Saturday, 21 June 2014

Wedding Ring Cushion/Pillow Design Process

Today I want to share with you the first stages of the wedding ring cushion.  I've been working on and thinking about the design on and off ever since I was first told that the couple wanted a ring cushion instead of the usual something for their home.  I played around with some CQ style ideas, like the cushion I'd done years ago, but when I saw this design, I felt it was the right basis.

Fans of Helen M Stevens will recognise this as one of her pieces.  In fact, it's the second of the masterclass lesson pieces from 'Helen M Stevens' Embroidered Flowers' and these first two photos are taken directly from that book.

I couldn't use it as it is, as there's no room for the rings to sit, unless I was to hang them off one of the leaves, but that's a bit far out for my tastes!!  So, I needed to simplify it a bit and the first step was to get a photo of the outline in the book.

I then pasted the image into a Word document three times, each one a different size so that I could decide on the right scaling.  Here you can see print outs at an image width of 6"/15cm, about 5"/12cm and then at 4"/10cm.  It turned out that the middle sized one was the best fit for the size of square I plan to work in.

I wanted to keep both types of flower - evening primrose and herb robert, in the piece, so I needed to pull the central section down and eliminate the right hand evening primrose.  I also needed to pull the left hand flower back a bit in order to leave a good sized empty space in the centre of the design for the rings to sit in.

I placed some tracing paper over the middle sized print out and began to trace the elements I wanted to keep, moving the tracing paper round each time I needed something at a different angle.

I also added in some small herb robert flowers on the left hand side to make sure that the piece was balanced colour and content wise.

Why two tracings here?  The top one is the original one that I took from the book design and then transferred to a sketch pad (see below).  By the time it'd got this far, some of the leaf and small flower shapes had become a bit distorted, so I tidied up the outlines, added in the colours etc and generally finalised the design before taking a careful new tracing ready to transfer to the smooth, white piece of silk I have ready.

Above is the finished design, (although I may well be adding a stumpwork brimstone or other yellow type of butterfly in the top right hand corner), and below are the threads I've chosen resting on the white silk.  As you can see, I've invested in some DMC threads at long last!  The reason behind this is that, even if you have the whole of a stranded cotton collection, you simply can never have enough greens!

About ten years ago, another stitcher told me that she never liked mixing Anchor and DMC threads as they had a different sheen and I must say that, from comparing them in the skein, she's right!  It's not a huge difference and, in one strand work, probably won't show, but as the DMC shades are the shinier, I'm tempted to get the corresponding DMC yellow as that's the largest single colour area and would look good a bit shinier.  I'll make a final decision on that later when I see how some of the other colours are shaping up together.  After all, Trish Burr mixes them on occasion without issue, so I'll see how I feel about it anon.

Any experience and/or opinions on this one?

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2014


Queeniepatch said...

You have already put in a lot of work in this ring cushion, showing your love for the couple. They will surely appreciate it.

Pamela said...

What a great gift!

I mix threads and haven't noticed any issues or had any problems.

Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this project progresses. The design looks .

Rachel said...

I find the DMC colours a bit clouded, but sometimes in getting really subtle variations, mixing ranges will help, and as you say, with single strands, the question of shine shouldn't be too obvious.

zenuwpees said...

La broderie est magnifique bravo Marie-Claire