Hearts stitch journal, 15 July 2018

Tremendous thunder and lightening storms overnight, with phenomenal amounts of rain – much needed, it must be said. The day dawned vivid pink between banks of dark cloud but it’s now set to be beautifully warm and sunny all day. The first thing I saw when I looked through the front door this morning was a fat wood pigeon. These nest in our eleagnus bushes and the leylandia by the gate, taking off with a noisy flapping of wings whenever we pass by. Today’s threads are grey and marbled pink cottons perlé no 5, and six-strand embroidery threads in white, jade, lilac, black, two shades of orange and three shades of grey. The stitches are reverse split for the heart; split and reverse split for the bird; and a French knot surrounded with detached chain for the eye. Split stitch and chain stitch are commonly used for filling areas in crewelwork garments, as they are much more hard-wearing than satin stitch – reverse split lies slightly flatter and has less build-up under the fabric than normal split stitch: I only used the latter for the cheek and the beak, to create a slight highlight, and I chose to end the stitching just shy of the heart as I like the way it looks like an 18th century miniature.

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