It’s been a while since we spoke about the Trevelyon Cap specifically, so today is the day!
One reason for not posting updates on the Cap is, well, I haven’t been progressing very quickly at all! I’m hoping to make some good inroads over the next couple of weeks, and try and catch up a little! Despite the lack of progress, I am really enjoying the project. Kathy’s instructions and guidance are invaluable. For anyone contemplating the next instalment of the course, I can’t recommended it enough! Kathy is a natural teacher, and this really shines through in her notes. She understands this is, in some ways, a difficult project, due to the small scale that your working in, and the notes are designed around tips on how to best work on this scale, whilst still fitting in all the colours to give a realistic picture.
I am still progressing through the second lesson (when the seventh has just come out!). I do feel however, over the past few stitching sessions, that I have finally found a rhythm with these leaves. I’m finally comfortable with the stitching, now I’m using the magnifier, and the leaves I’m starting with aren’t the easiest things to get the stitch direction correct on! One of Kathy’s tips on stitching long and short stitch that I have found really useful, is to before stitching, draw your stitches, with the different colours you will be using to shade in thread on a plain piece of paper. I’ve done some silk shading work before, but have always plunged head first into stitching. By drawing it first, I was able to identify early on that the direction lines were going to be a bit of a problem, and from this, work out how they would best look. I think I have refined this as I have moved through the leaves, but its a great little tip!
The process for stitching the leaves is a fairly standard silk shading process. First off, outline (I always use split backstitch), then I finish this initial step off by stitching in direction lines to help guide me through the stitching process. At first, I was also using a heat removable pen to draw them in, but on this last one I’ve finally been confident enough to go straight into stitching them in! Next up is the adding the first layer of colour, stitched from inside the design, and going over our stitched outline. As there are only two colours, the next step is the final one in this leaf, and that’s adding the second colour, by bringing your needle up through your previous stitches, and down into the fabric. The veins will be placed in later with gold thread.
It has been slow progress for me (I’ve never been a fast stitcher!). On the whole I’ve been reasonably happy with the results, with the exception of one pesky leaf! I can’t explain why this particular leaf and I don’t get along, but we don’t! At first I wasn’t happy with the first layer of colour or the direction of the stitches. So out they came. Twice. Third time lucky. Then the second colour gave me problems.
I’ve left it as is at the moment, but I’m not really happy with the result. The colours just don’t look right, I think there is too much of the second, darker green, and the stitch direction is still not right!
I decided I just needed to move on, and haven’t had these problems with the next one!
But this pesky one doesn’t look right with the others around it. So I think it will all be coming out again! An advantage of using high quality linen, you can pull these stitches out with no ill effects to the state of the linen.
Next time I’m hoping I can update you with all leaves being completed! I’m telling myself the first ones are the trickiest – let’s see!
What do you do when you just can’t get something to look the way you want it to repeatedly? Do you leave it and come back to it, or do you persevere?