Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blackwork Bookmark - Now In Colour!

I have some very exciting news to share - my blackwork bookmark now has some colour!


and After:

Neato, hey?! I'm so very happy with the way the colours turned out. I really wasn't sure how they would look, as pulling a colourway was a bit harder than you might think. You see, the backing fabric has four basic colours, which is obvious from these photos - a purple, a teal, a magenta and a hot pink, with a highlight of metallic gold. But it's not so easy to see that within each section, there is a gradient of light to dark tones that really provides three different options - a dark, medium and light colourway. I went with the brights, pulling the lightest highlight tones from the fabric, even though my initial impulse was to land in the middle. I'm glad I did though, as the the brights look very cheery against the black. 

I love, love, love this design! This is a freebie that you can stitch yourself, designed by Jeanne Dansby of WyrdByrd Designs. Jeanne has a generous collection of excellent blackwork charts available on her website, and as she recently wrote in a wonderful post that I highly recommend reading, although most of her designs are large and complex, they are composed of individual motifs. And the best part is that you can pull out those individual motifs that take your fancy and make smaller projects with them!

Although her post talks about starting with one motif and adding more to make a larger design, I essentially did the opposite - I started with her larger pattern called Robin's Nite and made the bookmark out of just the center square medallion, with two repeats, using the beautiful (and fun to stitch!) geometric floral motif as a connector in the middle.

The only real change I made was to make the sides of the squares straight to fit the narrow design area of my bookmark. You may notice I was a bit skimpy with the Aida; I'm using a scrap leftover from Monarch, and so the fit is a bit tight. Although I usually don't bother to do so, I took the time to do a running stitch around the edges to prevent fraying before I started so that I could maximise the space available on the fabric strip. You may want to leave yourself a little more wiggle room, though, if you decide to stitch this too.

As this is my first cross-stitched bookmark, the finishing is going to be an experiment! I'm thinking of using a ribbon for the marker, but that may change. I'd like to add a charm of some sort to the marker as well, something pretty and shiny :) I'm going to have to dig in my bead box and see what I can come up with! I'll have more photos when I'm done, and I will post a full stitching review then.

This is a wonderful project to try if you're new to blackwork, as there are no fractional stitches, and you can just sort of follow the lines with your specialty stitches; instead of trying to fit a predetermined stitch type into the design, I just made it up as I went along.

Spontaneous specialty stitching is fun! ;)


Karyn said...

I haven't seen blackwork like this yet. The colours within the white look gorgeous. I'm interested to see the finishing as I've only bought prefinished cross stitch bookmarks so as to avoid securing the ends myself. =]

requilt said...

I love the colors you picked to match the pretty fabric. Your stitching is just lovely.

CrazyStitcher said...

The word 'stunning' springs to mind. I really am impressed, considering this is your first cross-stitched bookmark. Looking forward to seeing some more piccies when your bookmark is complete. :-D x

Flossy said...

Great work on the bookmark, it looks fab!

Flossy x

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Wow! Thanks so much everyone!

Karyn - Thanks very much for your kind words, but I can't take any credit for the specialty stitches idea; I was inspired by Jeanne Dansby's excellent post about designing Monarch, and having loved working that, I find myself experimenting with the technique :)

Part of the reason that I never tried to stitch a bookmark before was the whole issue of finishing, so I completely understand where you're coming from there. Not sure how it's going to turn out but I'm going to give it a good try ;)

Rita: Thank you for the wonderful compliment!

CrazyStitcher: Thanks so much for your lovely note! There will definitely be more photos as I go along, although probably not for a few days as I'm still deciding on the materials for the marker and the way I want to finish it. So many choices, so much sparkle I could add ;)

Flossy: Thanks very much!

Moonsilk Stitches said...

Wow! this is great. I popped over to tell you you'd won the crewel book over on Moonsilk Stitches and was quite pleased to see your most recent work. Please e-mail me your address. Thanks!

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much for your lovely comments! I can't believe that I won the giveway! Will e-mail you back. Thanks again :)

Rainy Day Crafter said...

Oh, this is just so pretty! The colours go incredibly well with the backing fabric and tie the whole thing together.

I was already tempted to have a go at some blackwork, but I'm even more tempted after seeing this, lol!

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Rainy Day - thanks very much for your nice comment :) I'm glad you like the colours too! As I keep working with it, I'm glad I went with the brights I did. They really stand out. Blackwork is such fun that it quickly becomes addicting!