Monday, 22 March 2021

Ice Flame Flower Stitchscape

It's quite a pretentious name for such a little hoop - Ice Flame Flower - but it's the one that's stuck in my head so that's what it will be. This is a bonus hoop if you like because I came across the fabrics all tucked together in my stash whilst I was putting together a different hoop. Stash fabrics generally get put into the drawers any which way (I had started out all organised and colour coded but it swiftly gets out of control so I've given up) but these ones had been put all together and yellow and blue is such a smashing colour combination, don't you think? 

I had a spare 10cm hoop lying around, as you do, so I quickly cut and stitched the fabrics down which was literally the work of five minutes and meant I had a spare hoop for a rainy day. Something this size is also great for travelling with, not that we're going anywhere at the moment, because you can just slip it into a bag with a couple of skeins of thread, a needle and your scissors and have a project to work on wherever you end up! I quite enjoy going somewhere with a lovely view, parking up, pouring a coffee from a Thermos and settling back for some relaxing stitching, maybe followed by a walk. 

We've been very restrained though and barely used the car at all other than for hospital visits and the odd back up food shop so no gorgeous views for me! Lockdown in Winter is much harder than lockdown in Summer - you can't get outside as much, the light is generally poor even in the middle of the day and the trees are all asleep with not much colour outside the window to look at. 

Maybe that's why my Stitchscapes are getting even more colourful, as a way to combat the grey outside! Although, saying that, we went for a walk around the town at the weekend and marvelled at the Daffodils, early Hyacinths, Crocuses, Grape Hyacinths, Celandines and green buds coming on the trees. It was the Spring Equinox on Saturday so we are well on our way to colour and the outside now! There's even a tentative countdown to the end of lockdown too which is marvellous!

I hadn't originally intended to use the smooth purl pieces on this Stitchscape as they arrived well after I'd tacked the fabrics down, but a couple of the colours I'd purchased went so brilliantly with the blues that I just had to use them. The pieces cut were much smaller than in the Tourmaline Peak Stitchscape so they are tighter and more compact and actually I'm really pleased that I had these because otherwise this piece could have been quite boring! 

The top layers are really simply treated, seed stitches cover the top blue layer with bullions on the fabric edge, a single strand of split stitch follows the horizontal lines on the striped yellow fabric below and a neat-ish row of french knots top the edge. 

I've used a slightly brighter yellow to work two strands of straight stitch between the dots on the yellow underneath, which is actually a polka dot print, to create a grid like appearance, with french knots in a contrasting blue at the point where the stitches meet on the dots. 

The statement flower at the bottom had initially had all obvious lines in the batik print drawn round with a single strand of back stitch in a matching blue colour. The centre of the flower had some little sections in it which were also gone around with back stitch and the smooth purl worked in the larger areas around those circled sections. It looked a little bit bare in the centre where the holes were so I went back and filled in those sections with lovely oily blue beads which has worked really nicely because it adds a different sort of shine to the centre. 

It doesn't always show up well on camera but in person you can really see the stripes of the coils the smooth purl is made up of and they have a soft edge to them where the light reflects - it's a tricky thing to try and explain and I'm probably not doing a very good job! Can you sort of see it below?

I was thinking of leaving it there, other than edging this layer, but it looked a little naked so I decided to try little french knots in the petals matching the colour underneath. I love that the colour gradients and changes around the flower, very much like the flames it's named after! I started with the yellow that's almost heading into green and worked two strand, one twist french knot all around the edge and in the centre of the spikes into the centre, filling in areas of the body of the petal and switching to two twist french knots in sections to cover more ground. As the colours change around the flower I've changed my colours to a much warmer yellow and a rosy orange, to a dark green, a purplish brown and even a really light zesty green - although that one matches the bright yellow a little too well so you can't really see it. 

The edge of this layer was then finished with a contrasting single strand of running stitch just along the edge of the fabric to help hold it down and prevent any fraying or movement (and provide the opposite contrast to the polka dot layer above), and then two full pieces of 6 stranded floss twisted and couched down using a single strand of the same colour. 

I really like the composition of this piece with the smooth purl and happy shininess at the bottom. The extra colours in the flower just lift the piece slightly from being dull and boring but the general combination of colours is warm and happy so I'm very chuffed with my bonus Stitchscape!

The stitches used in total are; seed stitch, bullion knots, french knots, split stitch, straight stitch, running stitch, couching and beading. Nice and simple!

I will probably back this piece with white felt and then add it to my Etsy shop at some point where it can hang out with all of my other original pieces so if you are interested, keep your eyes peeled. 

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