Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blackwork in Red = Rackwork?

Recently, I printed up a batch of my BLACKWORK PATTERNS book, and as I was collating and binding the pages, I always see something that catches my eye. This time it was a pattern that reminded me of pointsettia flowers. Here's the top of the page I saw:

The pattern on the left side shows what it would look like if you stitched the whole thing in just ONE color/thread type - all in black, for instance. The pattern in the middle shows how you would incorporate an ADDITIONAL color/thread to the pattern - like adding a metallic accent, for example. And the pattern on the right side shows how you might stitch it if you wanted to use SEVERAL colors and/or types of threads - such as different colors, metallic threads and even beads.

Still being in a festive holiday mood, I decided to stitch up a swatch of the pattern (using an ivory/cream piece of 24ct. Congress Cloth and a few strands of thread) and share the process with you.

Here are the main (or primary) design lines, done with 1 ply of 6-ply floss DMC 816:

Next, I added the secondary stitches - this time using a fine red Kreinik blending filament (which adds a subtle red glisten to the design, although the photos don't show it).

Now to punch it up a little bit, I added the third layer of stitches, this time using a gold metallic thread. Notice how adding the gold metallic "warms" the overall feel of the piece, as well as adding some bling to the thing:

But wait, I'm not done yet!... there's still a few beads to add, to give it extra dimension and sparkle:

At this point, can you see how nice this would look if you turned it "on point" and whipped it up as a small ornament, with a small tassel hanging off the bottom? (The overall design size on 24 ct. is 2.25" x 2.25") And it was really quick to stitch up -- I did it in a few hours, in between printing, doing laundry, walking the dog, etc. And I also stitched the same exact pattern using a thicker thread and variegated as well (similar to a #8 pearl cotton or Wildflowers, for instance.) It looks a bit "chunkier" doesn't it? You can also stitch blackwork designs on 18 ct canvas and #5 pearl cottons, which makes the pattern much larger and bolder, of course.

And here's my parting slanted shot, where I was trying to get some of the metallic to shimmer a bit, to show you how very elegant blackwork can be, even when the stitches themselves are the most basic, simplest and plainest of straight stitches.

But that's what stitchery is really all about, isn't it? Something so simple - just a needle and thread making stitches on fabric - can be utilized in endlessly fascinating ways....Which is why we're all addicted to it, right?

(P.S. Stitchers: If you want to try stitching up this little pattern yourself, I give you my permission! Just click on the photos shown above and then go to your FILE menu, hit PRINT PREVIEW to see how large it will print, then hit PRINT to print out the photo - which you should be able to use as a quickie chart, and stitch off of that. Have fun!)


Kath K said...

Wow! Thanks for the illustrations and the free pattern. I see a number of these in my future!

tintocktap said...

Love the blackwork/redwork thing/design and the mix of colours! I've had blackwork on my mind recently too - might copy what you've been doing here!

Lisa said...

Thank you so much for the freebie! I love the pattern and I see so many different flowers...a pansy if you stitch in purples, and a daisy (white flowers/green stems) on a darker fabric. Mmmm, I think I see a mother's day gift in the work for my mother.
Thank you again!

Coni said...

Well, this is all just crazy gorgeous! Your blackwork (pinkwork?) mystery was the first I've done, but now methinks I'll need to whip up a few of these ornies!

Anne Stradal said...

Amazing, isn't it, how such a lovely little piece can be created with a bit of simple stitching and basic threads!

Anne Stradal said...

Amazing, isn't it, how such a lovely little piece can be created with a bit of simple stitching and basic threads?

Wanda said...

As a huge blackwork fan, I loved seeing this step-by-step creation. blackwork doesn't have to be black which you proved here so beautifully

Glenda said...

When I saw the pattern, I immediately thought of red satin stitches in an arrowhead formation with gold straight stitches overlaid. But yours is nice as well.

Carol said...

Oooh how pretty. I like the first version and can definitely see it "on point"

Annemiek said...

I love it Laura, especially how you did the layers. Can't wait to try it for myself with some colors. What a great way to use some of your stash :).

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