The Highs and Lows of Embellishment

Hello Everyone! It’s been quite a while since I have written. I do apologize for that, but my work schedule has been a bit full.

I have been traveling and teaching as always and just taught in two new locations: Beth’s Needlepoint Nook in Louisville, KY and North Shore Needleworks in Northbrook, IL. Both were wonderful experiences. Met quite a few new students and was pleased to have some old friends in class as well. Many thanks to Beth, Cathy and Jenna in Louisville and Carol, Chris, Barb, and Linda in Northbrook, and a very special thank you to Deanne Drozdz and her husband Tom (he stitches too) for all her work and their hospitality. Both were exciting classes with lots of new techniques for some of the students and new approaches to well used older techniques. 

As most of you know, besides designed projects, I teach quite a few canvas embellishment classes and, just to refresh your memories, the height of the texture of a stitch on an object in the composition has to match the position of the object in the composition; ie: higher textures in front, flatter textures in back. 

Some thoughts for backgrounds: Try using a single strand of stranded silk or stranded Overdyed silk or floss for your background and think of horizontal or vertical stitches that sink into the canvas channels. The texture of this type of stitch is flatter than Tent and gives you much freedom in planning the stitches for your design. 

But what happens if you have very small subjects in the front of your design that are too small to develop stitch patterns with ample textural height to maintain these objects in their respective planes? You can use two different techniques. 

One is called Diagonal Pattern Couching and one is called Or Nué ( Nuance of Gold). Both are suitable for detailed subjects. 

Diagonal Pattern Couching

For Diagonal Pattern Couching, find a metallic braid or round metallic thread (usually #12 Braid for 18 count canvas and #16 Braid for 13/14 count canvas). Choose stranded threads for all the colors in this area. Now you lay a diagonal stitch the complete diagonal distance of that spot in the area. Tie it down with Tent or reverse slant Tent stitches matching what has been painted. By doing this you are raising the height of this texture and maintaining it in its proper plane. 

Or Nué

Or Nué can be executed three different ways, and the foundation thread is the key. 

  • In Traditional Or Nué, you lay a horizontal foundation thread, (usually #8 braid for 18 count canvas and #12 Braid for 13/14 count canvas) above and below the canvas thread. Using stranded threads that match the area, you tie down the pair of foundation threads with vertical “over 1” Straight Stitches matching what has been painted. Each row is worked in this fashion. The diagram shows how this is done.
  • In the second style, you can use one strand #12 Braid or a #16 Braid for the horizontal foundation thread. Here, the couching stitch is the same but you will tie the foundation thread on the canvas thread above or below the foundation thread which will pull slightly on the ends of the foundation thread and make them slightly curl up or down. The diagram shows the foundation thread being tied down to the canvas thread below it.
  • In the third style, you will use 1 strand of #16 Braid for your foundation and stranded threads for your couching stitches. In this style, the stitches passes over the foundation thread but never pass over a canvas thread. It is very effective but your threads must match exactly for this style to work. Can you see how the couch stitch comes up in the same hole it goes back down into?

Thanks for reading, and I will see you next blog with more news and techniques.

Happy Stitching!