Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hillarys Blinds - Country Crafts Competition

A vision in Teal - front view
Towards the end of February I saw a competition advertised on Twitter by Hillarys Blinds.  I can't remember the exact wording, but it was along the lines of "would you like to receive some material and enter our competition?"

Of course I would!

After sending an e-mail, I was delighted to hear I'd been chosen to take part.  I was able to pick from 3 fabrics.  I opted for the peacock print as I adore teal.  About a week later I received a packet from Hillarys containing a metre of my chosen material.  I wish I could get the colours to come out properly.  I don't think any of the photos I've taken do the fabric justice.  The background is a light cream, with the branches and blossom in subtle shades of brown and pale yellows.  Sitting on the branches across the fabric are a selection of beautiful peacocks.  In shades of teal, they are quite wonderful.

A Vision in Teal - back view
My first thought was; "I can make a fabulous roman blind for the bathroom", and then realised it may not be the best idea for a competition run by a curtain and blind company.  So - thinking cap on!

I tried to imagine how I would like to see the fabric in situ.  In my head I have created a vision of a spacious room, south facing, with a large bay window.  There are roman blinds at each of the 5 windows around the bay, all in this sumptuous Hillarys  peacock fabric.  The rest of the room is a relaxing mix of natural oak furniture, with a sea-foam coloured carpet.  There are huge sink-into sofas in a buttery soft pale beige leather.  Around the room there are touches of teal and chartreuse to add a little zing.  Pride of place across the bay window is a gorgeous chaise-longue in a rich teal velvet.  Propped in the corner of the chaise is my "Vision in Teal" pillow.  It brings the window treatment further into the room, and helps to integrate and enhance it.  As a finishing touch; instead of flowers in the room, there is a tall floor-standing vase containing an arrangement of stunning peacock feathers and twisted hazel twigs.

Back in the real world, the pillow will fit into my bedroom colour scheme beautifully.  My curtains are teal silk, and the pillow will decorate my bed, together with previous makes of mine.  All the colours are similar, so they will sit together really well.

There were three different peacock designs on the fabric, and I was drawn to this one in particular.  It was just asking to made a fuss of.  The only problem was it was slap-bang in the centre of the metre of fabric.  Having worked out the square I needed, I cut out carefully to ensure I would have a peacock well placed on the back of the cushion too.  As a border for the peacock, I put together 5 complimenting fabrics from my stash.  All these colours can be found in the Hillarys fabric, and again, I was imagining these colours in my imaginary setting.  

If only the photo of the peacock would show in more detail!  I have spent hours embroidering it.  I have filled in the body with tiny seed stitches, using two shades of teal, with turquoise to highlight.  In real-life it looks so vibrant and alive.  On the eye, crown and tail area I have also added in a silver thread.  It helps to highlight the face, and add a gleam to the glorious tail.  As soon as I saw this tail I knew I had to root through my button box.  My button box is huge, and now I think I can safely say I have used up my supply of teal buttons.  In addition to the mix of teal buttons, I have also added quite a few small heart-shaped mother of pearl buttons too.  Being so pale, they catch the light beautifully, and work so well as the crown of the peacock.  

Hopefully you can get an idea of all the little stitches from this close-up.  It shimmers in the light, and I've rather fallen in love with it.  At the start, I had the idea of carrying on the embroidery on the branches, and adding french knots to the blossom.  I would have been unable to finish in time, as the peacock alone took hours longer than I first expected.

To finish off the outside panel, I wanted to add a line of floral prose.  After searching on-line, I couldn't find anything suitable by a classic author, so have done my best to think something up.  I've back-stitched the "hand-writing" in teal perle 12 thread.  The wording says:

and then I chanced
upon a delight -
serene, sublime,
a vision in teal

I completed the pillow in envelope style.  The back of the pillow features another peacock, with a piece of butter coloured cotton printed with a chartreuse flower.  I added a piece of teal vintage lace to the edge of the flap.  After sewing front to back, I then finished the edge by adding a binding.  Luckily, I had just enough left to cut out the 2" inch strips required from the small piece of teal fabric in my stash.   I've had most of these pieces for so long, I can't tell you where they are from.  The teal fabric did have a tag on, pricing it at $2, so that one came from my trip to New England four years ago.  A sale bargain, and I've used it at last!

It's taken a long, long time to complete, but I've really enjoyed making this pillow.  The finished effect is beautiful, and I'm so pleased with it.  Thank you Hillarys for sending me the fabric to take part.  It's been an absolute pleasure embellishing your fabric, and I'd like to think I've done it justice.

And miracle of miracles, I've managed to finish it in time!