Wisteria design, how it started and how it's going

Published on 28th November 2020

I've posted some pictures and videos of this design on my Instagram account so I thought it was time for a post here with more detail.

The inspiration for this design came from an obi design sheet in the collection of my tutor.  As always, many thanks go to her, not only for letting us raid her stash of books/design sheets etc but for the hours of help, advice, and support she always provides. 

Transferring the idea into a stitchable version was a hard and very long process.  I photographed the design sheet above in 2013.  Lots of cutting and pasting, drawing and re-drawing later I had the design below.  But I wasn't happy with it, it was too wide and hadn't got the length of the original which was one of the features of the original I really liked. 

This was because, although I knew what fabric I wanted it on, the design length was restricted to a 39" frame, the longest I had at that time. 

Fast forward to 2017, by this time Ian was producing our beautiful quality frames.  So I ordered a 50" long frame which meant I could use the full length of the piece of silk I had in mind for the design.

Other designs were taking priority so, again, time to fast forward.  Now we are in early 2020 and, after lots more drawing and re-drawing, I had a design that was much more like what I wanted.  Though I have made the odd change as I've worked.

The whole of the design is being stitch transferred (very boring), so I'm working in sections to relieve the tedium.  To make it easier to keep track of which colours of wisteria go where I used different colour threads for the transfer as appropriate.

I'm also using mostly weaving silks for this rather than those from JEC/Midori/Studio Kusano.  They have a slightly different texture and feel which adds an extra dimension.  But, they don't come in standard thicknesses so some experimentation is needed to get the look and feel I want.  Above I used standard flat white silk with a silver mid section.

I wasn't particularly happy with either the white or the metallic so I tried out a #1 shell gold and #1 gold on the edge of the fabric and decided to go with #1 gold.  I still wasn't happy with the flat silk so left it and went onto other sections.

The leaves went through a bit of an evolution. The first attempt was diagonal layer flat silk but I just wasn't feeling it so I decided to try twisted silk and a different technique.

Here we have, from left to right, versions 3, 2, 4 with the twists getting thinner each time.  Version 4 is the final version and I like how they are looking.

The pink weaving silks come with a soft twist and three shades.  For the pink wisteria I've started with either of the two darkest shades and use the lighter shades as I worked down the flower.   This gives another colour variation without introducing more colours. 

After completing the first pink wisteria, I went back and re-worked the white with a twisted thread.  This works much better so the rest will be worked in the same way.  

I've made a bit more progress since I took the photo above.  Watch out for updates coming soon.



Frames | Wisteria

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