Last time we looked at the Mission Rose project, I was musing over threads and colors for the stem, which really should be called more of a branch. Perhaps even a trunk…
Keep in mind that this is a stylized rose. That is, it’s not a natural representation of a rose. It does not look like a rose that we would find in nature, and yet, there are characteristics of it that correspond to the rose, and so, it is a rose, but it is a stylized rose.
My job job here is not really to make it look like a real rose. If that were the case, the rose itself would be vastly different, and – oh! – those Dr. Seuss “mitts” that are supposed to be leaves would have been eliminated from the start.
All that, by way of making excuses for the brown branch.
I mused over the color the branch. I thought about green. I laid out green threads on the fabric and did some coloring on paper. But I knew green wouldn’t do it for me. Greens made the piece look somewhat frosty, especially against the pale pink background. Brown-greens looked muddy and made the leaves look garish. And so, I determined to use browns as planned.
Now, the branch is technically worked in long and short stitch, but I fudged a bit on the approach, and used a combination of regular split stitch lines with long and short stitch for the bulk of the filling.
I started by taking the darkest brown and working with split stitch in the areas that I wanted dark-dark.
Then, I went back with a medium-dark brown and started filling in here and there with that, working down the branch from the rose.
Then I cut in some of the medium brown and lighter brown as I progressed down the branch, working all the shades alternately, here and there, in a kind of sketchy manner.
When doing something like this, it’s helpful to have all the colors you’re working with threaded up in individual needles, all of which can be parked and taken up whenever you want to switch shades.
Altogether, I used four shades of brown – a very dark brown, a medium-dark brown, a medium brown, and a medium-light brown. The color numbers in Soie d’Alger are 4123, 4546, 4545, and 4516.
I’m glad I used the Soie d’Alger (which is a spun stranded silk with a soft sheen) as opposed to the Soie de Paris (a filament silk with a higher sheen). The difference between the two silks not only adds a slightly different texture, but it adds a little more life to the piece. If the entire piece were worked in the same silk (the Soie de Paris), I think it would have looked a little “flat.” Additionally, I’m happy with the brown stem. Brown calms the piece down and makes it warm. I think it works well on the soft pink background, too.
Once the stem is finished, on to the bud, which will be the last bit of silk embroidery on the piece. And then…. well, we’ll just have to wait and see!
If you’d like to read the backstory and follow along with the development of the Mission Rose project, you’ll find all the articles in this series listed in chronological order in the Mission Rose Project Index.