Following up on my first article about hand embroidering a monogram on a linen guest towel, where you’ll get details of supplies and technique, I thought I’d show you progress on the monogram and discuss the importance of precision in the outline.
After I finished the tip of the B, I continued backstitching the outline of the letter.
Now, this is the thing: when you’re stitching your outline, it is best, on the long stretches, to work with relatively longer stitches, so that you get a smooth, flowing line. As you work into the curves, your outlining stitches can shorten up a bit, in order to take the curves well.
My stitches here could have been a little longer. The difficulty is that, with shorter stitches, you tend to focus more on the fabric than on the smooth flow of stitches. And when you’re focusing closely on the fabric, you end up naturally wanting to stitck your needle into the holes corresponding with the threads in the fabric, rather than sticking faithfully to the sweep of the line. So the result can end up a bit bumpy.
In the long run, you’ll be much happier if you take your time with the outlining steps – make sure that your lines are nice and smooth, because you’ll be using them to hold the edge of your satin stitch. A messy satin stitch on a monogram is never desirable, so take good care while you’re outling – it will save you frustration later!
When you look up close at the backstitching, you can see where the line jiggles in and out a bit. In the long run, the slight variation in the line didn’t bother me too much, but I kept an eye out for it and compensated with my satin stitches.
The white little blob inside the lines of the letter (upper left of stitching) is where I ended my threads. Since that area is going to be covered anyway, I began my stitching by taking about three tiny little stitches into each other, inside the lines of the letter.
And here you see the back of the stitching so far.
When you see even more of the backstitching, you can see the jiggling of the line. Tsk tsk!
And, the back of that – a combination of stem stitch and split stitch show up on the back. These stitches on the back will be mostly covered up by the satin stitching, although often you’ll get a little border of half-stitches along the satin stitch line on the back, because the stitches tend to be split as you pass your needle to the back.
The purpose of this photo is two-fold: 1. you can see the height on the embroidery; and 2. to show you again how I’m ending my threads – you can see the white marks inside the letter lines again. These are just little tiny stitches taken into each other; they serve to anchor the thread very well. As long as you’re covering up the area with other stitches, this is a great way to begin or end your threads.
The outlining on the whole “B” is almost finished!
Ah, I like this! See the thread ring? Those are great for hitching up your whitework threads. Coton a broder, when left in the skein form, doesn’t operate like regular stranded floss – it doesn’t “pull” out of the skein. To make it easy to take a length of thread, I precut the skein in two pieces, to make about 14″ – 15″ lengths of thread, which I hitch up on a large thread ring. (This is a mother of pearl thread ring, large size, from Kelmscott Design). Then you can just pull your thread straight from the front cross over on the ring, without untying the bunch (the same way I did with the kids’ threads and the craft foam mentioned yesterday).
And, the back of the “B.”
With the complete outline finished, it’s time to put the padding stitches in!
Here’s a close-up on the padding stitching – long stitches filling in the centers of the letter lines.
And, finally, satin stitching over the padding, from the base of the B up. I also added some of the vine and flowers, so I could see what it would look like when finished. Notice that when you outline your satin stitch area and pad it, then satin stitch it, you end up with a slightly larger sized design. The little petals on that inside flower sure didn’t look that big before they were stitched. Still, I like them.
So there’s the progress on the monogram – what think you so far?? You’ll hopefully see the grand finale on this one before the week’s up! Holy cow! I better be finished by then!
This project was written up in four articles, including this one. You can view the progress on the whole project through the following links:
Part I – setting up, transferring design, discussion of materials, beginning stitching
Part II – (that’s this one)
Part III – taking the curves with satin stitch – stitch direction and working around tight curves with satin stitch.
Part IV – the finished project!