Having finished my Stitching for the Soul book last month I then spent a few days deciding what project to stitch next. Having done a few more of what I would call textile art embroidery projects recently I was in the mood for some more traditional style of embroidery, more of the neat and pretty style rather than the frayed edges and running stitch style!
Last year sometime (or it may even have been the year before!) someone at Embroiderers Guild mentioned the Mary Corbett Leafy Tree embroidery. I had a look and ended up buying the e-book. During a recent organising day I came across it again and thought Ooh, I like it! When I originally bought it I had immediately ordered any extra DMC colours I needed so hopefully everything will still be ready to use.
Mary Corbett has an excellent website called Needle ‘n Thread, she has lots of designs both free and for sale including the leafy tree one. She has written lots of embroidery books too.
I printed off the design slightly bigger than it’s meant to be – 120% so it’s about 6″ tall, I thought some of those leaves at 5″ would be pretty small! Just that extra 20% also meant it didn’t particularly affect the thread use too, two strands of DMC would still be fine.
I found some lovely old linen to embroider on from my stash. It looks like it was a pillow case, not sure where it came from as I don’t recall cutting one up! It’s a lovely weight of linen to stitch on anyway. I’ve used a square of calico as a stabiliser too as although the linen is a pretty high thread count it’s still a lot of embroidery and hopefully the calico will stop it from stretching and distorting in the ring. It’s also useful for hiding the start and finish of threads.
I traced the design using a lightbox and a pilot silver gelpen. I like the silver gelpens for marking fabric, Sarah Fielke suggested them for applique and I’ve been using them ever since. You can get archive quality, acid free ones too. The silver shows on both light and dark fabrics and if it’s not quite covered by stitching a little twinkle of silver isn’t as noticeable as a black line.
All the leaves are different, using quite a few different stitches and combinations of stitches and the colours fade from dark green at the bottom to orange and red at the top, so as well as learning new stitches and how to use them it’s also teaching colour use. There’s over a hundred different stitch or colour variations!
I started with the dark green leaves at the bottom. The little leaves are mainly fly stitch or fishbone stitch, others include wheatear, twisted fly-stitch (which if I’m understanding the instructions is just an uneven fly stitch) and fern stitch over satin stitch. There’s instructions in the e-book for all the stitches.
I’ve also started the trunk and branches which are stitched with stem stitch. I got a bit confused here with the instructions as I could only find two browns in the list of colours but the instructions talked about mixing three colours. I sent an e-mail off via the web-site, thinking someone might get back with in a few days. Mary herself replied within an hour, clarifying that although she used three Madeira threads in the original, she had since found two DMC threads mixed was sufficient. She’s going to have a look at the e-book to try and make it clearer. I was quite impressed! Sometimes you get the feeling from a website that it’s a big business, when actually it’s not, it’s still very personal.
I’ve started the trunk and branches, I’ve actually used three colours in the end as I happened to have the floss that was in between the two recommended ones. I’ve grown more happy with the effect as I’ve filled more in. It’s grown a lot quicker than I anticipated too.
Next time I share this with you in three weeks time I will hopefully have finished the trunk and branches and have stitched a few more leaves.
This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, please follow the links to see how everybody else is progressing with their stitching.
Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda, Helen