Category Archives: Needlework

Assisi – oops

March’s Stitch Explorer was Assisi embroidery.  I don’t think I’d ever heard of this style of embroidery.

I’ve never been a huge fan of cross-stitch.  It seemed very – unimaginative?  After you choose the colors, all that is left is the same stitch over and over.  So with mixed feelings, I set out to try Assisi.


I had a little doodle that I was playing with, and turned it into a border.  Ok so far.  I outlined the doodle in black backstitch, and then started filling in with long-armed cross-stitch.  But then I got bored and added an irregular  bottom border.  Big mistake.  I hadn’t thought this through – the irregular line vs. long-armed cross-stitch meant that I having to fill in many odd-sized areas and take many compensating stitches.  This was not a good idea.

I did like the idea of Assisi, though.  I like the visual impact, and I’d like to try another sample (probably won’t happen this week, though).  Some of the samples that I’ve seen on others’ sites show other stitches used as background, which lend more interest and texture to the pieces – for example, treating this more like blackwork.


Just one more

Just one more bug – I couldn’t resist.


Each of these is about the size of a dime (Canadian or U.S. – they’re about the same).

Anne had commented about the difficulty of  embroidering on top of a spiral trellis.  I agree – I use a very loose tension and sort of “coax” the stitches into place.

Another bug

Before I move on from spiral trellis, here’s one more bug –


The body is done with spiral trellis, the dots are French knots, the legs are fly stitches, and the antennae are straight stitches.  The black is perl no. 5.  I’m not sure if you can tell from the image, but this really jumps out from the surface.

And more spiral trellis stitch

There are some very imaginative examples of spiral trellis appearing online.  I particularly like the flower done by Anne ,  and also the flower here .  Lovely work.

I decided to try something a little different.


And another view:


The body is spiral trellis.  The spots are Chinese knots, the head a bullion knot, and a flystitch for the antennae.

More spiral trellis stitch

I’m enjoying working with this spiral trellis stitch.  I tried another example:


The paisley shape is outlined in 3 rows of trellis stitch.  There’s  a round spiral trellis inside the shape, and the inside is filled in with some random French knots.  This is all done with a variegated no. 5 perle.

On an angled view, you can see the height of the paisley shape a bit better:


I like how this stands out from the background.  But lesson learned – filling in the inside after having first built up the edge was not smart.  I should have done this in reverse.  After outlining the shape in backstitch, I should have first stitched the inside circle, then done the edge.

Where have I been?

Where have I been?

It has been about 6 months – no, 7 months – since I’ve done any needlework. What happened?  Well, first it was summer, and I’m outside as much as possible – sometimes working in the garden, sometimes just lying in a hammock – and I generally don’t do a lot of stitching in the summer.  Then in the fall, I was obsessed by the election.  Work has been quite busy, and I can come up with any number of other excuses.  Basically, I was unmotivated. I’ve had piles of stuff sitting on my worktable for months.

Sharon B’s started a new activity – Stitch Explorer 2009 – to explore different styles of needlework. I’m joining in late.  The first style is chicken scratch.  This isn’t a style I’ve tried before, but the individual elements – cross stitch, running stitch, lacing – are all familiar.

Here’s my first example.

chicken scratch example

Chicken scratch is generally done on gingham or other checked fabric, which I don’t particularly like (nor do I have any readily available), so instead I counted threads to set up a grid.

April TIF

I’m a little late, but I’ve gotten to the April TIF – the question about change.

I don’t particular like change. I generally think of changes to the worse, not to the better.  Intellectually, I know that isn’t true, but emotionally – that’s a different issue.  When I read the Sharon B’s challenge for April, I immediately thought of black, gloomy things with lots of torn threads, or maybe mud-colored stitching of a bottomless pit (although it does raise the interesting question of how best to portray a bottomless pit in needlepoint. Which stitches to use?), or perhaps a piece of linen with scorch marks.

But maybe this had something to do with the winter. When in 3 weeks, things can change from snow and ice and misery, to

then suddenly things don’t seem quite so bad.

It has been a terrific month for daffodils here. Many years we get a final frost and they get killed off too soon, but this year the weather has cooperated (although still another two weeks to the last frost date, when it is safe for planting). This year, the flowers have been bright and showy and exuberant.  I wanted to stitch  something related to the flowers, and something with a lot of bright, bright yellow.

I took an image of a daffodil and enlarged a small portion of it, and started stitching.

I wanted to see what I could do with just one color, to feel like spring.

I’m not satisfied with the result. The piece is about 2 inches square, and includes chain stitch, detatched chain, stem, satin, couching, back stitch, buttonhole, and rice stitch, and leaf stitch (a poor choice). A little more planning would have helped, a lot.  But spring is here, and it is suddenly too beautiful to sit inside stitching.