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Topic: Blackwork map of Africa  (Read 12155 times)
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elderflower
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« on: May 12, 2014 12:11:26 PM »

I have finally finished my glow-in-the-dark blackwork map of Africa. This is my entry in the Intermediate Embroidery category of our Needlecraft Guild's annual competition. I am pleased with how it turned out.
 
Day light picture


In the Dark 
I couldn't get the camera to work very well in the dark so it is rather grainy.

The theme of the competition is Out of Africa.  I took Pliny's quote and did a blackwork map of Africa to go with it.  I have wanted to do a blackwork map for some time. I did it in glow-in-the-dark DMC floss on black aida as I thought glow-in-the-dark thread would be the "something new"  at least our grandmothers didnt have it.  Also Africa was often referred to as the Dark Continent so I wanted to signify that it has its own light.

After it was all finished and I showed it to my daughter on Skype she pointed out that I had left out South Sudan  Embarrassed.  Actually I had a few problems with the map, as the outline map I found on the internet didn't have Lesotho, Swaziland or Eritrea.  So there may be other countries I have missed.  Oh well,  it is supposed to be Embroidery not Geography.

For Zimbabwe I did a couple of the stonework patterns from Great Zimbabwe herringbone and chequer.  Then I had to add two strips of fabric to the sides of the piece because the competition rules say it has to be at least 30 by 30 cm.  My bit of black aida was irregularly shaped and only 30 cm in one direction but I had enough of the rest to cut two strips to make up the difference.  I joined them using the Great Zimbabwe chevron pattern.
To transfer the map to the black aida I printed it out and traced the mirror image onto white muslin which I tacked onto the back of the black aida and then stitched all the country outlines in running stitch. Once that was done I cut/frayed away the muslin and did the fillings.
I got most of the blackwork patterns from String-Or-Nothing  A wonderful resource for blackwork patterns.

The fill I used for Madagascar I made up myself. I wanted to do the traditional technique where you do simple running stitch in various directions and it all comes together into a pattern at the end.  It was fun seeing how it all looked more and more confusing until the last vertical pass turned it into a pattern.

1    Completed First Diagonal pass
2    Completed Second Diagonal pass at 90 degrees to the first pass
3    Completed Horizontal pass
4   Completed Vertical pass

The glow-in-the-dark DMC floss was a real pain to sew with.  It slips out of the needle, knots itself and it snags on any skin roughness. The outlines were worked in double stranded floss which I achieved by using a long single strand and doubling it through the needle so there were no ends to slip out.
The fill in blackwork is traditionally done with a single strand of floss and the only way I could do that and retain my sanity was to split the single strand into its two component fibres and double one of those through the needle to give a single complete strand of floss. 

The whole piece is backed with cream "barkcloth" and the edges bound with black satin bias tape.
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014 01:21:08 PM »

WOW!
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014 02:22:08 PM »

Incredible piece of needlework!
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014 05:07:53 PM »

Gorgeous!   Shocked
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014 06:12:15 PM »

Ahhh this looks amazing! I love all things glow in the dark, but this looks even better with the lights on!
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014 06:33:46 PM »

Just incredible!!   Shocked  I cannot believe you did all of that beautiful blackwork with glow in the dark thread (have not tried glow in the dark yet but I hear it is a pain).  Way to go. 
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2014 08:16:50 PM »

This is fantastic. I love the black cloth black work idea. Very clever.
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BriannaB03
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014 09:12:57 PM »

Wow that is amazing!  I love the glow in the dark symbolism.  and those stitches are awesome!
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kwality570
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2014 06:22:05 AM »

Absolutely gorgeous! 
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2014 06:37:20 AM »

I love Blackwork and adore your take on it - to make it glow in the dark is particularly awesome!
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2014 08:43:05 AM »

Impressive! Very cool.
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014 04:24:02 PM »

I love black work and this is simply amazing! Love the pattern usage to distinguish the countries.
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Homerof2
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014 06:50:13 PM »

AMAZING!!!  It all looks so intricate.  I've worked with glow-in-the-dark DMC and I know it's a pain - good on you!
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elderflower
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2014 11:34:15 PM »

Thank you so much everyone.  It is really great to read all your comments.
I should have warned that sewing on black aida really needs full sunlight or very very good artificial lighting as it can be hard to see the holes.  I used to wear a white apron so that I could see the white through the holes which made them show up better.
Having said which I did find one really big advantage to sewing in white on black.  I was half way through the second pass on a country when I realised that on the previous pass I had done one stitch out of place.  Angry 
I really did not want to undo all the work to get back to it so I put it down and thought about it for a bit. And then took a black permanent felt-tip marker and painted out the offending stitch.  Roll Eyes
Now even I can't find where it was.   Smiley
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Trekky
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2014 08:55:53 AM »

Amazing skills!
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2014 07:26:18 PM »

Beautiful!
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2014 09:39:06 AM »

Absolutely extraordinary! I love that you worked some symbolism into the piece, too. It's really beautiful!
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Rat_Tails
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2014 11:55:17 PM »

I'm from Africa (South Africa!) and that is LOVELY!! Smiley
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WeeFreeRhie
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2014 06:37:42 AM »

oh that is beautiful. I love that you want to show that Africa has its own light.

The glow in the dark thread is awesome! i did not know such a thing existed! I have always found that the threads that look the best are the worst to work with lol
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2014 07:05:10 AM »

What a gorgeous work of art!
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jexxican
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2014 06:21:27 PM »

This is stunning! So much work and thought and detail... You did a really good job. Impressive that you didn't work from someone else's pattern of this but just stitched it of your own accord. Awesome! Usually don't read all the wordy bits, but this was worth it!
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2014 06:32:27 AM »

Congratulations! This has been chosen as a Featured Project. Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2014 08:05:35 AM »

I'm just like a proud mama! Three projects from my board were picked! You guys RAWK!
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2014 10:55:53 AM »

Wow.  Thanks so much and thanks to everyone who has commented so favourably.  It is so great to get such encouraging feedback.  Craftster is amazing.
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ameliarator
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2014 08:02:37 AM »

I'm totally in awe!  I've always admired blackwork, but this is such a fresh take!
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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2014 09:59:15 AM »

Thank you.
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Averia
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2014 04:23:40 AM »

Absolutely gorgeous!
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« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2014 10:38:38 AM »

featured on MrXStitch!  http://www.mrxstitch.com/craftster-pick-week-elderflowers-glow-dark-blackwork/
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« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2014 12:00:51 PM »

Wow. That is such an honour.  I'm very flattered.
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« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2014 06:15:06 AM »

What a beautiful piece.  I love all the different designs. I can imagine doing that much work with glow in the dark thread can be tedious.  Bravo for sticking with it. 
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