Loveday crewelwork – Tri-color leaf 1

After I’d embroidered the ivy leaves, the strawberries and worked up quite far on the trunk and branches, I decided to stitch one of the large leaves. The large leaves are worked in three colors throughout the piece: a dark green, a light apple green and a beautiful teal blue. These colors, in combination with the Wedgwood blue of the background fabric, really look fabulous!


The large leaf is a composition of a set of small leaves within the large leaf. Inside the large leaf shape are lots of little leaves worked in padded satin stitch and their stems are – big surprise – worked in stem stitch! If you look carefully at the photo above you can see that the satin stitch is worked at a slight angle on each of the smaller leaves. Stitching them in this way ensures that each stitch will lie flat over the split stitch outline and the padding. If I had made the first long stitch go exactly up the middle of the leaf from bottom point to top point, the subsequent stitches towards the edge of each leaf may have “fallen off’ the edges over the split stitch. The angle keeps the threads on the top of both the padding and the outline stitching.


The outline of the large leaf was stitched using a double thread couched down with a single thread, just like the stem of the strawberries. I really exaggerated the ruffled effect on the generous curves of the leaf.


For a finishing touch, the area in the center of the large leaf was filled with tiny seeding stitches. It always reminds me of scattering bird feed whenever I stitch seed stitch. In this case, that’s particularly apt as there are quite a few birds on this design!


I think this is one of the prettiest things I have ever stitched! The combination of the single, smooth, satin stitched leaves, the sprinkling of the seed stitch and the ruffled outline in the two green and teal blue threads is simply stunning.


What do you think?



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Gaelic Autumn Quilt – first lovely leaf

The leaf you see below was stitched almost entirely in the car  traveling between Berlin and Bonn, Germany. It’s a testament to both my husband’s careful driving and my perseverance.  Imagine sitting in the front seat of a car, the fabric firmly in a lap hoop, my scissors in the cup holder and my thread in a small basket at my feet. A light cloudy day so there is enough light but not the glare of the sun to blind me. Some of the photos won’t be as focused as usual and the colors change due to the change in the light coming through the windows since I had to take progress photos while the car was moving and my stitching progressing. I can tell you that the 6 hours the journey took passed very quickly!


I decided to experiment with shading the laid and couched work on this leaf. I was curious to see if it would work to use different colors of thread to achieve the effect of the leaf turing color in the fall.


After stitching the trellis in a golden brown wool. the first thing I did was to add light green cross stitches in alternating squares diagonally across the center of the leaf. In some of the squares I stitched only half of each cross stitch so I could layer a different color on top thereby giving the effect of shading. Then I added dark green over some of the half cross stitches and also did some complete cross stitches in the same dark green thread.


I also did some half cross stitches in the dark green so I could continue the shading using other colors. I didn’t have a “plan” but worked by eye, thinking about what leaves look like in the fall. By the time the dark green threads were in I decided to take the photo below as I was so pleased with how my idea was working. We stopped for fuel and Steve took a look and agreed it was going to work as a shading technique.


The next color to go in was the darker brown. With this color I didn’t do any full cross stitches but used it over the previous colors to shade the leaf at the edges.


The last step was to stitch in the holding stitches across each of the cross stitches. For this I went back to the original thread color of the trellis. Across each of the cross stitches I put in a small holding stitch, being careful to maintain the same direction of each stitch.


Lastly I decided to put holding stitches across the trellis where there weren’t any cross stitches using the darkest brown thread. The effect was too linear and ruined the effect of the shading so I removed the little I’d put in.




The last step was to outline the leaf using back stitch in the dark olive green thread. The leaf looks different depending on the light and direction from which you are viewing the leaf. It shifts in color and shading.



I’ve decided to do the next leaf in a smilar way because I like the shading effect so much.

And, after a very productive 6 hours on the road, we arrived in Bonn safely with a finished quilt square! Yippee!

Have you ever stitched in the car? Or anywhere unusual?

Acorn satin stitching

I’ve gotten a bit done since last I shared my own progress on the acorn piece with you. The small green leaf at the lower edge of the design, the small dark green leaves inside it, the satin stitch at the bottom of the lower leaf and all of the dark green background stitching at the top are finished. I’ve been busy!

Working the lower light green leaf with the small green leaves and stems inside was just like the work done earlier on the dark green side leaves with the orange berries. I laid down vertical stitches and then stitched horizontal couching stitches over them at equal intervals.

The challenge with the orange satin stitch along the lower edge of the light green leaf was trying to make sure the stitch direction was the same on both sides. I wanted the stitch direction to be symmetrical and I just about got it right.

Step one was to draw stitch direction lines inside the shape and to outline the shape in split stitch.


Starting in the center makes it much easier to stitch symmetrically. It also helps to keep the stitches going in the right direction and

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