I finished this little piece recently. I’m still not sure what I was doing, but I like it. It’s half redwork, and half needle painting (not very good needle painting, but whatever). I also tried to tie the two together a bit, so the mid-tone of the reds is the red I used in the redwork.
I took a class on needle painting last October at the Creativ Festival in Toronto. The teacher, Carol Arsenault, was fabulous at making sure we were not overwhelmed. I mean, in theory, it’s a relatively simple technique: outline your shape with stem stitch, then fill it in with long straight stitches in a gradation of colour… Easy right? I think the main obstacle for me was using a single strand of embroidery floss. It’s so small! It’ll take so long! Yes and yes. It is extremely tiny, and yes, it takes forever. But you get such an amazing effect, that you really need to use the single strand if you want to get the right blended look. It’s the same idea as satin stitch. Sure, you could do it with more than one strand, but it’ll look all chunky and wrong.
Another thing that helped me get going was Trish Burr’s Colour Confidence in Embroidery book, which I also picked up (for a bargain!) at the Creativ Festival. It’s beautiful. It has dozens and dozens of colour pallets, each actually stitched and not illustrated, that can show you what can actually be achieved with proper colour blending. It’s not so much a technique book, but more of a inspiration book. For a more in depth look, check out Mary Corbet’s review on Needle’n’Thread.
This piece was another piece working small. And I love that I finished it. Maybe 2014 will be the year of working small?