover of book 'Embroidered Country Gardens' by Lorna Bateman

Lorna brought pieces from the book including the scissors keeper. It's so much fun seeing actual published items in person.

Lorna Bateman's scissors keeper as stitched by her.

The majority of the threads for the keeper are Chameleon hand-dyed DMC perlé #12 threads which are fairly fine size-wise. They are variegated, some subtly and some not so subtly. These are the beautiful threads that came in the kit:

Chameleon variegated cotton threads in assorted colours for scissors keeper kit.

Unfortunately for me, Lorna brought a lot of additional threads with her--for purchase--and she encouraged us to try other colours. I happily indulged.

The project is stitched on a cotton/linen blend fabric in a sort of oatmeal colour. Lorna provided many different milliners and crewel needles in the kit. She also included a pair of Italian Premax scissors. That's a complete scissors keeper kit!

The first section that we worked was the wisteria on the back part of the keeper. I couldn't get the blend I wanted with my initial set of purples. I had too much contrast and the wisteria looked awful!

Wisteria with too much contrast and needing to be redone.

So, I went hunting for more purples. I ended up with these three:


Better selection of purples for Wisteria re-stitch

I believe the leftmost one came with the kit. The other two are special because they are unique one-off threads, so have no name designation. These colours worked nicely. The finished wisteria looks so much nicer although I did go a bit overboard on the leaves!

Embroidered wisteria using new set of colours with better shading.

The next part we worked on was the front. By the end of the class I had completed this much:

Scissors keeper front as it looked at the end of class. Many aspects need to be redone.

I wasn't happy with a lot of what I'd done. I wanted to see something different with the pots at the bottom, the contrast on the leftmost delphinium was bad, the hollyhock wasn't right, and I was on the fence about the yellow roses.

So, I ripped all those parts out--except the roses--and actually thought about what I wanted to do.

I decided to use the wisteria colours on the errant delphinium, change up the colours on the hollyhocks, and do some shading on the pots.

Front of scissors keeper showing redone elements.

I was much happier with the new version. I used DMC floss on the pots and the hollyhock centres.

Now I had to decided what to do about the roses. The original design uses cast-on stitch which creates an interesting sort of frilly effect. I thought I'd do the roses with that stitch, but as I re-worked the bottom portion of the design I started talking myself into using bullions for the roses. I wanted a more structured look so, out came the cast-on roses.

I had managed to acquire a nice variety of yellow perlés from Lorna's selection. I stitched the open roses with dark centres and lighter outer petals. For the buds, I used an even deeper golden yellow paired with the yellow used for the centres of the open flowers. All the roses including the buds are stitched with bullions. I love the colour!

Spray of yellow bullions roses and buds

I'm glad I did the bullions; it was good practice. However, I'm not good at bullion roses. These are OK because they don't have to be identical and they look somewhat naturalistic. If I needed identically stitched bullions roses for a stylised design, I'd be in big trouble.

Here's the current status:

The current status of the scissors keeper. Everything is done except for the flowers in the pots at the bottom.

I've definitely gone in a different colour direction from the original scissors keeper. I'm curious to see what I do with the pots.

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