The Lady By The Lake – another early project

The Lady By The Lake

The Lady By The Lake

This was another early project. It was a DMC painted canvas, which was clearly intended to be done in tent stitch using tapestry wool. As it is eighteen inches by nearly two feet, that would have driven me wild…

I bought it almost entirely because I thought I could see a way to get the folds in the dress to appear the right shades without using as many colours of thread, and I wanted to experiment. So I used  a bordered Hungarian Stitch, worked in three shades of pearl cotton and combining them to create the impression of five shades in the skirt. It worked!

The blouse is also pearl cotton, this time Linen Stitch, which is effectively the back of Basketweave Tent stitch put on the front.  It produces a very solid, durable background and I’ve used it on cushion projects in the past.

Linen stitch in canvaswork

Linen stitch in canvaswork

The only drawback is that it takes so long to do. I’ve diagrammed it here because I can’t find it online, and I’ve found it such a useful stitch myself. It is worked diagonally, just like basketweave tent stitch.

The face and arms were worked in petit point,  separating the double threads to create single thread canvas, and worked in stranded cottons (blended).  The hair (she didn’t have such glorious chestnut hair on the painted canvas itself) is also blended stranded cottons, worked in a sort of long and short stitch. The hat has spider’s web stitch roses on it.

I changed the wooden, slatted backed bench of the canvas into a padded one so that I could do the upholstery in Reversed Mosaic Stitch.  The lake itself took ages to do – row after row of darning stitch using all sorts of ribbons and threads, including some truly ghastly knitting acrylic which would have made a dreadfully uncomfortable jumper, but made a very good lake surface, with that slight sparkle you get when there’s just enough breeze to move the water.

The sky and clouds are all Milanese Stitch, worked in blended Persian yarns with three strands in the needle. It works, but now I’ve read Terry Pratchett I’m afraid it makes me think of the sky above “gnarly ground” in “Carpe Jugulum” – not such a peaceful thought!


  1. Elmsley Rose says:

    May we have some ‘detail’ shots of the skirt, hair etc? It all sounds wonderful!!

  2. Jan says:

    I would also like to see some close-ups! You done a beautiful job of taking a plain canvas and creating something fantastic! I never thought to do things like that years ago. The only changes I made to “kits” was to change the borders or background stitch so it wouldn’t take so long to stitch.

  3. Wow, just reading this makes me realise how much I don’t know about embroidery. Great work, and I’d “third” the request for close-ups 🙂

  4. Lady Fi says:

    This embroidery will be as lovely as a painting when it’s finished. But it must be so much work to get it looking good with all the nuances…

  5. […] of the comments on my Lady By The Lake post asked me to show some close ups of how I achieved the colour changes on the skirt. I’ve […]

  6. Janice says:

    What an imaginative approach to what would otherwise have been a boring project to do! You have really made it your own. (Is it really this long since I visited? I’ve been bogged down with deadlines – sorry!)

  7. […] in shape and style. My favourite stitches pop up again – Leaf Stitch, Upright Cross Stitch, Linen Stitch, Byzantine Stitch. In fact this is probably where I met most of them for the first […]