Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gallery: Berlin Work and Cross Stitch

With several long-term projects either on-hold or progressing slowly, I decided to post some older, mercifully complete, novelties.

Berlin-work slippers and cardcase in Berlin-work with beads.
Pair of slippers, modeled by scrap fabric, and the front of the card case.

Close up of card case.
Close-up on the card case.

Berlin-work slipper sole.
Slipper sole and back of card case.

Heel of Berlin-work slipper with Greek key design.
Heel of slipper, showing the back seam.

I started the slippers in summer 2013.  They were inspired by an 1864 Godey's pattern (IIRC), for a 1-piece slipper in Berlin work.  The original motif was small musicians in black on a green background.  I opted for a repeated Greek key design (which, in retrospect, should have been spaced much farther apart so as to not get lost in the repeats)--it's hard to tell that one slipper is green on purple, the other purple on green.  I used leather for the soles (I traced the bottoms of my Robert Land walking shoes, so I'd have something that fits comfortably); the lining is cotton (with ugly visible stitching inside), and the binding purple silk.  For true Berlin-work, they should have been done in wool thread on canvas, but as it was my first attempt I used materials available to hand (cotton floss on Aida fabric).  In my opinion, the worst part was getting the leather needle out and stitching the upper to the sole.  I really wish I could have just "sent them out to made up"...   

The card-case (from Peterson's 1861), is done in it's original color scheme.  I used 10-count Aida and cotton floss (again, it called for canvas, and wool--except for the yellow, which was to be silk).  The case is decorated in white and clear glass beads, lined with scrap silk, and closes with a shell button and thread loop.  At first I made a mistake with the beads; the directions just said to alternate them, so the first square I stitched had alternating white and clear beads--the motif wasn't discernible, and it just looked sort of sloppy. Alternating the color blocks proved much more satisfying.

It was the success of the card-case that made me brave enough to attempt the in-progress workbasket, and more particularly to order the proper supplies for it (Penelope cloth, which I understand to be the closest modern equivalent to period cotton canvas, two shades of wool thread, and yellow silk thread for the accents).  I'm nearly half-way through the workbasket embroidery: I've finished about 16" of the 35" length, which leaves an estimated 114 square inches to go, or about 11,400 cross and 570 back stitches.

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