Sunday, July 19, 2009
This is a Memory Cushion I designed for my aunt, to keep her company while she is in the hospital. This is a pic that was taken in the 1940's of her only child. Her son is now buried in Arlington Cemetery and this pic captures his sweet spirit. I designed the pillow in two sessions of stitching. I stitch late at night, when it is quiet and no disruptions. I like the silence, my Ott light and the indoor critters around my feet!
I've made many Memory Cushions. Without a doubt, a cushion can be made for any occasion. Among many of my collections, I collect fringe. I find fringe wherever I travel and if it's more than a yard, it comes with me. I love dyeing rayon fringe to create a vintage look. If a fringe puts you off by it color, buy it anyway. I picked up a gorgeous silk fringe in a horrible orange color, in a second-hand store in Surrey, England a few years back. I dyed it and it is now the most beautiful crimson/bronze and waiting to be stitched to a cushion.
I print photos onto our cotton fusible fabric, which I love. It does not fade and because it is fusible, there are no puckers when stitching down the image, because the image is ironed to the base fabric in a couple of seconds. I then tack down an ivory trim around the photo.
I have a small stash called "Private Collections" of specials buttons and beads that have meaning to me. I stitched a Civil War button in the top left corner, taken from a 19th Century Salesman's Sample book. I know the book would be worth more intact, but I bought the buttons to use.
After I tack down the button, I added a few silk ribbon stitches and then added a few glass pearls that I picked up in a French flea market in Paris. My favorite flea market and I haunt flea markets! Then continued to fill in with ribbon embroidery stitches. I like any ribbon embroidery packed together, no "wandering" flowers. I finished with a bit of feather stitch using RibbonSmyth's variegated silk twist (which is killer to work with) and then added a few copper rondells I picked up in New York.
When working with silk ribbon, only use three or four stitches. This gives the piece uniformity and the stitching goes quickly. I used a bullion lazy daisy, lazy daisy french knot, frilly flower and a few loops using all our variegated bronze 4mm silk ribbons.
After the embellishing was finished, I fused a lightweight fusible to the back of the silk. Really important step for your piece and then finished the assembly. I used one of our vintage images and wrote a note to my aunt and then fused the image to the pillow back, signing the piece with a name, date and county where the piece was stitched,adding her name and location.