Finished already! C&G Linear Sampler

Remember last time I told you that I was zipping along on this project? Well, I finished it over the next two days. It’s amazing how quickly you can finish when you’re engaged in your work!

Above is a photo of the completed linear sampler. I’ve included all the stitches, some more than once. Those that are repeated are done with different threads so a student could see the different thread changes and the look and feel of the stitch. The 9th, 14th and 16th rows are all stem stitch.

In the photo above are two different rows of blanket stitch. The height and width of the stitch is different in each row as is the thread. The 2nd row is blanket stitch in light pink silk and the 5th row is worked in Caron Impressions, a silk and wool blend.

In the photo above the last two rows are both quite chunky in texture. The stem stitch (second to bottom row) is done with Paternayan wool and the bottom puffy couching done with 4 strands of Caron’s Impression silk and wool blend thread. I’ve decided I like chunky stitching!

As I worked on this piece, I remembered one of the things that first drew me to embroidery – the threads. The colour, the texture and the different qualities of all the fibres we have at our disposal are often my inspiration. When I began this piece, I started by choosing the fabric and the threads. I was drawn to the texture of the linen. I was excited to use so many different kinds of fibres in this piece. Often, when we work on a “real” piece, we use only a very limited number of fibres. In fact, many pieces use only one kind of wool or one kind of silk or one kind of cotton thread. Using multiple fibres is interesting and I’m learning more about how the fibre can define the stitch!

Next time my first foray into working with fabric for the City and Guild course!







C & G Linear Stitches Sampler

Next up on my agenda for the City and Guilds course are the samplers using linear stitches. Linear stitches are those we all use to outline a shape or provide a line where we need one. They’re often among the very first stitches we master when we’re learning to embroider. I remember learning back stitch and stem stitch right away when I was first starting to embroider.

The purpose of the linear stitches sampler is to demonstrate knowledge of and an ability to do specific stitches often used in this way. That isn’t to say, however, that these stitches are used only for outlining or providing a line in a design. I have used stem stitch as a filling stitch many times and it’s a favourite of mine when used this way!

In an effort to use only things I already have, I looked in my fabric drawers and found some linen from a table runner project I did a long, long time ago. The linen came from a small fabric shop and isn’t specifically for embroidery. The weave is uneven, which meant that I needed to draw lines onto the fabric so I could keep my stitching straight.

I began with two side by side rows of chain stitch in pale pink wool and brown silk threads. Below that I embroidered a line of back stitch in pearl cotton #8. Next, gimp couched with silk. Below that, herringbone stitch using Valdani variegated stranded cotton. Then another row of backstitch with silk thread looped through, which is called Pekinese stitch. This is one of my favourites and, although it’s not on the list, I love that it begins as a simple back stitch and gets very fancy by adding the looped thread, so I included it! Lastly I combined three strands of Silk Mill silk and worked a row of stem stitch.

When I came back the next day I noticed that the piece wasn’t very interesting or exciting so I decided to add something that gave a bit of texture to the line – puffy couching! Now, I don’t think “puffy whipped stitch” is the official name for this way of whipping a running stitch. but it’s certainly a descriptive name! As you can see from the photo above, the base stitch is a running stitch. Once that stitch was in place along the length of the line, I threaded a tapestry needle with three strands of wool and threaded them through the running stitches. To keep the stitched raised, I used my wooden laying tool to pull the thread off the fabric a bit as I worked. I love how it looks a bit like a wave or a lacy edge!

The next day I went on to add 5 rows of running stitches, alternating where the stitch was on top of the fabric in each row. Below that set of running stitches, I couched down another strand of gimp, this time using a cross stitch to hold it in place, rather than the straight stitch I used previously.

The last row I put in that day was a row of open chain stitch. It looks quite blocky since I made the stitch more square than oblong. I also used variegated thread, which added some interest.

It’s fun doing all these stitches that I’ve known and used for so long in a sampler! In fact, it’s so much fun, that I think I’ll be finished very soon…watch this space!

City and Guilds Contemporary Sampler Finished!

It was so much fun that it only took me a few days to finish the City and Guilds contemporary sampler! With every stitch I got more excited about how amazing the combination of the cork fabric and the Oliver Twists synthetic threads were.

As I worked, a desert scene emerged. Some have commented that parts of this piece look like water, but the colours and the textures remind me more of a desert. It’s all in the eye of the beholder!

I unravelled one of the threads and made long, narrow cross stitches, combined with silk yarn straight stitches, to make this “mound”.

I used a mix of threads and stitches to make the cluster, above. There are long, narrow cross stitches embroidered using unravelled thread, straight stitches using a woven thread and bullion knots embroidered with silk yarn. To the right, above, and below you can see seeding using the woven thread. Due to the width and thickness of the thread, the seeding is much larger and makes more of an impact.

Below is another cluster made using bullion knots both horizontal and vertical and detached chain stitches. I’ve varied the length and nested the detached chain stitched to create an interesting pattern.

Below you can see French knots embroidered using silk yarn, stranded cotton and household string, scattered across one part of the piece.

The woven wheels are done with household string. Can you imagine they’re tumbleweeds?

At the very top of the piece you can see flattened cross stitches done with household string. They seem to be birds. There is also a whipped wheel in gold silk yarn that could be the sun.

I like this piece so much that I have plans to do a similar piece on a larger scale in the future. It’s completely different from what I usually do and from what I’m usually drawn to, but I had the most wonderful time playing with the materials and stitches!

Below is a photo of both pieces side by side. it’s hard to believe that I’ve used the exact same stitches in both pieces, isn’t it? This photo shows me how much I’m learning on my City and Guilds course! I’m loving it!