I have been embroidering strawberries and raspberries over the past few weeks, sketched in a hurry in my embroidery class in order to learn stitches (as a substitute for a more formal sampler). The small embroidery is almost finished and via it I have learnt three types of chain stitch (straight, twisted and detached), blanket stitch and a stitch related to blanket stitch where the looped together line goes down the centre (possibly Cretan stich?), running stitch – straight and whipped, backstitch, bullion knots and french knots.
I think my favourite is the raspberry edged with bullion knots and filled in with French knots – suggested by my teacher Isobel – I will certainly be using that idea again! (Its the raspberry near the centre) The bullion knots may sometimes be a bit too spikey rather than rounded, but it’s a lovely effect.
I also had fun trying to work out how to make my baby strawberries look as if they were still green at the tip…my first attempt was in blocks of colour and it was only when I overstitched so that some of the red showed through the green that it really worked.
For my next project I am going to embroider on felt. I bought some silk and alpaca yarn in beautiful colours from our favourite little teashop in Keswick, Temporary Measure. It is soft as soft and really meant for knitting, but I am hoping that it will work well on the felt…I thought a thicker thread might look better. However, having seen some amazing embroidery by Jane and May Morris in the Pre Raphaelites Exhibition at the Tate recently, which uses both wool and silk threads, I am reserving judgement until I’ve tried….