Loveday Epic crewelwork sampler by Nicola Jarvis’s

There has been so little time to stitch over the past four weeks, but wonderful times have been had in Florence and Winchester!

But, today I started on Mr Woodpecker. All shades of grey and black with a splash of glitz and crimson. A little more bling than Nicola might prefer, but I’ve used a very fine red metallic braid by Kreinik, and a black and silver Madeira thread I purchased at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show this year, to do the seed stitches and some of the couching. Although far from perfect, I’ve really enjoyed my afternoon and Mr Woodpecker looks much happier!! Me, not so much, I will never try to unpick seed stitching again, better to live with what you didn’t do well enough!

I’ve now stitched the head with French Knots using a single strand of black Appleton’s. This is a wonderful stitch that is so easy to do, but it is difficult to get a nice curve. I used lots of little single twists to fill in the small gaps to achieve a better curve. That works well I think.

I then did the Vermicelli couching on the underbelly using a single strand of grey Appleton’s thread and the black and silver Madeira. I’ve learnt that I find it very difficult to do random! With Vermicilli couching, you should couch your stitch down in a random pattern without crossing over another thread in the area in which you are stitching. I don’t mind my stitching of the belly, but I don’t love it, it could be much better. Perhaps I’ll take it out at the end? I feel there is too much white space.

The head is now completed and most of the wing. Really struggled with the slanted satin stitch last night. I’ve stitched this section numerous times, but had to get it right last night, as I was running out of wool! So, I visited Mary Corbet’s page on this stitch, and it gave me the boost I needed to go on, albeit not very well! But, as with everything, once you get into the rhythm, your stitching gets better. I keep a stitch diagram to my left which reminds me how to get the direction of the stitch running at the right angle. This visual reminder works best for me. I still need to complete the black satin stripes on the wing, the rest of the seeding and the claws. My aim is to complete Mr Woodpecker by next weekend. But, a very busy work schedule looms forebodingly this week!

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On another note, although below freezing, with the clouds looking heavy with snow, it’s still light at 4:20pm, and I am beginning to think what seed potatoes I will plant this year!

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