Canvaswork again – The Lady By The Lake

The Lady By The Lake

The Lady By The Lake

This is my second post of canvaswork for Catherine of Hillview Embroidery.

The Lady By The Lake has a much wider range of stitches and threads in it, including blends of stranded cottons, ribbons, and a variety of wools. The canvas is a double thread canvas which makes it possible to separate the threads and work some of the design in petit point.

I wrote a post about the Lady when I first started blogging, but I have a very much better camera now, and an incentive to take the picture down from the wall. Considering the canvas is still under glass I am very pleased with how the photographs turned out. There are enough different materials and textures in the scene to provide a good workout for thread and stitch selection muscles…

Sky And Mountains

Sky And Mountains

The sky and clouds are all Milanese Stitch, worked in blended Persian yarns with three strands in the needle.

The mountains are in Gobelins Stitch in tapestry wool, and the lakeside hills with their forest and villages are a whole tangle of interesting variations of stitch and thread.

Hat, Face And Blouse

Hat, Face And Blouse

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 quite 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, and she’s wearing large pearl bead earrings.

Skirt And Bench

Skirt And Bench

It was the idea of experimenting with the skirt that attracted me. 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.

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.

Lake And Town

Lake And Town

The lake itself took ages to do – row after row of darning stitch using all sorts of ribbons and threads, including some truly ghastly double knitting acrylic yarn 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.

Balustrade And Lake

Balustrade And Lake

The balustrade was worked in Soft Embroidery Cotton. I assumed it was something like limestone, and not marble with a polished surface, so the thread needed to be dull to let other elements shine.

Again, click on the pictures to see more and have fun thinking about what I should have done differently!


  1. jenclair says:

    Oh, the hours involved in this canvas! My eyes were immediately drawn to the skirt, which is gorgeous!

  2. elaine says:

    I love all the different stitches you have used! I have only stitched one small piece, but I would love to do more – I really like the idea of starting with a painted canvas

  3. Lady Fi says:

    My goodness – the details are just amazing!

  4. Susan Nixon says:

    I didn’t realize you did this kind of thing, too. It’s truly beautiful and shows your expertise, as well as a lot of work!

  5. Catherine says:

    Thanks again Rachel! And what great photos through the glass.
    What a lovely design, with so many stitches combined. I love the use of ribbon in the water. I have no doubt that was a long process to complete, it is a small stitch with different threads! The stitch for the skirt is brilliant and effective!
    The sky is lovely in Milenese stitch. I admit to liking that stitch – it’s such quick one to wor! I’m changing the stitch to smaller stitches as the sky gets closer to the horizon and I like that effect too.
    Thanks again – two lovely pieces!

  6. Carolyn Foley says:

    What a great range of stitches.

  7. I think the great number and mix of stitches in different threads make this piece so very special.
    My eyes were drawn to the skirt, the Hungarian stitch looks perfect.

  8. Dorte Edur says:

    Beautiful work

  9. Lin says:

    WOW! What a great collection of threads and stitches. She is lovely – her hair is amazing. xx

  10. Penny Baugh says:

    SO gorgeous and intricate!!!

  11. Alex Hall says:

    That is a superb selection of stitches and each one brilliantly chosen to match the feature you were stitching. I particularly love the texture of the skirt!

  12. Meredithe says:

    Such beautiful work, Rachel. Thank you for explaining your stitches, threads and methods; the texture in the skirt is amazing.

  13. Terrie says:

    A very detailed and delicate work. From skies, facial expression, water to the skirt all are so finely stitched.

  14. Sue Jones says:

    The background, sky and the upper half of he lake would also make a very pleasing picture without the lady and the foreground.

  15. Anita says:

    The first element that caught my attention is the mountains.Blending of colors/threads has worked out so beautifully especially for the sky and water.Such an interesting project and thanks for sharing this.

  16. Karen says:

    I would never presume to tell you what you should have done differently. Your work is always so exquisite. You have no need of advice from me….

  17. What a lovely scene! And your choices of stitches and floss/threads makes it even more so. The effects you achieved with just three colors when working the skirt is amazing. I also love the lace collar and cuffs on the blouse.

    Thanks so much for linking up to last week’s Stitchery Link Party. Aloha hugs!