I’ve got rather a lot of David Austin roses in my garden, at a rough estimate I’ve probably got about thirty different roses and about fifty actual rose bushes. David Austin was I think the first rose breeder to mix the repeat flowering of the floribundas with the heavy scent and beauty of the old roses, he calls them English Roses. I love learning the names when I buy a new rose, I’ve often given them as presents too, choosing a name that fits the occasion.
When I was thinking about what to include in my embroidered garden fabric book it seemed obvious to do a page on my roses. I’ve stitched a couple of standard roses and a length that could be a climbing rose…
…however I had an idea to embroider lots of the roses and their names. I pondered for a while about layout but eventually settled on a wheel with the roses radiating out like the spokes of a wheel. Having sketched out my thoughts on paper I chose some heavier weight vintage linen and used a Frixion pen to lightly mark the segments of the circle – I had to buy a protractor specially! Frixion pens are heat erasable so when you iron the fabric the marks disappear. It sounds great but there are potential issues their use on fabric is still up for debate. They are great for marking as it’s a nice fine pen and it does instantly disappear with the heat of an iron. However, the marks will return if the item gets very cold, such as in the hold of an aircraft, people have posted embroideries or quilts only to find all the marks had reappeared in transit. It is also not known what the long term effect on the fabric are, the manufacturers still don’t recommend them for use on fabric, I’ve also heard it said that over time it will rot the fabric. Despite this they are widely used in the quilting and embroidery world. I am planning to use them as little as possible.
Having drawn the grid of 16 segments I used a simple running stitch in a light green to mark them. I chose a sepia coloured gel pen to write all the names of the roses. I would have preferred to have all the names facing upwards, so changing direction half way, however this would mean writing into the circle and all the potential pitfalls of trying to get the word length right. It was much easier to write all the names from the middle outwards. I tried to have a nice gradient of colour round the wheel but I was also thinking of long names going into the longer corners, short ones at the side.
I embroidered the roses using bullion knots in various shades according to the rose portrayed..
My original plan was simply to write the names in the border, however having tested a permanent gel pen on a scrap I started writing Desdemona (right of picture) and immediately realised it was the slightly thicker one. I changed to the thinner pen which did look much better, but Desdemona stood out a mile!
Having thought of various cover-ups for the handwriting I decided to bite the bullet and embroider all the names. I’ve used several different shades of green, I have not tried to match the green with the actual leaf shade on the bush, I’ve just picked a colour out, stitched the leaves and the stem and then used the same shade to back-stitch over the writing. Stitching a leaf and then the name also nicely breaks up the monotony of embroidering over 16 names! I haven’t embroidered Desdemona yet but it’s already looking less obvious.
As you can see I still have half a dozen roses to finish but I’m really pleased so far and Desdemona doesn’t stand out as much all ready. I’m tempted to put a button in the middle, this could eithe be one from my button stash or one covered with a mini embroidery of the David Austion logo.Hopefully by next week I’ll be doing a happy dance!
I’ll be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts on Sunday for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link to see what everyone else has been stitching