The actual post that got my subconscious interested in learning Tambour embroidery was from a December 2014 post by Mary Corbet. She posted a design for a Christmas tree that I love (see post here). In it were the words…”especially suitable for Tambour embroidery…” Naturally I had to follow the link about Tambour embroidery and my interest was peaked. So when I saw an early 19th century reticule that was done in tambour embroidery I had a frame of reference, and when my guild decided to reproduce that reticule I was glad for the excuse to finally learn the technique. In the lull of waiting for the materials for my reticule project to arrive I printed off the Christmas Tree design that originally interested me and stitched it with my Tambour hook. The fabric is red cotton and the thread is metallic gold machine embroidery thread.
Before, during and after stitching I’ve been comparing what I am attempting with the original. Since I am a beginner I just want to see if I can shape the tambour lines in a similar way. So far so good. I’ve noticed that I snag a lot less frequently than a week ago; I’m moving faster as well. In my current practice flowers I have been carrying the thread behind the fabric back to the starting point rather than turning the line of stitches. I was viewing Mary’s Reticule yesterday for nearly 2 hours with Lisa and we determined that Mary had turned her lines. We were also refining the colour choices for the flowers and their greenery. Mary’s Reticule has such fine, tiny stitches that by the end of the 2 hours I had a headache. In some places it was easy to decide on a colour and in others time had faded the colour so badly that it was difficult to know.
I have totally been cheating by turning my frame…that is something I have to work on not doing. Up to this point I’ve been interested in getting familiar with the hand motions involved with the Tambour hook. Now I am onto not turning the frame and turning corners.
I’ve seen tambour embroidery around…mainly on Needle ‘N Thread. Thought it would be interesting to learn “someday” but had no real incentive to purchase the tambour hook. Well that has changed. My guild, Town Clock Stitchers, is doing a program this year which definitely encouraged me to learn. Our monthly meetings are held in the Nova Scotia Natural History Museum project room downstairs. One of our members is the assistant curator for their History Collection. The History Collection isn’t on permanent display at the museum so it was a real treat when we arranged through our member to see a few items she pre-selected for us. Among these items was a reticule circa 1790-1810. The reticule has 4 panels and on each panel is a local flower done in Tambour embroidery. Very beautiful.
Our guild executive committee wanted to do something more engaging for our members. We are offering a Bargello project and a surface embroidery project. The surface embroidery project is a reproduction of the reticule. I’ll be doing the reticule.
For embroidery that is over 200 years old we actually know a lot of information about the person that stitched it. The embroiderer was named Mary Boggs Tremaine. She was from a Loyalist family (Boggs) in New Jersey that moved to Nova Scotia. There will be 10 people working on creating reticules based on Mary’s original. We will all be using a pattern I’ve developed by importing the images and tracing the outlines of the vine border and the floral motifs digitally. Of that group of 10 people 8 are learning Tambour.
My stitching guild is without a program coordinator this season coming up so as President I have to cobble together a few things. There has been interest in doing Stumpwork…so I scoured my fave magazine (Inspirations) for something small and straightforward. I landed on “Hint of Spring” by Jane Nicholas in Issue 77. Naturally I don’t have access to all the specific materials so I subbed with whatever is available in my area. I really enjoyed working on it and hopefully I can get permission from the magazine to make enough copies for our guild. We have used Inspirations as a source for a couple of meeting programs in the past.
I practised making the petals for a couple of evenings before actually doing petals that I would use in the piece. I can now do blanket stitch fairly well and consistently. I used a super fine marker to trace the design and I taped the tracing paper to the underside of the fabric and put my iPhone underneath with the flashlight function turned on. It worked great for tracing the tiny pattern.
The stems are done in Stem stitch so I rifled through my various books to make sure I was doing that properly. The bumblebee is done in turkey work (Ghirodes Knot). I’m not sure I did it right…the area to work in was really small so I approximated and it turned out fluffy. I think it needs a little more of a trim but I am happy with my puffy bee. I don’t have a more recent picture…I’ve since added the wings. There are of course things I would do differently or advise the group to look out for but I am satisfied with the work.
Last year we took a break from organizing and presenting the display but this year we are back at it.
Anyone in the area is welcome to stop in and view our work. Our display is presented in groups of technique (crewel, cross stitch, etc.) as well as showing off our program pieces and EAC group correspondence work. Whenever we are out in the public the main feedback from visitors is that they could never do that, it’s too fancy, or they don’t have the patience. This year we have decided to show off our UFO piles. Partially completed projects that maybe we struggled with and set aside out of frustration, or set aside because something else caught our eye, or we just got bored with it. We want people to see the beginning and middle stages as well as the finished product in hopes that it comes across as more accessible and less intimidating activity.
Location: Scott Manor House, 15 Fort Sackville Rd, Bedford, NS
Last weekend I took a beginner course in Stumpwork and Cartonage. The designer/teacher is Joyce Gill. Joyce walked us through the steps for stumpwork on the first day and then for making the box on the second day. I finished my box last night. It’s going to be a Christmas present for my mother because pansies are her fave flower.
I didn’t post all summer…but here are the pictures from my guilds exhibit in July. Once again the exhibit was gorgeous. Jean organized and several guild members volunteered as support staff for the week. Walking in the exhibit room the first thing people saw was a crewel embroidery piece of all the provincial flowers in Canada designed and stitched by Janet Brown. This corner of the exhibit was for crewel embroidery, thread painting, and candlewicking.
Just inside the door to the right of the crewel embroidery was our display for the Christmas Fund Raisers that our guild stitches every year. Cross stitch ornaments on wreaths and a banner of four hardanger hearts.
Then moving left…
Well that is it for my exhibit pictures. I have been stitching myself and will post that in a seperate entry. I did a lot of stitching on a few different things…so I only finished one thing this summer (a Christmas present for my cousin). I’m about 75% through a Mirabilia piece.