Exquisite Threads (Part II)

(Continued from Part I)

The samplers were one of the most interesting parts of the NGV's historical embroidery exhibition. They were displayed in a table-height cabinet with seats so people can take their time examining them. They're very much a display of skill and invention, as well as part of an embroiderer's education - the fine detail in them was seriously impressive, especially as some were made by children! Just mind-boggling.

I've included some close-ups as well as photos of the whole samplers.
Click to enlarge...

The lacy background is made of teeny-tiny patterns of holes!

Exquisite Threads (Part I)

Mum and Oma, this one's for you! :)

Last Thursday I treated myself to a trip to the NGV, to see the Exquisite Threads: English Embroidery 1600s-1900s exhibition. For a fibre-arts nerd who has dabbled in embroidery and cross-stitch, it was totally amazing!
I spent over an hour peering closely at the stitches, taking photos, and eavesdropping on a group of women who were explaining the techniques to each other.

Some things I found surprising were the raised or 3D style of embroidery on some of the 17th and 18thC items - this isn't always apparent in photos, so a real-life look was eye-opening. The shading and range of colours was also a surprise, and got me wondering about the dyeing industry for embroidery threads. And the fineness of the work was a shock in some cases - again, it can be hard to imagine the correct scale unless you're actually there.

Click to enlarge the photos for a closer look...

The embroidery on this is very 3D!


A 'stomacher'

The black background is only partially filled-in

Some serious 3D work!

A dear little deer

A detail from a gigantic 19thC piece

See Part II for the samplers (they deserve their own post)!

Elementary, my dear

My periodic table cross-stitch, in progress...

I started with the 'key' at the bottom left, mainly so I could try out all the colours, and make sure the back-stitched letters over the top are reasonably legible. I plan to stitch the element symbols in order, for added geekiness!

I've gone for a soft, vintage-inspired colour scheme, and I tea-dyed my white fabric to a light beige to suit. Instead of black, the back-stitched lines, letters, and numbers are a dark coffee-bean brown. I may add a decorative border once I've finished the table, we shall see...

Out of yarn error

Progress has been halted on my Chickadee cardie. I finished the left sleeve (adjusting the number of repeats for my freakishly short arms) and began the right sleeve, but ran out of yarn 1/3 of the way through. Never fear, I have another two giant skeins, but they're in Wellington. I didn't think I'd make this much progress while in Whakatane, so I under-packed!

With a dearth of ready-to-go knitting projects, I started my first cross-stitch project in years, using this pattern: Periodic Table of the Elements. Knowing me and cross-stitch, this will be a long-term project to chip away at.

I've also been pondering my next big knitting project, which I think might be this pretty jersey: Stasis Pullover.

I love Brooklyn Tweed patterns, and this is such a sweet, old-school design. I think some of The Little Wool Co's heathered 4ply wool would be lovely for this. Time to have some fun with sample cards!