Learn how to transfer a design, prepare the fabric, frame up and then work silk shading. You are now ready to create four exquisite designs, featuring climbing leaves, tulips, a butterfly and dog roses. Both beginners and experienced embroiderers will be inspired by this beautiful guide to silk shading.
Clare trained for 3 years as an apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework. On completing her diploma she set up her own business, Vine Embroidery. She runs embroidery classes in her own studio and for the local education authority, as well as day classes for embroidery shops and guilds. Clare designs and stitches projects for several needlework magazines and has created her own range of kits. She also restores antique embroidery and designs and embroiders ecclesiastical pieces. She has exhibited at the Knitting and Stitching show, Stitch exhibition and various places around the South West of England.
I love needlework and embroidery books that are simple and clear, have step-by-step illustrated instructions, and contain reasonable projects for beginners and beyond.
Beginner's Guide to Silk Shading is just such a book, and if you're interested in learning the art of silk shading, it's a great place to start! Written by Clare Hanham, graduate of the Royal School of Needlework, and published by Search Press, this is an excellent book for the beginner who wants to get into silk shading techniques (also called "needle painting," among other things).
While it's not a huge, extensive book, within its pages you will find everything you need to know about shading with long and short stitch.
The author also includes several simple patterns for the beginner and takes you through them step-by-step, showing you what they should look like as they progress.
She includes also the useful information for starting an embroidery project: what tools to use, determining colors and such for your project (and where to put them), transfering your pattern, setting up your hoop (or ring frame, as she calls it), types of fabric (including how to mount finer fabrics on cotton backing).
Then she takes you from start to finish through several projects, which include a couple types of flowers (tulip, dog rose, and some little stylized blossom-thing), leafy vines, and butterflies. All of them are geared towards the beginner, and the results for the projects are simply stunning. They're nice!
I especially like her treatment of the long-and-short stitch. She tells the reader right off the bat that, to achieve a natural look, you have to be relaxed while you're stitching, and a bit free in the placement of your stitches.
She doesn't go with the "exact" alternating long-and-short stitch lengths as some books do, but rather varies the lengths of all the stitches. She even tells you that, when working with one strand of floss, it doesn't really matter if you split the stitch when you come up through it. If your previous row is worked closely together, then it will look fine whether you split the stitch or not.
I like her approach because it's exactly how I do it. It's always nice to be assured from a professional that the way you're doing it is quite ok!-- Mary Corbet * Mary Corbet's Needle 'n' Thread *
If you have ever admired the detail and pleasing sheen of "thread painting" and thought it looked far too advanced, think again. This helpful primer shows you that it is a lot easier than it looks and is, I have found, also not too expensive and remarkably addictive.
Grab a hoop, some plain fabric and floss, thread up a fine needle and off you go. It is good to see that you do not need much to start stitching, and if you are an existing embroiderer (or even a crafter of another kind) you will have some of the items right away. Long and short stitch is the main stitch you have to learn, and I loved the simple but illustrative photos of how to perfect doing it straight and then in petals. Add a couple of other stitches (all of them easy to do) and find a source of inspiration for a simple outline drawing (again, easier than it sounds) and you are ready to roll. It is the doing of this type of embroidery that takes practice, and this is why this is a comparatively slim book. There is not a lot to learn, and this book wisely eschews mere plain practice for the actual shaping of flowers, leaves, butterflies and shows you how to draw up the patterns. I wish I had had this book when I started doing thread painting years ago - it bursts the myth utterly that this is a style of embroidery suitable for advanced stitchers only.* Myshelf.com *
Silk shading can be used to give embroideries an almost painterly effect. Although it's a relatively straightforward technique, there's a world of difference between working it, and working it well.
Long and short stitch is the stitch used to work the shading and step-by-step photographs illustrate the basic method of working. Four projects show you how to create beautifully shaded embroideries, taking you through the design process so that you can use the techniques on your own designs; the clear photos and instructions that follow will enable you to develop the skills to reproduce the lovely delicate motifs.* Stitch *
For anyone who wants to start silk shading, or who has struggled with it, this is an ideal book. Written by Clare Hanham, who trained at the Royal School of Needlework, her techniques and stitches are explained with clear instructions and simple, step by step illustrations, the stitches of the designs can be clearly seen and the colours are particularly appealing.
There are some exquisite designs which will inspire beginners and experienced embroiderers. Flowers, leaves and butterflies are featured as well as ideas for projects. I have ordered the book, it's an irresistible must have and very reasonable at GBP7.99
Jill Horsley, Liskeard* West Country Embroiderers *
No. 81, July 2007
Silk shading is a technique which a lot of stitchers are frightened to try, even though it is simple to do once you know how. This is where Clare Hanham comes in. This inexpensive book explains the technique perfectly and shows the stitcher in step-by-step detail how to blend and merge colours.
With this book you will learn how to transfer a design, prepare the fabric, frame up and then work your stitching. The stages are all shown in a step-by-step format with accompanying photography and once you have learned the basics, you can work on one of the four projects incorporating climbing leaves, tulips, a butterfly and dog roses - themes you can return to again and again.* Classic Stitches *
The aim of this book, as the author mentions, is to take you through the basics of silk shading and on into a variety of projects. Silk shading can be applied on so many things. From cards, and wall decorations to pincushions, bags, bookmarks and so on. This book will not only teach you the basics but will get you full of energy to start with the book's examples and by the end of the book you'll have more than enough inspiration to continue on your own and explore the endless possibilities of this luxury-looking and colourful craft.
The materials you need for silk shading aren't that hard to find and not expensive either, which is a definite plus! You need fabric (silk dupion or less expensive mottled cotton), thread (silk thread or less expensive cotton embroidery thread), needles (size 9), some dressmaker's pins, one or more wooden frames and of course beads for decoration but only if wanted. These demands are not at all difficult to find. The other materials are even more basic! Scissors, tweezers, tracing paper, a screwdriver, an iron, tissue paper, a shower cap,..
In the second chapter Clare Hanham will teach you all the different methods the way the 'professionals' use them. Casting on, split stitch, long and short stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch and french knots.
The next chapter will get you started on your very first mini project. The author guides you through the preparations of transferring the design, preparing the fabric and framing up and then of course the actual 'craft': the silk shading of the design. Each project that follows gets a little harder every time and involves more and more the blending of colours to make beautiful climbing leaves, a tulip, a butterfly and eventually the hardest one, the dog rose that you can admire from the front cover of the book.
Along with every project are clear step by step instructions but what I found most appealing about these projects where the inclusion of pictures of the designs put on actual items. (greeting cards, wall frames, bags, ..)
This book, and the craft on itself, was definitely worth to discover. The projects were very inspiring and I can't wait to try them all out!* Euro-Reviews *