14 April 2017

Herbier: Such a Trouble Maker

Original design of Herbier from Canevas Folies
Herbier: original design
Every year, my local Embroidery Guild of America (EGA) chapter puts on a couple of public needlework displays. Along with many other chapter members I provide completed embroidery pieces for the display.

Last year I thought it would be nice to stitch something specifically for display and I wanted a surface embroidery project primarily composed of decorative stitching (as opposed to thread painting). My thread painted pieces usually depict naturalistic subjects (flowers, animals, etc.). I don't typically use decorative stitches (e.g., chain, most knots, fly, stem, whipped, buttonhole, etc.) because, to me, the whole idea of thread painting is that you shouldn't notice the stitching, you notice the thing that is being depicted. So, the stitches employed in thread painting tend to be utilitarian (e.g., long and short, split, French and bouillon knots) rather than decorative.

I chose a Canevas Folies kit called Herbier. It was colourful and had enough different stitches to be interesting. I bought it from The French Needle (who no longer carry Canevas Folies kits). The kit calls for DMC and House of Embroidery (HoE) variegated threads. French Needle helpfully included the (HoE) threads required by the kit.

That's when the trouble started.

I had never stitched with HoE threads, in fact, I had never really stitched with variegated threads. Variegated threads and thread painting don't tend to go together very well. However, as I started working on Herbier I was enjoying the HoE threads. Some had obvious variegations, while others were subtly variegated, but all were appropriately floral. I wanted more! I also wanted to challenge myself and change things in the original design.

I bought more thread, a lot more thread.

HoE comes in pairs so you can end up with a lot more thread than perhaps you bargained for. On the plus side, the pairs are well-matched and gorgeous.

Pair of variegated House of Embroidery threads in pinks/oranges.

I started by changing around the garland that surrounds the entire design. Originally it was going to be just one HoE green, but when I ordered more I found that that green I had planned on using came with a darker variation. I thought it would be nice to have lighter and darker leaves on the garland.

Pair of variegated House of Embroidery threads in greens for border on Herbier by Canevas Folies.

Detail of motif on Herbier showing pink flowers and ivy border. Ivy border is stitched with variegated House of Embroidery threads.

I stitched the piece row by row changing things here and there. I had fun trying to control how the colours in the variegations displayed and sometimes letting the variegation fall where it may.

Two of my favourite motifs were the ones in the centre and lower right. I wanted more purple in the middle. You can never have too much purple.

Detail of central purple floral motif on Herbier. Flowers and leaves are stitched with House of Embroidery variegated threads.

I decided to layer lazy daisy stitches with the orange-pink variegation on the lower right motif. Sometimes the orange was on the lower layer, sometimes on top.

Details of floral motif with pink and orange flowers. Flowers are stitched with 2 layers of pink/orange House of Embroidery variegated threads.

I'll show you the completed piece in a future post.

References

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