Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vigil Book for Matthias

It's been a busy summer for me!
Once again I was asked to create a vigil book cover - this time for a friend who was getting his Knighthood!

The original design was based on the motifs that were going on a new tunic, also for the occasion. Those motifs were in turn based on the sorts of designs you would often find in German brick stitch as well as Austrian roof tiles.
Image from A Stitch Out of Time
The belt was an obvious choice, this being a knighting and all. No part of me wanted to try to embroider a unicorn in the time allotted to me, so my initial plan was to include shooting stars. Unfortunately I started to run out of time, and ultimately I was worried they would make things too busy, anyway.

I knew purple was a requirement for the ground fabric. I found a wonderful linen - thin enough to make a good cover while still hefty enough for the heavy embroidery I had in mind.
Because of the geometric nature of the design I decided to draw onto parchment paper so I could the lines exactly correct. It was, as usual, a pain to remove, and I'm not certain this time if it was the right route. It's harder to remove the paper from linen than it was from velvet or wool, where the pile helps get the paper off.

All the embroidery is silk - for the belt I used a few shades of Splendor, and the geometric portions were done using a thicker pearl thread that I got at Gulf Wars last year.
Non metal embroidery completed

Silk shading and gold work, while often found together, are not often found with German designs (that I've found. I admit I haven't looked very hard), but I thought it would look good - and would be an easy (in that I'm practiced at those methods) way to get a good looking book.

I'm very happy with how the shading came out - considering I only used three colors, I was worried it would end up too rigid looking. The belt did come out a little...non euclidean. I would change the shape of where it wraps around itself if I went back to do it again.

The biggest problem that I had with this was that the frame wasn't holding the center of the piece as tight as I would want. I had to retighten if regularly, and I still ended up with a lump in the middle of the belt, which you can see in the finished picture below.

For the goldwork I used passed thread as the buckled and the bits inside the geometric areas. I'm very happy with how the buckle came out. The gold on the end of the belt is pearl purl, slightly stretched out. I was originally planning on using normal purl or bullion for that area, but I didn't have any with quite the right color gold to match the passing thread I used. I like the effect, so I'm ok with making the last minute change.
It doesn't really show in the pictures, but the entire belt is outlined in a very thing wire twist, including inside the holes. I think this is most apparent in that the belt seems more smooth in the the final picture than with just the needle painting done.

And finally, the finished product!