Hearts stitch journal, 09 June 2018

Posting late today, as we lost power due to thunderstorms. The morning has been a roiling, pealing, cracking sort of day, with a shivering dog having to be dosed up on Zylkene. It was a bit lighter when we walked around the orchard, me in big wellies and ankle-length raincoat as the rain siled down. But even in the pouring rain there are some magical moments in the garden. One is where you walk through a huge cloud of fragrance, towards Rosa Rambling Rector and between huge banks of Paul’s Himalayan Musk – beginning to go over now – and Rosa Filipes Brenda Colvin, just coming in. Brenda Colvin is a seedling from Rosa Filipes Kiftsgate – one of the biggest of all ramblers (the original is 40ft high and 60ft wide) but while Kiftsgate is white, Brenda Colvin gives an overall impression of pinky-peach (far more so than the photograph shows) with its lovely apricot buds, shell pink petals and yellow stamens. The backs of the petals are spotted deep pink by the rain. I’ve chosen a bit of a 1930s look for today’s rose, and seem to have ended up with a rather heraldic effect. I did most of it by the light of a Victorian oil lamp, in the near-dark, the rain soughing down. Today’s threads are crochet cotton dyed grey with sorrel, and six-strand cottons, sewn in three, two and single strands, in shades of pink, peach, variegated peach, yellow, variegated pale yellow and green. The stitches are Portuguese knotted stem stitch for the heart, chain stitch for the outlines of the petals, French knots and speckling for the petal infill, pistil stitch for the stamens and a five-wrap French knot for the stigma.

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