Detached buttonhole vs chain in a very tiny space

Last time I wrote about how difficult it was to work detached buttonhole stitch inside the tiny shapes at the bottom of the purple flowers. These little petals are only 1.5 cm/1 inch long and 0.5 cm/1/4 inch wide. By the time I worked chain stitch around the edge, there wasn’t much room for any detached button hole stitches in the center! I tried doing back stitch around the edge but I couldn’t get the needle under the stitch without stripping the gold wire of the Gilt Sylke Twist. Impossible.

Although I managed to complete two leaves, they look like a mess of twisted thread rather than any recognizable stitch. Well, if the shape is too small to accommodate the stitch, then change the stitch. Seems obvious now but I was determined and only gave up after pretty obviously being unsuccessful.

So I asked myself , “What was the defining look of detached button hole stitch that I wanted here?”  An open, airy look. What could I use that would achieve a similar effect? Chain stitch. Good old reliable chain stitch. And it worked. It looks great. It wasn’t difficult. The gold wire didn’t strip off the silk thread of Gilt Sylke Twist. It fills the shape nicely and adds a lovely texture to the bottom of the flower.

So, after much trial and even more error, my recommendation is to use chain stitch rather than detached buttonhole stitch in a very tiny space.

Trevelyon’s cap – first green silk leaf

Slowly, slowly the cap progresses. I am thinking of it as a  l…o…n…g  term project. Silk is finer than wool and it takes longer to fill any shape. The stitching has to be delicate. When all the silk is stitched, I will be stitching the gold and that will take even longer. I don’t mind: every stitch is making what I hope will be a small masterpiece.

The first green leaf is finished and the shading went very well indeed. Thanks to Tracy Franklin, who helped me last year, and Nicola Jarvis, who helped me this summer. I am beginning to feel that every once in a while I am the master of the needle and the thread rather than the other way around.

I’m not afraid to do what I know works for me even though it may not be what I’ve read about in books. For example, to begin the shading on the leaf (after I stitched the outline with split stitch) I first put in directional stitches. So, before I worked my way around the shape, I put in stitches that would guide the direction of the stitch as I went around the shape. This helped me enormously to put each stitch in the right place, to compensate for the curves enough but not too much and to make sure the stitches followed the shape of the leaf.

Continue reading

Four Blue Flowers

It keeps running through my head to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”…

“Four blue flowers, four blue flowers,

Each one took hours, each one took hours,

This week it’s all that I’ve gotten done,

It’s not very much but gosh was it fun,

Do you think the end will ever come?

Four blue flowers.”

They are certainly beautiful shades of blue, aren’t they? They just glow in the light and I imagine they will look even better in candle light when the whole thing is finished – in about a year!

Continue reading