Posts Tagged Inspired by Mary

Squirrel by Arelate Studio

Copyright Nancy Spies, Arelate Studio, 2009.

Inspired by Mary: Squirrel by Arelate Studio

Squirrel by Arelate Studio

Chart: This Arelate Studio chart is printed on the inside of a double-sided, folded A3 cardboard sheet. The design is whole cross stitch only, with large swathes of single colour stitching. The symbols are printed small and pale, so if you have any eyesight issues, I would strongly recommend making a working copy and enlarging the pattern.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches only thus making it ideal to be stitched over one or as a canvas work project.

Materials: DMC stranded cotton or Soie d’Alger silks. Stitched on 18ct “White” Aida.

Designer’s Notes: Mary, Queen of Scots, was kept captive by her cousin Elizabeth I, for almost twenty years before she was beheaded in 1587. During that time, Mary produced hundreds of stitcheries, many of which were cross-stitched designs from natural history books, particularly Conrad Gesner’s book of 1560. Our line of “Inspired by Mary” cross stitch designs incorporates several of the main elements from Mary’s stitcheries: the cruciform outline (a modified Alisée Pattée cross), the central animal, the banner with label, smaller motifs in the four corners of the square, and the cipher or monogram.

We found a great number of the motifs used by Mary in the natural history books of Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605), copies of which we found in the Eisenhower Library of John Hopkins University in Baltimore. We have tried to keep the color palate as close to Elizabethan colors as possible.

Why I was attracted to this design: I love the animal designs in the “Inspired by Mary” range by Arelate Studio. These are so different from their usual designs, yet the designs are so in keeping with those of the time period. The blockiness of the designs, the garishness of the colours, these elements look so out-of-place to our modern eye, but these were one of the ways it was done in Elizabethan times.  I love it!

So why haven’t I stitched it? This was model-stitched on White Aida, in DMC thread with the whole background stitched in DMC 3685 Dark Mauve.  I have plans of simply stitching the main elements and border on a Mulberry-coloured linen in the alternate Soie d’Alger silk threads.  However there are 21 different floss colours on this design, that’s a lot of new silk threads (I have no Soie d’Alger in my stash at all) to buy!

Four of the five Inspired by Mary charts appear to have the same main background colour.  I’ve been tossing up whether to obtain one large piece of mulberry linen and stitch all four Cat, Dog, Squirrel and Rabbit on the same fabric in a block pattern.  However, the latest design, Drake, being on a royal blue background has thrown out the symmetry of the “all on the one piece of fabric” idea.

Where can you buy it? Arelate Studio no longer sells direct to the public, but she does have an official distributor, otherwise your LNS or ONS can still specially order it in for you. You should pay around $9.95 (US) for this design.

Discussion questions: Do you like historical charts to be in the style and colours of their time, or would you prefer them to be updated to our modern sensibilities?

Status:
5 June 2012: Going with my Soie d’Alger on Mulberry linen idea as soon as I can afford to kit it up :)