The Pine Tree Hot Water Bottle and the Embroidery Companion
So far, so good with the Christmas present making, I’m not going mad this year (apparently) and I’m not making loads, I’ve missed off a whole load of aunts and uncles on the proviso that if I happen to see them (and I may not, my family is not in to big family Christmas’) I will come bearing biscuits, probably home made, but possibly not. But despite my current Scroogish temperament, I have been making some presents and I have some still to go; the hot water bottle above is the first one that I have completed that I can show you on the basis that my dad does not read this blog. I have completed something else, something that I am inordinately proud of (and it took me ages to) but I can’t reveal that one till after Christmas (yes relative of mine, you know who you are). I now just have presents for Girl Lacer and Boy Lacer to go, oh and some token gifts for the teachers, oh and a cushion for my gran, ah it doesn’t stop does it?
Anyway, back to the hot water bottle, the pattern is from Alicia Paulson’s Embroidery Companion, a very pretty book that I have been meaning to blog about for quite a while. The Pine Tree hot water bottle is the first project I’ve completed from the book but I’m also currently working on an adapted version of the Country Time Quilt for Boy Lacer’s Christmas present. The book is divided into different embroidery techniques, in the Decorative Embroidery chapter I quite like the look of the Storybook Pillowcases, the Strawberry Tablecloth, Days of the Week Dishtowels, Petunia Headband, Petal Pillowcases (which are monograms) and the Gretel Skirt (which has an almost Jacobean embroidery influence). In the Counted Cross Stitch section I like the look of the Meadowflower Tote (I like seeing projects that take counted cross stitch out of the frame and into daily use), the Blackwork sampler and the Folk Sampler. The Crewelwork section I think is my favourite, with some lovely bright modern designs such as the Dahlia Field Pillow and the Tree of Life (which is what guaranteed the book to be a must buy for me, as I love Tree of Life patterns, even though I have yet to actually do one, I think there is so much choice it’s hard for me to find the perfect pattern). As well as actual patterns I want to do, even the patterns I’m not so keen on (there are some patterns that are a little too ‘folksy’ for my taste) are inspirational, with lots of designs using the pattern of gingham or spotty fabric as a guide to embroider on and I do love my gingham.
But back to the hot water bottle, I made a few changes to the design, as usual when doing crewel I have no access to crewel wool, so I had to use tapestry wool which is thicker. I’m actually quite pleased with the effect using tapestry wool has, as it’s given the trees are more 3D colour blocked shape compared to the picture in the book. I also had to use a thick white cotton* as the middle panel to embroider on, instead of the wool suggested in the book, as I had no access to wool either. So consequently I didn’t have the middle panel on the back of the hot water bottle as well, as I thought plain unadorned white fabric wouldn’t be that attractive. I also made up my own measurements, as UK hot water bottles are slightly different in size to US hot water bottles and consequently I did make a mistake with the height of the neck piece, it should have been longer, but oh well, I hope my dad likes it. I’m quite tempted to make another, it’s been so cold here lately, there’s another hot water bottle design in the book as well, snowflakes and if I could just find some nice wool to embroider that on . . .
* The rest of the cover is made up of the suggested flannel (one of only two choices in the shop, I am beginning to feel fabric starved!) and is fully lined, so should hopefully not scorch my dad.