For as long as I have know about it, I have wanted to take SharonB's online class, Sumptuous Surfaces. Previously, I have thought that I had too much on to take part. When it was announced that the class would run again this Autumn, I decided that if I didn't just make time for it, I would never get to do it, so I signed on and waited excitedly for the start date.
At the start of the course, I had several other commitments and had to contain my eagerness for a couple more weeks but finally I have some time to dedicate to it.
The course runs over six lessons with the the first three weeks concentrating on monochromatic design and the remaining three weeks focusing on colour. Although the course is now on week five, I am still on week two - I have waited too long for this course to rush through it simply to 'keep up' and I am very pleased that Sharon fully embraces this philosophy and encourages her students to work at their own pace.
These are the threads I have selected for the monochromatic design. Some I already had, others I sourced at the Stitching and Knitting Show at Alli Palli and the remainder I picked up at one of the few embroidery suppliers in my area. I've included a selection of co-ordinated beads and sequins.
Rather than concentrate on a single design for this stage, I have chosen to do a series of small samplers 4 X 2.5 inches. I chose the simplest shape I could imagine as the basis for my designs - a circle.
First we are encouraged to outline the main features of our design, in this case those are the circle, which I have outlined in threaded back stitch using a soft wool purchased at Alli Palli and the wavy lines for which I used Portuguese stem stick. I have never used this stitch before but very quickly settled into it and found that I liked it.
The next step is to work on areas of low relief. In this design there are two areas of relief that hopefully have a very different feel to them. The first is essentially linear but I've tried to make give it a random feel by varying the width and spacing of the lines of satin stitch. These are all stitch in Mulberry silks in a variety of thicknesses and colours.
In the second area I wanted to try out pulled thread work. The stitch I have used is honeycomb stitch. It gives a lovely regular texture but it taxed my brain more that a little.
I like the contrast between these two areas. The third area will be more textured and offer greater contrast but I will not stitch that until I have explored low relief a little more.