Tree of life-like stitches

The Embroiderers' Guild of America will meet this September in Naples, Florida, to embrace embroidery of all kinds - goldwork, beading, ribbon embroidery, mixed media, Hardanger, blackwork, counted thread, applique, needlepoint, doll making, stumpwork. Take a look at the event brochure to see the range of incredible designs that will be at seminar: www.egausa.org/files/seminar/2011/Sem2011_brochure.pdf. If you want to learn a new technique or perfect your skills in embroidery, the EGA national seminar will be a perfect opportunity.

At least one classroom will have students planting roots and branches on a Congress Cloth ground in the "Tree of Life" project from talented designer and teacher Lynn Payette. It's a beautiful blend of different types of Kreinik metallic threads, from Braids to Ribbons, from basic to Hi Lustre and Holographic, from light to dark shades. Here Lynn gives us a sneak peek of this stunning design and tells us a bit about how it comes together.

Lynn says: "The base (root system) of the tree is padded first with felt in single and double layers, as are some of the branches, and the initials (on the left side of the tree – each student will have their own initials formed in the branches of the tree). Some of the branches are not padded but are stitched directly on the (Congress Cloth) ground. Most of the metallics are couched down using either a fine matching color cord or invisible (waxed to make it more user friendly) invisible thread (monofilament type as used for the sewing machine). Some of the metallics are actually stitched in back stitch or, in the cases of thinner (Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid) metallic, they are stitched using an outline or stem type stitch."

Lynn used all of the Kreinik Braid and Ribbon sizes to create texture, shadow, and dimension in the design: Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid, Tapestry #12 Braid, Medium #16 Braid, Canvas #24 Braid, Heavy #32 Braid, 1/8" Ribbon, and 1/16" Ribbon. (Note about our numbers: the smaller the number, the thinner the thread; ie, #4 Braid is half the size of #8 Braid.) "The threads are laid out with the darker colors first to form a meandering type line on the branches, roots, etc., and then are ‘filled’ in using a variety of sizes and types of metallics," Lynn says.

The design is also a wonderful example of how to use the various degrees of metallic to create a realistic design. Some of the threads are Kreinik High Lustre colors (meaning they have a bolder metallic look), some are basic metallic colors (with a softer metallic gleam). She also used some of the new holographic Kreinik colors. "It was necessary to balance the shiny's with the not so shiny's, so that the piece was more interesting," she notes.

Whether you are a beginner to embroidery or a seasoned stitcher, designs like this can inspire you to play with different thread thicknesses and colors. If you want to make this particular design, take the class from Lynn at the EGA national seminar, or when Lynn teaches it in various places next year. Email us at info@kreinik.com and we will get you in touch with the designer for more information.

One side note: don't be intimidated by a "guild" like EGA. With talented teachers, in a setting like the EGA get-together, you will be lovingly taught, inspired, and encouraged. There's nothing like being in the midst of people who have a passion for your passion. For more information on EGA or the national seminar, visit www.egausa.org.

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