Pocketful of Borders: Ring around the Rosie

The one woman border stitching factory is running double shifts to get the illustrations finished and framed in time for my Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit, which you can read about here.  This one is from the page for the rhyme “Ring around the rosie”. The border turned out to be much more involved than I planned and took several days to complete. From now on, I can’t afford to play around, trying out different approaches for each piece. It’s time to get serious. My goal is to complete one a day, so I’ll have all 51 ready by mid Sept., when we hang the show.

I picked out some upholstery fabric for the background and then chose the felt border colors.

I like to lay out different skeins of pima cotton from the Caron Collection next to the artwork and pick a color scheme that matches.

Then I edge the border pieces with a blanket stitch.

There’s a lot of open green space around the dancing figures in this illustration, so I thought that the border could take some embellishment. I did a little sketch of some leafy curled stems and embroidered them.

One thing led to the next and before I knew it, I was filling the leaves with orange floss and scattering french knots around like confetti.

When I put the finished border piece next to the artwork, it looked too busy and the many colors detracted from the circle of characters. It was clear to me that the first try didn’t look right and instead of wasting time trying to make it work, I quickly moved on. I put it aside and decided to make another design that was still embellished, but was limited to green chain stitching.

They were true doodles, done free hand, with every border section different. That way, I don’t have to plan it out and repeat exactly the same design for all 4 side pieces. Also, without a set pattern, the border more accurately reflects the lighthearted and uninhibited mood of the characters.

I then embroidered the date and my initials on the bottom corner pieces.

And continued doodling…

After sewing the side and corner pieces together to make a square border, I thought that it needed a little lift off the surface, so I added some wire around the outside edge.

Later, after I’d sewn the wire all around, I realized that I should cut and adjust the wire to conform to the curves of the corner pieces.

I then covered  the wire by wrapping it with variegated embroidery floss.

And to help define the form, I slipped some wire through the stitches on the backside of the inside edge, like a underwire bra.

Now, I sewed the whole wire supported border to the artwork and bent waves into the outside scalloped edge.

I’m half way through making the borders, with about 25 to go! I’ll try to remember to pause and take pictures as I go, but know some steps won’t be documented because I’m so intent on finishing this project.

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

16 thoughts on “Pocketful of Borders: Ring around the Rosie

  1. This is going to be a wonderful show. Can you give us more information as to where and when? Enjoy reading your posts, and seeing the beautiful work that you do.

  2. Salley,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wonderful creative process with us. Hope the next few weeks are not too stressful for you.

    I can’t wait to own a copy of your new book.

    Blessings.

    Jenny

  3. Wow is an understatement Salley! Your attention to detail is astounding! It’s so nice that you share so many details of how your work comes together, makes me appreciate your work even more. You’re an inspiration! I’m going to go check the dates of your show, I hope there’ll be a California date in there somewhere :o)

  4. wow–I really wish I could help you! You poor thing. Hang in there. We are all rooting for you.

    And when you finish all this good stuff and have had a long rest, would you consider offering some online classes as to how you do this great art?

    • Kelly, thanks for your interest in classes, but I want move away from looking at past work in an instructional, analytical way and toward the unknown, to developing a more experimental form of expression. My muse has been calling for some time and I’m paying attention!

  5. Oooh! Really, really cute, Salley! I second Jenny. I live in Northern California. The Embroiderer’s Guild is having their National Seminar here in San Francisco in about 2 weeks. I can check around for you. I’m sure there’s bound to be a few interested parties there. I’d love to see your work in person!

  6. Hi Salley!
    Sounds like you are in production mode. I can understand the desire to play and experiment, but at the same time have a deadline to meet. It can be a real challenge. Good luck with getting all those borders made and thanks for sharing all the ups and downs of your artistic life.

  7. I am thrilled to see what you have been doing and know how much work you have left to do! Love this piece and all the darling little people…all the different people and the kitty…wow! Wishing you speedy stitches!

  8. i can see the benefit to working designs on seperate border pieces. you don’t waste all the beautiful stitching on the rejected piece…i imagine you can just use it somewhere else?

    i’ll keep my fingers crossed your exhibit can come to minneapolis…maybe after the stop in Iowa?

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