Trevelyon’s Cap: too smooth?

Yesterday all I did was computer work. This morning everything is fine, but late yesterday afternoon I was pulling my hair out. I reinstalled my operating system and the after effects were confusing to say the least. While I enjoy using the computer and learning about computers, my limit is about 3 hours. Today is stitching, only stitching and lots of it! After I finish this article 🙂

Here’s what I’ve been up to on Trevelyon’s Cap this week. At the beginning of the week the design was stitched to this point.

The color balance is good and the mix of stitches and threads pleasing.  The next elements to work up were the two long, narrow leaves on either side of the blue flower.

I stitched the first narrow leaf in long and short shading, using the lighter shade of green nearer the blue flower and the darker shade nearer the other leaf. When it came time to add the gold vein, I decided to add only the center vein and not the branching ones, couching the gold with green silk.

Then I did an experiment using the palest shade of green Gilt Sylke Twist – Gawdie Green. It’s a very yellow green and really catches the light. I back stitched a border around the leaf edge. As an individual element, I was really pleased with what it looked like.

However, in the context of the whole piece (so far) I wasn’t as pleased with how it looked. I’m not sure if it’s because there’s too much long and short shading and satin stitch ( so the effect is just too smooth) or because the greens don’t work very well together (there’s not enough contrast).

Either way, I decided to try two things to see if I liked it better: firstly, I would work one leaf in the next section of the piece using only Gilt Sylke Twist and detached button hole stitch. Secondly, I would add the branching veins in gold to one of the shaded leaves. Both ideas will reduce the overall ‘too smooth’ look and I might like it better.

I’m waiting for the newly released book Elizabethan Stitches to arrive and I’m hoping there will be ideas in that book to help. This is new territory and I”m not sure which stitches will look best together when trying to recreate a cap like this. It’s the interesting part of embroidery – to discover new stitches and stitch combinations that look well together in a particular piece.

Any suggestions? As always, they are very welcome!



8 thoughts on “Trevelyon’s Cap: too smooth?

  1. I’m inclined to think that the problem is one of insufficient colour contrast – the narrow leaves are too similar in colour and texture to the outer colour of the three-lobed leaves. If you work them in detached buttonholes stitch it will change the texture and the appearance of the thread, probably by just enough..

    • Hi Rachel,
      I’m working on the detached buttonhole leaf on the second quarter of the cap and already I can see the it looks better. The thread I’m using is the Lincolne Green GST which is a darker green – more line the shade of green in the center of the three lobed leaves. The contrast between the two colors already looks better.Thanks so much for your input!
      Liebe Grüße,
      (In the computer catastrophe yesterday I did figure out how to switch my keyboard between English and German keyboards so it wasn’t a total loss!)

  2. I agree that something is not quite right, but since I am no expert in this I’m not sure what. I think the colours in the leaves and the fact that the long and the lobed leaves touch make them look as though they are one ‘thing’, so doing the long leaves in a darker contrasting green can only be a good thing. Also, and again I stress I am not an expert so this is purely a personal response, I am not sure about the outline stitch around the long leaves. Once they are done in a darker colour I don’t think they will need it.

    Please Kathy, don’t be offended, I do love what you are doing and I follow your blog faithfully.

    • Hi Christina,

      I’m certainly not offended and am pleased you took the time to look and think about what was wrong. I’ve started dong the leaves in darker green on the next section (as I shared below) and it looks better already. I, too, agree that although the outline look pretty one the leaf alone, as part of the whole it doesn’t work. You’re right about the two leaves looking like they’re touching and that certainly cold be part of what I don’t like.

      I’ve taken photos and you can see how things look in a few days!

      Liebe Grüße,

  3. Kathy,

    Gosh, to comment on another work is very hard, but i really appreciate it when others do it to mine.

    Firstly, by working the top first the impression is that the work is top heavy and too crowded. This may resolve itself when the lower area is worked.

    Secondly, I would have made the blue flower at the top gold and the two long leaves below it would have been more open. However this may not work.

    You may wish at this point to think ‘o dear, what does she know’ and you will be right 🙂

    Beautifully stiched though!!!!!!

    • Hi Debbie,

      Your have a very good point about working only the top of the design first and it looking top heavy. In fact, as I did the strawberries in the second seciont of the cap tha balance changed.

      The curcliecues at the top of the cap will be gold so that will add some sparkel to the top. And the detached button hole stitch is a lot more open so I’m hoping that will work.

      thanks for taking time to share you thoughts with me! Another pair of eyes is always good!

      Liebe Grüße,

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