The first is outlining stitches. Although you can't see from the photo above, each of these tiny leaves is worked with a different stitch. The first one is back stitch, the second holbein (i.e. two lots of running stitches) and the third a sort of mix of running and back stitches. You can see the difference clearly from the backs - sorry I can't show you just now as I neglected to take a photo of the back and Sir has my camera on his research trip until Wednesday night. The holbein stitched one gives the more or less reversible look and I liked that a lot, even though it takes the longest time to work of the three.
Here's a page from the book showing how to work a simple flower using two different methods of completing filling stitches. The first one, which I used on the flower petals, is as you can see in the photos below - stitching all in one direction at a time.
Here's my completed simple flower (except the two horizontal stitches on the left hand petal, which I forgot to put in, but have done so now), my first real piece of blackwork.
I'm very happy with that as a start. I've had a go at five different ways of stitching so far and that's great. I like to give all sorts of ways a try so that I can choose the best one for me.=)
Next step is a square design with gold stitches as well. I may be able to use that for cards if I work it well enough.
For information, I'm working on 18ct white Aida with Anchor pearl cotton #12 for the outlining and one strand and regular floss for the details. I'm using a finer gauge than one might normally do in the early stages as I came across a pile of about 30 pieces of this Aida that I bought years ago and that are cut to greetings card size (about 6"x4"/15x10cm). This seems a good time to put them to use, especially as I'd never even opened the pack before and I've had them about 13 years.... I have some odds and ends of 14ct too, which I hope to put to use later on. Having said that, I can always use sewing cotton if I need a finer thread as that's about half the thickness of one strand of floss.
What about you? Have you ever worked any blackwork pieces? Why not share links to your photos and share them? I'd love to see what you've done, even if you're not actively in the challenge. Oh, speaking of which, we have a new challenge member. Welcome, Pamela!
Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2014