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Celebrating Brigid's Day with an Embroidered Brigid's Cross
Submitted by Pam on Tue, 01/28/2014 - 04:29
February 2nd is almost here - a day celebrated in many cultures in many ways as the all important half-way point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. This year I am celebrating with a series of Brigid's Crosses - all made with simple materials and methods and all just a little bit "out of the ordinary"!
The day is best known as "Mid-winter", "Imbolc", "Candlemas", "Brigid's Day" and "Ground Hog Day" and is often associated with the recognition that the earth is beginning to awaken from it's long winter sleep and spring is on it's way.
Although there are certain personal traditions I engage in to celebrate the day - pruning my roses, eating pancakes, removing the last of Christmas, searching the garden for signs of spring, beginning spring house and garden cleaning, and at day's end floating candles in 'Brigid's Pond' - my favorite way to recognize the day is to make Brigid's Crosses.
This sweet little Brigid's Cross is "constructed" using wool embroidery yarn, fabric with a heavy weave texture and a 6" embroidery hoop and tapestry needle.
Yarn color was chosen to symbolize fire and sun - both important aspects in recognizing this day.
No pattern was used. A mark was made at the exact center and the first yarn placed dividing the circle exactly in half - from North to South. The heavy grain, if placed carefully in the hoop, serves as a great vertical/horizontal stitching guide.
All yarns used to create Brigid's Cross were placed using this tutorial as a guide. If you are not already accustomed to making Brigid's Crosses, I suggest you practice using the tutorial and flattened paper drinking straws or 1/4" strips of cardboard. You can see how beautifully cardboard works to create a cross in this beautiful guest tutorial created just for this blog by my lovely and talented and BRILLIANT friend Michelle Pacey (Michelle Made Me blog).
Once you have made a couple crosses, you will understand the pattern and how it works and it should be very easy to translate what you have learned to your embroidery hoop!
While stitching the cross, I found it worked well to make a stitch, remove the needle from the yarn, move to the next yarn, thread the needle, make the stitch, remove the needle and move to the next stitch repeating until each "leg" of the cross has 5 stitches lying next to each other. (Of course, if you make your cross in one color, just leave the needle on the yarn and continue stitching!)
Once done, secure each yarn - a couple little tacks into the fabric directly under the arms will work.
If you want the same number of stitches in each arm, it will be necessary to cut one end of the first yarn placed and secure it under the center section.
Three French Knots at the end of each arm seems to give the cross a lovely finish.
I love the look of a yarn wrapped hoop "frame", and for this "frame" I used sock weight yarn in colors close to those used in the embroidery.
Hang by a ribbon to celebrate Brigid's Day!