So, in a previous post I promised Hardanger. Having tried a very small piece back in May I was encouraged to try something bigger, before risking the ring pillow I had promised my friend for her wedding.
A couple of years back, Linda bought me a hardanger kit by Polstitches called Winter Snowflake. It's very luxurious: stitched in 28hpi Jobelan evenweave called Sky High (hand dyed) in White SA Perle no. 8 (also from Polstitches), DMC Perle no. 12, Polstitches Sky High Perle no. 8, 032 Kreinik very fine braid, Rajmahal art silk 201 and embellished with white pearl beads and Mill Hill Petite Glass beads no. 42010.
So that was a success and I was ready to risk the ring pillow. The design is from Col's Creations. It's stitched in 28phi white quaker cloth in Perle threads nos 8 and 12 and DMC Stranded cotton, finished with Gutermann Pearl beads. The central hearts were sticthed round in Kloster Blocks and finished with woven bars. There were Kloster blocks between each heart. The flowers are stitched in cross stitch. There is then a diagonal border stitched in Buttonhole Stitch - I have never had to unpick anything so many times as this border, but two five-hour car journeys meant that I managed to get it done finally. The three hearts in each corner are Rhodes hearts and were a joy to stitch and very effective. There is then an outer border of Kloster blocks and woven bars: there are 300 woven bars, each was wrapped with 14 stitches - that means 4200 stitches just on the woven bars. This then is embellished with a pearl bead on each intersection (100 beads in the border alone). On the original pattern there was then another border of buttonhole stitches. Having started this I found it to be very heavy and very difficult to get the tension even. Following detailed discussion with Aunty Mary and Ber, it was decided that this border was too much. Instead I did a back stitch border - it looked far more in keeping with the delicate nature of the rest of the design.
The ring pillow was for friends Natasja and Ruben, and they had asked if I could put their names and the date onto the ring pillow somehow. I decided that to put this information on the front would ruin the delicate and well balanced nature of the design. I had bought enough fabric to to do the back of the cushion as well and decided to embroider the names and dates there. I had hoped to do it in white thread, but it really didn't work, so I used the green thread from the flowers on the front to write their names and the date, then finished it off with a small white heart in satin stitch, 6 Rhodes hearts and a running stitch border.
To finish off the pillow, I attached a 12inch length of narrow white silk ribbon to the centre of the front, then back the front with a piece of silky white fabric. I machine stitched the two sides together, turned it out and stuffed it with polyester stuffing. I slip-stitched the gap together then attached cord around the edges (which was suprisingly easier than I had thought).
The finished result is 9inch square and really striking. It looks very delicate and crisp. Natasja and Ruben were thrilled with the end result and appropriately appreciative of the number of stitches in the woven bars!