Embroidery on white linen, in white threads, produces rich, elegant results. A while back, I mentioned a project I was working on, using simple stitches on white linen, but I flubbed up on part of it, and had to start again…
You can find the original post on the subject here. I ended up picking out part of the work, and consequently marring the linen.
I reworked the same project and finished it a couple weeks ago, so I thought I’d share some photos of it. Overall, my point in this little article is to encourage readers who might be intimidated by “detail” work, especially whitework, that looks hard. This project, as far as stitching is concerned, was relatively simple!
Here’s a photo of the overall piece, which is a white linen pall, a square piece of linen traditionally used to cover the chalice during the Mass. It’s approximately 6 inches square.
Although the color looks a bit creamy in the photo, the linen is “ecclesiastical linen” by Legacy, which is white, and the thread I used was a #30 coton a broder by DMC.
I stitched all the lines and scrolls in a whipped backstitch – a very simple stitch! I wanted to raise the outlines a little bit, to add dimension to the piece. The grapes are stitched in a lighly padded satin stitch, and these were probably the most difficult part of the piece, only because some stitches may find it difficult to satin stitch circles well at first. I didn’t necessarily want all the circles the same size or a perfectly “round” shape, but tried for at least some consistency! The insides of the double-outlined shapes (the outside circle and the inside quatrafoil) are stitched in larger seed stitches, using double stitches.
The inside of the leaves and the letters are worked with a seed stitch – tiny single stitches which I did not “randomly” work, but rather worked more or less in the direction of the leaf. Seed stitch may be randomly worked, in different directions, for a nice effect, but here I wanted something a little more organized looking.
Perhaps my favorite aspects of the piece are the dimension created by the whipped backstitch and the padded satin stitch, and the texture, provided by the seed stitches.
A hint when working white-on-white: use good lighting! It makes all the difference. For the whipped backstitch, keep your backstitches tiny and even, and do all the “whipping” in the same direction.