My stitching renaissance occurred when I was living in Arizona, a time in my life when I found myself missing the seasons in New Jersey more than I thought possible. 365 days of sunshine made me long for the first buds of Spring, the changing leaves of Autumn, and the blustery gray days of Winter. Without any of these things I resorted to taking breaks from big stitching projects like Blue Enigma in order to make smaller, less ambitious pieces that celebrated the seasons. Now that I’m back on the East Coast I cherish being able to, every few months, take down all the little pieces about one season and replace them with the next. Recently (a little later than was perhaps acceptable) I took down the Christmas works and put up the ones for Winter. Here are four of my favorites.
Designer: Birds of a Feather
This piece really snuck up on me. I thought it’s Quakerish, antique look was charming when I bought the chart and didn’t think much about it when I picked up a random piece of extra linen I had lying around to stitch it on. The instant I put the final stitch in it I realized that I was completely in love with it. The extra linen I used turned out to be just the thing to take this from interesting to stunning. The fabric was a piece of hand-dyed 40-count light-sage-green-with-heavy-brown-overtones linen, an unexpected choice (I think) for a winter look as I generally I gravitate towards blues or dark beiges. The quality of the charcoal over-dyed floss (I used Weeks Dye Works) brought out the coolness of the green.
Something I don’t think about enough while working is how the materials feel in my hands. This is very obvious when knitting — what does the yarn feel like runs through your fingers, how does the finish of the needles interact with the yarn, the satisfying weight on the needles as the piece becomes more finished — but it a little more subtle with needlework. In this case, the linen was phenomenal. I cannot for the life of me remember which company made it or where I bought it. It was considerably thicker, heavier and denser than any other linen I’ve used, perfect for a piece meant for the long season of Winter.
Designer: Prairie Schooler
This is part of a 3-part series, the other 2 of which I haven’t even started. This had the least interesting design of the three but I absolutely adore the verse:
In the dark grey days of Winter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
The piece hangs by the front hall closet, imbuing our winter coats, hats and scarves with the magic of Winter so missing from our days in Arizona.
Designer: Elizabeth Bradley
Schnookie stitched this (and the next work) with yarn from Elizabeth Bradley. She originally meant to make it as a Christmas gift for Boomer when she still lived in AZ, but fortunately Boomer moved back meaning we can enjoy the jaunty robin in our home. Again, the olive brown background is such an unusual color for winter and the fat snow flakes capture the wonder of a big, cozy-by-the-fire snowstorm. But best of all, I think, is the expression in the robin’s eye:
Because I always work with cool, slick silk, I love looking at the wool in Schnookie’s projects. Wool brings a depth and warmth never found in my projects. In this case I think it almost brings the fluffy little robin to life.
Designer: Elizabeth Bradley
This is one of a series of four, all four of which Schnookie has completed (and which will be featured as the year goes on). Since we can’t live in a grand English manor, pieces like this will be as close as get to having an English garden covered with snow!