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Photo Memory Cushion with Handmade Lace, Hand Embroidery, Applique, Silk Ribbon and more!

My Memories Cushion inspired by Brian Haggard's Book

I had a commission in the summer for another Memories cushion from my friend Jennifer. I didn't want to share it until it had been received (and permission given) to be sure I would not spoil the surprise.  I had to edit the photo before using it, to remove a dark lump behind his ear and some camera fluff from her face.  Then I converted it to Sepia and it was ready to print!

A4 Inkjet Cotton

But then I had a lot of trouble with the printing, ranging from running low on ink so it came out pink, to pricking my finger and getting blood on it!  I also tried adding masking tape to the leading edge (as suggested in the instructions) and it went skewed inside the printer and ruined it. Having never tried that before I will never try it again!  Nothing against the product, just my bad workmanship!

However, I got it right eventually and rummaged happily through my button, ribbon and trim collections for bits and pieces to add to it.  I was given to a piece of hand-made lace made by Jenny's mother to include.

I pieced the photo in the centre surrounded by pieces of linen and cotton fabrics to make it a 16 inch cushion.  I had a free rein to make it 'romantic' so no crabs and starfish this time, instead I am looking for birds, flowers and of course, hearts.  

I went to my e-book "Embroidered Memories" by Brian Haggard for inspiration from his collection of motifs, and some stitch combinations to try.  Combining different stitches this way is new to me, and I like it, but it doesn't come naturally to me so I like to see the suggestions.  (I bought Mary Corbet's "Needle'n'Thread Stitch Sampler Alphabet" e-book for that very reason!)

I find it easiest to place the applique shapes and trims first.  I was asked not to use the lace as a frame for the photo despite the fact it would fit, but fold it into an L shape instead.  I started with that, then arranged the other pieces around the photo, adding angled pieces of the background fabrics to make it less 'square'.

I used a tight zig-zag stitch to apply the applique shapes, then I added the buttons and hand embroidery using Anchor Pearl Cotton size five in shades of cream, taupe and tan. The hessian looking fabric here is actually a silk Tussah from a sample selection I bought from The Silk Route here in the UK.  The buttons are vintage mother-of-pearl from my mother's collection.  The hand stitches are buttonhole and the fly stitch

The applique hearts were cut from natural linen, the mother-of-pearl heart button I bought locally.  Here I have used feather stitch, chain stitch and the herringbone stitch.  The gold ribbon is applied with a wide machine zig-zag.  The lilac is made up of french knots on back stitched stems with lazy daisy leaves.

Here I have stem stitch and lazy daisy stitch for the button flowers and curling stems plus herringbone and more ribbon stitched in place with a wide zig-zag.  

This corner shows the hand made lace, crochet lace and broderie anglaise trim, and a climbing rose worked with stem stitch, lazy daisy leaves, french knot buds and rose stitch flowers.  

I did a herringbone stitch down the opening in the folded lace and added some vintage pearl buttons.  Other stitches include double knot stitch (aka Palestrina stitch), chain stitch, stem stitch and lazy daisy stitch.

Here it is as a whole.  The problem with this type of work is knowing when you are finished, it's easy to just keep adding a bit more, but when I got to this stage I decided it was enough.

Jennifer's Finished Memories Cushion

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