Dancing to Bethlehem

It’s three weeks since I last showed you my Bethlehem embroidery, I was still prevaricating over the filling in designs round the spirals and I was still only half way round the outer border…

Well it was the first thing I packed for my weekend away as I was determined to crack it – though I did take a few other back-up sewing projects too! I took a variety of threads, mainly perle ones, it would have helped if I had spotted the instructions from the original workshop in my workbox all the time…the workbox I took with me to the cottage…but I didn’t spot that til yesterday!!

I was struggling with the areas around the spirals, not helped by the fact they vary so much in size, it needed to be a fairly organic design. I tried couched hearts but that looked messy, so I unpicked that. I then tried more pointed sort of hearts, that worked better, I used a finer thread in a variegated orange so it didn’t detract too much from the blue spirals. I felt it needed filling in, so I chose a mid orange which didn’t look right. I then found out how difficult it is to unpick embroidery from a thick felt background!! In the end I stitched over it in a darker orange thread. I’m still not 100% on this bit of the design, but it’s done, it fills in a gap!

Obviously I wanted something different on the outside, I decided to do a sort of zig-zag to fill the shape in, a bit like a scribbled Christmas tree. This could easily be adapted to fill any size shape. I used a darker rusty orange and couched away one evening. This works much better I think.

So it’s finished! I like the overall effect, the only bit I would change is those pointy hearts, but from a distance it looks OK. I particularly like the clarity of the central spiral with the plain turquoise felt behind. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, I might put it on a cushion, but I think it would also make an interesting textile book cover – it’s heavy enough!

This is the second piece of Palestinian embroidery I have stitched, both from workshops with Deborah Mullins at Fabbadashery in Halifax last year. Deborah spent some time in Palestine when her husband was on sabbatical there and she spent the time studying the different regional styles of embroidery. Her work is stunning, do have a look at her website. The first workshop I did was on Tahiri strips – I made mine into a bookmark…

These Tahiri strips would be used (from what I can gather) on garments, such as down dress sleeves and skirts, a more ordered and symetrical panel (as opposed to my stylized version) would be used for a front panel on the bodice. Each region had it’s own distinct style and patterns but Bethlehem embroidery was considered the finest. There’s lots of couching in one long continous thread from what I can gather. I do find it interesting looking at different styles of embroidery in different countries, depending on what textiles were available to them and their needs too.

So it’s happy dance time for my SAL, I just have to decide what to stitch next…maybe another UFO!

This SAL is organised by Avis, we each plot our progress on our projects every three weeks, it does help keep me motivated! Please follow the links to see what every one else is stitching.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
This entry was posted in embroidery, Serendipity, Stitch-a-long, Workshops and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Dancing to Bethlehem

  1. I love the way you’ve managed to keep the spirals and chevrons looking so crisp. It’s a beautiful original piece 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathie J says:

    I love this finished piece. The central spiral just speaks to me. So pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carole says:

    Congratulations on a beautiful finished piece. I love everything about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gail says:

    What a beautiful finish. You are a very accomplished embroiderer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. claire93 says:

    what a lovely piece, and congrats on your happy dance ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so beautiful and creative. I really like the pointed hearts!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laura says:

    You are your own worst critic, Margaret! The piece is beautiful! Love it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sharon says:

    Fabulous finish on this gorgeous piece. I’d love to see it framed as a work of art which it truly is. Happy dancing along with you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Full! Happy dance for you! Thanks to your embroidery I was able to know this style, beautifully expressed by the artist Deborah Mullis. His blog is exciting! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laura says:

    Congratulations on a finish!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Christina says:

    I love how the hearts turned out actually! I think the pointy-ness of them give movement and draws my eye in a counter-clockwise direction, which is perfect for this swirly design! I think a book cover is a great idea, that would be a very interesting touch to your table décor. Congrats on the finish!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh Margaret it’s stunning, well done on getting it finished and making such a beautiful job. I love the bookmark too, so pretty. Crafty hugs, Jenny xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. magpiesue says:

    Congratulations on the finish! Now you can make a cover for the book your bookmark will be used in. 😉 This is really impressive, but then, most of your work is!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. wybrow1966 says:

    Gorgeous and I love the book mark too!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. kathyreeves says:

    Great job finishing this off Margaret! Nicely done!


  16. rutigt says:

    One Hapy Dance for you and this beautiful embroidery!


  17. Congratulations on a happy dance. such a pretty project and so different from the norm.


  18. mandycurrie says:

    Hello Margaret, congratulations on your latest finish, it’s gorgeous. So is the bookmark, I would love to do one. Your stitching is so lovely and on felt it must have been a great background to stitch on. Will you do this type of embroidery again, you really are a talented embroiderer. I’m so curious, it comes from being disorganised myself, how do you fit in housework and cooking. I’m finding recently that I clean the flat and am so exhausted that I lie down for the afternoon. There has been and ongoing issue with my health and it driving me quite crazy, not being able to get to everything. lol. Love Mandy xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      Hi Mandy, to be honest I have a fairly low tolerance to housework, so I do as little as poss – there’s no point dusting and cleaning unless it’s going to make enough of a difference for people to notice!! Added to that I have MS, so if I spent hours cleaning, I too would be wiped out, so I sew instead 🙂


      • mandycurrie says:

        Hi Margaret, I loved your comment, a low tolerance to housework, I agee lol but my poor hubby doesn’t. Sorry to hear you have MS, my friend does too, it’s a nasty thing and I hope you take care of yourself. Love your posts, each one is an inspiration and a spur to do better myself. God bless Mandy xx

        Liked by 1 person

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