Long and Short Stitch is a free embroidery stitch adapted to needlepoint and used to make realistic shading.
Similar to Random Stitch, which we covered in two posts last week, Long and Short Stitch is a fantastic method for stitching flower petals and other items which need shading.
Mary Corbet, an outstanding embroiderer, has new series beginning on her Needle n’Thread blog. The first lesson on Long and Short Stitch has been posted. It’s designed to be stitched on fabric and has several motifs to shade using floss.
You could stitch it on fabric and then adapt the techniques to needlepoint. Or you could stitch it on needlepoint canvas start to finish.
Here’s how I would adapt it. First you would print out the pattern and transfer the design to your canvas using a non-xylene or dye-based permanent marker with a thin point. Be sure the dividing lines between motifs in the design are drawn on single canvas threads.
The design is about a 7″ square so you will need a 11″ square of canvas or Congress Cloth. Since this technique needs many rows of stitching to get that gradual shading, go for the smallest size canvas you can stitch comfortably.
Keep your marking pen handy to use to mark the direction of the stitches.
Attach the canvas to stretcher bars.
You may find that using Chenille needles (sharp pointed tapestry needles) will make this technique easier for you to do.
When Mary posts additional lessons, I’ll put up a post with adaptations for needlepoint.
Thanks to Mary for this great series!