City and Guilds – Twigs and Linear stitches

Continuing on the theme of the woods that surround me, I decided to do the next sample for my City and Guilds course using twigs from our trees. After every storm there are twigs all over the ground. One day I picked one up that caught my eye and saw the texture and gentle colours and decided that my linear stitches sample would be inspired by twigs.

Every morning in the late fall and winter, when I wake up, I look out a narrow window in our home to see the silhouette of the trees in our woods against the lightening morning sky. In the photo of my sketch book, above, you can see photos I’ve taken of the view through that window.

The next step was to gather twigs and draw them in my sketch book. I love drawing things I’m going to stitch because it helps me see them better.

After looking at fabric and thread choices, I decided on a moss green linen I bought years ago in Belgium and different “woodsy” shades of Appleton’s wool. Then I did a test embroidery using short twigs. When it was finished, I was NOT happy with the result and almost abandoned the idea. It look too much like a camp project! Fortunately, I got advice from an artist which made all the difference.

She suggested a limited colour palette of moss green – the fabric and the wool thread. That seemed to me like it would work based on the one twig I’d stitched in the sample using that colour of thread. The next step was to arrange the twigs on the fabric. I knew I would embroider this sample in a hoop, not on a frame, since the size would fit perfectly into a 10″ hoop frame. Using the frame as a guide for placement, I worked out where I wanted each twig to be in the finished design.

Then the fun began! Choosing which outline stitch to use where, was guided by the twig more than anything. The longest twig, which is towards the middle, seems to be perfect for a line of stem stitch that extended beyond the end of the twig. The gnarly twig at the bottom left cried out for clusters of French Knots.

When the embroidery was finished, I mounted it on a piece of pine board covered with batting. The pine board means that the embroidery can stand on a table or shelf so the twigs and the stitches are the focus rather than the frame.

The best part is that it passed and my tutors liked it! Only 8 more to finish…

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