After stitching all the lines on my current embroidery project, the next step was to add some seed stitching. I figured filling in certain areas in seed stitch would accomplish two things: it would add some texture and it would make the prominent parts of the design stand out. And so, I proceeded to stitch hundreds – perhaps thousands! – of tiny seed stitches.
There’s nothing at all complicated about seed stitching! Some books show seed stitch as two tiny stitches stitched as a pair perfectly parallel to each other, randomly covering an area. I only use one stitch, personally, stitching tiny single stitches randomly to fill an area.
Above, you can see the beginnings of the seed stitching. I started in the diamond area on the right, which was probably a mistake. Actually, I’m sure it was a mistake! You can see one spot in the center of the diamond that’s a bit crowded. See, the diamond is relatively small, so there’s not a lot of room there to really get up a rhythm with the stitching and gauge distance and so forth. Once you get the feel for the spacing and all that, seed stitching is a breeze. But starting and stopping in a tiny area doesn’t really do it.
Now, you might wonder why I didn’t take out the seed stitching in the diamond area described above, and there you have one disadvantage of closely-worked seed stitch: it makes a jolly mess of the fabric if you decide to pick it out. Oh, and the picking! It just isn’t worth it! I figured once the whole piece was stitched, that little crowded area in the diamond would not really be noticeable to anyone but me.
In the photo directly above, I’ve progressed a bit further with the seed stitching, and managed to take a picture in “natural” light as the sun slanted in.
Notice that I didn’t seed stitch the main element of the design itself (that’s the “M” in the center of the scalloped circle). I thought that seed stitching on the background, around the M, would actually take the background further back, and make the M stand out more, as in relief. That was my plan, anyway, and I think overall, it worked out.
You can really see the bumpy texture of the stitching here. For the outlines on the project, you may remember that I used #20 coton a broder. For the seed stitching, I used #25 coton a broder, for two reasons: 1. I ran out of #20 (which really narrows it down to one reason, I guess – it’s not as if I had a choice!) and 2. I figured the finer thread would look better. I had planned on using #25 for the seed stitching, anyway. What’s funny is that I ran out of #20 coton a broder for the outline exackitackily as I finished my last few stitches of the outline. I had about 4″ of thread to spare when finished. I’ve never come that close to running out of thread before!
Here’s the whole central medallion finished, and one crown (lower left).
My favorite part of the design are these scrolls and fleur de lys tips surrounded by the seed stitching. I think it looks ok, don’t you? I mean, I don’t want to say, “Golly, am I good, or what?” because that’s not what I’m thinking! I’m just glad it came out looking pretty nice. There’s quite a bit of chance involved in that, you see – I really had no idea that the seed-stitched background would be successful. It was just a hunch, and once I started, I knew I was in it, so I had to finish. I was glad that it worked out!
From a bit of a distance, here’s the whole piece with the seed stitching done. Hm. At this angle and in this light, you do kind of lose the center image.
But this is more what you see without the bright light (Ott light), and here, the central M is pretty clear.
Another disadvantage of seed stitching… not to be negative here!… is the finger hole. The finger hole? The finger hole!
I ended up with one of those tiny little needle holes in my middle finger on my right hand, which is the finger I generally use to manipulate my needle. Oh boy – you know, one of those teeeny holes made by the eye of the needle, and which the eye miraculously finds, no matter how hard you try to avoid it! There’s nothing quite like it when the back of your needle slides on into a little hole like that!
You know what my solution is? Oh – I know you’re thinking, “Wear a thimble, dummy!” But no, no… Super glue. I put a dot of super glue over the little hole and let it dry. It works great!
Ok, so that’s the seed stitching, done! Yippee. I’ve sewn the pall together already, and made the back – I’ll show you that in a future post, along with the finished pall with the lace attached. I’m halfway through sewing the lace right now, and will have it done probably before you even read this post!
Thank you for your oh-so-nice comments on the Blogiversary Post of yesterday! If you haven’t signed up for my three year blogiversary give-away, don’t forget! It’s over tomorrow morning, at 5:00 am CST. Thanks also for the insight into your likes and what you’d like to see more of on Needle ‘n Thread. I’ve got a post planned that will have a permanent link for all ‘tags’ – which will help make things a bit more searchable, I hope.
And, on that note, I’m off to finish up the lace, then shopping in preparation for my trip (leaving Thursday morning!). Don’t worry – I’ve got some Super Duper articles lined up for you while I’m going, and I hope to be blogging a bit along the journey, especially about any tidbits that might involve needlework shops!