Last time we visited the Secret Garden embroidery project, we looked at the vines on the lower half of the hummingbird design, which were underway in shaded stem stitch filling.
I’ve finished embroidering the vines on the lower half of the project, including the center scrolls.
Today, let’s look at that part of the design. I’ll tell you how I stitched it (you might want to do it differently), and share some insights on some tricky spots.
These are all the finished thicker vines on the lower half of the project. They’re all worked in stem stitch filling, shaded as explained in this article.
The only viney parts that aren’t stitched yet on the lower half are the smaller, curly stems that will be worked in single lines of stem stitch.
Here’s a closer shot of that center vine area between the two hummingbirds, where the one vine crosses over the other before they work their way up to a scrolly end at the top.
I embroidered the vine on the left (it starts on the lower right) first, and the shading on this vine is slightly darker than the vine on the right (which starts on the lower left).
So, on the left vine, the darker shading begins with the two darkest shades of green in the needle, and it ends on the other side of the design line with the two lightest shades of green in the needle.
Here’s the line-up of the greens again. Let’s make the explanation of shading on the center vines a little clearer by listing them with letters:
A – 904 (darkest green)
B – 905
C – 906
D – 907
E – 472 (lightest green)
So, on the vine farthest back in the image (the left vine that starts on the lower right), I started on the inside line with the darkest greens (A & B) in the needle. Then, I worked B & C right next to that; then C & D; then finally D & E on the outer design line.
On the right vine (that starts on the lower left and crosses over the other vine), I began with two strands of E in the needle and worked the lighter outside edge first. Then, I combined D & E in the needle for the next darker shading, then C & D, and finally, B & C. I didn’t use A (the darkest green) on this vine at all.
Not the best close-up in the world, but it gives you an idea of how you might make your colors and vine parts flow into each other. This is really the trickiest part of vines.
I embroidered around the curls first, but when I got to the off-shoot, I worked in some stitches on it before completing the curl, to try to create a more obvious flow into the off-shoot. It didn’t really work, because the darker threads I used created a line and a kind of shadow under the curl.
But I figured it worked out ok and looked ok. So I left it!
The easiest approach for this area would be to do the curly vine first, and then to stitch the short off-shoot that runs into the vine further below.
To fill the rounded tips of the curls on this area, I worked the lightest green in a spiral when I arrived at the tip of the curl, leaving some area around the base of the ball the ball, where I would eventually work a darker shade of green in stem stitch to fill the remaining area.
Stem stitch in this small of a space, worked into a spiral, is admittedly not the easiest thing in the world to do. But if you make your stem stitches progressively smaller as you enter into the sharper curves and finally into the spiral, it is manageable.
You might find an easier way to approach those ball tips at the ends of the spirals, and that’s fine! I did it this way because it seemed to make sense at the time. If I were re-doing them, I might try working the whole curl, terminating at the end of the ball, and then filling in the leftover little “scoop” at the base of the ball with a darker color.
It’s ok to try different approaches. In fact, you should! You might find an easier approach that you think is more appealing to the eye. Go for it!
Incidentally, you may have noticed on the rest of the vines that I didn’t end them in with a little round knob at the tips of the curls. Instead, I took the darkest green around into a small curly spiral. I thought the knobs looked too thick when embroidered, and I liked the lighter look of the spiral ends.
So there you have the vines finished on the lower half of the Secret Garden project. Next, the curling stems and some leaves!
In fact, lots of leaves.
Lots and lots of leaves.
Little leaves, medium leaves, big leaves.
To keep the leaves from becoming monotonous, I’m using a variety of stitches to embroider them.
If you’d like to follow this project from start to finish, you’ll find all articles pertaining to it listed in chronological order on the Secret Garden Embroidery Project Index.