Epigonation and Blackwork (updated)

Blackwork Cross

It is about time to start work on my next liturgical embroidery project. There is something special about doing liturgical embroidery. It is, in a way, more satisfying than other projects.  I do, in the end, prefer to do projects for others anyway, projects intended for my walls seem to rarely get completed.

The above Blackwork Cross will not be on the first Epigonation, but on the second, I have volunteered to stitch two of them, one on a red wool fabric, and the second on a beautiful white Scottish linen (which will have the above cross in the center). My design for the red woolen Epigonation is hand-drawn and will be done in surface embroidery, so I doubt that I will be able to post a decent picture here before it is done. It is my hope to have the red one completed by Nativity, and the white one for Pascha. It just depends on so many other things, but that is my hope.

The design for the red Epigonation will be quite different – basically a cross with vines and flowers. I will post a photo of that when it is far enough along. You can see the framed project in the photo here, it was for a good friend.

Current Project Listing

Ok, I am finally getting to a point where I can spend some time with needlework before my new index comes at the end of the month. Writing indexes is a great way to make extra debt-payment money, but it is quite intensive.

Work continues on Night Flight, referenced in recent postings.

Work is starting on the two Epiginations. Hopefully one will be complete by Nativity and the other by Pascha, but we shall see!

I have decided to start work in the Wild Rose, a needlepainting project for a friend of mine. I hope to complete it and have it framed in time for Nativity, but time will tell. You can see it here. I WAS going to stitch the Blackwork Peacock for her instead, but after talking with her husband I settled on the Wild Rose.  I still have the material for the Peacock, I think it would look great on MY wall – unless I choose to give it to someone else. Work has kind of stopped on the Forest but this is not due to a dislike for the project – I just have too many other things going on!

In case you haven’t noticed, Wild Rose, Forest, and Peacock are all from the same designer. Tanja Berlin has a wide variety of wonderful designs and also provides free critique if desired. Ok, time to pop something into the DVD player and start stitching for the afternoon!

Camera, Needlepoint, and Epigonation

I am finally purchasing the first decent digital camera in my life – and FedEx will deliver my new Sony Cyper-Shot camera on Tuesday. Well – they will ATTEMPT to deliver it, I find that they never come when I am home. Ever. It is rather difficult to get Fedex packages at my apartment for this reason – they do not wish to leave it without a signature and their pickup location is something like 20 miles from my home. No matter, I will get it however I can!

Once it lands, I will provide updated pics on the progress of Night Flight (almost done). I have decided that I will never finish it if I insist on stitching the entire project, so I am altering the project “limits” as it were. The full chart shows a night sky with a large bird flying “over” a full moon. Then there are lots of other parts of the sky to stitch, and water, and sand, and rocks. It is, in the end, a night landscape. I’ve decided to leave out the land part and just focus on the sky. It is quite large anyway, and at least this way it will get finished. Finishing is a good thing.

I am also going to start work sometime this summer on embroidery for an Epigonation for a priest I know. Once I take care of a few details and actually get started I will post the progress here. I will use blackwork embroidery to stitch a cross and a border that will surround the cross.

Oh yes, I will also receive the entire television series of Stargate SG-1 in the same package. Something of an overkill, the series covers 54 dvds! However, one needs something to watch when doing non-liturgical needlework – and it is a good series. No more DVDs for me for a loooooong time 🙂

New Chalice Covers!

I have finally completed my first set of chalice covers. This is not the first set I’ve embroidered, but the first set that I have done all of the work after that – actually constructing the covers, attaching the lining, galloon, fringe, and so forth. I was asked to use the same material for the lining as for the cover, so the covers are actually too thick – which was an issue at the corners. I also haven’t used a sewing machine since what seems like the dark ages, but it all worked out.

The covers are far from perfect, but they were made with love and those for whom they were made seemed to really like them. Thank God!

Completed Aer

This is a picture of the largest cloth out of the set of three – sometimes called an Aer. This cloth has different uses between Greek and Russian traditions. In the Russian tradition ties are used (I had to go with red ribbons, I couldn’t match the burgundy fabric) and the priest ties the cloth on his back during the Great Entrance.

The next picture is of one of the two smaller covers – and they look alike so I just took a picture of one of them. You will note that it seems to be padded or something underneath the galloon on the sides. This was not meant, but comes from using the same fabric as a lining – there is just too much material. However, it seems to work. Don’t look too carefully at the corners….

Small Chalice Cover

Small Chalice Cover

What is this? While it looks beige in this photograph, it is actually white brocade. I tried it with the flash, but the flash relfected so much from the white brocade that you couldn’t really see the design, and the design is what I am having problems with.

 I am embroidering this set of chalice covers for a Skete, and it has been requested that I only embellish the pattern in the brocade, not superimpose some other design over it.  That makes perfect sense, and that is what I did with the large Aer (see it here).

There are two problems:

 1. First problem really isn’t a problem, the small cover as drawn above is about 3/4 of an inch too wide. Not a problem. However, that only compounds the real issue.

2. The pattern on this broade is large. Probably not different from other brocades, but the nature of the pattern means that it will not fit on any section of the small chalice covers – even at the present size. For this to look right a good percentage of the overall design must be embroidered.

The “top” or “middle” panel (that goes over the top of the Chalice) is  more easy to solve. Even when the size is cut back to where it should be, if I use 3\4 inch galloon there is something there for me to work with.

The “sides” of the cover are the problem. Perhaps the answer is to just embroider the center panel and leave it at that. It was requested I embroider those as well, but this may not be an option. Time will tell.

I just want to get this set completed, it has taken me months longer already than I had orgionally anticipated – however – there has been a LOT going on in recent months that I had no idea was going to come up. These are good things, I just don’t have much time left for embroidery right now – but I am making the time 🙂

Here is the embroidery for the large Aer

Large Aer Embroidery  

As you can see, this isn’t the entire Aer, but is the embroidery for the middle of it. It is difficult to see in this photo, but there are several rows of blue embroidery inside the smaller section of embroidery in the middle – so everything is tied together.

For those who may not know what an Aer is, Orthodox chalice covers are a set of three, the largest of which is tied over the priests shoulders during the Great Entrance during a Divine Liturgy. It has a different role in a Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, but I don’t want to confuse things here 🙂

The two smaller cloths are in the shape of a cross, and, God willing, I will actually cut those out this week. I have to be careful with that part as I only have enough brocade for the two cloths. No room for mistakes, and brocade isn’t cheap – and I doubt I could match the pattern of the current brocade so I would have to start all over again. . .

3 Projects at the same time?

Someone who reads this blog commented when we were talking on the phone the other evening that I am working on 3 projects at the same time.

Actually, if I were honest, it is probably double that – but there are several projects I haven’t worked on in a LONG time – and I do intend on changing that once I get through the current list of projects. God willing. Should I live that long 🙂

You see, there is the liturgical embroidery – that I am not yet ready to go back to until my spirit settles some more after the death of my stepfather a couple of weeks ago…

Tiramisu is a huge project, and the little work I’ve done on it so far tells me it will take quite some time to finish – and I have promised liturgical embroidery projects for TWO monastic sketes…. sorry Tiramisu, but liturgical emboidery takes presidence once I get back to it.

In the end, I think that there are lots of reasons for multiple projects. It isn’t to keep from being bored (I dare anyone to tell me that creating things of beauty could ever be boring!)… nor is it because I don’t have “better things to do” – for that isn’t the case either.

I think that it is the allure of learning new skills with which to use to create things of beauty – and what can be more beautiful than something that will be used in Orthodox worship? It seems to me that it is the end-purpose of the work that makes it beautiful – not what little effort I may have put into it. Does that make sense?

 Ok, I will stop pondering, and go pick up a needle – in the end – needle and thread is a much easier medium for me to express myself than words. I keep trying though 🙂