Saturday, 26 July 2014

Procrastination, Swiss Chintz & Mary

Hello fellow bloglanders

It's official, we just had the coldest weekend of the year in Auckland. But the sun is shining today and the chill is passing. Not long now until the magnolias in our garden begin to flower. The kids have been back at school a week. The DIY hubby has been renovating all week. All is good in this neck of the woods. 

Not so for the progression of the final part of the finishing for my Winter Casket Keepsakes. The last step is something I have not tackled before. Now Amy Mitten's instructions are fabulous but this particular bit looks like you could get yourself into a little bit of a tangle and you cant stop part way through. I put this off over the school holidays and now another week has week, I will do this next week....fingers that won't help....I need those for this task....

These are my practice threads and the table clamp to assist with the finger loop braiding process. I put them out on the dining table as you need a bit of room and a suitable surface for the clamp but I did this putting out there maybe, dare I say it, about a week before the school holidays, now that's scary, that's at least 4 weeks of moving this on and off the dining table each time we eat. How ridiculous is that. Putting it in my face would not seem be working as a motivational tool....

This series of pics will give you an idea as to why the procrastination has got a firm grip....

Just get on with it I hear you say. Well I will I say!!! I have the relevant instructions printed out and I think I might just write the letter codes on the appropriate fingers so I can keep can't be that hard surely....Amy has a video but is goes too fast and with all those fingers tied you going to pause it!!!!!! I am talking about it to make me do it so watch this space.

All my stitching time this past week has been dedicated to the ongoing Mountmellick. Those borders for part III sure are mega intensive and time consuming. But I have all the hexie flowers and leaves on all the borders now and one border has the broderie perse finished and the second half done so I am well on my way.

I had fun cutting up the chintz for the broderie sure does look like a piece of swiss chintz after all that fussy cutting....

As for Mary, well that would be Mary Delany. I have just finished reading a most enjoyable book about the paper flowers created by Mary in the 1700's when all things botanical were at there most fashionable. Mary was in her 70's when she started this amazing study of flowers that numbers nearly 1000 specimans. She had to stop due to failing eyesight in her 80's. Of course like any gentlewoman of the period she did all things needlework as well along with creating the odd shell grotto as was popular at the time. I sure would have loved to have met was a great age.

Now this is not the first book I have read about Mary. A while ago I also read the book written about the life of Mary by Ruth Hayden which is a broader read about her entire lifetime and equally as interesting. 

An ingenious mind is never too old to learn ~ Mary Delany



  1. Fingerloop braiding is not so difficult believe me, probably printed instructions are a bit more difficult. Seems me from the photo it is a 6 loop braid so look at this video to learn, she goes very slow :
    The starting position of threads on finger can be different from braider to braider, someone leaves free the little finger, someone the index finger but the result is the same.
    This Lady has many other videos too and she's so good. Hope that helps.

  2. The how-to video I like is from
    You can do it!

  3. Funny it's the hottest week so far this summer and the kids are out of school here in New England USA. Your loop braiding looks fascinating. I will have to check it out. Looking forward to more on your casket it's coming out grand!

  4. Wow amazing braiding you are about to embark on. I really like your fancy twirly /swirly bits on your photo's, so pretty.

  5. Hi Rae...Elisabeth in CT here (from CoC)....Here's a youtube video where a fellow shows how to do a basic 5 looper VERY slowly and he uses rope...which makes things VERY clear...There are more on videos the side, and of course they are all variations on a theme, but this one is almost foolproof and very simple - especially if you watch it over and over. Best of all, he's almost slow enough to follow along. (still cant figure out how to hit the pause button while the cords are on my fingers LOL) Not sure if the final braid is the style you want - but he does give a good basic tutorial - to me it's a bit simpler approach than the one Janet recommends...

  6. HI Raewyn. I'm not surprised you have been putting off this rather delicate next step but it does look well worthwhile mastering, so hope you get a chance (the urge!) to do it SOON! Your broderie perse and Montmellick are looking beautiful, it will be such a masterpiece when done. The books on Mary Delaney sound well worth hunting out. Hope you stay warm this week!

  7. Rae, You do needlework that just boggles my mind. I am so simple in my endeavors with needle and thread, but you take it to the highest levels. Your work will be treasured in this life and as future heirlooms.

  8. Hi Rae, I just recently discovered your blog. I am happy I have! I am doing Amy's Winder keeper class and just a week or so ago did the first finger-looped drawstring. So I understand your hesitation! But just jump in! I did a practice piece with perle 8 using the 1 and 5 color scheme. I also used the same length as in my kit. That will give you a good idea if you are getting the pattern right. Then I suggest a second practice piece using 6 different colors. I had trouble with dropping a loop and not being able to get back to a "known starting position" because I didn't know what that looked like. Hence the 6 colors. That doesnt't need to be quite as long. I recorded which color was on which starting finger. Then after a few repeats I stopped after the final step (moving AL through DR and tension). I carefully arranged the threads and taped it to a piece of paper for reference while making my cords. And yes, it has come in very handy! Also in prep for "the real thing" I grabbed one of my lacemaking pillows (or a piece of foam would work) and 6 large divider pins. In other words, I wanted something handy that I could use to hold my threads if necessary. Yes, it has come in handy too! Yesterday I succesfully made my second cord and only dropped one loop. I have also discovered that most of her steps are "tension" and the most important one being the last one. So jump in and practice! What can that hurt! Good luck!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.


Thank you for taking the time out to look at my blog and to partake of my creative pursuits. Creating with textiles and fibres is a passion I embrace with abandon. Comments from those who understand this joy are food for the soul.
You can catch me at

Have a great day!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...