Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wisteria Vine in Stem Stitch

I have finished stitching the wisteria vine stem in stem stitch, using two colors of Mandarin Floss (dark brown M830 and medium light brown M886), which is a 6 ply floss made from bamboo fiber. I think Mandarin Floss is perfect for plants and flowers because the plies are a bit rough in texture and look "natural" to me.

The photo has an odd highlight in the upper stem near the lid but I highlighted that area so you could see the stem stitches all packed together clearly. I worked from the right side of the stems to the left side, laying a line of stem stitch starting at the bottom of the teapot and working up.

I have two links to show you how stem stitch is done. The second has a video in case that is a better way for you to learn. First, this diagram shows exactly how I worked, holding the loop out of the way so I could see where to put the needle.

Here's Mary Corbett's video tutorial on stem stitch.

Note that the tutorials both use a crewel wool and take pains to do the stitch very regularly. Each stitch is the same length as the stitch before. I did not do this since wisteria vine is not regular. They twist and the bark isn't regular. Here's a photo from Flickr.

I am using three plies of my Mandarin Floss as well, so I have to take more care that all the plies are smooth and pulled equally tight as I stitch. I also made sure I worked from the right side to the left side in rows. When you are doing crewel, you rarely stitch like this but I varied the length of my stem stitches and tried to make them tightly packed.

I like how they look. I've continued around the outside with my basketweave and will tackle the leaves when I can.
Jane/Chilly Hollow
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  1. This almost looks like you padded the stitches....nice!

  2. I love packed stem stitch for tree trunks and vines, although I do want to try detached buttonhole the next time I have a trunk that is upright, not curved and leaning like this one.

  3. I like the natural look you've achieved. I haven't used Mandarin floss much myself, but I love the decidedly different sheen it has compared with cotton floss.

  4. The Mandarin floss contrasts nicely with the silks I'm using, too. They have a slight sheen but they are not shiny. And they are a tad rougher than cotton floss. Mandarin Floss is a nice thread!