Just before Christmas I fell for a series of on line classes by Nicki Franklin of The Stitchery. I’d admired her work for quite a while on instagram, she does beautiful, pretty embroideries of flowers, country scenes, cottages…this was an on line course to stitch a garden, you can stitch any garden, she’s doing the garden at Hilltop where Beatrix Potter used to live as an example. I’m going to stitch our garden.
The first few classes dealt with places to get inspiration, how to sketch your design out, transferring it from paper to fabric, painting fabric with watercolours, mixing colours. Here’s my watercolour sample, this will be used for applique…
I haven’t as yet finalised my sketch, the last couple of weeks I’ve been mulling ideas over. I want to make my embroidery into a textile book, I have enough pictures round the house and it would be rather nice to have a stitched record of the garden at the moment. We have a choice of either doing a flat plan of the garden, or doing a raised viewpoint. After much thought I’ve decided to stitch a flat plan and then stitch features and scenes within the garden as separate little embroideries which can then go in the book, possibly embellished with some crazy patchwork!
Our back garden is divided into three quite separate areas, the patio at the bottom, the Amber & Amethyst garden (AKA the beer garden!!) and the lawn with the summerhouse and pond at the top. I’m planning to do an embroidery of each area as a flat plan and then do little embroideries of say the summerhouse, the arches, seats, pond, birdbath.
During the last class she showed us different ways of stitching trees and shrubs, some are for adding texture to an appliqued area such as seed stitch or French knots. She had stitched a little sampler which looked a lovely way of displaying them.
I found a nice piece of old linen in my stash (I’ve been collecting little bits for a while) it was pretty fine so I backed it with some calico to give a bit of stability, it also makes it easier to finish threads off at the back. I stitched the grid with a simple running stitch making 1 3/4″ squares.
I really enjoyed trying different stitches and different threads too. I’ve recently been trying to sort out my embroidery threads, the non DMC ones, I’m putting them all on bobbins and sorting them according to colour. There’s perle threads, linen threads, hand-dyed threads, I’m hoping that I’ll now use a wider variety of threads rather than just reaching for the conveniently placed DMC.
The first row id French knots, chain stitch in a heap and seed stitch, I tried four different threads with the seed stitch in particular and also tried the double seed stitch which Cathy Reavy had suggested, I think I prefer the single stitch! The next row are bullion knots and two leaves, one in satin stitch and one in fishbone stitch which is my favourite for leaves.
On the third row there is feather stitch, mini trees from French knots and straight stitch, then fly stitch trees. As the fly-stitch is basically upside down to make a tree, I had to turn the work upside down to stitch it! I was particularly please with the taller tree as I used different sizes of stitches to give the effect of the boughs of a fir tree.
The bottom row is bigger tree embroideries, the autumn one is little chain-stitches, I found that one more tricky to stitch but I do like the effect. The fir tree in the middle is just straight stitch and the cute blossom tree is French knots with a variegated green and pink DMC thread.
This nicely gives me a working size for my book pages of about 8″ by 6″.
I think I’m going enjoy this stitch-a-long.