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

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I’m here!

I’m in Appleby, Cumbria and it is the most charming little village in the world. I had quite a time getting here with my luggage but more about that another time!

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The people on the tour are wonderful, interesting, exciting and fun – exactly the kind of people you would like to spend time with traveling, looking at embroidery and stitching. It’s great to have so many people around me who share the same passion.

IMG 2987 500x375 Im here!The hotel, Apple Manor House, is beautiful. The view is quintessentially English, looking over the Eden Valley.

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There are horses next door and the countryside is one field of sheep after the other. The day we arrived was a perfect autumn day and the roses in the garden were lit but the low sunlight – I took this just to share it’s beauty with you.

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After we all settled into our rooms, many of us gathered in the conservatory for a pre-dinner drink and the chance to get to know one another better.

We then had a delicious meal together, hosted by the lovely Phillipa Turnbull.

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Then off to bed for a good night’s sleep so we would be ready for our first day of classes!

 

Pretty, pretty stitch!

I’m working on the Leven’s Hall Pillowe and absolutely loving the stitches I’m learning! The one I’ll show you today is called the raised leaf stitch and it is a beautiful stitch.

DSCF5495 Pretty, pretty stitch!

In the design, it’s used for all the seed heads in the center of the design. The larger ones are worked with a double thread and the smaller ones with a single thread.

DSCF5493 Pretty, pretty stitch!

The stitch seems to me to be like a fishbone stitch but worked in the opposite direction. In a fishbone stitch you bring your needle up outside the edge of the shape and take it down to the back inside the shape along a line in the middle.

Edit Post ‹ The Unbroken Thread — WordPress Pretty, pretty stitch!

The instructions for this say to bring the needle up inside the stitch on a center line and down to the back just outside the edge of the shape, in this case the seed head. I’m not sure it makes a difference in the final look but it does ensure that the outside edge of each seed head is smooth since you can lay the thread down to see exactly where to place it.

DSCF5498 Pretty, pretty stitch!

The combination of textures with the laid and couched work and the raised leaf stitch is just stunning, isn’t it?

DSCF5487 Pretty, pretty stitch!

This is where I’ll have to stop for a week while I am in England and Scotland. The next time you hear from me it will be about the fabulous people I’m meeting and everything I’m learning!

 

 

 

It’s All in your Mind

Look closely at the two photos below. Can you see the difference in the drawn red lines that are on top of the stitching? In each photo I’ve traced over the stitches with a drawing tool to highlight where the stitches begin and end and the direction in which each stitch travels.

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In the photo above you can see that the stitch lines are longer and shorter than one another and they are all going in one direction. They remind me of some diagrams I’ve seen showing how to do long and short shading. While I stitched this area i was thinking “long stitch, shorter stitch, longer stitch, shorter stitch…”

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Example 2

In this photo (above) you can see the stitch lines in red are much shorter and they are stitched in more different directions. While I stitched these stitches I was thinking “sketch a line of color, feather in another line, now sketch a few lines again, now a few more feathered lines sketched in…”

This is how I have finally determined that how I think about long and short stitching makes all the difference in how it looks. In other words, it’s all in my mind!

I have figured out how to imagine, or think about, placing the stitches to create a smooth, beautifully shaded long and short stitch. As with anything we learn, each of us understands how to do it in a slightly different way. We may all actually DO the same thing, but how we think about doing it may be quite different. In my case, thinking about long and short stitches – one longer or shorter than the next, didn’t give me the results I wanted. I was too focused on the length of the stitches and keeping them at a specific angle and not focused enough on the shading, curving execution of the stitches.

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It was an ah-ha moment when I saw that what I needed to imagine doing with my needle was sketching, with short strokes of thread, the shades of color into the shape. When I imagined my threads as short, sketched lines of color, all blending together to create the shaded effect, the stitches could then be at ever so slightly different angles, following the curve of the shape rather than being rigidly straight from the outside to the inside of the shape.

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It’s especially apparent in the photo above where you can see the curve of those smaller stitches. My stitching looks softer and blends better if I imagine I’m sketching with a soft coloured pencil rather than laying down straight stitches, one longer and the next shorter. While concentrating on varying the length of the stitches, I paid no attention to the shading or the shape I was stitching.

Below is the blue bird with part of the feathers stitched using my old technique – thinking “long stitch, shorter stitch, long stitch, shorter stitch…” it even look mechanical!

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Below is a photo of the blue bird when I stitched thinking “short sketched line, feathered line, short sketched line, feather line, sketched line…” It’s softer, more artistic, more beautiful.

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What’s really strange about this discovery is that I stitched the feathers closest to the yellow belly of the bird (badly, as in the first photo) one evening. The next morning I got up and stitched the feathers at the top, nearest to the back. When the whole thing was finished then, and only then, could I see very clearly what I’d done differently. Even as I was stitching I didn’t notice that my technique had changed.

It was a revelation! Out came the old stitching and in went the new and the difference was so obvious!

How do you think about long and short shading? What do you imagine doing with your needle to get a good result?

Please share your tips with us all!