Chapter 7 – Stitchery from the rubbings

I used black Aida for this piece of work as I felt that this would produce a better background than a paler cloth in any areas that weren’t covered by stitches.  I also tried to colour it to better match my stone using an ochre coloured oil pastel.  Whilst this looked ok to start with, it wasn’t very successful once I started stitching as it rubbed off on my hands and made them oily!



7.1 Sketch book samples of pastel colours and thread types.

I used a wide range of threads, all in a grey or neutral palette including wools of various thicknesses, embroidery threads, perle cotton used both singly and threaded double with different colours, very fine lace making cotton, boucle, cotton chord, waxed thread.

To transfer the markings from my rubbing onto the Aida I used tailors chalk, see below.



7.2 Relief marks copied onto Aida

7.2 Sketch book stitches

7.3 Sketch book – ideas for stitch types

I started stitching by using a very thick wool on all of the chalk marks to make sure that all of the highest areas of relief were captured first.

After that, I kept looking at my stone to identify the areas where there were rough or smooth textures and then tried to match them with stitches that I found in reference books, that I made up or,  in one case, that fellow kind DS students on the Facebook site helped me to identify!

7.2 Finished sample

7.4  Stitched sample

I stitched over some of my areas of high relief to add extra height in places using French knots and bullion knots.  for the smoothest areas I used embroidery silks and wove areas or used rice stitch or other flat stitches.  For the areas of medium height or texture I used more textured stitches such as stars, small knots, double chain and button hole stitch.

I didn’t use a frame whilst I was stitching which has resulted in the tension being uneven and so the piece doesn’t lie completely flat, I would either use a frame next time or be more aware of the tension whilst stitching.


Chapter 6 – Sample


I stitched my sample on 10 hpi canvas using a range of grey/neutral threads in wave stitch.  I used wave stitch in different ways e.g. overlapping, with the centre thread going the ‘wrong’ way to make a raised part to add texture, with different lengths, and a combination i.e. different lengths and overlapping to give a more random look.


6.1 Page from my sketchbook showing structure of wave stitches.


6.2 Page from my sketchbook

I used a selection of threads including a very thick wool, tapestry wool, waxed thread, lurex thread,linen thread, perle cotton, embroidery silk, boucle thread and wire food bag fasteners.


6.3 Stitches used in various threads

Observations on the threads

The very thick wool (top right) was really effective at giving coverage and a raised texture.  It was not easy to stitch with on this canvas though and if I used it again I would enlarge the holes in the canvas first.

The waxed thread (bottom right) gave a very defined stitch with sharp edges as no fibres are able to ‘fluff up’ from it.  Used in a closer stitch, this could be quite effective where a shiny smooth finish is required e.g. on the smoother parts of my rock.

The boucle thread (bottom left)  was great for creating a looser, knobbly surface

The tapestry wool served a purpose in covering the canvas but I didn’t feel it added much texturally.  I would probably use this as a background with more interesting threads stitched over it.

The embroidery silks and perle cotton gave a pleasing shine which would work well for the smooth parts of my rock.

Stitch styles

Using wave stitch in different ways was helpful in showing me the value of breaking away from my former ‘tidy’ stitches and being more random in the length and positioning of the stitches.  The more random examples gave a much more organic feel which would suit the stitching for my rock.