Sunday, 14 April 2013


At the beginning of the year I told you about commissions I'd received.  I must admit that it has taken me longer than I expected to finish the first.  Well, I've finally started work on the second.

It is an embroidery of a poem written especially for a friend of my BIL's when she was presented with a special award at the Welsh National Eisteddfod.  Her name means 'snowdrop' in Welsh, so he's requested a snowdrop border for it.

After much searching in books and online, I finally fell for this Art Nouveau one from this book.
My needlework book collection - well, some of it!
And for those of you who aren't very familiar with plotting cross stitch charts, this is the process I followed:

After choosing a font I liked, I plotted the words of the poem on grid paper.  Once I'd finished that, I worked out the centre of the poem (dividing the number of squares the width of the words takes by 2 and ditto with the height of the words) and marked that on the chart.

I photocopied the chart of the border a number of times and played around with them to get the best option for turning corners (IMHO, of course).  I also decided which part of the design worked best at the 'centre' so that I could line this up with the centre of the words.

Photocopies of the border used to try out different 'corner' options (with plotted poem)
With all of this decided, I copied the border (as the photocopies weren't on the same scale as my chart for the poem - bad planning on my part and I expect there would be a way of photocopying to the correct scale or choosing the correct scale grid paper for plotting!) to work out the scale in relation to the poem.  I then 'played' around a bit with the border in relation to the words to work out how many times the motif would fit across and up the poem in order that I could try to work out how much space there would be around the words.  Being totally honest, I had got quite confused by this point was loosing interest in it all.  I ended up 'guess-timating' 3 motifs across and 2 up, plus the corner and came up with 3 full plus two 'halves' along the top and bottom; 2 full plus two 'halves' up each side.  If you're still following - congratulations and stick with me a bit longer.  If not, I hope some photos will help clarify things a little.
Up-scaled border motif with poem
My bits of plotting, calculations and jottings
To cut a long-ish story short, with all those calculations done I realised that I needed to find a larger font for the poem as there would be far too much 'white' space around it otherwise!

Anyhow, with all of this done (phew, time for a well-deserved cuppa and biscuit I think - for you and me!) it was time to work out how much fabric I needed.  Thankfully you can find help with this online like this for example.

I've decided to go with an evenweave fabric as a) I prefer it, b) I think it will suit the style of the border better and c) I think the recipient will like it and it will suit her decor (from what I know of her).

As for the colours, well, for once, that was a little easier to decide on than the rest.  Firstly, snowdrops are white and green - easy.  And secondly, the lady in question leads a dance group and the group's signature colour is purple.  So, the border in white and green and the poem in purple (which thankfully goes quite well with green and white - lucky that!) on a natural linen background (so that the white of the snowdrops shows up nicely).

So, off I go .....
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