Friday, 13 March 2015

A Forgotten New Start

It didn't take long for me to deviate from my March plans!  In all fairness I had forgotten about this particular pattern which is going to make sure that my Operation Threadporn totals look pretty healthy this month!

The project in question is Box of Delights by Liz Almond of Blackwork Journey.  I'm pretty sure that hundreds of stitchers have stitched her Save the Stitches piece and now Liz has released another beautiful design that is FREE - how is a threadhead to resist!  I had collected all the parts to Save the Stitches (I must have Obsessive Collecting Disorder) despite the fact that I knew it was probably not something that I would stitch.  Box of Delights however appealed on so many levels, not least of which was the opportunity to use 36 different hand dyed threads!

I love blackwork, I love the history of blackwork and the thought that centuries ago Tudor women were creating such intricate and detailed costume embroidery by candlelight.  However, loving colour as I do, it also pleases me that blackwork doesn't have to be black.  While we're at it, goldwork doesn't have to be gold either, but whitework is ALWAYS white - otherwise it's just embroidery :).

Now for the thread choices, 36 of them to be exact.  I decided to stitch this in cotton (this stitcher's constant dilemma cotton vs silk!) and to use my Jodyri Designs stash of threads.  I could have picked thread numbers at random, but that would never have worked for this little control freak!  Instead I tried to ensure that each of the six colour groups were evenly represented and here is the result:

Total Thread Choices for Box of Delights
This selection is subject to change and one thread has already been swapped for another as whilst it was gorgeous on the skein it was too pale when using just one strand on 28ct White Brittney.
Here are my colour selections for the first block in the order in which they were stitched:
Thread Choices for Block 1
Top L-R Lust, Buttercup, Sapphires
Bottom L-R Christmas Twinkle, Black Widow, Titan's Palette
Metallics in PB03, PB24, PB48
Before the reveal though, I thought I would just mention how I choose to stitch blackwork.  Where I can, I like to use Holbein Stitch (or Double Running Stitch as it is also known).  It is a traditional blackwork stitch that results in your work being reversible (if you are a genius embroiderer!).  I'm not fussed about my work being reversible, but I like that the stitch results in a neat back, is very thread frugal and cuts down on stitching time.  Using this stitch basically means you stitch a running stitch (every other stitch on your pattern), then reverse your direction and stitch back to your starting point, filling in the "missing" stitches:
Holbein Stitch Front
Holbein Stitch - Front of work
Holbein Stitch Back
Holbein Stitch - Back of work
I used Holbein stitch for all the black stitching as when you use overdyed threads with this stitch, it messes up the colour transitions - but if that is the look you like of course you can use it!

Here is the final result with Block 1 complete:

Box of Delights Block 1 of 6 complete
Yes I am a crazy person using the metallic for French knots!  This was a joy to stitch and I am eagerly anticipating the release of the next block.  In the meantime I may well find myself completing the border and outlines if I get the urge for some hypnotic blackwork stitching!
I've also started another project - but that is another post for another day!
Happy Stitching!


  1. Looks great, love this design. You can use a lot of threads from your stash :)

  2. A great start to a gorgeous design. I can't wait to watch it grow. I am always so impressed by your eye for colour. I always doubt myself when choosing colours.

  3. Looks great my favorite is the bottom left

  4. What a gorgeous start! Thank you for the link.

  5. Beautiful design and you're off to a great start. Will be curious to see the project develop.

  6. Those threads are going to look amazing in that design !! I look forward to seeing it grow !!

  7. I just saw this pattern on Liz's site! You've made a fantastic start and I love your color selections! :-)

  8. Ugh.. I really love your threads,lol. The contrast between the black and the color is amazing. It's delicate and unique at the same time.

  9. I really want to stitch this. But I can never see myself hanging this piece or "finishing" it. Yours looks so pretty and tempting.

  10. What a fabulous design for using hand dyed threads. Yours looks lovely.

  11. Why does whitework always have to be white? Clearly I don't understand much of what whitework entails! Your metallic french knots are inspiring, I love them. This pattern is such a treat, I may have to stitch it myself.
    P.S. You are keeping your goldwork close to the vest, I am dying of curiosity! Extended goldwork post soon please :)

  12. I have had to tuck this one away in my stash. So much going on at the moment.
    I am going to start the specialty stitches on my mini mandala this weekend. Yay, Love the colors you have chosen, happy stitching.


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