Again, I haven't worked new samples for TAST this week, as I know stem stitch so well that I didn't feel the need to and I haven't been feeling tremendously creative this week, so couldn't think of anything innovative to do with it. So, I've dug into my archives again and here are four samples from previous pieces that show stem stitch worked in various ways and under various circumstances. Three of the four photos have had to be scaled up (i.e. increased in size to 125% or 150%) and then sharpened a bit, so I hope there hasn't been too great a loss in quality.
This first one shows stem stitch as worked in a design by the well-known embroideress Helen M Stevens. She uses stitches as long as one can reasonably get away with, given the curve of the line. Alongside the stitches worked as poppy stems, here you can also see fine black lines worked in stem stitch as 'shadow lines', which help to create the impression of depth in her designs.
This second sample is from a Royal School of Needlework kit I worked back in 2005 and which, sadly, they no longer sell (there were some lovely designs available). In the instructions, I remember the statement that 'well-worked stem stitch should look like fine rope'. I can't say I quite cracked it on the oval shape here, but the single line isn't too bad! It was done in Coats Ophir metallic. The rest, of course, is couched and is Kreinik #7 Japan thread.
Here's a close-up of a WIP shot from the DMC stumpwork bee kit. The reason I include this one is to show the problems that can arise from stem stitch worked on pre-printed fabrics - the print lines often show! It's not an easy one to get around, esp as lines are almost always quite thick and rather dark, (although the RSN kit lines were in a gold colour - they were still too thick for some of the design specified stitches though). I try to get around this one by using more strands of thread than stated in the instructions, but it's a constant hazard with linear stitches in kits.=( If I ever do come to making my own kits, there will be no printed design as I find them of almost universally poor quality. There'll be an outline to trace or something of that sort. I'm not expecting to sell to beginners, so I reckon buyers will be able to manage to transfer the design themselves as well as I have with that type of kit!
This last sample is from my old City & Guilds pieces and is just a few stem stitch sections worked, I think, in a pearl cotton shade. Or it could be a Coton à Broder.... Looks slightly twisted though, so I'm guessing at pearl cotton #12!! I included this piece as it comes from a C&G sample that a lot of kind readers and photo sharing site viewers have enjoyed.=)
I had a great surprise last week when Sharon kindly featured me as one of the samples worth seeing. I then felt that I hadn't really made enough of the satin stitch things that I have as I only used three samples and could have easily doubled it!!=)
Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2012