Watermill Stitchery – Convento del Carmine

Once the walls were in place, I worked on the creepers.

As you can see here, this involved not just more of the same, but a few extra tendrils, and some mixing of the number of strands and stitches used to create the right tangled effect. Feather stitch, floral feather stitch, feathered chain stitch, all layered up in a variety of shades, to increase the tangle almost to “Sleeping Beauty” proportions.

Yes, good so far.

Then I decided that it really needed the grass at the front to pull the golden green forward, as it was in my memory.

Not like this, however. I think the choice of irregular running stitch is right, but although I chose to use six strands for the lighter colour to help pull it forward and push the building back – which is a good, rational, thought-through reason – it hasn’t worked as I envisaged. Cue some muttering and unpicking!

But I got there in the end…

In fact I’m very pleased with how this turned out. It allows me to demonstrate how to create different textural effects, even with a fairly restricted choice of thread – nothing exotic here, pearl cotton, soft cotton and stranded cotton.

I could add more details – roughen the stone further, add windows and doors to the walls in the shade – but I don’t think that the picture would be materially enhanced. And almost the whole trick with representative embroidery is the same as it is with painting: the finished piece is a new creation, not a copy of the thing it represents, so it is more important to end with a pleasing piece than an accurate report.


  1. Alex Hall says:

    To quote Magritte – “This is not a pipe.” But it is an evocative and sunny-feeling image of a place that clearly has a special place in your memory. The stitch combinations are so painterly and work beautifully.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    That’s a fine piece, Rachel. The textures all work. There’s plenty of visual interest, especially at a second glance. The colours work harmoniously together and the stitches seem very natural choices. No wonder you are pleased with it!

  3. I really like seeing how your work grows and develops. To start with, the wall seemed a bit uninteresting, but with all the structure and the greenery you have added step by step, a new and more interesting picture has emerged. I can see how much you like this place, and how clever you are at finding the right stitches to depict it.

  4. Carolyn Foley says:

    This is a great piece that represents all those different textures. And I agree about the piece not being an exact representation. No two people see the same thing when the look at something so what is an accurate representation?

  5. Carolyn Foley says:

    I think piece achieves it purpose and shows lots of different textures. And as no two people looking at an object never sees exactly the same thing, what is an accurate representation? Love the piece.

  6. A lovely piece and textures.

  7. Amo says:

    ‘the finished piece is a new creation, not a copy of the thing it represents’, love that. I have a piece I did for my EG qualification of a local church ruin. I made the huge mistake of not reversing the original sketch I made so the finished piece is back to front. I still love the piece and, once over the grrrr moment, happy that it can stand on its own without the need to refer to the original building. A good lesson. 😄