Monday, July 21, 2014

Simple blossom

One of the things I really love about embroidery is that I am constantly discovering, developing and changing the way I do things. I rarely have a set plan of how I will achieve a certain look - just a vague feeling of what I wish to achieve - and sometimes you just need to think outside the square a little bit.

My first inclination for the cup of these blossom was to use satin stitch - but I wanted them to have some texture and really good definition of the edge of the shape, and I know satin stitch would just make them look soft and 'fluffy. Turning the design upside down, I realised the edge was formed by two 'V' shapes - the perfect shape for fly stitch.

I then continued to place fly stitches very closely side by side to cover one half of the shape. Then the other in the same way. Quite simple but effective, I think.

The blossom on the other hand, I did want to be soft and delicate. So apart from choosing a very pale colour yarn, satin stitch was the obvious choice here. To make the edges slightly raised and rounded, I first placed tiny split stitches along the outline. I don't always work split stitch under satin stitch - it does help get the outlines really neat though.
Dividing the shape into sections helps get the direction of the satin stitch correct across the entire shape.
Then just fill in the gabs. Filling a slightly tapered shape like this is so much easier in wool than if you are using silk or cotton. The wool is so much more forgiving - you simply space the stitches a little further apart along the wider edge. The wool will neatly fill the space.

To divide the petals, I wanted something a little more substantial than a straight stitch over the top. A straight stitch would easily partly disappear into the underlying satin stitch. The solution was a detached chain placed partway over the blossom and the anchoring stitch all way over the edge.
To finish off - a few trusty old pistil stitches for the stamens at the top...

...and there, a delicate little blossom using just a few simple stitches. Perhaps it gives you some ideas of how to use a few different stitches next time you embroider a flower.

Happy Stitching,
Anna x

PS - did you wonder about the dotted outlines? Dots are so much easier to disguise and cover with stitches than solid lines...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Between projects

I must admit I was completely blown away by all the lovely comments on my last post. I could say I was too overwhelmed to post for a week and a half, but that would not be completely true - I have just been busy.

Amongst the comments were a few request for classes... Will I teach it? One should never say never, but I don't think so. I feel a bit mean but this kind of work is just about the only embroidery I do now just for me. Most of my work is designed with classes and instructions in mind and it is a completely different way of working - taking notes and keeping track of quantities, keeping time frames in mind, writing and drawing up diagrams - in fact, the stitching is the easy part. So I am afraid that, at least for now, the answer is no, I am sorry but I won't be teaching it.

It has made me think a lot about teaching though. I absolutely love to teach. There is something really, really special about sharing something you love in that way. But it has made me think a lot about the way we often teach embroidery and I need to ponder on that a bit more before I share some of those thoughts...

For now I feel a little bit 'between projects', so while I decide what to start next (a large crewel project?, a goldwork pomegranate?, perhaps another raised embroidery floral design? or the next figure - a character lazily floating on clouds?) I have been reaching for my 'Between Projects' project.

Apart form the beak the bird itself is finished. The legs were fun - two parallel rows of coral knots, with the knots off-set to give them that 'knobbly' look and bullion knot toes. Yes, bullion knots! I don't use these knots very often at all. It would have to be my least favourite stitch of all stitches - we don't get on bullion knots and I. Anyway, they worked for this.

All around the bird is a repetition of leaves and blossom, all the same shape and similar in size. So that the overall look won't be busy and confusing to look at - they need to all be embroidered in the same way. The leaves were pretty straight forward - all worked in soft shading. The delicate blossom are worked in four simple stitches - fly stitch, satin stitch, detached chain (lazy daisy) and pistil stitch. I'll show you how tomorrow...

Happy Stitching,
Anna x

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Over the Hills

She is finished - I think...

A few flowers in her hair..

...bows on her shoes...

...and a scarf around her shoulders.

I was really not sure about that. 
The dress was flowing and did it really need more colour - more needle lace??

 Rows and rows of detached blanket stitch with a neat tiny picot edge...
Perhaps I was wasting my time?

Holding it in place with pins - then a few stitches. I will be easy to take out if I don't like it...

...luckily I do. 
Yes she is definitely finished.

Have a lovely Friday,
Anna x