Indecision about how to resolve my problem prevented me from progressing at all. I find have a tendency to do that – if I am not happy with my work or cannot think how to proceed, I become paralysed and can only look and think rather than stitch. It is not unknown for me to completely abandon a project because I can’t get past the thing that is troubling me. Melissa asked what would happen if I just continued. At first I thought good point, why don’t I just continue and see what happens. Well, what I think will happen is that I will get to the end of the reverse chain stitches before the rows of stitching have covered the half shell and there will be a hole that I won’t be able to fill. Because my mind is 'decided this is what will happen, it will not allow my hand to pick up the needle and continue stitching.
Eventually, I decided to start on the second half of the shell and try a different approach. Firstly, I covered the shell with a different fabric. I used a lining fabric instead of the pink satin that I used in the first place. Already I feel happier about it, the lighter weight fabric moulded to the shell better. The next thing that I changed was the thread. For one thing I did not want to ‘waste’ any more GST experimenting. I also thought that DMC floss might give better coverage, as it is not so stiff as the GST. The final change I made was the stitch; instead of detached buttonhole with return across the shell I worked a buttonhole stitch around the shell.
I am much happier with how things are going now. This combination of changes has resulted in better coverage but this is not the look I am after. I want the glitz of the GST. A member on the Embroiderer’s Guild forum pointed me to a picture of strawberries stitched by Catherine Barley, this is more like the look I am hoping to achieve.
Pauline asked how I start new threads when working detached buttonhole. The only time you stitch through the fabric is at either end of a row of stitches, this is the time to join in a new thread. To end a thread, I stitch into the fabric in the normal way but instead of coming up where I would start the next row I run the needle under the fabric as far as I can and come up either under existing stitches or where I still have to stitch. I will leave the tail until I have completed a couple more rows of stitching and then cut the thread as close to the fabric as possible. To start the new thread, I use an away knot. I will stitch into the fabric away from where I want to start the next row, again under existing stitching or where I future stitches will be, and bring the needle up at the beginning of the next row. Again, I fill cut away the knot close to the fabric when I have completed a couple of rows and I am sure that the stitching is secure. You can leave trimming all the tails until the stitching is completed but they sometimes get in the way and are best removed.
Finally, Carol’s strawberry block that started this strawberry fever can be seen on the Hand Embroidery blog. Thank you, Melissa for letting me know that the block is there.