From Sketch to Stitch

Picture of claire


Machine and hand embroidery is an area that I have always been looking at exploring a lot further when it comes to idea sampling. So when I had to create a range of samples for a project this was a perfect opportunity.

I had recently attended a silk shading weekend class with the lovely Sonja at London Embroidery School and have always used my own adapted version of the technique, mainly because I had never been taught the right way to do it, for shading and mixing colours. The class covered a lot of points I had never considered would affect the way the stitching lays and the starting details for silk shading, or sometimes called needle painting.

You can have a look at my blended square below as an idea of what we got up to, as well as good conversation and wonderful teaching the relaxed environment really topped it all of and made the day most enjoyable!

I chose colours that were fairly similar in tone as I wanted to create the most blended square I could but the technique works with anything, I snuck a photo of the sample teaching piece Sonja was working on, doesn’t it look fabulous?



Armed with what I had newly learnt I started off with a sketched design and coloured it loosely for reference of where the colours would mix taking inspiration from the protea flower.


I decided the background would the neatest done on machine and give me that contrast that I was looking for, so I drew it up in our CAD software and stitched it out, this also gave me a chance to scale my drawing so I could see how much space I would be working with for the flower.



Once stitched out, I transferred the flower design onto the material and started to build the colour up, as you can see from the photos I build my colour up differently to how silk shading is taught but I was keeping in mind all of the things taught to achieve the best blend and finish to the embroidery.



Since I am a magpie when it comes to stitching I had to add some rough purl onto one of the

shapes, however I feel like a goldwork class is now in order as my lines could be straighter!

By Charlotte Pearson

More information on our courses mentioned here!

Silk shading 


Machine Embroidery

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