Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part Three

This is the third part of a series written by Silvana Vannini of Italy and translated into English by myself.

Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part One
Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part Two
Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part Four

Trapunto Heart Pincushion Project
by Silvana Vannini

Aside from the charm and romance of the scenes from the legend of Tristan, the Guicciardini Coverlet is also intriguing for the variety of designs on it: four-leaf clovers, grapevines, flowers, foliage, animals, human figures, armour, weapons, naval vessels, architecture, musical instruments, clothing and more, all of which give clues to dating the work and to the political climate at the time it was made. The imperfect hand-drawn designs give a rustic feel to the work and aid in the fascination which draws you in to take a longer look. We present this little heart pincushion with the shields of Tristan bearing the three hunting horns – emblem of the Guicciardini family – and that of Morholt bearing the fleur-de-lys.

Pincushion finished size: 15 cm x 15 cm

  • 40ct 100% Bellora ivory-coloured linen 21.5 cm x 21.5 cm for the embroidered piece; 12 cm x 14 cm for the square back piece; 12 cm x 4 cm for the button flap; 2 pieces 12 cm x 12 cm for the stuffed cushion
  • 100% Bellora ivory-coloured linen gauze 10 cm x 10 cm
  • Quilting needle no. 10
  • Tapestry needle no. 18
  • Long Trapunto Needle (optional)
  • Basting thread
  • DMC Linen Floss, colours: L779 Sepia, L822 Beige
  • 100% Cotton yarn, colour: natural or ivory (Cotone Povero)
  • 100% Cotton quilt batting
  • Two buttons 
  • Awl
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Thimble
  • Water soluble fabric marker

Stitches used in this project:

A note about linen floss: in the interests of authenticity the reproduction quilt was made using DMC linen floss which is difficult to use. It must be cut in short lengths as it tends to unravel. Feel free to substitute DMC cotton floss for easier execution of the embroidery.

Use your basting thread to mark the horizontal and vertical centres of your fabric.

Withdraw one fabric ground thread on all four sides of an area 21.5 cm x 21.5 cm on the 40ct linen. Centred inside this area, withdraw one ground thread on all four sides of an area 10 cm x 10 cm leaving a tail at each corner long enough to thread into a needle. Cut out the 21.5 cm x 21.5 cm area along the withdrawn thread channel. Fold over a 1 cm hem to the back side on all edges and baste. Fold the tips of the corners in so that the tips line up to the corners of the withdrawn thread 10 cm x 10 cm area, baste close to the fold. Trim corner seams to 1 cm. Press.

Inside the 10 cm by 10 cm area, centre and trace the design with the water soluble fabric marker. 

Pattern should measure approx. 3.5" x 3.5"

On the back of the fabric pin a 10 cm x 10 cm piece of the linen gauze and baste the two fabrics together. 

Mount your fabric on the straight of the grain into an embroidery hoop making sure to have a taut surface to work on. 

Backstitch all design lines except the heart shape using the embroidery needle and 2 strands of the brown linen floss. Begin and end your thread lengths with a knot on the back of the fabric. Stitch through both layers of fabric. Backstitch the heart outlines in 2 strands of the ecru linen floss. 

Turn the work over and with an awl gently open up the ground fabric threads of the linen gauze and stuff the fleur-de-lys on the shield with the cotton quilt batting. With the tapestry needle gently reposition the ground fabric threads to close the openings you have made. For the hunting horns, use the tapestry needle or a long trapunto needle and a length of the cotton yarn to fill the narrow strips and outlines around the larger ends of the hunting horns. Pass the yarn around the shield outlines and outline of the heart shape. 

When filling with the yarn, choose an angle which will allow you to fill the entire shape with parallel lines. Enter the fabric at the side of the shape just under the backstitches, pull the yarn through leaving the tails a bit outside the entry point and exit out the other side of the shape again, just under the backstitches. Trim the ends but leave tails so you can reposition the yarn if you need to. Begin the next row of yarn filling parallel to the first row and repeat as many times as necessary to fill the shape. Do not overfill. After filling the entire shape, trim all the yarn close to the fabric and work the ground fabric threads closed.  Trim away the excess linen gauze on the back of the work about 1 cm from the heart shape. 

Remove the work from the hoop. With 1 strand of the ecru linen floss and the embroidery needle execute tiny running stitches in evenly spaced diagonal rows on the inner empty parts of the shields. Make the running stitches on the right side of the work very small while the stitches on the back side can be much longer.

About the author:
Silvana Vannini lives in the Tuscan countryside. Now retired, she worked as an instructor of Technical Applications, which in Italy meant, tailoring, sewing, knitting, embroidery, drawn thread work and related activities. Her personal studies in Art History led her to create works of embroidery and painting. 20 years ago she discovered quilting and the perfect medium for expressing herself. She makes small works using many varied techniques like embroidery, appliqué, Florentine Trapunto and others which she also teaches at a few Museums and Foundations. In 2011 she participated in a competition with the theme: The Bag - Necessary Accessory. This led to her selection to participate in the exhibitions which were held for the first time in Florence in Via Toscanella it what was the former studio of the Florentine painter Ottone Rosai (1895-1957), and then in Antwerp, Belgium at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She has donated her reproduction of the Guicciardini Coverlet to the Palazzo Davanzati and is presently working on projects for future exhibitions.

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