Hearts stitch journal, 18 February 2018

A rainy grey morning today. Not that I mind, after yesterday’s gorgeously sunny walk. Today, there was a light drizzle as I walked the dog, throwing the new ball that he found yesterday. Some 15 years ago, I planted a variegated Portugal laurel across the courtyard so that I would have something colourful to look at in winter. It’s always struggled against its north wall and even now is only some seven or eight feet high, but it is very pretty with its pink stems and splashy green, pink and pale lemon leaves. Today, I decided to indulge in my real embroidery love – crewel work – which I find more creative and interpretative than, for instance, satin stitch. The lack of requirement for realism is something I find very enticing (I got into it after seeing joyfully mad blue and red crewelwork bees on a 16th-century piece).

Today’s threads are all vintage: grey Cartier-Bresson perlé no 5, various green, pink and lemon Anchor six-strand cottons used in strands of 6, 3 and 2, and – a new find for me – Peri-Lusta ‘Convent Cotton’ in ecru. I was a bit unsure, from the Ebay images, of what to expect from Convent Cotton, but I find they are a kind of coton à broder, nicely smooth and lustrous, that needs to be used double or treble in the needle. Today’s stitches are simple reverse chain for the outline and for the fill, battlement couching and stem stitch. I laid the base in several layers of dark green, mid-green, ecru and pink, then couched it with pale green, then decided it needed a bit more fill, so added more pale green and dark green and couched it down with lemon. Finally, a layer of mid-green stem stitch covers up the dodgy outline. This was a lot of fun to do – I really enjoyed it.

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