I have been commissioned to make a new needlelace jabot and cuffs for the next High Sheriff of Cumbria and will now be dedicating all my time to it ! The design for each piece is full of symbolism about the sheriff herself and the position . It is a ceremonial post concerning law and order and this is where the lady herself has taken a unique perspective. In the book of Ecclesiasticus (38) it says that you can not have law and order in a place until the crafts people are happy and so every part of her outfit is being made by British craftspeople (suit, shoes, hat, lace).
I will update this post as it is being made , only revealing the whole design when she takes on her role next year. The design was left mostly to me but two thing were specified , a Westmorland rose and gables ( I will explain that later). The rose features in both jabot and cuffs with stems and leaves forming the background structure. The center was worked in rayon with a spiraling brussels stitch, the photo showing how the decreasing formed a pattern similar to that when knitting !
22.11.12 Here the sepals are now all done with a little raised edge in the middle (rayon yarn , single BS)
Petals finished (cotton yarn, single and double BS )
25.11.12 Petal tips worked in detached BS
30.11.12 an eye for justice.... it seemed appropriate for a J.P. to have an eye in the design of the lace (and it is one of my favourite things to embroider too).
The eye is worked in both cotton and rayon , the pupil and 'white' in corded BS , the iris in double BS. I have outlined the pupil and iris in chain-stitch rather than buttonhole stitch. The lid has a plain filling stitch at the moment because it is going to have a seperate piece of needlelace to cover it soon !
7.12.12 'many thanks to everyone who has sent comments about this post. It is very heartening to hear from the world when I am beavering away in my studio!
snails.... not what you might expect to see on a piece of lace ! I read in my lace dictionary that 'snails' is a term used in honiton lace to describe amorphous shapes used to fill in the background, usually done by children. Well I needed to strengthen the design in a few places so I put a few of the little terrors in.
In order to represent the happy crafts people I have added a pair of scissors....
and an as yet unfinished ball of wool with knitting needles.The needles will be done later as they will be wired and stand out .This is also symbolic of her daughter, Rachael,who is an art worker in wool ,plus a reference to the Herdwick sheep native to Cumbria.
I am trying out a method where I buttonhole the edge first with the 'edge' facing inwards and then working the filling stitches . This is working out to be very much neater than filling first.
Underneath the eye is a drawn bow and the entwined initials of my client. One of the last things to be done will be the string on the bow and some detailing on the grip.
14.12.12 This week it's leaves. They are all done very simply in plain BS but by cording half way down and just letting the stitches fan out they come out well. I have turned the work around with each leaf so making this effect more interesting.The last large leaf has a central vein and is worked in double BS with a line of detached BS around the edge...now for the others on the opposite side !
(not pictured yet are the moth wings and eye lid which will be attached at the end)
we have a moth and some wings ( plus another snail and more leaves )
There is of course a pair of these to be attached once the piece is removed from the backing. They will be stitched over the other wings so to emphasise this the lower wings are in a darker shade of ivory.
some time later.....a squirrel , more leaves, a needle, briars and another snail !
The squirrel ,with the moth , is to represent the criminals ! I rather like them myself but they seemed appropriate and I wanted to put animals in as a nod to the 17th C. inspiration for much of my work. In his hands he holds a needle as compensation for his misdeeds. I also discovered this recently about needles.(scroll down the link halfway)
The final elements in the design are the briars which are around the top edge , rather prison-like I thought !
This piece is now finished , the raised parts are all sewn on too. Now for the cuffs.