Wednesday, 16 September 2015

All possible dreams

When I was young, 16 or so, my godmother gave me a very large crewel work piece.  It was a gorgeous leopard in a tree, about 12 x 18 inches, solidly worked, and was so far beyond the skills of 16 year old me.  It was the progenitor of my 10 year rule.  If you can't finish it in 10 years, you can let it go.  I let the leopard go many years ago, but I have always always wished I would have had the skill and the knowledge to go forward.

I still love embroidery. All kinds.  I would do it more but life seems to be surrounded by knitting and grandchildren and lately quilting.  I do have some things lined up though.  I have a lovely winterberry design that I want to put on some linens for my table and some cute retro days of the week transfers for tea towels.  I have that marvelous linen toweling that my daughter in law Olga brought back from Ukraine to put them on.

I think the magic showed up because I had been looking at tambour embroidery online, the kind of work used for the very stunning ornamentation of designer clothing.  A friend sent me a link, and well, you know how that goes.  As I was organizing my knitting book purchase, the most beautiful book came up on the suggested list.

I usually ignore the suggested list, but I could not look away.  I was captured, hook line and sinker and it popped into my cart.  It is a book of embroidery done in the style that is occasionally referred to as needle painting.  And it is quite breathtaking.

One thing led to another.

It was like sock yarn.  If it's under 20 dollars so you can afford it right?   Both of these were.  Most amazingly, both of these books answered all the questions that 16 year old me wanted to know about massive embroideries and crewel work and how to make a picture look real with the colours of your threads.  Had I had these books, oh so long ago, I would have completed that leopard with its golds and green and blacks.

Once you get one book in a book cart, you are, of course, flooded with more suggestions of things.

I thought about that long ago me, and how aptly named this book was. Colour Confidence.  Confidence.   What handcrafter does not want that?  So I paid its much more premium price and I am so pleased I did.  The other books will take you to school, but this one takes you to magic.  While the magic is meant for embroiderers, I think that there is going to be much to learn here for a knitter who loves colourwork.

Lovely things, all laid out with pages and pages of harmonising schemes and design schemes of colour. This book goes colour deep, colour rich, into the art of colour and why these things work.

You can go so far into learning about the way of colour things that you become changed by it.  This is colour school beyond what a knitter needs, to where a knitter wants and dreams with all her heart, to make her work magic.

And then, to top it off, there are designs, flowers and florals and birds, that will simply take your breath away.  But it doesn't leave you sitting, unable to breath.  Each and every one of the splendid designs are shown broken out into bite sized pieces and it makes you feel that even you, if you take it in steps, with practice, could reproduce these masterworks.

This is never going to become an embroidery blog but I crave the understanding of this.  I crave it in the same way I craved knitting.  I don't know if any of these works of art will be translated onto fabric by me but I can dream.

Knitting was once an impossible thing for me, yet it happened.  Even if I never ever get to works of this kind, it feels really, really good to dream a possible dream.   

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