Name: Caitríona inghean Ui Shíodhachaín
Location: Barony of Stonemarche
This fall, I volunteered to help work on the Queen’s gift from Athena’s Thimble to Honig II at her coronation. Her request turned out to be a needlepoint embroidery footstool with the Blue Tyger of the East and Roses. In this display I present just my portion of the joint project, as it took me most of the winter to complete as a piece on its own. “The stitch used—also called petit point or tent stitch—is worked either in diagonal or horizontal rows across the intersection of the canvas threads”. (Britannica). I had only done one tiny needlepoint piece before, a Maunche medallion, counted on linen fabric. However, I had experience designing cross stitch patterns on graph paper from long ago. So, using Queen Honig’s personal Rose design and her Queen’s favor peacock feather, I created this design for the top of the stool. Using a light board, I first transferred the design onto 18 gauge graph paper and then loosely traced the design onto 18 gauge cotton needlepoint canvas.
Using stranded needlepoint wool, being inexperienced, I started with outlining the Tyger using 3 strands of the wool. I then decided 3 strands was too heavy (and quite difficult to pull through the grid), so I filled in the design using lighter, 2 strands to create a nice even fabric. It ended up being an interesting texture effect to have the slightly raised outline, but I had also filled in the tongue using 3 strands and had to pull it out and replace it with 2 strands…much better. The simple tent stitch creates a very nice and even fabric. The design is very much pixilated so that from a few feet away the lines have flow but up close it is definitely squared off.
The rest of the project: I designed the 4 side panels with strawberry leaves, sent then off to 4 other embroiders (my thanks to Mistress Elizabet, Boyarin Ivan Rezansky Matfeevich, Rae of Stonemarche, Moore Fenwick). When my top panel and these 4 were completed, they were sent to be assembled together by Mistress Vienna and attached to the restored early 1900s stool frame by Count Wilhelm. A carrying bag with inkle-woven handles was created by Dúnlaith Ingen Donnchada and the gift was presented to the queen as she stepped down, that she might put her feet up for a well earned rest. Working with the help of the outgoing Athena’s Thimble Mistress, Countess Vienna de la Mer and the incoming AT Mistress and supreme needlepoint advisor, Elizabet Marshall, was an honor. I plan to make a complete blog posting at some point in the future on the whole joint endeavor, as many hands make light and beautiful work. Thank you for reading!