You know when you have an idea in your head that won’t go away until you at least try to do it?
Well, ever since I made the little tapestry smalls in my Thousand Flowers collection, I’ve had this idea to make a tiny treasure box using an extended version of the tapestry smalls – a version that incorporates all the animals and lots of flowers.
And I set about measuring and “engineering” the box mentally not too long after finishing and launching A Thousand Flowers. I charted the main piece I’d need. And not too long ago, I set up the project and starting some stitching on it.
A Thousand Flowers is a petit point design worked on silk gauze, using silk threads. As you might tell by looking at the general design, it’s inspired by millefleur tapestries – those gorgeous tapestries of the Middle Ages and beyond that feature backgrounds be-speckled in thousands of flowers – and particularly the Lady and the Unicorn series housed at the Cluny museum in France.
The tiny trinket box I envisioned (and I’m still adjusting my vision for it a little bit!) is round. So to construct the box, I need a long piece that covers the circumference of the box I want to build.
So I charted away, calculating for 40 count silk gauze that would give me a piece the length and height I needed.
One thing I didn’t really take into consideration is the variance between the size of the animals on my individual original tapestry smalls, and their size when they are put together into one tapestry.
So on my new chart for this box piece, the squirrels are hilariously large when compared to the dog and the cat.
The killer squirrel in the upper corner looks like it might have malevolent intentions towards that happy hound.
I’m not actually going to change anything about the animal sizes. It isn’t unusual to see, in the tapestries of old, animals that don’t measure up against each other, size-wise. In the embroidery world (on the renowned boxes of the 17th century, for example), it isn’t unusual to see animals that are completely disproportionate to their surroundings and their associates.
So it’s not something I’m going to sweat. I think when the whole thing is finished, it’ll be just fine.
However, at the rate I’m going, it’s going to take a long while to get the whole thing finished.
There was a little miscalculation at the very beginning of the project. Something went amuck in the floral area around the squirrel. I had the idea that I could go ahead and stitch the dog in, then wing it with the flowers around the squirrel and the dog until I got things back “on count.”
As you can see, this eventually resulted in having to pick the whole thing out.
At times like these, I appreciate very small, sharp scissors and very good tweezers! (These are wonderful tweezers for this kind of work.)
Now, you might be sympathizing with me for having to carefully – ever-so-carefully – snip and tweeze out all those stitches in order to salvage the silk gauze. But I didn’t mind doing it, once I put my mind to it. Since I knew I had to do it, I settled myself down under some good light, put on some nice music, got my tools, and slowly and carefully, in a very relaxed and calm way, snipped away at it.
An hour and a half later, I was still snipping away at it.
Perhaps I wasn’t as calm and resigned at that point.
And perhaps the moment I slipped my scissors straight through the silk gauze, I lost all pretense of calm resignation.
But realizing that I would never (and I mean never) go back to it if I didn’t set up a new piece of gauze right then and there – and therefore I would never see my mini trinket box idea through – I set about preparing a new piece of gauze right away.
That was a totally wasted day. It took me hours to stitch in the dog (plus all the flowers around him, which you can’t see yet in the first photo), then hours to pick it all out. I was just to the last corner bit by the squirrel when the scissors slipped right in and lopped the squirrel’s head clean off.
Maybe it was a sign? Maybe I should adjust the size of the killer squirrels.
Maybe I shouldn’t make the box?
It was certainly a sign that I was rushing and getting impatient. I probably should’ve just saved myself the time and gone straight for the new gauze. But … lesson learned!
This is not a project I’m in any hurry to stitch.
A Thousand Flowers
If you’re interested in miniature work on silk gauze and you love millefleur tapestries as much as I do, you might like my Thousand Flowers tapestry smalls!
Here’s a little information on designing and stitching the original tapestry smalls. You can read more about them here and see how I originally finished some of them. You can also see how I finished them in a pocket watch setting here.
And you can find my instructional e-book, deer supplement, and a full kit (with gauze, silk threads, and needles) available in my shop here. There are only a few lingering kits left – they’re a great way to have all the materials on hand for creating your own tapestry smalls!