First Voluntary Project – Third Installment

Heathered Thread

Heathered Thread

Since I was working with leftover threads from other people’s projects, I was “forced to become inventive” – as Joseph Haydn said in another context!

The leaf and bud shown here use Chain Stitch, but I combined single strands of two or three colours in the needle. This is a technique that I don’t necessarily use very often, but it is always one I consider, because heathering is such a good way to create subtle variations in colour and tone. There’s a nice example of this on The Floss Box blog, where the thread for the water is blended in the needle.

The veins are marked in Thorn Stitch, although I’ve just noticed that the central vein is in Chain Stitch!



The forget-me-knots and attached leaves and stems are almost a sampler all by themselves. The leaves and stems are worked in Coral Stitch, which also outlines the flowers. Inside the flowers, there are tiny circles of Rosette Chain Stitches, worked around a Buttonhole Wheel in golden yellow. Rosette chain looks better worked rather bigger than this – I’ve used it since in several projects – and those who followed my posts on the Goldwork Masterclass will know by now that I have since developed a positive obsession with stitch and fabric scale!

Feather Stitch Tulip

Feather Stitch Tulip

The Tulip is filled with close rows of Feather Stitch in red and golden yellow, outlined with stem stitch. It creates a slightly odd texture that I’m not entirely unhappy with, although it would balance the other flowers better if the filling were not so closely packed, and the colours were rather paler.

The stem is worked in a single row of chain stitch with a row of stem stitch on each side. I was gaining enough of a grip on embroidery by this stage that I made an effort to keep the stitch lengths comparable, which gives a nice regular rhythm to the stem.


  1. Lady Fi says:

    That tulip is just lovely!

  2. Janice says:

    For a first attempt there is a remarkable amount of experimentation in all this!

  3. Penny says:

    Its all beautiful – but the Tulip is definitely my favorite!

  4. Anita says:

    It’s beautiful! A great first attempt and to use so many stitches in one project is interesting.

  5. Carolyn says:

    So many stitches for your first project. I’m impressed.

  6. karen says:

    wow Rachel, this is breathtaking. I really do hope you appreciate the skill you have….

  7. I find it staggering that you can get such different effects, different depths of colour by just altering the choice of stitch you use. I had never appreciated this til staring at your photos for the last five minutes! xCathy

  8. Elmsley Rose says:

    I can’t comment on the colours of the tulip without seeing the entire piece, but I rather like the texture 🙂