The Long and Short Stitch Shading Lessons here on Needle ‘n Thread are drawing to a close! Lesson 9 is the final lesson for the sampler, featuring a shaded leaf with a turned tip.
For those just joining in, you can find the rest of these lessons listed under Long and Short Stitch Lessons in the “Editor’s Floss” in the right hand column.
I’ve really enjoyed putting together this series, but I have to admit, this last lesson is not everything I wanted it to be. My stitching skills seem to be a bit “off” lately, and I feel as if I’m rushing everything I do. Long and short stitch is a technique that shouldn’t be rushed. This leaf demonstrates this point really well!
So I’d like to encourage you to play a bit with the shading. You don’t have to follow my instructions to the letter. If you’ve been following along here for the last eight lessons, then you are ready to play a bit with shading, to try to get the effect you want.
All that being said, let’s move on to the lesson!
Materials: You’ll need your sampler in a hoop or frame, focusing on the center section of the left side of the square, where you’ll find element #8, a leaf with a turned-up tip. Small, sharp scissors are a must in all hand embroidery, and you’ll probably want a pencil nearby, too, for drawing in your stitch direction lines. For needles, use #9 or #10 crewel, and finally, you will need the following colors of DMC stranded cotton: 469 (dk green); 471 (med. green); 472 (med-lt green); and 613 (pale green).
Begin by marking in your stitch direction lines. Just as we did with the other leaf lessons, your stitch direction points to the “growth point” on the leaf, towards the base of the leaf (which is at the top of the image) and the stem.
Split stitch only around the sides of the leaf using 613, leaving the turn-over part alone for now. Don’t outline any part of the turn-over at all at this point. Then work long and short stitch on the right side of the leaf, using 613. Notice that, at the base of the leaf, by the stem, a larger area is filled in with long and short stitch. I’ve actually worked two layers of L&S; stitches in that area, using 613.
Using 472, fill in a small area of medium-light green at the base of the leaf, working into the layers of color already there. Notice that I haven’t taken the medium-light green all the way up the side of the leaf – it fills part of the base, and ends about half way up the side of the leaf.
Switch to the medium green (471), and continue filling the leaf. Work the color into the 472 layer, and up to the center vein. Then moving up the side of the leaf, work a layer of the color into the palest green (613).
You can see here how the medium green (471) fills the remaining area at the base of the leaf, near the stem, up to the central vein, and then works into the pale green at the top of the leaf, leaving some space towards the center vein.
Now work the darkest green (469) into that empty space on the right side of the leaf, filling to the center vein of the leaf. Fanning the stitches around to keep your stitch direction consistent, continue filling with the dark green across the base line on the turn-over.
At this point, I switched back to the medium green (471), and began to fill the left side of the leaf.
Here’s where you can play a bit with your shading. If you want, you can mirror the other side of the leaf, keeping the layers of color the same on both sides of the leaf. You could also continue with the darkest green on the left side of the leaf, and then work a layer of medium, then light. Be adventurous!
After stitching that much of the medium green on the left side of the leaf, I began to notice that I did not much care for my color placement. However, the only way to overhaul the whole leaf would be to take much of what I had already done out. I decided not to do that.
Still, in looking at the leaf at this point, I could see that there was one spot where I could make a minor adjustment without much effort – the corner area on the right side of the leaf, just under the turn-over. I did not like the drastic change from pale green to dark green, and I didn’t like the pale green covering that corner.
What to do?
I brought the dark green up, just outside the corner of the turnover, and just beyond the end of the pale green stitching.
Angling my needle very low, so as to slide under the stitches already there, I put it between the stitches there, and drew it through. The needle was almost lying down directly on the fabric – just about horizontal to it – so that the thread would slide into the fabric at a long angle, rather than simply going straight down into the fabric and stitches already there, which would be very noticeable.
In this way, I took the dark green around the corner below the turnover, on the right side of the leaf. You can’t really tell which are the properly done long and short stitches here and which are the “tucked in” stitches in dark green, can you?
After that was corrected, I moved back over the left side of the leaf and finished the medium green. (In the photo above, I have the leaf turned, so it actually looks like the right side of the leaf….)
Next, I switched to 472, and layered in some medium-light green.
Finally, I filled the rest of this side of the leaf with 613, the pale green.
Taking the darkest green (469), I worked a stem stitch vein down the middle of the leaf, and along the right side of the stem. Again, above, my work was turned so that the right side of the leaf is actually in the lower part of the picture.
I left the stem at that point, to finish it up later. Now, let’s turn our attention to the turn-over.
The turn-over is going to be satin stitched, using the medium-light green (472). Begin by split-stitching all around the turn-over. You can also draw in your stitch direction lines if you wish. The stitches are going to span the width of the turn-over, just slightly pointing down towards the leaf, as you can see in the photo above.
After outlining the turn-over with split stitch, fill in the center with some long straight stitches, going perpendicular to your stitch direction lines. This will serve as a very light padding under the satin stitch, and will help to lift the turn-over up above the rest of the leaf.
Then move back to the center of the turn-over, and satin stitch up to the tip of the turn-over.
I finished the stem with medium green (471), filling in the remaining area of the stem with stem stitch.
Then, picking up the dark green (469) again, I worked a small straight stitch at theh tip of each of the little points on the sides of the leaf.
You can see the dark green straight stitch tucked under the points on the left side of the leaf…
… and also on the right side of the leaf.
Congratulations! You’ve finished the final element on the Long and Short Stitch sampler!
This is the finished sampler, as far as the long and short stitch elements are concerned.
If this is a sampler you want to keep, you could stitch around each box in your favorite line stitch, and then fill the center area with your own long and short stitch motif. How about a monogram? The first monogram alphabet on this page would look terrific in long and short stitch!
If you’re looking for the rest of the long and short stitch lessons, please check the index for them. They’re all listed there!
You can find the PDF for this particular lesson here:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on long and short stitch shading! Now… any suggestions for a new series?!