Progress is slowly being made
Whilst it might not look like much, but this little leaf has actually made some progress.
In class, Heather gave me the confidence boost I needed to just get on with it. After a hesitant start, I did just that. Throughout the day I was quite pleased with my progress, and with the extra tips on stitch direction, I was feeling like I was making some good progress.
One of the points I did struggle with in class was the stitch direction at the tip. I was making quite an abrupt bend towards the stem, more so than was really required. I then learnt just how hard it is to unpick this type of stitching! So whilst it needed to come out, it isn’t an easy task.
I carefully cut the stitches that needed to be pulled out, and then with my ‘Uncle Bill’s tweezers‘, pulled the individual stitches out. There were some I just couldn’t work out how they were in there in the first place, so trimmed them as best I could! I asked a lady next to me who is almost finished her diploma, and she said that is her technique. So I thought I could just continue on with it!
A good attempt – maybe?
At the end of class on Friday, Heather was quite pleased with my progress, and I was finally feeling like I was getting the hang of it. I could see where I needed to improve moving forward, but I was comfortable with how the day’s stitching had gone.
That was until I looked at it again on Sunday. I thought we all must have been wearing some odd glasses, as I was anything but pleased with it! At least with this unpicking attempt it was easier as I wanted to take it all out! It just looked messy. The stitches weren’t smooth and flowing. The stitch direction, whilst improved, was still not right.
I didn’t take a photo at this stage I’m afraid, so you will have to take my word for it.
Yet another attempt
So after yet another false start, some progress has now been made. And whilst I’m a little hesitant about saying its ‘ok’, I’m much happier this time round.
The stitches are a nice length, and flow and move better within the shape of the leaf. The direction lines are much better, with just that slight bend towards the stem, rather than awkward and abrupt changes. It generally looks a lot smoother.
What I’m not happy with this time round is the colour changes. I don’t think I’ve blended in enough colours in the dark green areas. So I’m feeling another attempt is needed!
So what do I mean by ‘no lazy stitching’?
This is a technique that uses a lot of colours and a lot of needles all threaded up at the same time. That is how you achieve the naturalistic impression of the image you are recreating (something I still need to work on!).
When stitching with so many needles and colours, it is easy to add in stitches a little ‘randomly’, so you don’t have to change needle again. Then, you pick up your next colour and fill in the gaps.
Heather calls this ‘lazy stitching’. By doing this, you don’t necessarily get all your stitches in the right place as you aren’t stitching the area in ‘order’. This increases the possibility of needing to undo the area and re-stitch it to get everything where it should be.
So, whilst it is time consuming to change needle for one stitch – that is what is required! And that is ‘non-lazy’ stitching!
Another thought on the ‘theory’ of silk shading
Tanja works here pieces in ‘rows’ – you work the first row, then the second, then the third etc. And whilst Heather and Owen talk about ‘rows’, they always follow it up with ‘but don’t think or stitch in rows – it’s just easier to explain!’! Whilst I’m still very ‘new’ at the approach being taken currently, I do find it works better for me.
What I like about not stitching in rows
Firstly, I’m feeling like I’m not needing to actively think about the blending of colours and creating bands of colour. I do still on occasion do this (it must be something to do with where my eyes lead me to). The ‘colouring’ nature of the technique seems to come a lot easier if I’m not thinking in terms of row one, two, three etc.
And secondly, by not completing all of ‘row one’, then ‘row two’ etc, I’m not committing myself to a stitch direction or colour change that I might not actually like down the track. By working in full ‘sections’ on the leaf, I’m able to complete fully each little section, and am more confident that I don’t have the direction lines wrong. I recall this being quite the problem I had with the pansy’s leaves, and I do enjoy the current way of stitching more!
Next up is to add some of that beautiful bright pink! I’ve been told the best way to move this project forward is to ‘get some hours under my belt’. So – lots of stitching. I think I will have another attempt at this leaf, focusing on the colour blending. Then, the fun part – the petals!