Thursday, 17 January 2013

~ Winter Solstice Cloth ~

I started this cloth in 2011 in Jude's class ~ Magic Diaries 1.

 I wasn't happy with the centre piece...., thinking of Jude's courage when she cut Magic Cloth 2, with heart-in-mouth, I cut it out....

and replaced it with a very dark purple silk velvet.

I left it for months after this....

...until a few weeks ago, when I started again, with Jude's reindeer and Cernunos as inspiration. 

The reindeer also fit in with a story I was excited to come across as I was working on the cloth, of 'Elen of the Ways', a Welsh and Scottish antlered goddess. I was fascinated to learn that female reindeer are antlered, the only female deer to be so, and I loved that Elen is the Welsh version of my name. I wonder why, seeing as the language we spoke in our house was Welsh, my parents didn't choose Elen instead of Helen....

Elen means fawn or doe and is said to shine like the sun, which was perfect for what I was doing here. It just felt so right for me to be stitching her as a female. 

I enjoyed working with this Horned Goddess and the Sun on this year's Winter Solstice, though my heart was in my mouth again a lot of the time, as I did not draw the antlers on and did them by eye. I was so pleased with the effect of the 'magic-thread', and a single strand 'split backstitch' was so fine to 'draw' the face.
I took away the moon on the right, as it did not fit in with the sun. I am not sure what to put there yet, though I have drawn in some acornsIt needs balance....a pulling together, and I don't know what that, I will just look for a while....

The centre spiral will be changed. The outer spiral took me a few days to accept, as it was off course....but I've promised myself not to get caught up in the idea of perfection any more,(as you can see from the shape of my leaves!), and now I love its elliptical path.

I fell in love with thread beads when I did the snowy's the first time I've really used them for effect like this, and I was grinning in my heart as I worked.

This was supposed to be posted on the day of the Solstice, but I was too busy stitching, and time ran away with now I have had time to add a tree in that top right corner. I am waiting for the centre to tell me what it needs, and then with a few finishing touches I think this will finally be might just take until this year's Winter Solstice! Goodness I work even more slowly than I thought.

Cariad Mawr
H x


  1. I love the second version of the cloth.

    I have a real "thing" for reindeer... and have always been drawn to antlers and images of antlered people, especially women. So when I learned long ago that female reindeer are antlered, I was smitten.

    1. Thank you Valerianna.

      I have a thing for horns and antlers too, with many antler or horn shaped driftwood pieces in our garden and house....and the odd real horn here and there too!
      I'm surprised I didn't know about female reindeer being antlered until now...learning new things all the time :~) and I'm joining you in being smitten :~)

  2. Coming back on the weekend to really absorb this...

    1. I've come back and looked and looked at each step in the evolution of this cloth and think that it is a very fine cloth indeed :)
      That thin little dear face and dainty antlers - lovely. The tree addition, fit so well and the center spiraling of leaves...yes! I like how they move into or out of the center darkness...maybe depending on mood or season. Sometimes we burst forth, fling our leaves everywhere...other times we circle in - dropping off what we no longer need and pausing to regroup. A very important cloth here :) Thank you for bringing it back and sharing it here.

    2. Thank you so much for looking so closely Nancy. I love your input. Those centre leaves are moving out...they are actually dream~leaves....dreaming of the summer, when, after they have won this battle with the Holly King, will reign supreme until the Summer Solstice, when the Holly King will defeat the Oak King!...and so it goes on, season after season :~)....which you describe beautifully here. I've been circling in for some time and maybe now it's time I burst forth for a while - Ha!

  3. wow-what a transformation! love those antlers embracing the sun, and yes, the thread beads, i love them too. great love and magic here.

    1. Hey Cindy....and thank you. :~)))