Here in the studio, Anna and I have been having a boatload of fun, stitching and … well, stitching. (We do other things, but they aren’t always a boatload of fun.)
Anna makes a great guinea pig.
It’s wonderful to have someone to test stitching ideas and theories on. The idea I had for this particular design was to develop it into a beginner’s project for working with silk threads and goldwork techniques. So we picked out silk and gold threads, I gave her an overview of a general idea for stitching, and she set to it.
The only specifics I passed along were that the rose itself needed to be stitched in long and short stitch, and that certain parts of the design had to be worked with real metal threads.
I also suggested that the foremost turn-up on the leaves feature light green, while the lower part near the stem feature a darker green.
But that was about it. I left the stitch choices on the leaves and stem to her.
Anna gravitates towards chain stitch for stem-like things, while I generally gravitate towards stem stitch. So her stem ended up being chain, and her leaves ended up being stem – which is fine!
I have a slightly different interpretation in mind for my version, which I will stitch next week, but I like the way hers came out. I also like the fact that the stitches are very accessible to beginners. There’s nothing “intimidating” about stem stitch and chain stitch.
Her first foray into long and short stitch shading on a flower like this went well. She’s a much sketchier stitcher than I am, in the sense that she’s not as constrained or uptight about the flow of the stitches, and that always works to good effect with long and short stitch shading on elements like this.
There’s still a line of gold to couch around the petals of the flower.
Because she has a very strange over-infatuation with beads, she really enjoyed the chipwork. And she said she likes all the couching, too, because it’s relaxing and because it brings about very fast results. There’s nothing intricate about couching!
As far as her first encounter with goldwork goes, I think she did really well.
This particular project, when you consider the relative sparseness of it, is larger than most designs I’d work in these techniques, clocking in at 6″ high.
I’ve found that beginners need a little more room, especially when tackling long and short stitch shading and when couching and bending goldwork threads for the first time. So I left the pattern relatively large, and it seems to have worked out well that way.
Anna will probably finish this experimental piece today. Next week, when I work through my version, I’ll make a few adjustments in the pattern and take plenty of step-by-step photos.
Goldwork & Beginners
I often get notes from relatively new stitchers, who exclaim that techniques like goldwork or silk shading are far too advanced for them. With this project, I’m hoping to establish that goldwork and silk are thoroughly accessible techniques for even those who are relatively new to embroidery.
There’s nothing complicated about either, as long as you’re willing to plunge in and try.
Goldwork can be very satisfying, because the metal threads tend to cover quickly – it doesn’t take long to get spectacular results! – and the stitches involved are rarely complicated.
For more advanced stitchers, it’s easy enough to bump up a project like this into something a little more intricate, too. So I think it will be a good project for beginners and beyond, and I’m excited about it!
But then, I’m always excited about The Next Project, aren’t you?
Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread
I’ll be spending most of this week doing computer work, since it’s time to catch up on the technical side of things. I’ve got a lot to share with you in coming weeks, though, so stay tuned!
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions on this beginner silk & goldwork rose project, feel free to chime in below!
Have a wonderful Monday!