That which we call a rose By any other name Would smell as sweet.
What is it about a rose? Like Shakespeare, needleworkers through the ages have been enchanted with roses . . . . scattering silk ones milady's hangings in her boudoir and powdering them on gentlemen's brocaded waistcoats. Nowaday's, we're quilting, cross-stitching, needlepointing and embroidering all kinds of fabric with roses.
In England, I grew up with Cicely Mary Barker's delightful little books of "Flower Faries," and one of my favorites is the rose. In Cicely's enchanted world, each flower is guarded by its own flower child, no bigger than the blossom itself.
As well as being the most popular flower, the rose can be the most difficult to embroider. It's overlapping petals must be shaded carefully to give shape and form. In my interpretation of the rose the flower fairy in crewel, I chose colors ranging from pale peach to deep rose against a gray-blue sky.
Long and short is the ideal stitch to use because, by splitting back into the previous stitch, you can blend the colors softly and, by gently directing the stitches to follow the curve of the petals, you acheive a most realistic effect.
The petals are wrapped around each other tightly in the center, opening up as the outer edges just like a cup on a saucer. If you're shading in long and short stitches, you should work the center first in darker colors, then work lighter petals folded around it, shading them darker at the base.
Finally, work a light ring of open petals forming the "saucer" below. Always start each petal at the outer edge and work toward the growing point. Edge successive petal with a split stitch first, them work over this padding to give the effect of overlapping petals. Turned-back petals can be worked last in padded satin stitch with cotton floss to give them texture and dimension.
If you shadow you rose and its leaves here and there with little touches of black floss, using only one or two threads in the needle, you'll end up with a realistic rose that might fit Cicley Mary Barker's poem very well.: Best and dearest flower that grows, Perfect both to see and smell; Words can never, never tell Half the beauty of a Rose.
Q. My mother-in-law crocheted a lovely tablecloth for me. I sent it to the laundry to be starched and pressed and, to my amazement, it shrank so much I was never able to use it. Is there anything I can do to get it back to its original size and shape?
A. Oh, dear! I can just imagine how you felt when you saw your lovely tablecloth shrunk down to nothing. How frustrating! There really isn't anything that can be done to restore you cloth to the original size. Hot water, hot dryers and 100 percent cotton can spell disaster! However, you could try to reblock the cloth on a blocking board and see what results. If partucular sections come out well in blocking you might be able to join the pieces together or use them as the center of a cloth you crochet yourself. These seperate sections might also be used as coasters of place mats, if large enough. I know of a blocking board you might wish to try. It can be obtained from a company called Sunshine & Flowers, 210 Pearl St., Essex Junction, Vt. 05452. If this method doesn't work, chalk it up to experience and remind yourself what not to do next time!
Q. My son would like a needlepoint done of his college emblem. How would I go about enlarging the small patch I have as my guide and transferring it to canvas?
A. Copying a design such as your son's college emblem is not as difficult as you might imagine. The method of enlarging is a rather simple one. Simply draw small squares on tracing paper on top of your small design, then draw the exact number of squares in a larger scale on another piece of tracing paper. Working on this larger grid, you can easily draw your design, copying each section, square by square. Once your design is the desired size -- outlined with a black permanent marker -- on the tracing paper, transferring the pattern to needlepoint canvas is just one step away. Lay you canvas over the tracing paper and, with the same permanent pen, "trace" your design on the canvas, once again square by square to assure accuracy. Now you're ready to produce a beautiful "original" needlepoint based on a similar design.