Every year I tell myself no more stitch-a-longs, and every year I fall for one…or two! This time though they should both be fairly quick to do!
I’ve been tempted to try blackwork ever since Claire and Avis started a blackwork sampler and last autumn I found the Peppermint Purple facebook page. Claire from Peppermint Purple has lots of lovely blackwork patterns but she was also running a free stitch-a-long, a different pattern each week for a year. It was lovely seeing all the different colour combinations as people shared their progress. When Claire announce she would run another SAL for 2021 I decided to have a go. One sampler which really caught my eye was one which incorporated a picture of a candle using colour across the various blocks…well I wasn’t going to make it easy for myself!!
There are two choices of layout, oblong and square. The square is actually on point but border and filler options are included to make it square. This is the layout I’m using. I’ve drawn the outline on the layout pattern of my special place, Catbells of course! So I’m planning to use mountain colours to outline the fell and then blocks of colour for the interior of the mountain, in greens, purples, browns, I’ve sorted myself a bag of mountain colours to potentially use. I’ve stitched two blocks so far and the third one has just been released…
The blocks are less than an inch square or or under 1 x 2″ oblong so they shouldn’t take long each week. I’m using a lovely hand-dyed evenweave which I’ve had for a while in my stash, I’m hoping it will help with the sky and lake with it’s blue shades. I’ve realised I have a gap in my floss collection of mid blues, so I’ve just ordered a selection so I can use different shades in different blocks. It’s not easy getting the tone right with the sky, I want the pattern to show but I don’t want to use a dark blue. Ideally the blue I’ve used in the second block would be a bit darker, but I’ve stitched it now and I’m not unpicking!
Some people have already stitched the whole of their border, but I still haven’t decided on the colours I want to use, so I’m waiting until the picture takes shape. I might use a neutral shade to fill in or I might decide to continue the picture across the filler area and just do a darker outer border…decisions!
The second SAL is by Cathy Reavy of Threads, it’s a stitch wheel and eventually it will include about fifty stitches. Although I did a stitch book a couple of years ago I do find I tend to use the same few stitches in my work, I’m hoping this will widen my repertoire! I was particularly attracted to the second ring which is lots of stitches to use to stitch leaves.
It’s all on Youtube so you can easily start whenever you want. She provided a template for the wheel if you didn’t fancy drawing your own. It all fits in a 10″ hoop. I’m using a Kona cotton in snow white for the background. Although it’s a quilting cotton I was surprised how much stretch there was in it when you start putting it in a hoop, so I’ve put a fine muslin on the back which is very fine but has no give at all, so hopefully it will support the kona. It’s also useful for starting and finishing threads at the back.
The outline is stitched with split backstitch which is then whipped to make it more raised. She’s converted me to split back-stitch, it’ll be great for stems and such like as I seem to get a smoother outline than stem stitch. It’s also very economical with thread if you use the method which involves coming up through the last stitch. I used a variegated thread which I’ve had a while in my stash, I’ve lost the label so I’ve no idea what it is, but there’s four strands to the thread and each strand is like a fine perle. I like it! I used two strands for the outline.
The centre circle is french knots, I used two shades of soft gold with three wraps in the middle and two wraps round the edge. I’ve selected a palette of purples, greens and golds with the idea that it will go on the wall in my sewing room as hoop art once it is finished. It will hopefully act as inspiration for stitches when I’m embroidering.
The first circle is I think going to be in shades of purple, I used two shades of DMC thread to make pistil knots which are like french knots on stalks, I use these quite a lot.
The next three blocks have been released, bullion knot, colonial knot and a bullion knot rose, so I have a bit of catching up to do. Like the previous SAL, they’re only small areas so hopefully they won’t take too long each week.