20 March 2013

Silk Shading

When we moved to this house 18 months ago, I was delighted to find that we were only 20 minutes away from Hampton Court and the world famous Royal School of Needlework. I was even more excited to learn that they offered beginners day classes which were open to everyone. Last year I attended a course on Crewel Embroidery and this Saturday I completed the beginners Silk Shading Class. This technique has always fascinated me and I have tried many times over the years to get to grips with it, without success. It is also know as Needle/Thread painting or long & short stitch. I have bought books and kits on the subject ...


And although I understood the theory (or I thought I did!) my stitched results looked messy and nothing like the pictures! Within ten minutes of the class starting on Saturday I knew I was in good hands, we had two wonderful teachers who explained exactly what we had to do and were so patient :) The class kit, came with pre-traced silk and plenty of threads (these are my left overs)...
I quickly learned to think of it not as long & short stitch to be worked in rows, but more as a colouring in or painting technique, like a staggered satin stitch. In order to get good smooth blending, you need to come up into the previous row of stitches splitting some of them, and not down into them as I had been doing. We started stitching straight away, you can see the first petal I stitched in the middle where I still have blocks of colours and harsh edges...
The second side went a little better, outlining the piece in split stitch first really helps get a smooth edge...
I took some time to get used to the random nature of the stitches, everything else I do requires even stitches the same length and neat rows, it was very liberating to stitch this way :) ...
I finished my piece at home with a centre of French knots...
You can see from this photo of the class sample that I still have a lot to learn...
I had a wonderful day at the RSN and have signed up for the two day follow on course in August. I found the day quite tiring, as I had to really concentrate! When I mentioned how exhausting it was to my husband and son, I thought they were going to wet themselves laughing! They found the whole idea of a day of embroidery being tiring completely hysterical!!! They couldn't believe I had spent 6 hours on four petals and a stem, but I know you all understand :))
I am confident to try my kit now and some practice pieces in my instruction book, I really want to practice what I have learnt before August. Of course what I really want to do, is to become proficient enough to attempt a stitched picture of Jasper...

15 comments:

  1. I hav't tried this stitch and i do think I would have done exactly as you, going down the same needle hole. Great on you for taking a class.

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  2. it looks really pretty. I haven't done that kind of embroidery for years but I used to be quite good at it. I can truly understand 6 hours on a flower!

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  3. Wow you are lucky to be so near to a wonderful resource. Your flower came out beautiful!

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  4. Your flower petals are gorgeous--I can definitely see how this took all day AND was tiring! Lot of brain work going on there--and improvising!! Just beautiful...Julierose

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  5. Lucky you. I would love to take a class, but I will look into it here in Canada. Looks like you are well on your way.
    Bunny

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  6. How nice to live so close! And I think your flower turned out lovely!
    Jasper is a gorgeous dog!

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  7. I'm exploring needle thread painting for the first time in an on-line course. I totally get being tired after a 6 hours class. It requires so much concentration, plus you're not in your comfortable stitching chair at home. I think your flower looks wonderful.

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  8. Oh you're so lucky to live so close to the RSN!!! I'm totally envious of you! Your daisy looks great!

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  9. I think that your work looks wonderful. It takes a little practice to hang of that and you're doing a wonderful job.

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  10. This is really exquisite and so rewarding to learn 'properly', books are great but personal tuition can really take you to the next level. I think your daisy is stunning. And, oh yes I understand, my family also doesn't realise that quilting is a full time job! And as tiring as one too!

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  11. Oh, you live in a great place!!! I love doing that sort of stitching too. Your flower is lovely!

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  12. Oh Elaine dance been that close to the wonderful farmhouse school, how my mum wanted to go to that I gre up listening to her talking about it and reading books put out by them. YOur first flower is beautiful and you should be very proud of it, that was a great tip about when it go down and where to come up when stitching this stitich

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  13. PS thanks so much for the tutorial it was so easy to follow and I have learnt so much from it. The other great tip was splitting the thread when working the stitch. Cheers Glenda

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  14. Totally jealous that you have the RSN on your doorstep. Your flower looks great, specially for a first attempt.

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