I am on a Woollydale kit roll! Two new Woollydale kits made and written up in the last two weeks with possibly the release of at least one of them by the end of next week at the latest. How good is that?
This one is the like-for-like replacement of the original Woollydale which I'm not able to run any more because half of the fabrics are now unavailable. It's a 15cm hoop and has the exact same sheep fabric layer with the exact same techniques on it. But it also has three new fabrics, new stitch techniques and a little bit of sunshine in the two-tone yellow flowers as well as some other differences.
The batik fabric used at the bottom is an absolute joy, it has so many different colours splashed into it - you can just see here the purple and the oranges, which were the inspiration for the yellow bullion flowers as I wanted the yellow in the batik to look like a watery reflection. By complete fluke, there's also a lightening of the background blue just at the point where the reeds part and it looks to me like a shaft of sunshine sneaking through the plants. But of course, as every kit is designed to be an original each time it's stitched up, this may not happen again - or could be even better! This is a 'proper' batik, as in it isn't a batik design that's been printed to look random but is properly made with wax layers that are then melted off. It's a bit more expensive but I think you'll agree that it's totally worth it?
I haven't changed the sheep because they were the main, much loved, feature of the original kit and I daren't touch it! There is a difference in the Mini Woollydale but why change something that works so well already? If you were making this kit for yourself of course, there's nothing stopping you from sneakily looking at the other kit and changing things around. You could keep the running stitches as shown here but add little tiny french knot daisies among the sheep like in the Mini version.
I've brought in one of my favourite techniques for hillsides (and cliffs and trees) which is the vertical whip stitch over seed stitch. I have used this combination in my Bluebell Garden Stitchscape kit (which also contains lots of 'proper' batiks now I think about it) for the trees and have diagrams explaining how to do it within each kit. It's just great for invoking bunny runs, trodden paths in grass or the feeling of movement and is designed to be random and spontaneous. As it's worked off random seed stitches then you can't be regimented with it (unless you have a regimented seed stitch - eek the horror!) so everyone's will look different.
I just keep returning to this glorious batik water over and over again! Does the slight green bit and the stitched shapes remind you of lily pads?
The jute trimming for these kits has actually been hand dyed by yours truly! I ordered it in bulk ready for using in this kit but when it arrived the green was completely wrong (almost luminous) so, rather than waste it, I popped it in our sink and poured over the olive Dylon dye and dyed it into a much nicer colour for you. There's a photo on my Instagram somewhere of it all hung up on the washing line, drying.
There are a few different techniques used in this top hill. The lighter green has stems made from whipped back stitch in two strands of thread so they are slightly thicker than the darker stems which are just a single strand of stem stitch. At the end of each stem spray are little two twist french knot clusters in ones or threes depending on how much of the printed flower underneath needs to be covered.
At the top of this layer I have used DMC coton perle thread (one strand) and a single strand of the darker green (used for the stem stitch), folded in half and couched to the edge of the fabric. I've made mine fairly bouncy and twisted it a bit as I went along so that you get hits of the darker green and it has more of a bouclé yarn appearance.
At the bottom, among the bullion reeds, are pistil stitches which I haven't used in a kit for a while. These are really lovely little stitches, understated but adding enough to blend the greens together. There are still a lot of greens and I was a little concerned that they wouldn't all go together but I think generally it has balanced out into a green blend with a pop of yellow and, of course, the fabulous white sheep.
I've ordered booklets from a new supplier for the Mini Woollydale kit so I'm going to wait and see what the quality of those is like before ordering the books for Woollydale II. It shouldn't add too much of a delay though as the books are due to arrive tomorrow and if they're any good, I'm set up to order more in the evening. It's all go, go, GO!