Hearts stitch journal, 01 March 2018

“When March winds do blow, we shall have snow.” We got about half an inch of powdery white stuff overnight, courtesy of the Beast from the East. We were spared the worst, though: temperatures were up to minus-3C this morning and the high winds had dropped. Beneath the bird feeder were many bird prints from ground feeders such as blackbirds and dunnocks, while all over the garden were the prints of rabbits and feral cats. Today’s threads are variegated brown six-strand cotton from Anchor, used as the basis for the burden stitch, white tapestry cotton from DMC, vintage brown perlé no 5 from Cartier-Bresson and vintage black rayon floss. The stitches are reverse chain for the outline, burden stitch for the background and fern stitch for the bird prints. Burden stitch is used in needlepoint but also in crewelwork to convey bumpy ground – it results in a thick, raised stitch, which doesn’t really show in these pictures. The outline – a first for me – was sewn after the fill, as I didn’t want a gap around the edge. My new background fabric is an old primrose-coloured linen dress from Marks & Spencer, which I overdyed with grey to knock it back a bit. I love this dress with a passion and it’s good to be able to use a bit of it again.

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