Monday, 28 October 2019

Rainbow Rinse Sheep Stitchscape

This fun, whimsical Stitchscape started tickling my creative thought processes after one of my customers shared a photo of her completed Woollydale kit. She had changed one of the white sheep in the design to a black sheep and said that her daughter had insisted on it and why should all of the sheep be white anyway? I agreed that the sheep could be any colour and then immediately wondered why I hadn't thought of that myself!?! I didn't want the sheep to be black, but suddenly had visions of pastel coloured sheep wandering around in their field like they had been dipped into a rainbow rinse!

Of course, having had this idea, it then niggled away at me until I started it and still niggled at me until I had embroidered every last sheep! They were the first layer to get the embroidery treatment and I love the way they have turned out!
I didn't do all of them a pastel colour, keeping some slightly more sheep-coloured, albeit creamier than my usual sheep white, but I did treat them in the same way as I always do - with french knots and rough satin stitches. I can't really think of a pairing of stitches that would work better than these to create the woolly fleece texture I am after.

The rest of the Stitchscape has a slight pastel-esque feel to it as well, almost like one of those really light sunrises where everything is tinged with just the palest of yellows and gives a rose tinted glow over the landscape. The bullion knot flower stems match my heather infused seed stitch fabric above, which I have made using a really lovely multi-coloured variegated embroidery thread from DMC. It has a couple of shades of purple and a couple of green infused through it and is the perfect colour combination for a moorland scene.

Above the purple, the sunrise sky rises up to blue where the birds fly towards you from the horizon (this is all getting rather poetic isn't it?), created with a couple of fly stitches, either on their own for birds appearing further away, or doubled up for the birds nearer to you in the landscape. Weights of line really help to create a sense of perspective and is something that I use all of the time. Depending on what you are doing, thinner lines will appear further away than thicker ones and, if you combine this idea with the size of your stitches, you can really feel like you are looking into a three-dimensional landscape.

My sheep are all such characters aren't they? The fabric is from Rose & Hubble and is a quilting fabric really, with the sheep going in every direction. They can look a little bit odd in a landscape setting and I get lots of comments about how drunk they all look but I prefer to think of them as just having a good time frolicking around and rolling down the hills I am creating.

I often get asked in the workshops I run whether it is acceptable to knot embroidery thread before you start, and to carry threads across the back. I would rather ensure that my thread is not going to pull through and not waste time endlessly tying off and restarting a thread so that the back of my piece is neat, so I will usually do both of those things if it means saving my thread. Of course the backs aren't much to write home about and in this case the sheep and the birds have quite a lot of carried thread so it looks quite messy but, once this is framed, no one will ever see this again! Unless of course, they read my blog!

This piece was stitched in a 20cm circular embroidery hoop and the stitch run down is as follows; french knots (of course), bullion knots, whip stitch, running stitch, seed stitch, satin stitch, straight stitch, back stitch, couching and fly stitch.

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