Friday 19 May 2017

Doodles in tapestry wool ...

It's exam season ... <groan!> 😩 And, if there's one thing worse than having to go off and sit a whole bunch of exams yourself, it's going through the ritual of exam season second-time-round with your kids. We've had a busy old time of it recently catching up on spellings and grammar, arithmetic and mathematical reasoning for Emi's SATS exams, and now he's headed for his end of year exams in all the other subjects.

To keep hold of my sanity when my interest in spotting adverbial clauses was waning, I dug out the little bit of tapestry wool left over from my last project. And sitting there in the quiet as Emi studied, I thought about a beautiful clematis, deep purple blossoms and waxy green leaves, coiling its way up a bamboo support.

My inspiration came from a recent gardening triumph of my mother's. Now I have to explain that my mum is the most green-fingered person I know. She has a really special gift for getting things to grow from cuttings and seed that she handbags on her travels. And, yes, that really is a verb! Over the course of my lifetime she's carried home most of her large, colourful garden in her handbag.

 She recently blew my socks off by growing the most exquisite clematis from a cutting that she took from my uncle's garden. Last time she showed it to me it was gorgeous: all healthy green leaves and swollen buds breaking out into showers of impossibly-exotic purple blossoms. I was deeply envious.

And so, sitting there in the kitchen with my son and a stack of SATS papers, I found myself day-dreaming about glamorous purple clematis vines. My left-over threads didn't run to the exact colour scheme that nature had created; I didn't have nearly enough deep purple, but I improvised and this is what came out:

In times of stress - or monumental boredom - I find the simple criss-crossing of cross-stitch soothing. You hardly have to think about what you're doing. Your eye, and the inspiration of the moment guides your stitch-work without too much thought. So it's perfect for those times when you're likely to be asked for urgent advice on finding all the factors of a random number, or  how to conjugate a Latin verb.

I designed the cross stitch with some of Emi's Sharpie pens and squared paper, working from the drawing as I went, copying each element across to see how it looked before I moved on to the next one. This is my graph, with my centre stitch edged around in grey pencil:

I carried on until I'd used up all my wool. Then I went off to Ebay and ordered more wool to fill in the background. I thought a tasteful neutral was called for. One of my pet peeves is when there's any canvas visible after the cross-stitch has been worked. I really don't like to see canvas on the finished piece.

Then I went shopping in the totally fabulous VV Rouleaux Haberdashery shop on Marylebone High Street for some trim to finish it off. If you're in the London area, you really ought to check this place out; it's off-the-scale fabulous. You'll think you've died and gone to that great pearly shopping arcade in the sky! Hopefully some time soon I'll get it all sewn together.

Happy Friday 😃

Bonny x


  1. I really thought I had commented on this...I thought you did a fantastic job. And I love clematis.

    I am so sorry for what happened over there! I hope you were not close to it? I have not looked at a map and I really should.

    1. Thank you, Rose. No, we're a long way away from Manchester geographically, but I think everyone in the country feels close to the people of Manchester in spirit after recent events.

    2. I think the whole world feels could happen here or anywhere and it seems no place is safe.