I’ve been exploring feathers as part of a new design, and this is my first “practice feather” on a scrap of calico, in some new, beautiful, hand-dyed threads from Cottage Garden Threads.
I have purchased 5 different variegated colours from their stranded cotton range, in deliciously subtle and unusual colour combinations. The colours are not as bright as those that I have used in recent times, but I think they suit the delicate nature of feathers perfectly, (and the colour names are just delightful).As you can see, my new design, (which I am still developing) features not only feathers but also hand drawn lettering, something I have been wanting to try my hand at. I tend to completely draw up a design in Illustrator before stitching, to get the visual balance of a project right, but sometimes it can be a little hard to get the scale right. Some of the details I have drawn onscreen may still be a little too detailed, so stitching up one of the feathers was a good way to try out the scale, and the beautiful colours. I will probably play with the size of both the lettering and the feathers until I am happy, and ready to stitch out the whole thing.There is a lot of stitching involved with this project, and I am not as fast as some other designers out there, so it might take me a while, but a large part of the delight will just be in seeing how the colours turn out. The threads I have used for this feather are ‘500 Clivea’ which is the orange coloured thread on the left, and ‘507 Rusty Gate’ which is the petrol-sheen coloured thread on the right, which contains dusty blues, greens and purples.
I have a wonderful working area to get stitching in, because my cutting table is looking the best it has in months, clean, and ready for action. I have been meaning to tidy up anyway, but I had a large nudge, in the form of a small insect that caused a scary allergic reaction in Michaela. I’m embarrassed, but I’m all for being authentic, because my life is not a series of well shot, crafty vignettes. It’s a long story, but the bare bones are that Lotta, (our very small dog) caught fleas for the first time in her 4 years, in spite of the all-in-one treatment she was on to avoid them. She only had a few fleas (because of the treatment) but Michaela was bitten, and over the course of the day her bites (on her arm) turned into large painful eggs, and her eyes swelled up. Thankfully it didn’t compromise her airways, and antihistamine eventually settled it down.We sent the kids away to their grandparents, and spent last weekend feverishly vacuuming, packing and covering electrics, before setting off 6 flea bombs throughout the house. All week there has been more vacuuming, (and I wiped down every horizontal surface 4 times, to get rid of the nasty chemicals). This week I think I have done 11 loads of washing, including 2 loads that were already clean, (but not yet put away before we found out about the fleas). We’re tired, but our house is super clean, and clutter free, and there is no sign of the little parasites, which is just as well, because we can’t chance Michaela getting bitten again, as her reaction would likely be stronger. Just in case, Michaela has, once again, got an epipen.
So the past week has been all about feathers and insects, but I would rather it had only been about feathers.