The two most recent tutorials in Mary Corbet’s outstanding tutorial cover two kinds of items that often stump stitchers — flowers and leave which have turned tips.
I probably get more questions about how to stitch flowers than any other type of item in needlepoint. And for myself, leaves with turned tips make me nuts, so I’m delighted with these two posts.
Even if you are not making the sampler, go look at them, they will help your stitching greatly.
Lesson 8 covers flowers. It’s a simple five petalled flower such as an apple or cherry blossom. While done in Long & Short Stitch, it also gives up some good principles for stitching flowers that we can apply to them whenever we stitch.
First, it there are leaves of sepals peeking out from behind the flower petals, stitch them first. Why? There is a slight height difference between what’s stitched first and what’s stitched later, so you should use this to your advantage when the thread/color won’t interfere.
Second, pay attention to how the shading changes in the flower (either painted on canvas or real). Most of the time the center of the flower is darker than the edge, as is the case here. Make sure your stitching reflects this.
Third, the direction of the stitching matters and can make the flower be more effective. The leave are stitched out towards the tip while the flower is stitched in towards the center. Another subtle thing, but effective when combined with other stitching techniques.
Lesson 9 covers leaves that have a turnover, where you see the underside. The lesson shows several design principles you can apply to any canvas with this type of leaf.
First, the color is different on the underside. It is also flatter, with less shading or none at all. Most often, as in the lesson it’s lighter. But sometimes it is also more gray and for some trees, such as magnolias, it’s completely different. Always use a different color/shade when stitching an underside.
Second, change the direction of the stitch. I like the stronger change from diagonal to straight stitches. Most stitches have both diagonal and straight versions, although they might not be called the same thing. For example a straight version of Nobuko is Parisian.
Third, enhance the turnover by making it “pop.” This is more difficult than the other two techniques, but combined with them it is so effective. First uses shading to make the area just below the turn on the topside of the leaf darker. It’s in shadow after all. Second, use padding, if possible, to make the turnover stand above the other stitching. The lesson shows you how.
Applying these techniques will make your floral needlepoint look so great!