The new edition of Helen’s E-book, ONE SIMPLE STITCH is now available
… and you can watch Helen demonstrate her art!
To coincide with the launch of her beautiful collection of new e-patterns Helen has created a series of videos on Youtube. Want to know how she creates a dragonfly’s wing, or the chequerboard effect on a fritillary lily? Now you can watch – as many times as you like!
Honeycomb Stitch: Honeycomb 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO0jo2e2FKo
Honeycomb 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVxW9us6mMc
Laddering (Needle-weaving): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBfPMcE2Qg
Surface Couching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYzfdM-R4VI
TO SEE THE DOWNLOADABLE E-PATTERN COLLECTION …
… visit the E-books and Downloads page
…. PLUS MANY MORE
Of course it isn't ONLY manmade elements that sometimes need an upright straight stitch ... rules are there to be broken! Where the rocky outcrops break through the grass and heather in this upland scene, the stitches once again become upright as opposed to horizontal to create a sharp contrast. What wonderful colours nature offers us in scenes like this! The hills in the background are a riots of different shades.
Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I had a super visit yesterday from an enthusiast from the USA, particularly interested, as it happens, in landscape embroidery, which reminded me of this piece, which fits in well to our discussions on straight stitch. This work looks very different to those that we have examined at so far, but that is mainly due to the threads used ... here largely metallic or unstripped blending filaments. Otherwise, the straight stitch remains just that! This is from my book, "World of Embroidery", published just after 9:11. We retained the image of the twin towers as a tribute.
Helen M. Stevens' True Embroideries shared a post.
These are the three pictures (as well as "Cornucopia" that I shall be showing at "MY BLUE HEART", click on each to see why!
Used sparingly, and in a very fine silk or stripped blending filament, long straight stitches can also produce a very delicate underwater effect ... and worked a little more boldly suggest the surface of the water at "eye level"!
Well, there are lots of examples of straight stitch here, mainly on the horizontal, but another too... simply working straight stitches on a very slight diagonal, in a couple or more shades of green, creates a really effective grassy foreground.
As I have said before, landscape work is always more difficult to make convincing on a black background, but it can work ... and here the same principle applies as on a pale ground: upright straight stitching and horizontal for ruins and fore and back drop respectively.
My chief use of straight stitch has always been in landscape work. This is a good example of the principle to which I have adhered as a guideline .... use of the straight stitches UPRIGHT for elements which are "manmade" (buildings, etc.) and HORIZONTALLY for natural features, (ground, water, etc.) We will explore it more as we go along.
One last look at seed stitch, as we move onto another really simple technique - straight stitch. With the exception of the little kingfisher, everything in this landscape is either seeded or in straight stitch! In a way this is the perfect example of my "ONE SIMPLE STITCH" concept... of which more tomorrow!
In another variation of seed stitch we can reduce the size of each stitch still further until they are almost "speckling" stitches (a Tudor term) and then very subtly shade through the motif. This is rather reminiscent of the Impressionist painting technique of Pointillism.
I do not tend to use seed stitch quite so much when working on a black background, as the necessity to leave some of the background fabric showing through the adjacent stitches can make for an awkward effect. However, night time landscapes are a different case in point ... here, the Abbey Ruins in Bury are caught in atmospheric, starlit embroidery!
Glad you all seem to like the new profile picture ... it seemed to be time to include "Sir" ... Tybs is now very much part of the creative team!
Using seed stitch as a tool for landscape embroidery presents us with a whole new set of possibilities. By using the stitch directionally (for instance, slanted on either side of the twigs on a tree) gives a very realistic suggestion of leaves and blossom. Used similarly on some flowers it works, too. In other places a more random use is more effective.
With a full shot of (another!) brick wall, you can see how effective it is to use seed stitch to create a silk shading effect. By working the patina on the old bricks in a similar way on each, gradually blending one shade to the next, a very realistic effect can be effected. It is usually easier to work any other motifs first and then work around them rather than vice versa
OK, I thought we might look at that simplest of all stitches, the seed stitch.... simplest and yet one of the most versatile, depending on how you use it, and in what thread. Here, for instance, massed together in a single strand of cotton is a detail from one of my "brick walls". The texture created by the mat thread, and the random direction of the stitches recreates perfectly the grainy, warm feel of the old stonework. The black "hole" (floss silk) hiding away under the overgrowing lichen is in lifelike contrast.
Helen M. Stevens' True Embroideries added 2 new photos.
Before we go onto another technique ... a useless, but fascinating, fact! Did you know that there are 55 dogs embroidered on the Bayeux Tapestry? Unfortunately not one of them is a poodle!!!
... and of course, no stitch could be more perfect for the beautiful scales on a (friendly!) dragon! In this variant, the underlying "opus plumarium" is worked in snake stitch to follow the sinuous curves of the body and then woven through with the second thread, keeping the passes as nearly as possible at right angles to the first layer of stitching. It gives a wonderful play of light and shadow.
... thought you had better see the central tower too! The wings extend on either side with magnificent roofs. The warm old Tudor brickwork is in upright straight stitch - all in twisted silk, as we really don't want a "shine" to this type of element.
Helen M. Stevens' True Embroideries with Zainab Kutty and Shrmi Hamza
Laddering is also a great medium to suggest really bold structural features such as tiled roofs. Here is the right wing of Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk.
One of the more surprising uses of laddering ... a "chip" straw bonnet for this Edwardian lady. The key to working this type of adaptation is to stitch the underlying opus plumarium in a real 360 degree sweep before needle weaving a slightly darker shade through it ... and follow the contour of the motif as closely as possible with the weave. The face, incidentally, is in a single strand of 90 denier floss in split stitch.
Tybs has been in residence for just over a month now ... thought you might like to see how beautiful he is looking!
Helen M. Stevens' True Embroideries added 2 new photos.
Another of my signature stitches - laddering, or needleweaving. This, too, can be used in many different ways to different effect. A favourite, of course, is to create the chequer board pattern on the fritillary ... but look how it works as scales in a fish! OVERLAID with a strata of fine silk in straight stitching, the slippery texture is emphasised. You really need to click and see the full picture of each! More uses tomorrow...
Helen M. Stevens' True Embroideries added 3 new photos.
Now that we have looked at the honeycomb stitch both alone and over an underlying embroidery, we can put the two together! One of my favourite motifs, Chinese lanterns are perfect to illustrating the mating of the two.