Thursday, May 3, 2012

London Stitching Sneak Preview

 Having completed two projects on the trot did not mean I get to start on ideas I have set aside in an enormous "I want to be doing these" dream list... no. Oh no.
 I also have a pile of half complete projects which I've started in fits of boredom (half way through the back piece of a sweater), or temper (ripping out two thirds of the back piece of a sweater) or in a panic (certain I've just ruined the back piece of a sweater and have to put it away and just not think about it). Anyhow... I have a basket which sits in ignominy in the corner of our living room looking at me balefully with its accusations of neglect. As our house move is coming on I rather feel the need to complete some of these projects before evil forces beyond my control send them to the Island of Misfit Projects.

This particular one is so exciting and huge- I didn't realize what I was biting off when I started it. I got a bee in my bonnet last July looking at these stunning papercut maps by Famille Summerbelle. I am about 1/3 of the way through it but now all the preliminaries are out of the way its coming on much faster.

It is- for those who don't recognize it- a map of London (she says hoping people do recognize it... otherwise its pointless). I started with a regular map- of the tourist variety- with a nice size enlargement of the center of London. The difficulty with my map is that I wanted to combine the structure of a ridged street map with the artistry of doodled hand embroidery.  It is working but slowly. I am learning bits of history and fable and incorporating it into the detail of my map as I fancy. Unfortunately it means I don't know which streets I want to show and which I will be happy to disappear under a doodle before I get there.  I traced the map onto projector acetate with a permanent marker and then the experimental stage began!

 Firstly it became clear doing one small bit at a time without the map in-situ was resulting a a distorted map so I went back to the beginning. I tried seamstresses chalk, water soluble ink, pencil, etc etc etc for transferring a light version of the streets onto my white cotton. Eventually I settled on stitching all the streets with one thread onto the cotton.It would be easier with a light box- I however did it by eye with my acetate as a over-lay.
  I am enjoying it and it is easy to just stop for a few minutes and add a little bit more to it. It makes a very nice sitting with M. in the evening project as he likes to read aloud to me and I like to be read to but loath my hands being idle.

I think this could be a great way to map your own neighbourhood, or favorite coastline, or your own house with little doodles of your favorite things stitched in! I'm wondering about getting the girls to do just their own rooms in a 12 in embroidery hoop as part of a home school textile project.

This little bit is one of my favorite sections. I love China Town and Leicester Square, its always bustling, you can find really great food and the National  Gallery is just around the corner!

 X Jo


  1. Thank you! I'm so glad you left a comment- I just clicked through your blog and I LOVE IT!
    Nice meeting you!