Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mountain Oak

It is hard to believe but I have stitched the last stitch and the Mountain Oak is finished.

Mountain Oak
Now it is on to writing the instructions and get kits put together.

Have a lovely week.
Anna X

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Order of work...

I am usually pretty good at predicting the best 'order of work' when I stitch, but this week I think I misjudged it a bit. I did't have to unpick anything, but I did make 'life' more difficult for myself than it needed to be. This is what happened.... 

I first finished the large hill in the middle. Lots and lots and lots... and then a bit more of seed stitch. Once I got on a roll it went relatively quickly, but it will be a while before I venture into a large area of seed stitch again.
Someone asked me how I get it even. When you look close, it is not as even as I would like, but overall it works. The one thing I do pay attention to, is that each stitch is worked as a back stitch. If you stitch them as running stitches, they become very flat looking. 

So fare so good, and onto the 5th and last hill. This is where I got myself into a bit of a pickle.
I started by outlining the hill in stem stitch mostly because it is a good stitch for fine, smooth curves and I wanted the scroll on each end of the hill to be nice and clear. I could have just worked multiple rows of stem stitch, I guess , but decided on heavy chain stitch.

1) it would give a heavy, more solid line next to the stem stitch and 
2) it would continue up the stalk to the small plant on the end, to match the small plant growing at the base of the tree. (I like to stitches for similar elements, especially for large designs, so the overall impression doesn't become too busy and overwhelming to look at).. 

If you are not familiar with heavy chain stitch: it is kind of a double chain stitch worked in reverse. This means that for each stitch, you need to slide the needle under the previous two stitches. This is ok when you stitch along a line, but here - I was smack, bang up against a row of stem stitch + stitching with wool... needless to say, I had to work very slowly and carefully not to accidentally catch and split the stitches already there. 
I got there in the end - but yes: I will be swapping the 'order or work' when it comes to writing up the instructions. 

It was all down hill from there...

I filled the hill with two layers of trellis. The bottom trellis is stitches from top to bottom and side to side. Once that was couched in place, I stitched a second trellis, diagonally on top with the stitches more spaced. The intersections of the second layer were quite raised so I had to stop and think how best to couch them down...

... and ended up with possibly my least favourite stitch of all. Bullion knots. They are fare from perfect, but I am happy with the look of the filling.

So here we are... the hills are done... I think. I might add a little something to one on the left, but I haven't decided on that yet.


Anna x

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hills, hills, hills...

I am not going to mention just how long it has been! It is just one of those things - family comes first, right? The good news is I am back stitching, putting the finishing touches on the Mountain Oak.

Last you saw it HERE, I was working on the last leaf to finish the tree and I am now well underway with the hills...

Hill 1 
is stitched in rows of blanket stitch, interlocking each row into the previous, grading the shades of blue from light to dark. 

Hill 2
I worked outlines of twisted chain stitch - I love the wavy ridges this stitch creates when worked in rows close together. 
The filling is a laid trellis filled with cross stitches and French knots...

To get the 'circles' in the trellis, I worked a cross stitch over every second square (some of which were rather wonky), placing the stitches tightly in around the laid threads. Then I couched the centre of each cross.. the result, as you can see, 'distorts' the grid forming more rounded holes.

Hill 3
is outlined with 3 rows of chain stitches. The filling is a more open laid trellis couched down with tiny cross stitches. This adds more definition to the couching. Then I used detached chains to form the daisies within the grid.

Hill 4
is the large hill that the oak tree is sitting on. I am still working on this one, but this is where I am up to. 
I outlined the hill with chain and stem stitch just to create a more narrow outline than the previous two hills. I still wanted some widths to the upper edge, but not solid colour, so I added a row of herringbone stitch - it is kind of there, but not quite right yet....?
I have scattered little flowers over the hill. These are embroidered using pistil stitches instead of the usual detached chains. I started filling the ground around them with seed stitch, but the green I had chosen was too dark and flowers disappeared amongst the green dots, so out they came, which explains the 'holes' in the fabric in the next picture. (unpicking seed stitch really is a pig of a job isn't it?!!)

While stitching the flowers, I had the idea of adding a second row of herringbone stitch over the first along the edge of the hill.  By using a lighter shade of green, it creates a pattern of colour and texture without looking too dense. What do you think?

Double Herringbone Stitch
To work double herringbone stitch, rather than simply placing the second row of stitches on top of the first, the rows (or layers) are interlocked by taking every second stitch under the stitch in the first row. It is a little hard to see clearly in the wool, but when stitches with stranded or perle cotton, it forms a beautiful 'plaited' band.

So this is where I am at...

... today I am going to finish the last two hills. The plan is to have this project finished by the end of the weekend, but I am working the next few nights so let's see how I go...
I do need to get it finished though, so I can get the instructions written, materials ordered and kits put together for the class in France in August.

Where, by the way, there is only one spot left!!! So if you were thinking about joining us, you might like to get in touch with Nadine ( at the Alpine Experience so you don't miss out.

I am so glad to be back sharing what I am up to! Right now I can hear the hills calling.
Have a wonderful week

Best Stitches,