As a consolation for David being gone so long this past spring, I had treated myself to two petit-point cushion kits from Frances Peterson, whose miniature carpets I have long admired, even before I joined the Petitpointers list and discovered that she is a member. I was a bit daunted by the thought of working at 40 stitches per inch -- since the finest I have done before this is 28-count! -- but they are so beautiful that I thought I'd try a cushion, to get my feet wet, as it were. And since I blocked my Shirvan carpet Wednesday, I felt entirely justified yesterday in starting one of these!
This design is "Repeating Diamonds" and as it happens it was a good choice for a novice, as the pattern is quite logical and I could just concentrate on the itti-bittiness of it. I had to take out my contacts and use my Super-Microscopic Up-Close VisionTM, but aside from feeling like the needle was the size of a telephone pole, it went very smoothly. (I will say, though, to anyone who is tempted to work at this gauge in cross-stitch, well, as Jeeves would say gently, I couldn't advise it. It's partly the gauge itself, and partly the way the twists in the silk lie nicely in one direction, and not-so-nicely in another I suspect -- it just didn't work, and then it took me twice as long to pick out the two strands I did in cross-stitch as it did to work them in the first place. And as it turned out, at this scale the funny dashed 45-deg. lines read much better than they logically should.)
I worked the needlepoint all in one day, despite having to stop for boring things like getting dressed and going to the market -- which is not so much a compliment to my stitching as it is to Frances's design, which is a happy blend of detail and simplicity.
Here's the back, if you're interested --
but my focus was more on security than on neatness, since it would be a cushion after all, and no chance of flipping it over to look at the back, after it was sewn up. I actually don't really know if this is considered messy or not, but I have seen some photos on the list that you can hardly tell back from front, they are so meticulous!
The only modifications I made were to add two extra lines of plain border all around, since I wanted a rather bigger cushion than one inch -- though to be honest, at 40 stitches per inch, four stitches don't increase it that much -- and to sew on the "piping" (which is perle cotton) instead of gluing it, as I trusted my sewing skills more than my gluing ones. As you can see in the first in-progress photo, I decided to be clever and sew on the perle cotton before I even removed the worked canvas from the frame, which to my pleasant surprise turned out to be a good idea. The ultrasuede backing was a bit of a challenge, and I might use linen next time just for ease of handling, especially around the corners -- my cushion ended up a bit wobbly, though that might just have been me. I didn't fill mine very full (I used size 16 beads), since these are for my Elizabethan house-to-be, and I have the notion from somewhere that Elizabethans used cushions more for sitting on than for leaning against, so I think they'd be a bit flatter than what we like today.
I highly recommend Frances's kits, which have literally everything you need to make a cushion except stuffing!
Ebay is kind of like the lottery -- you can't win if you don't play! -- but frankly, Ebay gives me the heebie-jeebies. The second auction I ever tried my hand at, I lost at the last minute (by about two dollars), and was crushed to find in my inbox, only seconds later, an e-mail from Ebay taunting me with having LET IT GET AWAY. Ever since then, my heart starts palpitating even as I'm logging in. I've done a number of auctions since then, but really I just don't have the nerves of steel required for Ebay, so usually I just don't even look, willing to pay more on Etsy for not having to deal with the stress. But last week for some reason, I found myself poking around to see what was there, and there were not one but two auctions I was interested in, both for pieces of miniature furniture, and bargains with it, certainly to my eye.
I won both, the only bidder each time.
The first is this charming bureau, a little wonky at the upper-right corner but with charming lines and a wonderful patina.
I was won over by those long spade-foot legs on the front, I must say.
The second arrived today -- with each leg carefully swathed in bubble wrap! --
a half-moon table with exceptionally pleasing lines and the most wonderfully delicate Hepplewhitey/Shakery legs.
I would have really liked this piece anyway, but this was a real bonus --
The maker? or the owner? I don't know. It just pleases me very much that it's there.
As for the "yarn" part of this post's title --