Can you believe I only used three different stitches to complete this Blue Crow artwork on canvas? It's true - 3 simple stitches can be used in a variety of ways to create loads of texture.
To begin, I created a simple 5 x 5 inch fabric collage and chose my embroidery floss colours. The base fabric is hand dyed with purple cabbage, the floral fabric is from a fat quarter, and the third fabric is Boho Mod Pastel, part of my fabric collection from Spoonflower.
I chose a bird template from my 6 Bird Set and traced and cut out a crow shape in a deep dark blue colour. Now on to the stitches!
The first stitch I use on repeat is the Blanket Stitch. It's a favourite of mine for going around the edge of my slow stitched work as it cleans up the edges and adds a beautiful frame. The Blanket Stitch stitch is so versatile - it can also be used on the surface of a stitched piece to create a gorgeous mosaic effect.
Here's an example of Blanket Stitching in a continuous mosaic-like spiral. Check out the fox mosaic video to see how it's done. But be forewarned - it's deliciously addictive to stitch!
Here's a look at the Blanket Stitching around the edges of this piece - even though it's in the early stages of completion, you can see how much the stitching on the edges adds to the overall charm.
My second favourite stitch is what I call the Wandering Stitch - it's really just a straight stitch or a seed stitch - but it's the way I use it that makes it uniquely "wandering." I move around the piece placing the stitches at different angles and my stitch has differing lengths. I wander across the fabric creating colour and texture as I go. It helps to see it in action, so check out the Wandering Stitch being demonstrated starting at minute 5:40 of the video.
Here I'm creating texture on texture by adding more Wandering Stitch in another colour. I've also added stitching on the body of the bird using the same stitch, just paying attention to the direction of the stitch to mimic feathers. The Wandering Stitch is a very freeing stitch to use - no rules - just move your needle and make some marks!
And that brings me to the third and final top stitch - the Running Stitch. It's the traditional stitch used in Slow Stitching where you create one long line of stitching going in and out, in and out. The needle gets stacked up with multiple stitches before it's pulled all the way through. The running stitch is very beginner friendly and there's a reason it's seen all over the world - it's a functional and beautiful stitch. It's worth exploring how this stitch can add an exciting element to any type of handwork.
Look at the effects you can get with these 3 slow stitches! Can you see why they are my top choices? The Running Stitch tends to unify a stitched piece and the Wandering Stitch adds texture and movement. If I place the Wandering Stitches closer together it creates a bolder mark, father apart and the effect is more subtle. The same is true for the Blanket Stitch - placed close together this stitch creates a strong functional edging and makes an impressive mark.
Colour plays a role here too - contrasting colours always pop and matching colours tend to add beautiful texture. The possibilities are endless for adding texture and colour to a stitched piece. Check out the video of this process and give the Blanket, Wandering and Running stitches a fresh try. Who knows what you can create!
Cheers ~ Jo