I'm sure there is an order in which one should learn embroidery stitches, perhaps starting with a basic running stitch and building up a repertoire? The only problem is that my embroidery book (The A-Z of Embroidery Stitches by Country Bumpkin Publications) provides stitch instructions in alphabetical order and offers no insight into the learning process, which left me at a bit of a loss as far as what to do for my first few projects (as you can see I'm frightfully ambitious - no "I'll just attempt a few lines of each stitch first" for me!)
It just so happens that I glanced upon the instructions for "Cast-on Stitch Roses" (there's a great tutorial with pictures here) and thought as a knitter, casting on is something that comes quite naturally and that for a beginner project, doing something within my comfort zone was probably a great idea.
To start I used a heart template downloaded from the web and traced it onto my fabric using tailors chalk. My thread colours are:
Anchor 869 Amethyst(DMC 168 Silver Gray)
Anchor 870 Amethyst (DMC 3042 Antique Violet)
Anchor 871 Amethyst (DMC 3041 Antique Violet)
Anchor 213 Juniper (DMC 3024 Brown Gray)
Anchor 214 Juniper (DMC 966 Baby Green )
I started with the largest rose with the centre in the darkest shade, progressing to lighter shades with each layer of petals. I loved the cast on stitch and as I had envisaged, my years of knitting really did come in handy! My centre petal had a cast-on of 12, stitches, the 5 petals of the next layer had cast-ons of 16, while the outer petals had cast-ons of 19.
The outline of the heart is embroidered using "Scroll Stitch" in the darkest shade of green. I found a really wonderful and easy to follow tutorial here. While I used a three layered rose for the top centre of the heart, I varied the colour combinations and sizes as I worked my way around the piece.
One of my favourite aspects of "Cast-on Stitch" is its almost 3D effect. It's really raised from the fabric and makes the work look very substantial, even though in essence this was a quick project that I finished in just a few hours (I'm
sure hoping I'll get quicker as time goes on.)
I was really quite pleased with how this turned out. I'd like to get the cast-ons a bit neater next time and spend a little more time planning the placement of the roses, but I'm looking forward to using this stitch again...so I think we can take that as a good sign that embroidery and I are becoming firm friends!
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