Today’s post returns to the last day of our September session, fitting on the last day of September, I think. The first photo is Beth finishing ends. When you start a thread on this embroidery, you begin with an “away knot.” That means you put a knot in the end of your thread and take the needle down from front to back somewhere at least a couple of inches away from where you’re going to embroider. When you’re done, either with that thread, that motif, or in the case of those who dread the end-finishing, when you’re done with the session, you go back, snip off the knot (which is on the front of the embroidery) and pull the long tail to the back. Flip the frame, thread the end on your needle and carefully whip the end around the stitches that show on the back of the work.
From the back, it looks like Beth has just done some outlining. Really, though, she’s embroidered full motifs. The stitches being worked on the jacket are needle lace stitches. The vast majority of the silk thread shows on the front of the work, not on the back. This is different from many kinds of embroidery, counted thread work like Linda’s reversible sampler for instance. She’s made the back beautiful in itself, but still there’s a lot of thread on the back. Also crewel work has a lot of thread on the back.
So after you make your “away knot” the next step is to outline your chosen motif. Mostly the ladies have been working on detached buttonhole stitch motifs, which are outlined in reverse chain stitch. Click the links to go to the pdfs of the stitch instructions. I’m not a terribly experienced embroiderer, but I’ve done a bit and I’ve never seen more clear instructions than Tricia’s. The photos are spectacular. These same instructions come in the sample kits, but there you also get a DVD for even more support. Anyway, once the outline in reverse chain is completed, the embroiderer begins filling in the motif using detached buttonhole.
The detached buttonhole filling is anchored in the stitched outline but never goes through to the back of the work. The first horizontal row of stitches catches one half of the reverse chain stitch (from the outline). The second row is worked into the first row and into the outline only at the sides. The last row is worked into the previous row and into the bottom outline. What you end up with is a little needle-woven net sitting on top of the linen, caught into the outlining on all the sides. EXCEPT for the three-dimensional butterfly wings and pea-pods, where the piece of needle lace is not attached on all sides, but is like a flap, attached on one or two sides. We’re going to make those Later.
I will check the log sheets to be exact, but embroidering one foxglove blossom can easily take from a few to several hours. Does anyone remember how long it took you to do one?
The second photo is of embroidered foxgloves. I’m not sure whose these were, but most of the ladies worked some foxgloves at the September session. The top cap part of the flower will be done later in gold thread. The third one is of some of the embroiderers working away on Sunday, the last day of the session. Thanks to Wendy for today’s photos. The foxglove one is especially nice, you can really see the silk gylte twist thread.
This post is especially for Lyn, whose husband suggested there might be more chatting and noshing than actual stitching going on, so she asked for a technical post. Lyn has more stamina for this work than many; she was at her frame earlier and later than I thought possible. Thanks to the dedication and skill of all of our September ladies, as much was accomplished in those four days as at the other sessions, even though we had only half the number of stitchers.