Long and short Persian roses

Before I go on telling you what I’ve been up to with the Colors of India project, I wanted to give you a tip about working with gold and silk on silk fabric. Not only are these fibers expensive, they don’t respond well to oil and dirt that we might have on our hands. Each time I embroider, I wash my hands, I scrub them with the sugar and oil scrub so they are as smooth as possible and I wash them again but still…it’s inevitable that there will still be something on my hands that might damage the fibers. As we work, our hands could rub against the already stitched areas and may slightly fray the silk. Moisture and oil from our hands will get on the gold threads and this speeds up the inevitable process of tarnishing.

Here’s a tip that will help keep your work clean and looking its best for a long time.

When I have to work over an area already finished, I usually lay down a tissue so my hand rests on the tissue rather than the silk or gold threads. If I was using a hoop, I might even consider wearing a plain white cotton glove on the hand I hold the hoop with. That’s where the most contact will be with the fabric and already stitched threads. I would NOT try to wear a glove on my stitching hand! Recipe for disaster!

Since I’m using an Evertite frame on my System 4 needlework stand, I also take advantage of being able to turn the frame as I work. It didn’t occur to me to do this (wanting to work “right side up” all the time!) until I’d had the frame and stand for a while. Sometimes I just CAN’T think outside the box!

The rose colored flower is coming along nicely and I am so glad I chose these colors – they’re beautiful and rich!

The entire flower on the right side will be worked in threads in the color family Persian roses. For the bottom petals I’m using the three darkest colors – 165, 166 and 167. These will all be worked in long and short shading, the darkest thread being closest to the center of the flower.

Here you can see both the first row of long and short shading as well as the second and third rows added to half the petals. The MOST important thing for me to remember is to go deeply enough into the previous row of stitches when I’m doing the next row.

Like many of us, I struggled to be happy with long and short shading. As I do it more, I get better.┬á I think it’s the one stitch that never looks as good as I think it should when I do it. There is a LOT of long and short shading in this piece – I decided to work it that way intentionally! – so by the end I should be better and more confident!

10 thoughts on “Long and short Persian roses

  1. I agree with you on the challenges of perfecting technique for long and short shading. It seems to be my nemesis! Will keep practicing..and practicing..and practicing. And thanks for the good tips on keeping threads and fabric much freer of dirt!

  2. I think your long and short stitch is looking pretty good. You might want to angle your needle more shallowly as you go into the previous row of stitching. I find that doing that helps.

  3. It’s looking quite beautiful Kathy. Try not to be too self-critical – easier said than done, I know.
    When doing long and short shading I always look back afterwards and fill in any gaps, that I think I see, with a stitch blended in. In my paranoia I have sometimes ended up by covering all my original stitching – extra self padding I call it!!

  4. I have seen and read that you are supposed to begin your stitching from the very outside of your item?
    What’s up?

    • Hi Betty,
      You’re right – usually one works from the outsde in. Because the petals on the top are very large in comparison and will be lighter in colors and therefor catch the light even more, I decided to work all of the in the same direction – basically from the top of the piece to the bottom of the piece. Be sure to read about my wonderful two hours lesson with Tracy Franklin where the story continues…
      Liebe Grusse,

  5. Looking really good…looks very differnt from mine:-)
    Mine is very much crewel work and of a far lower standard to yours but I’ll keep practicing:-)
    Only got the boarder to do but can’t quite decide what stitch to use and it would be an awful lot of satin stitch! LOL

    • Hi Alison. I just looked at your work on the Flickr page and it’s beautiful! I’ll be doing the border in gold and copper threads but that wouldn’t be good for your interpretation. You might think about doing the combination of stitches I wrote about on this post . For the thick golden border, I used two slightly different colors of gold thread, working Pekinese stitch and stem stitch as described on the post. It wold fill the area and look quite elegant. I’d be tempted to use the beautiful soft purples you’ve chosen from Renaissance wool…Work the row of back stitch in the medium, the loops in the lightest and the stem stitch on the outside in the darkest. I’m looking forward to seeing a photo of your progress!

  6. Thanks Kathy:-)
    I’ll try and get an up to date photo sometime today and put it on Fickr.
    That border idea is great…I was really stuggling with what would look best and desperately needed a nudge in the right direction:-)
    Take care and enjoy the rest of your trip.

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