I was rummaging around in my fabric stash the other day, looking for some linen to make a tablecloth, when I came across this piece of crewel work.
Oh my goodness that took me back. It was a kit that I got from mum and dad as a present for passing my 11 plus exam! For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it was an examination taken in the last year of primary school at the age of 11, or 10 in my case, and determined whether or not your education continued at a Grammar school or what was known as a 'Secondary Modern' school. Given that I am 56 going on 57, that makes it about 45 years old.
I was 10 going on 11 when I stitched it but it never got hung on my wall because I was disappointed with my needlework skills; goodness knows why because it doesn't look too bad for a young girl. However, I have perfectionism in my genes and so I know that I didn't like it because I hadn't covered all the transfer markings properly - see the green lines in this close-up on the outer edge of the flower and the leaf below.
When I showed it to Mike he asked if I could do anything to cover them up and of course I could. So I did. I went back to rummaging; this time in my stash of crewel and tapestry wools. I picked out these skeins thinking they were quite close then searched for some greens………...
……and this is what I found - the remains of the original kit, neatly enclosed in a plastic bag. Oh the joy of being a hoarder! So I had the perfect colours with which to complete it.
A few more long-and-short stitches where needed around the edge of the flowers, extra french knots for the stamens and the judicious use of stab stitches to edge some of the leaves and stems did the trick.
The hanging frame was designed to serve as an embroidery hoop but didn't really do it justice. This photo was taken before I'd done the extra embroidery.
I wracked my brain trying to think how to frame it and then I remembered a lovely oval frame that I'd used for a pressed flower picture at our last home. More rummaging required.
The backing plate was cracked so it was a good job that Mike was on hand to make me a new one out of hardboard.
The next worry was that the embroidery would fit in the frame. Here it is in its unstretched form. It looks as if I'm going to lose a few bits on the edges but I think it might work because it looks so much better than the original mount.
Fingers crossed it works out OK as I think the design sits well in an oval rather than an oblong frame.