I have mentioned in previous posts how much I love old books and how much of an inspiration they can be when I'm looking for ideas. This design is one such pattern and is inspired by a motif in an 1899 edition of the Leopold Shakespeare.
The Leopold Shakespeare is an anthology of the bard's works which list al of his plays and sonnets in chronological order. Originally published in 1877, the volume was dedicated to HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the eight child and fourth son of Queen Victoria. He died at the early age of 30 from haemophilia in 1884.
The edition which inspired my design has my Grandad's name written in the front along with the date 20th November, 1947. This is very close to his birthday so perhaps it was a present or something he bought with birthday money. As well as illustrations of various scenes from the plays, there are numerous arts and crafts-style motifs. This letter B is at the beginning of Scene 2 Act 1 of King John. The letter is used as a trellis for an ivy-like plant which winds around the form.
In my design, I have replaced the ivy with roses and simplified them a little. The main part of the letter is worked in cross stitch while blackwork is used to fill in the spaces and also to give some texture to the roses. A sparkle of gold finishes off the trellis. These days, you can use any colours you like for blackwork but I prefer the traditional black because it's so striking and has a classic, timeless beauty.
You can buy the pattern from either of my shops which you can find on Etsy and Payhip. You can now also follow me on Instagram, with the same name as my twitter account hawthorntree_xs - I'll be posting behind-the-scenes photos and sharing more about my inspirations.
All photos (c) Karen Eley/The Hawthorn Tree 2015