Monthly Archives: February 2014

Five-sided box 7: cornflower and strawberry motif

To finish off the Cornflower and Strawberry panel of my five-sided box, I just needed to stitch the strawberry flowers in the bottom right hand corner. The petals were outlined in split back stitch and filled with satin stitch padding, and then a top layer of satin stitchworked on top. Tiny yellow French knots filled the centre, and single lazy daisy stitches worked in dark green completed the flowers.

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The leaves were stitched in straight stitches, with a line of stem stitch along the central vein.

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This is how this panel looks, now that it is finished:

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I’ve tried to show the effect of the satin stitch padding, and how much difference it makes to this design, by taking this sideways-on picture:

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As I finish each panel, I keep thinking ‘I like this one best’….until I start the next one  🙂

The Lord’s Prayer – an Aramaic transliteration in surface embroidery: 9 – the finished panel

This, then, is the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer panel, now that it is completed. For those of you who like to know these things, I estimate that it took about a week (on and off) to design it, 45 hours to stitch all the blue lettering, and about 120 hours altogether to make this panel. The frame measures 16 inches by 20. I decided not to use the glass that came with the frame, so that the beads, gold braid and padded areas wouldn’t get crushed. A layer of two ounce wadding beneath the stitching gave the embroidery a nice ‘slightly padded’ look, when it was mounted.

This is the completed picture, displayed with the book ‘Prayers of the Cosmos’, which was written by my Sufi teacher, Neil Douglas-Klotz (the panel was made as a gift for him). This is the book which explains the translation from the Aramaic language of the Lord’s Prayer:

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Here are some detailed photos that my husband took, when the piece was finished – his camera can take much more detailed images than mine can!

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Finally, I gave the piece, as I explained at the beginning of this series of posts, as a gift to my Sufi teacher, Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz. My husband very kindly offered to ‘take a few photos’ – he actually sneakily took *video* – here’s a few stills from the video so you can see how it turned out:

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I really enjoyed making this!

If you’d like to find out more about Neil Douglas-Klotz’s work on the translation of the Lord’s Prayer from the original Aramaic, he has a website at www.abwoon.org , where information about all his books, audio courses, music and other information about his work as an independent Biblical scholar can be found. There is also a page where you can learn to speak the Prayer of Jesus in Aramaic, line by line  here.

Here is a video of him speaking/praying the Aramaic Prayer of Jesus:

And this is another one of him teaching the first line of the Aramaic Prayer as a Dance of Universal Peace, which he created 30 years ago. The video was recorded in the USA in 2012:

There are many more videos like this on Neil’s website.

Competition time!

I’m having a competition this week to promote my new Facebook page, so visit Janet Granger Dollhouse Embroidery on Facebook to be in with a chance of winning a voucher to use on my needlepoint kit website.
To enter, go to this page on Facebook      then ‘Like’ the page, and then share the post about the competition on your own timeline. Simple!
To make sure you get to see when I post updates on the Facebook page later, it’s best to then click on the down arrow on the right hand end of the ‘Like’ button, and check ‘Get notifications’.
A competition winner will be drawn at random on Wednesday 26th February 2014, and will have the opportunity to use their voucher on any kits or chart packs on the website (the voucher must be redeemed by 31st March 2014).
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So, make sure you also have a look at my online shop  to see what you might fancy if you win  🙂

The Lord’s Prayer – an Aramaic transliteration in surface embroidery: 8 – ‘Ameyn’ embroidered area, bottom edge border, and mounting the panel

This is the original design I chose from the ‘World of Ornament’ book to run along the bottom edge of the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer panel. It is Moorish-inspired. I wanted a repeating pattern that wouldn’t be too difficult to render in embroidery, but which would give the look of a wide solid line to the base of the panel when viewed from a distance, to ‘ground’ the whole piece.

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I knew I would have to eliminate quite a lot of the detail, in order to stitch the design. Those little white dots would have to go, for a start! I worked out a repeating pattern for the colours I wanted to use, and stitched the basic lotus-shaped areas first. Then I edged the circles with Coats Ophir thread, in one continuous line from left to right going over and under the shapes, then back the other way from right to left, completing them.

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The original design had quite a ‘coloured in’ background,and I wanted to give the effect of this without doing some really dense stitching such as long and short stitch, for instance. So, I stitched a line of buttonhole stitches along the top edge in Thread Gatherer Silk ‘n’ Colors 1027 Leprechaun, altering the length of each stitch to fill the gaps between the circles. Along the bottom edge, I attached clusters of three red beads. A size 11 gold sead bead finished off each of the lotus flowers.

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The final word to decorate on the panel was the word ‘Ameyn’ – in English that’s what we know as ‘Amen’. The word ‘Amen’ is often understood as just a kind of ‘the end’ word, when people say prayers in English, but in Aramaic, the word has whole layers of meaning! One of these meanings, which I really like, is, “May this be the ground from which our new growth will spring.” It has a very organic feel to it. I chose this border pattern as my starting point for this part of the panel:

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As you can see, it doesn’t have many colours to it, but I wanted the colour selection for the embroidery to blend in with the other borders in the panel – so, it would have red and blue flowers, along with gold highlights, like the other borders.

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I found some sweet little spacer beads in my beading stash ( I do beading, too – maybe one day I’ll show you…), and I felt that these would make very nice ‘flower centres’. I attached the spacer beads with Guterman thread, then stitched individual fly stitches around each of the five sides of each bead, with one strand of light blue Anchor thread. The rest of the leaves and flowers were made from lazy daisy stitches and fly stitches. The stem was one strand of 352 Dark brown Anchor stranded thread, highlighted with couched Coats Ophir thread alongside, as in the other borders. Couched Kreinik braid #16 around the edge completed the area.

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For the final outline around the whole panel, I had various options. I had considered quite complicated bands of couched gold, red and blue, for example. or heavy stretched pearl purl intertwined with red thread (to echo the band across the centre of the panel). Or even appliqued red kid pieces at the corners, with complicated linking bands of various stitches in between. But when I looked at the almost-finished panel, I felt that it was quite busy enough, and only required a simple finish. Also, the idea of chain stitch appealed to me, as it was a simple ‘link’ around all of the words, expressing the idea that the whole Prayer can provide a link between our everyday lives and the sacred.

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So, eventually the outer border was stitched with four strands of Anchor stranded thread 152 Navy, in chain stitch.

Then came the bit I don’t like doing….I had to finish it all off. I usually rush the finishing part of any project, as I don’t have the patience to slow down and do it all properly, but it was important to me to get this right, as it’s a present for my Sufi teacher. I cut the fabric from the frame, and debated with myself whether or not to risk ironing it from the reverse side. I decided against it, as the gold thread and the beads might not have liked that!

I trimmed the muslin backing fabric and the yellow silk down until they were both about three inches wider on each side than the backing board itself. I cut the backing board slightly smaller than it was when I bought it as an insert in a frame, as I wanted the double layer of fabric, once mounted on the board, to not pucker up when I put it into the frame, but to sit quite loosely. I discarded the glass that had come with the frame, as I don’t like embroidery to be squashed behind glass. It makes the embroidery lose its tactile quality.

Before lacing the stitching to the board, I cut a piece of two ounce wadding, half an inch smaller all round than the mount board, and fixed it in place with strips of double-sided tape, so that the finished stitching would be slightly padded in the frame.

To lace the fabric to the board I used Coats perle no 12 thread, as it is very strong. I laced the fabric (both layers at once) top to bottom first, making stitches every half inch or so, and only gently pulling the thread as I went. Then I went back over the lacing, pulling really tight after making all the stitches, and holding the lacing down with my thumb after each tug, to keep the perle thread tight until the very last stitch, when I could fasten off really securely.

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Then I repeated the procedure going from side to side across the panel.

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Almost done!!