I know what textile art in the house is my own work, but when my youngest attributed a large machine embroidery hanging by the Cornish artist Karen Howse to me several months ago, I decided that if only for the family’s benefit I would try to sign and date my work.
For the North Cornwall Wallhanging I decided to make a traditional quilt label by adapting one of the designs from a Bareroots Quilt and Stitchery labels pattern I picked up on eBay a while ago.
It’s stitched on some of the same silk dupion I used for part of the front of the hanging in a mixture of hand-dyed cotton perle (for ‘handmade by’), stranded Gloriana silk (for ‘Alex 2011’) medium weight hand-dyed silk for the border and coton a broder for the seashell.
I think the original design had a heart at the bottom but I wanted to continue the sea theme that plays such a big part in our holidays to Cornwall and the memories stitched into the blocks on the front so I decided to replace it with a stumpwork scallop shell.
It’s padded with dark pink felt (I started it at a rehearsal and that was all I had in my bag!) and then I backstitched radiating lines along it to keep it in place and also as guidelines for where I wanted to put the ribs of the scallop later.
In between the ribs I worked rows of Corded Brussels Stitch to cover the felt. the little ‘wings’ at the bottom are buttonhole stitch fans.
The ribs were then whipped with a slightly darker coloured stranded cotton. to make them stand out. Keeping them straight when all the stitching is raised and textured was difficult!
Finally, french knots in some of my favourite yellow medium weight silk. The original design had just one at each ‘stalk’ end but that looked a bit sparse so I went for trios with the gold and blue scheme echoing the colours on the front.
Ready to be mitred and stitched onto the back of the hanging.