Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Intermediate Lessons

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson #7  A Favorite Trick of Mine

 

In my English years I spent a lot of time looking at samplers in the V&A. In those days I could choose a sampler, carry it to a study table and make notes on it. One of the details I noticed repeatedly was the fineness of the ground fabric, often 40+ threads per inch and more, sometimes as fine as 125 threads per inch.

 

The finest canvas I had was congress cloth, on an average of 24 meshes per inch.

 

There is a very big difference in delicacy between 24-mesh congress cloth and grounds 40, 50, 60, 70 or more threads per inch. My quest became how to make my work look more delicate.

As I will discuss later on in our lessons, one of my ways was to use a skinny thread, often too skinny for conventional ways of matching thread weight to canvas mesh.

 

When I am using skinny thread, here  is one of my favorite tricks:  using one ply and repeating the stitch, rather than using 2 ply and stitching it once. My illustration uses a Smyrna Cross Stitch  but the technique will work well for any Cross Stitch or stitch where the direction changes.

 

If you wish to stitch along, find a doodle of congress cloth and some spare strands of Soie d'Alger.

Thread a needle with 2 ply of Soie d'Alger and another needle with 1 ply of Soie d'Alger.

 

With 2 ply of Soie d'Alger stitch a Smyrna in the conventional way:

up at A, down at B, up at C, down at D, etc.

End off the thread after G-H.

 

With 1 ply of Soie d'Alger, stitch another Smyrna in this way:

up at A, down at B, up at C, down at D, etc.

After you complete G-H, stitch another Smyrna on top of the first:

up at A again, down at B again, up at C again, down at D again, etc.

After G-H end off thread.

 

Now look at your samples: do you see a difference? the Smyrnas stitched with only 1 ply should look a tad bit finer than the Smyrna stitched with 2 ply.

 

 

A Variation:

with 1 ply: up at A, down at B, up at C, down at D, etc.,

after G-H, stitch another Smyrna on top of the first:

up at A again, down at B again, up at C again, down at D again, etc.

After G-H, stitch a third Smyrna on top of the first two.

 

If you want a stitch to stand high off the canvas, adding Smyrnas one on top of another builds the height but looks a bit narrower and more delicate than a Smyrna done with 3 ply.

 

 

Here is still another variation I use quite often. For those of you who stitched Sir Sweet Tooth and Lady Sweet Tooth, you may recognize this variation:

With 1 ply: up at E, down at F, up at G, down at H,

up at A, down at B, up at C, down at D, up at G, down at H.

This adds a little bulk to the stitch but not quite as much as a full two smyrnas, one on top of another.

 

What I hope you will take away from my trick:

The trick is easy enough, the effect is what is important, for it is an easy way of adding bulk to common Cross Stitches but preserving some delicacy. As we look forward to Advanced Lessons, we will deal with the weight of thread more extensively. For now it is helpful simply to recognize one way to tinker with the weight of thread.

 

 

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Intermediate Lessons

Lesson #7  A Favorite Trick

A subtle change in a common stitch.

My World of Needlework

 

Intermediate Lessons

 

After you have been stitching for a while, you will learn to look at your work with a more critical eye.

 

Here are a series of lessons for people who would like to refine their stitching abilities.

 

The current lesson is on this page and on Queendom Website's home page.

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