Currently, I'm working on a new springtime sampler design, and just to try something different, I've added a few blackwork patterns within the larger piece to create a rather interesting effect. So I have blackwork patterns on my mind, and decided to try designing a small mystery piece around a bit of blackwork. But we're going to use a variegated Watercolours for the blackwork stitches (instead of a solid color), which will make things more interesting - and colorful - to stitch.
Here's what you need:
- an 8" x 8" piece of 18 ct. mono canvas in a light to medium color (white, eggshell, or a pale color);
- a few strands of a variegated Watercolours - select one in the medium to dark range (light colors just don't show the blackwork designs very well, so honestly, darker is better);
- two solid colors of DMC #5 pearl cotton (one light/medium, one as a bright/accent color);
- a flat, metallic ribbon in a matching color or metal color (gold, silver, copper, etc.)
Here's the graph for the first part of this mini mystery piece:
The actual blackwork element you'll be creating looks like this up close:
And you start by working the dark lines first, using 1 ply of the variegated Watercolours. I recommend using a "Running Backstitch" (shown below) instead of a plain Backstitch for all your blackwork.
The Running Backstitch creates crisper corners with no shadowing on the back of the canvas; it also allows the variegated colors to flow more naturally across the canvas as you stitch because you're not skipping stitches, but working each stitch progressively along the design outline.
Create nine of these floral motifs (leaving the center space empty). Then fill their "petals" with the solid color stitches, as shown in the whole stitched flower above, using 1 strand of your solid color #5 pearl cotton. In the center of each flower create a "poofy" padded center with 1 strand of your metallic ribbon thread.
Traditionally, blackwork is done all in one color (usually black) and if you want to do that with this design, please go ahead and give it a try -- it will definitely have a different look...
I really enjoy doing blackwork; basically you're creating geometric elements and then repeating them within a given area to create a lovely, complex pattern. It seems to me that stitchers either love blackwork or they hate it. But really, it's easier than it looks and it goes quickly, since you're not covering every thread of the canvas with stitches (like you do with cross stitch, tent stitch, or any other needlepoint stitch). I hope you'll give it a try and get started on this small mystery piece today!