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The Illuminated William Morris Part 2a - Whirls & Swirls (Trailing)

(originally published 25th July 2014)

And so onwards with the William Morris letter - I always like to stitch the backgrounds of my letters first - no particular reason, but it allows me a 'way in' to the project via the path of least resistance I suppose! Surface stitching, freestyle embroidery, whatever you like to call it, I really do love working these 'basic' stitches before getting into the more demanding techniques like goldwork and thread painting.

The Morris design has a HUGE amount of what I fondly call whirls and swirls, and I decided to tackle them systematically, stitching the thickest lines first, then working my way down to the finest ones. How did I know which ones were which? I made it up as I went along, of course! :)

The first technique I chose was trailing:

Fold over threads to make core

Catch core down with a stitch and pull tight

Work a fine satin stitch over the core

Trailing is a meeting of couching and satin stitch - you can vary the size of the 'core', but it should always be made up of the same thread that is doing the couching/satin stitching over it. It's very popular in monogramming, and combined with eyelets and padded satin stitch creates some gorgeous work. The trick is to keep the couching stitches at a good tension, very close together, and use short threads so the overall look is crisp and clean.

Plunge the ends of the core to the back of the work

Modern variegated threads come into their own with trailing, because your stitches are so dense (and numerous) - in this way you can see the colour shade through the variations beautifully.

Cut off excess core threads on the back of the work

More to come with the whirls and swirls - Whipped Chain does another fairly thick line, and I chose some stems to do that in next.

Love 'n Stitches


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