Summer is here - well almost, I think. In any case, it is the most beautiful day today and the garden is looking rather pretty with lots of colour everywhere.
The light in my study is so beautiful in the morning so with the house to myself today, I spent the morning quietly stitching away. The colours of this project seem to match the vibrancy in the garden this time of year just perfectly.
It is coming along nicely and I am really enjoying this one. I know, I say that about every piece I work on (just as well really, just imagine spending all those hours on something if you didn't like it. It would be rather horrible).
As with most of my crewel pieces I only ever have a rough idea about how I will work it before I start but these little Cretan stitch leaves seem to always find their way in somewhere. I love this stitch for filling small leaves because of the little pleat it forms down the centre and will usually choose this stitch over fly stitch which is more commonly used.
If you look in stitch books, the Cretan stitch is often illustrated as an open stitch, but if you place the stitches close together, it is just perfect for filling leaf shapes.
1. I start with a straight stitch at the tip of my leaf, then place a stitch around it like the start of a detached chain (lazy daisy) but without anchoring it down.
It is important that the 'arms' of the stitch goes nearly to the top of the straight stitch and are very close to it, almost underneath it.
2. You then continue down the leaf shape in Cretan stitch. The needle goes to the back on the outer edge and comes to the front next to the centre vein - as close as possible to the previous stitch and inside the thread loop.
It is important also to keep stitches really close together at the outer edges. I push the needle tip up against the previous stitch almost at the op of it, otherwise the angle of the stitches will 'flatten' as you near the base.
...and there; a little sprig of Cretan stitch leaves.
Notice the holes in the linen? Have you ever tried unpicking seed stitch? It is terrible, but it was worth the effort!