In 2005, I stitched my very first Chatelaine design. On January 1, 2006 I put the first stitches into Mystery IX, Martina’s year-long mystery design. Mystery IX was later to be known as The King’s Vegetable Garden, or Le Potager du Roi, and was based off the gardens at Versailles. At the beginning of each month, Martina released the next part of the design.
Those first three months, I kept up with the stitching. In April, Eric and I got married and I fell behind with the stitching, but I shared my progress in my very first blog post back in June of 2006. I spent the next several years working on M9 off and on, but in December of 2017 that all changed.
On 12/5/17 the Chatelaine Designs group on Facebook received news of Martina’s passing and it suddenly felt like I needed to get M9 out again. I posted on Instagram the above photo and this: “And tonight…I am putting stitches in this piece and with each stitch sending my gratitude out into the universe for the brilliant light that Martina was and that her spirit will live on through her designs.”
I continued working on it through the end of the year and managed to finish the first corner on January 1st of 2018. I set it aside to work on some other things, picking it back up in February for a few days and in March.
On March 20, 2018, there was a 100 day challenge starting in the Chatelaine Designs group on Facebook and I decided it was the perfect time to focus on M9 and maybe get it done, finally. Here’s a slideshow of those 100 days.
On July 10, 2018, on day 111, I finished the last of the beading at 3am.
I was so thrilled to be finished with it and couldn’t wait to see it in full daylight. I ironed it and filmed a short video of it the next day.
And here it is, in all its glory.
Martina had offered some baroque pearls as well as the “Sun King” crystal to those of us participating in the mystery to use in the center. She charted a stitched center for those that didn’t want to use the crystal. I ended up using some of the stitched center, leaving off the pearls, and attaching the crystal. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
One of the things I love most about Martina’s pieces is how she uses texture – they crystals and the beads add their own texture and sparkle. But, she also uses half stitches and other specialty stitches to add depth and dimension. In this piece, she also had us use a perle silk – you can see it in that herringbone border as well as in the leaves of the four big lettuces. That stuff was a beast to work with, but looked so good when it was in.
This was stitched on the called for 32ct Zweigart Lavender Mist with the called for silks and Petite Treasure Braid. The beads are all delicas and the crystals are Swarovski.
Truly, a piece worthy of Versailles.
I’m so grateful for Martina and the gorgeous pieces she designed and I’m so thrilled with how beautiful this turned out and that it is finally, finally done.