The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 1
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 2
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 3
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 4
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 5


Anna Scott’s Sweet Honeysuckle

A while ago I began a new project from Anna Scott called Sweet Honeysuckle. I purchased the last kit she had in stock about a year ago. However, the great news is that you can purchase the complete instructions from her Etsy shop for this project! On the shop page she lists all the materials you will need and none of them are difficult to find – in fact, you may even have most of them in your stash.

DSCF5664 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

All of Anna’s kits are beautifully packaged and include everything you will need to complete the piece. I have another of her raised embroidery kits waiting for when I feel more confident of the techniques involved in embroidering a raised work piece. (Brother Rabbit, which you can see here. Isn’t is wonderful?!)

I find that often a good way to learn a new kind of embroidery or a completely new technique is to work from a kit. I know not all embroidery kits are equally good, but the ones I’ve used from Anna Scott, Jenny Adin-Christie, Nicola Jarvis and Phillipa Turnbull have been first class. In this case, Anna’s instruction from start to finish are crystal clear and she includes diagrams that are easy to understand.

DSCF5669 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

Anna has introduced me to a different way of transferring the design to the fabric. She shows how to use tracing paper, a pencil and tacking stitches to transfer the design. It works a treat and didn’t involved a light box.

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The area of the design is outlined in tacking stitches. The design is drawn on the reverse side of the tracing paper. The  tracing paper is then turned over onto the fabric with the pencil lines on the fabric. When the design is redrawn on the other side of the tracing paper (the side you haven’t yet drawn on) the pressure of the pencil transfers the first drawing onto the fabric. Clever!

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The first part to be embroidered are the stems of the flowers. A line of stitching is embroidered first, then wrapped with silk, which gives the stem a bit of thickness.

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The next step is to wrap the stem with gold thread, which gives the stem some sparkle. I love sparkel!

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The leaves are worked next. First the leaves are outlines. Then straight padding stitches are embroidered inside each leaf, first horizontally and then vertically. Lastly the satin stitches are put in over all the outline and padding.

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The leaves have a pretty, slightly raised appearance when they are complete.

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This is my first foray into raised embroidery and so far I like it and feel like I’ll be able to do it to a reasonable standard. There are many, many people doing raised work or stump work right now in the embroidery world and honestly, I was a bit nervous about trying it and, frankly, I don’t like all of it very much. Anna’s pieces are lovely and that motivated me to give raised work a go

Leven’s Hall Long and Short Flowers

The Leven’s Hall Pillowe is coming along nicely, thank you! What I’ve just finished are all the long and short shaded flowers. Since I’ll be taking the final component of my Royal School of Needlework Certificate course beginning in late January, I figure the more experience I get doing long and short shading of any kind is a good thing!

DSCF5686 500x375 Levens Hall Long and Short Flowers

My shading skills are improving and I feel more and more confident with every flower. This flower is shaded using three different golden, yellow threads. As I mentioned before when writing about the long and short shading on Nicola’s Blue Bird, the most important thing I must remember is to keep my stitches relaxed. I tend to pull too tightly and then there isn’t a pillow of thread for the later colors to sink into.

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These two little red flowers use only two shades of rose which is exactly why they are so charming. I just love the colors used in this piece!

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Below is a photo of a flower worked in long and short shading with the center edged in stem stitch and little stitches in the center of blue. The colors of the two golden yellows are very close so the shading is quite delicate. The leaf next to the flower uses the same two golden yellow colors and the combination is lovely.

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This is a photo of the progress thus far. The large areas are finished and it looks as if there isn’t much left but, in reality, it’s the little fiddly bits that seem to take forever!

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The branch, the stems, the tendrils, the little flower buds, the inside of the red flowers, a few leaves and the outline…whew!


Schwalm Whitework Update

The Schwalm Whitework table cloth has reached the stage where I have to concentrate on what I’m doing or I’ll make a mistake. Some embroidery projects can be stitched while listening to music or watching something light hearted on television, but the counting required at this stage means that all my concentration must be focused on what I’m doing with my scissors and my needle.

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For the fillings of each of the shapes in the design I must first cut out certain threads to make a grid on which I will work the woven/stitched fillings. So far the instructions always say to begin by pulling out the center thread both horizontally and vertically inside of each shape. Next, I need to read the instructions again to see how many threads I am to leave and how many I have to pull out. In the case of the basket (above) one thread is pulled and three left before another thread is pulled. This leaves a grid of three by three threads, as you can see.

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The next step is read the instructions telling me how to create the woven pattern with the grid. Luzine Happel’s instructions are absolutely clear, but until I’ve done the sequence at least four or five times I can’t do it automatically. And, if I have to stop to make dinner or eat dinner or whatever! – I almost always have to relearn the sequence. I imagine that Luzine has all of these embedded into her mind and can do them automatically but I still need to really think about what I’m doing.

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Of course, once I finish it looks pretty good which inspired me to continue!

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Some of the smallest shapes use a variety of simple patterns to fill the area but that doesn’t necessarily make them any easier! Working in such a confined space has it’s own challenges!

DSCF5792 500x375 Schwalm Whitework Update

I’ve decided to finish all of one side before moving on to the other three sides. Each side is to be identical but I may choose to use different filling patterns in the different shapes on each of the four sides. When I was in Eschwege for Luzine Happel’s exhibition, I purchased a book on Openwork Needleweaving Patterns and I might use some fillings from that book.

Do you do any kind of filling embroidery? Do you have any tips for me to help understand and remember the sequence of stitches? Please leave a comment!