Outlining Shapes With Split Stitch

018One important lesson I learned last fall was to outline shapes I want to fill with split stitch instead of backstitch. Theoretically I knew that was how it should be done, I just didn’t know why.

It turns out that when you look at them really closely, split stitch is way flatter than back stitch, as you can see by my crude drawing:

backstitchvssplit stitch

Having that smooth, even line to tuck your stitches over makes a huge difference in how smooth your edges look.

And now you know!


Thread Stashes or Buy As Needed?

Sketched Spider I used to buy huge quantities of DMC floss every few months, in colours that caught my eye on that day. I would load up on 50-60 skeins, make my way to the cash, and apologize to the cashier who had to scan them all individually. Sometimes I tried smiling sheepishly to see if that helped (it didn’t).

Nowadays, I tend not to buy any thread unless I have a specific project in mind. I will pick up more of one shade in order to get the colour just right, instead of picking up a rainbow and getting inspired as I stitch.

I think the main reason I do it this way is because I am no longer doing primarily redwork. When I started doing embroidery, most of my stitching was pretty simple, and only needed a few colours to make it work. As I got into crewel work and now needle painting, I am having to be more conscious of my colour choices. Working with “what I’ve got” is no longer good enough.

If I had the money to invest in the entire DMC run in one go, I would perhaps think differently. But until then, I think I will stick to buying what I need as I need it. What about you? Do you have certain colours you can’t not buy? Do you get inspired by seeing a rainbow of threads all in a row?

WIP Wednesday – Green Paperdoll Dress

Green Paperdoll Dress

Here is a pretty paperdoll dress! I am using a different shade of green for the tight little lines, and I still haven’t decided if I am going to make her arms green or not. I’ve been working on this one for about two days now.

This it the third dress I stitch like this. I will show them all when I am done this one.Green Paperdoll Dress

“Canvaswork” Cross Stitch Pendant

Byzantine Stitch Pendant

Here is the pendant I finished after reading the RSN book on Canvaswork. It’s byzantine stitch with 6 strands of embroidery floss. I’m really happy with the look, especially of the unfinished edges. At first I thought to fill it, but after finishing the lower side, I hated it so much I unpicked all of it.

This pendant is once again from the Workroom in Toronto. I did the first one in cross stitch last year, and I still have one pendant to go. Maybe I should try a bargello stitch on that one?


Canvaswork by the RSN – Mini doodle and review


I have a few of the little embroidery guides by the Royal School of Needlework: Blackwork, Crewelwork, and now Canvaswork. They are fabulous. They are small enough to fit in a purse or a project bag, are spiral bound (so they lay flat) and are always super educational.

As with all of these guides, I’m not sure they are suited for a beginner-beginner, but an advanced-beginner will definitely enjoy them. They are inspiring, beautiful little books, with just enough information to let you try stuff out and get interested in finding out more. All the pieces are truly wonderful and allow you to really see a huge range of projects stitched in various complexities of stitch blending and colour blending. I think stitch blending is the prettiest thing featured in the book. Here is a look at one of the pages, just to tempt you.Canvaswork Review

Here is the mini, messy sampler I worked while watching Sesame Street with my daughter after reading the book through in one sitting. The stitches I tried are: alternating cross (not so nice), byzantine (nice!), chequer, fan (shrug), straight gobelin, leaf (ran out of thread there…), milanese (love the triangles), a very screwed up norwhich square and fern stitch, in alternating directions.Canvaswork Review

This book also led to me using one of my Cross Stitch Pendants from the Workroom! One notion down, way too many to go. I’ll show you the pendant later this week!

Redwork Village

Redwork VillageHere is a quick look at the finished Redwork Village I first talked about a few weeks ago. I actually finished it quite quickly, but then took forever to wash and iron it.  Ironing is not my favourite thing. I always say the only thing I iron is embroidery! (I don’t even fold fitted sheets. Got things to do, things to stitch!).

Redwork VillageWhat I love about using a non-permanent tracing method (I use Mona Lisa Chaco paper, both in white and in blue) is that I can decide to change the design as I go. I simplified quite a few of the roofs just because I was on vacation and I could. If I had used an iron-on transfer, I couldn’t have done that without it being messy.

Then again, if I was using an iron-on, I wouldn’t have had to wash away the remaining blue lines. Oh well!