Hearts stitch journal, 27 January 2018

A sunrise! Our first bona fide sunrise this year – the skies completely clear and streaked with pink, lilac, lemon and gold. There was a proper frost overnight – more like our usual winter weather – and the landscape was mint green and white, with thin mist snaking between the tree tops. The return of sunlight is incredibly uplifting after so many leaden mornings and as I type, sunlight is streaming through the windows. Today’s threads are not actually embroidery threads, with the exception of the gold Decor by Madeira (now called Decora). The pink and lilac shiny rayons are fringing for silk shawls, while the variegated thread, I think, is actually very fine cotton string that I used years ago when making bottle-wrap shibori – it needs a lot of beeswax to sew with, as it clings to the background fabric, while the rayons slip through beautifully. The outline is in a mixture of stem stitch (on the right) and outline stitch (on the left), along with a stitch I made up from lots of little V’s to try to convey the frosty grass. Stem and outline stitch are the reverse of one another: normally, I sew from the bottom of the heart, up the right-hand side and down the left, which means that the stitches on the left are technically upside-down. But today I wanted an effect slightly like ferns curling up from the bottom, so had to try to balance it by creating a mirror-image effect between left and right. The infill is just running stitch with whip stitch. I like the glistening effect of the smooth rayons, which make a shiny contrast with yesterday’s more muted finish.


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