I'm talking about The Four Elements series by The Victoria Sampler. I absolutely adore their (Thea's) designs as the majority of them combine all the things I love (silks, speciality stitches, drawn thread and pulled thread) into one beautiful package.
Here is the one I stitched up last year, Crimson Fire - it terrified me for so long due to the doves' eyes, formerly my hardanger nemesis (especially if they were surrounded by anything other than kloster blocks!), but in the four years or so that this one was sat in a drawer, I'd had quite a bit of practice with them:
The remaining three in the series were always pegged to be in my Autumn/Winter stitching as although they are challenging designs they aren't difficult and now my Summer butterfly brain has gone and the nights are drawing in (boo hiss!) I can concentrate on my stitching more.
So here are the other designs in the series:
|Fresh Air Sampler|
As far as materials for each of these, I'm using antique white cashel linen for all of them. I'd used white quaker for Crimson Fire and I usually like to use the same fabric for matching sets, but when it came to it I figured what are the chances that not only will these get framed but actually find themselves side by side on a wall somewhere when they are finished lol! Cashel was what I had so it's what I went with, though hindsight tells me I could have been easier on myself and gone with Brittney instead but I didn't want to cut into my metre pieces. For threads, I've mainly gone with what is listed in the chart where I have it in my stash, with a few substitutions here and there as I much prefer using Petite Treasure Braid over Kreinik any day of the week!
I started all three and worked down until the first drawn thread band on each, just so I could have fresh eyes for that bit and not be squissor happy!
Ignore the unsightly threads on Crystal Waters, they'll be gone when the design is finished. I've kept them on for added security as this is a very delicate piece of cutwork due to groups of four threads being cut on the side panels but unusually groups of six threads being cut in the centre panel (leaving some bars literally holding on by a thread, or two!). Ordinarily my general rule of thumb is to leave all cutwork until the stitching is done, but I couldn't face stitching the whole piece and then have the cutwork not go right. How do I know that could happen? Because I've stitched that hardanger window twice - the first time following the instructions but the second time I went with my instincts which I should have gone with in the first place :).
Incidentally if you like the look of these, you can find free patterns on The Victoria Sampler website which takes small sections of these particular designs and charts them to be turned into needle cases, pin cushions and pillows (you might be able to see the end results on the charts in the pic above).
I'll be back in the next few days with another new start which is proving mighty hard to put down!