Trasferimento del disegno per ricamo sulla stoffa

When I had closed the door behind me on Wednesday 15, after folding the fabric and putting away the yarns, I had returned to my everyday reality, made up of so many good and bad things, entangled in each other, sticking to me. And I find it hard to shake off and chase away the ugly things because, like tiny insects, they creep in everywhere and burrow into my thoughts.

So I had soon forgotten my brief, surreal trip and, worse, dismissed it as a silly trick of the mind. A trivial hallucination that should have worried me, if only I had had time.

So I had returned a few days later to my chair, oblivious to everything, although pervaded by a certain gaiety that I could not explain.
I had pulled my light box out of the drawer, which I plugged into a battery charger for convenience: I have long realised that if I have to struggle to retrieve the right tools, I end up adopting lazy, unsuccessful strategies. Once upon a time my light box was a transparent Ferrero Rocher box (nice and flat and smooth, gladdened by the supply of chocolates) with a couple of (battery-powered) cabinet bulbs inside. I know many use the glass table, under which to slide a lamp or its flexible arm. What matters, of course, is a light source subjected to a base. As everyone knows, window panes are cruel and do not like our work: they will make the ink vanish from the pens and distort the straightedge, just because they do not like to be touched. Let’s ignore them…

I usually trace with a black felt-tip pen the axes for centring the design on the paper (the orthogonal axes, passing through the two halves of the design) and a series of accessory axes, useful for putting the design in straight line.
Here the most useful is the line joining the two upper ends of the heart. I have not traced them and have only imagined them from experience, so you cannot see them in the operational photos. Anyway, here hoe you can dra them (in blue the accessory axe):

I trace the orthogonal axes on the fabric, resting a pin on the middle of one margin, which I grip with my right hand while my left hand lifts the fabric: this will cause the tip of the pin to slide between two wefts (so as not to distort them, not too much pressure must be exerted) and print a slight trace, like a perfect, delicate fold. And I repeat this on the adjacent margin. Many people embroider preparatory running stitch lines.

Having traced the orthogonal axes on paper and fabric, I superimpose them on the light box and switch it on. Only then can I check the accessory axis: I swipe the pin to check if the line falls between two wefts and, if it does not, I pull the fabric slightly to bring it into position. In this particular design I pay attention to the vertical axis and the accessory axis.

I draw on the fabric with a Papermate Replay Premium, which is one of those heat-sensitive ink pens that are used by children at school as erasable pens. I always remember that the iron only erases the stroke apparently and therefore I use erasable pens with caution, where I know that the embroidery will cover the whole trace. I don’t like Frixion (much in use here in Italy) because it is much more resistant to washing than Papermate. An alternative is a pencil with a lead, which smears little, but tends to fade by rubbing while working.

So then, as I always do, I started to transfer the Christmas design onto the fabric, in my little room, in the warmth of the fire that was just then beginning to warm the room. And as my hand proceeded on the fabric and the ink unrolled on the fabric, the window, which had now taken the shape of the outline I was tracing, came back to steal my gaze. A large sliver of moonlight reflected on the placid waters of the lake and shone on the crystalline reflections of the snow. The warmer lights of your windows gave my vision the appearance of a nativity scene. I could see moving hands, in the form of greetings, which I enthusiastically reciprocated. There is this magic of common feeling, which warms the heart and motivates, even when everything seems futile and ephemeral.

I was distracted. I had to proceed with the design and try to do it as accurately as possible, because, however tedious and less attractive the operation may seem than threading the needle early, a good design is the primary and necessary condition for successful work.

I had not reproduced the snow dots, because it seemed unnecessary and so did the hatching of the heart, because I know I will reproduce it on the reverse side, after finishing the embroidery and re-ironing the fabric. I had added the design of the two small decorations, on another piece of fabric.

I had then allowed myself to move closer to the window to better scrutinise the scene. There were footsteps on the connecting paths between the houses, but no doors to reach them. I had reached out a hand to touch the window pane: it was cold and real.

With a smile of secret complacency I put my tools away and decided to make an appointment for Friday 24, to start embroidering.

The bad things had made way for the thoughts.