I have two books by Edith John, “Creative Stitches” and “New Stitches for Needlecraft”, and in the latter, she in turn quotes from another book “Needlework through the Ages” by Mary Symonds and Louisa Preece, who say
“It should be remembered that it is not the stitch itself, but the manner of its use which constitutes the art of embroidery”.
I’m going to have to think about that. I think – I would like to think – that in my embroidery the “manner of use” of a stitch is an important element of my approach, but I want to think a little bit more about the How and the Why of some of my stitch choices. It might involve a little more practice stitching, but since it’s the process of stitching that appeals to me as much as the finished result, that probably won’t be a problem!
Much of Edith John’s introductory text is concerned with encouraging experimentation – not something I need much encouragement in! – but one thing she does emphasize is the delight that can be gained purely from stitchery. The whole idea of this skirt is that it should look as though I had fun with it. This is probably not a project in which the answer to Why is likely to be anything other than Because.
Some of the circles will be embroidered within their edges, some will have embroidered elements that extend beyond there edges, and some are ghost circles, linking several of the tweed circles together. In the top left corner of this first picture, you can see part of a series of concentric ghost circles, using solitary chain stitches, cretan stitch, stem stitch and half-chevron stitch.
The large checked circle is joined to a nearby one using some cable chain and twisted chain stitches, set out to suggest that the stitching is itself a stitch, running underneath the main fabric and onto the tweed.
One of the smaller circles acquired a Lazy Daisy in chainette ribbon, with a couple of falling petals on the main fabric. I’ve emphasized the centre – a circular boss using the same chainette in star stitch – using a darker stranded cotton.
I’ve learnt over the past few years that sometimes a design is best created using layers of detail. The darker stranded cotton was added after I’d done a few other circles. I came back to it, and wanted to point up the petals a little. Since the tones are all very similar, the darker thread helps. I may yet come back and add some more.
The large crimson circle is very simple at present, with a single row of closed feather stitch around the edge. That may yet change…