Thursday, April 4, 2013
A Very Special Snowflake :)
I know it's officially supposed to be Spring, but it's still snowing outside as I type this, white fluffy flurries floating around under dull grey skies, landing on dead grass and dirty snow like a particularly depressing snow globe. Winter hasn't quite finished here yet, so I'm going to take this opportunity to introduce to you to my Beaded Blackwork Snowflake! This little FREE design is my variation on WyrdByrd designer Jeanne Dansby's wonderful "September Snowflake", part of her Blackwork Smalls series (scroll about halfway down on the page for the pattern).
When Jeanne first posted this beautiful design last Fall, I wanted to stitch it up as an ornament right away, but I had gift stitching for Christmas to do so it was put aside. In the quiet few days after all the holiday fuss, I finally sat down and stitched it for myself, knowing it was too late to hang it on the tree but intending it to be a sort of Winter wall ornament :) This was a wonderfully quick stitch, happily finished over the course of a single dedicated afternoon! Once started, I didn't want to stop ;)
Here's a close-up look at the center of the Snowflake. As you can see, I glittered up the design, adding metallic fill stitches and some pretty seed beads! I also stitched some more boxes and beads between the outside points since I wanted some more sparkle :) The fabric is Charles Craft GS Aida, 14 count, in Navy, and the blackwork was done in my favourite white DMC Pearl (Perle) Cotton #8, with a size 24 needle.
Above you can see the metallic silver thread I used for my fill stitches and my seed beads. I used Mill Hill Petite Glass Beads in #42010 (silver-lined silver); I went with the Petites instead of the regular size because I wanted the beads to nestle nicely in the stitched white squares. I attached each bead with a cross-stitch, using a beading needle and Gutermann sewing thread in white so that the tacking stitches blended in.
You may notice that the silver thread is not my usual DMC Light Effects. It is DMC, but it is their "Metallic Embroidery Thread", Art 283 Z, Light Silver. This thread is marketed to hand-embroiderers and is most commonly sold in the Quilting section! It is a non-divisible thread that also comes in shades of gold (this colour is just called Silver on the website). It is thick and smooth and a joy to work with, although the cut ends do fray apart as you stitch, so I took care to cut extra length on each strand I used, just like I do with regular metallics. This thread has a lovely high shine!
Here are all my supplies together along with a snippet of my chosen backing fabric:
The blue tape around the edges is my solution for stitching quick projects in the hand rather than in the hoop - it's low tack painter's type! Unlike masking tape, the surface isn't very sticky, just enough to grab the fabric and prevent it from fraying but not adhesive enough to rip the threads of the Aida apart when you pull it off. I think it was made by 3M, but can't recall because the one roll of tape has lasted me years :)
It's hard to see, but the backing fabric is a printed cotton with silver sparkles!
That's the nearest I could get to the true colours of the fabric, although it makes my Snowflake look really dark. I chose the fabric to echo the shine of the silver beads:
So there you have it! I'm intending to finish the ornament up sometime soon rather than wait until next year, because everything gets lost in the madness of the holiday season. I'll try and take some pictures of the process to share! In the meantime, I'm still working on my Floral Heart post - I took more photos than I thought, although most of them didn't turn out, argh! - and hope to have that up for this weekend ;)
If you now want a snowflake of your very own, try the virtual Make-A-Flake!