Kathy Andrews shares her first step on her Spring in Italy Sampler. If you’re just picking up on this series, be sure to check out the first article on Kathy’s design process on designing a hand embroidery project using Italian pottery as inspiration.
Here’s the first stitched design of the “Spring in Italy Sampler.” Why Spring in Italy? I have been to Italy many, many times, at all times of the year. Spring is the best. There aren’t nearly as many tourists as later in the summer, the air is fresher and the colors are clearer. Whenever I use this pottery, that’s what I remember – a cool, spring day in the hills of Italy. (Before those of you living outside Europe think I’m made of money…the distance from where I live in Berlin, Germany to Florence, Italy is the same as traveling from Ames, Iowa to Denver, Colorado. It’s a vacation spot but not the trip of a life time as it would be if I were living in the USA!)
The first design I stitched was the fleur de lys. My intention was always to stitch this in wool. As I drew it I knew that the large blue flower would look great in long and short stitch. I love how long and short stitch looks when done in wool. The fuzziness of the wool makes the shading fuzzy, too.
It worked up quickly with the first of four wools I will be using on this sampler: Appleton, Paternayan, Renaissance Dyeing and Caron Impression (a wool silk blend). This is stitched in Appleton wool. The colors are: blues 741, 745, 747; gold 693; green 254.
Two problems arose – a bad stitch choice and a design fault. I wanted to do all the stems of all the design in stem stitch. An important component of this project is to be able to compare how stem stitch looks in all eleven types of thread I will be using.
First I did the stem in stem stitch with one thread. It didn’t cover the drawn line. I was not happy. I picked it out. I reworked it in stem stitch but with two threads (in the photo above that’s what you see.) I didn’t like that either – too thick and bulky. Finally (I’d picked it out twice at this point!) I worked the stem using one thread in stem stitch going towards the flower and outline stitch coming away from the flower. Much better!
The design problem was that the sepals weren’t quite the same distance past the edge of the blue flower. The design is not supposed to be symmetrical but it was too wonky for me. I also didn’t like the direction of the satin stitch on the right side. It covered up the center of the flower and looked sloppy. So out came all those stitches and I re-sized the sepals and stitched them again.
Here is a photo of the first design in Appleton wool.
Next time I’ll be writing about the first cotton design, worked in floche a broder. There are two things I can already share with you about this design:
1. It takes a LOT longer to finish a design with floche a broder than with wool!
2. I love stitching with floche a broder!
Thus ends the second post in this series on Kathy’s Spring in Italy Sampler! I hope you’re enjoying the series! Next up, she’ll discuss embroidering the next motif using floche. Look for it in a couple days. Thanks, Kathy!