Thursday, August 14, 2008

One Stitch Forward, Two Stitches Back....

I've always admired beautiful hand embroidery -- which to me, is one of the most beautiful arts. I have several hand embroidered family linen pieces that are well over one hundred years old and they are among my most treasured possessions.

A while back I bought myself the Embroidery Stitch Bible and have been working on some basic stitches by putting together a stitch journal, and translating those same stitches into this Van Gogh piece.

I'm using a combination of seed and straight stitching in the sky, straight and back stitching for the houses, spires, and mountains and tiny little french knots to form the illusion of treetops which I have just started layering in different shades of green. Jude a while back had suggested using some little bits of shimmery fabric in the sky. I think I might undue the moon (or add to it) and see about putting some bits of lame' in there.

Inasmuch as this is a learning process for me, I began to wonder "what if" -- instead of working on one section at a time -- I pick up a certain color of thread and work that color all "around" the entire piece - even if I only take a stitch or two in an area with a particular color. Will this result in greater depth and texture? I think so.

I'm enjoying working in this way as it really creates a bit of mystery. I love watercolor painting -- and stitching in this fashion reminds me of painting because I'm layering, blending, highlighting -- with thread! It's all about experimentation.

There's definitely a learning curve for me here. I'm still trying to figure out the best needles to use, how many strands of floss to use, do I like cotton, rayon or silk thread for clouds, etc., etc. My first conclusion: rayon thread is NOT fun!

Needless to say I've done plenty of "unstitching." And I can see in these photographs, I still have some "unstitching" to do.

Hence the title for this post:
One Stitch Forward....... Two Stitches Back!


Vicki W said...

But what a great exercise! I try to make every project I do challenging in some aspect. More often than not, though, I just make it unnecessarily complicated!

jude said...

i like to use up the color i have threaded even if i am done with the small area i am working on, and i agree, it can be a great way to balance the use of color in a piece by spreading it around. i don't like rayon thread either. if i want to battle such a slippery thing i would rather use silk. at least it is silk if you know what i mean.....

Anonymous said...

I agree about the rayon thread - it can be tricky, but some are nicer and easier to use than others. and i think you are on the right path with your what wathcing your progress on this with interest

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

Should I be dancing while singing one stitch forward, two stitches back?

OO, you should see the half finished embroidery I picked up at the thrift shop... can't wait to toss it under the ol' sewing machine needle and PLAY.

Yes, I know it's NOT FAIR I turned my comments section off on my blog temporarily... but ONLY because I miss emails!!!! HINT!

Cerealously, how's that 10x10 coming along? You find that inspiration you sew desired?

I'm guessing you have GOT it going on... yes, this post TELLS me you are ROCKIN' ideas over there (maybe from the back of your Harley? Hmm.. portable sewing machines.... GOOD IDEA).

xo, Monica :)

p.s. I'll turn the comments back on soon. I just needed a small blog break. This gives me a chance to come see what YOU all are up to!

3rdEyeMuse said...

great post ... and I have added the Embroidery Stitch Bible to my wish list! :) Someone's given me the "gotta-try-it" bug.

*big cheesy grin*

daydreamstudios said...

All I can say is you have WAY more patience than me. I would have given up at step I like things I can finish in one sitting. :-) Starting to look great in spite of your troubles.

jeanne herself said...

ooohhhhh . . . a lame moon. that jude does have an eye. so do you, obviously. will be checking back to see how you add to your family's collection.

Pursuing Art... said...

Good for you at working with some different stitches for this piece and doing a stitch journal too!!! You are doing a beautiful job so far Cathie!

I have to agree...cotton and silk are much easier to work with when stitching! You know that I can't wait to see this one when it is complete!!!

Keep experimenting! I know when you are done it will be just beautiful!!!

~Lisa ;-)

P.S. Good grief, I didn't know I was this far behind!!!

Jane said...

This is looking real good Cathie... it's a bite to have to rip some thread but it's better now than later. I liked what Jude said about "battling" with thread.. I'm the worst but learning. I'm lovin' what your doing with this one and can't wait to see it as it gets on.

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