Working direction lines into silk shading

The Pansy is Starting to Blossom!

A weekend of stitching

I had been looking forward to this month’s IHSW, and I thought I would be able to finish the pansy, but a few things came up over the weekend and not nearly as much stitching happened as I would have liked!

The pansy is an online course I’m participating in run by Tanja Berlin. Do check out her other courses and kits – she has some amazing designs, and her online classes are run with the student in mind.

The pansy is starting to blossom

Nevertheless, the pansy is slowly blossoming. The back two petals are complete, and I’m reasonably happy with them.

Completed petal in silk shading
Completing overlapping petals in silk shading


Problems with the front petals

The front right petal however needs some work. I don’t like the way the light purple thread is sitting – it just looks wrong. I think I can get away with just taking out the light purple and having another go at it. That will be the starting point anyway!

Problems with the stitches lying nicely

The left front petal is coming along nicely. One thing I’m noticing more on this petal than the others is that the stitches aren’t completely even in tension. Well I think that is what it is, though it could potentially be that I am trying to cram too many stitches into the space? I’m a little bit tempted to pull it out and try spacing the stitches marginally further apart. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Working direction lines into silk shading
A work in progress image of a silk shaded petal


One day soon this little pansy will be finished. That is of course if I stop undoing everything I stitch!

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23 thoughts on “The Pansy is Starting to Blossom!”

  1. I wonder whether the light thread would sit better if you put the needle at a lower angle as you take the stitch? Long and short stitch is not one of my skills, so that is a bit of a guess – let me know whether it helps.

    1. The shading is incredible. Such a subtle transition between colours. That’s something I’m struggling with, I guess it improves with practice. Beautiful work.

    1. Thanks Wendy! It is certainly a technique that is difficult to get into. I’m just starting my RSN silk shading piece, and am having to get my brain back into this technique which takes a bit of time!

  2. This look incredible! I can understand that you want it to be perfect but when I look at my attempts and yours, I feel like I really need to improve a lot… haha
    I’m just starting embroidery, and I’d love to make a smooth filling, but it’s far from being as I want it to be. I’m using the long and short stitch for my shapes but we can clearly see the holes, it’s pretty messy. I envy your skills!
    I have a lot more work to do before mastering embroidery.
    Keep up the good work! 🙂



    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It’s a tricky technique to get the hang of but it is such a lovely one too! If you can clearly see holes you may be coming up in the fabric and down in your stitching, but it should be up in the stitches and down in the fabric (after the first row when you need to go over your split stitch line). If I can help in any way just let me know!

  3. Hi have been embroidering since i was at school .it did go out of fashion.but now hopefully the younger people will take it on.I buy pillow cases whene the sales are on,and do them for can buy them from as chep as £3 a this site .I have found stiches i never knew.thankyou and keep us going

    1. Hi Pat. Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so glad to hear you enjoy my site, and I hope you find inspiration within it. I think there are now quite a few younger people who have taken up hand embroidery – and that is a very good thing in my opinion! Your pillowcases sound like beautiful gifts, I’m sure everyone enjoys receiving them. Happy stitching!

  4. Beautiful work,still trying o learn this long & short stich,can’t you tell me how many threads is used & best fabric to use.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Esther! This is a tricky technique to get the hang of. You use one strand of thread (DMC or Anchor) and use a tightly woven fabric. This piece was stitched on a high quality calico, but you can also use a tightly woven linen, or silk dupion. If you have other questions let me know!

  5. Hi Catherine! Love your tutorial and starting to get the hang of it! I would like to know what length your stitches are? I tend to use very small short stitches and the blending is not so great! Thank you for sharing your wonderful work!

    1. Hi June, and thanks so much for your support! My stitches tend to be about 0.8cm – 1cm in length, with some shorter stitches of about 0.5cm. A main trick with the blending is making sure you have enough space in your stitches to come up a long way in each previous stitch when stitching the subsequent rows, as the threads ‘sink’ into each other, so where the new colours blend from is a little further down than where you initially start the stitch. I hope that helps, and feel free to email me with photos if you would like more specific help!

  6. Hi Catherine! Many thanks for your feedback on my question! I can see that my stitches were not the right size and packed to close to each other! I will continue and see how it turns out! Again, thank you so much! Stay safe, kind regards, June

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