Friday, 2 June 2017

Mountstewart- a very specific personal challenge part 2

 We have had many mailboxes over the years and all unsuitable for the mail we receive. We could never get kne that held enough but also had character and most times managed with a tiny fancy mail box with a larger ugly metal box underneath. I spend a lot of time visiting family jar the years in USA and decided they had it right when it came to mail boxes so we had to have one. It was ordered online and arrived perfect. J had it up in no time after making a suitable post for it. It was just up a week before he was leaving me to the airport as I was off to visit cousins in USA. By the time he drove back home the mail box was in pieces and a very apologetic workman offering to purchase a new one as he had colluded with it on his digger! I was at this point in Dublin airport relaxing when I received the urgent phone call, yes J does like to get things sorted immediately. I duly went inline and reordered the mail box. I am sure the company must have thought I had gone mad...two in a fortnight. Anyway by the time I got back from USA another mailbox was installed.

In case you are not familiar with the USA mail system their mailman collects as well as delivers mail so if you want something picked up you just push up the flag. There is no need for that here but my mailman seems to have decided it would be good to put the flag up once he has placed mail in the box. This is particularly handy on a wet day as I can see if he has delivered mail. It's also rather exciting when you are expecting sewing supplies as it happened this week when my Belfast linen arrived from http://www.willowfabrics.com/ and some more silk threads from http://www.thesilkmill.com/. I did some more charting this week but keen to start sewing. (16 hrs charting) my colours and codes appear to be working well and most of my silks are what I had expected although one of my choices of colour for the sky was a bit too bright so will be changing that. As I said before it has been difficult to decide what is a shade and what is fading over the years
 I have had a very interesting response from tourists as to what I am doing. Both men and women appear very interested and even more so the French and German tourists. I have been able to show them the detail with my magnifier and explain the difference between the gros  point and petit point and how on this particular piece it gives depth and feeling to the design and even texture depending on the direction the petit point has been worked, specifically on the characters on the right hand corner.

 The Belfast linen is 32 holes per inch which should help me work the gros point and the petit point without too much difficulty. It is fine though so glad I have my magnifying lamp. the linen is larger than my frame because I want a reasonable size border to begin it's not as firmly stretched as I would like so I will probably trim it a bit once I am certain of my size. I reckon it will be about 18 inch square but too anxious to trim at this early stage in case I have got my calculations wrong.
 

I used my machine to zig zag the raw edges to reduce fraying. Today I played around with my threads a bit. I had initially thought I would use 3 strands but I felt too much of the linen was obvious so have decided on four which also makes it easier to work out for the petit point which I aim to use two strands. I have completed my first few tent stitches and love the feel of it never mind the look. Again the wax is very useful for keeping the thread intact. If I had been using cross stitch I am sure three strands would have been adequate or I may even have got away with two. That brings me to terminology...I had a visitor who expressed her concern to me that the guide didn't seem to be aware of the difference between tapestry and tent stitch. I apologised but explained it would be impossible for them to be experts in all fields of needlework and tapestry as well as all the other wonderful categories of treasures in this wonderful home but I understood her frustration.
 When I thought about this further and dug a bit deeper into other folks needleworking ideologies I discovered that terms in themselves had evolved and became those with different meanings. When I think of tapestry I think of the Bayeux tapestry, I wasn't interested in the battle of Hastings but the tapestry fascinated me. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Tapestry A tapestry is a piece of work that has been made on a loom, woven to give the different designs where as needlepoint no matter the stitch involved is completed using a needle. This however in time has become confused and not just by those who have no knowledge of the crafts. After all you can purchase tapestry needles which are clearly for needlepoint and common to me as blunt needles for cross stitch, tent stitch, etc. In Proni I found a number of documents referring to tapestry at Mountstewart and I am almost certain these were not all tapestries in the truest sense. These words have become interchangeable and it's not for me to say why or even if it matters as long as the work produced remains of the same quality and brings interest and joy to those doing it and those looking at it.

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