I’m posting this a day early because I have a bit of a hectic day on Friday.
We are doing trellis couching this instalment. Trellis is used on small amounts on early embroidery, and also sometimes in Jacobean crewelwork. It’s never a major stitch but it’s used to add texture and interest.
You start off exactly the same way as for regular laid and couched work, just colour the dragon in.
Scaly creatures tend not to have scaly paws, they’re more fleshlike, so I’ve started off by doing selective areas of ordinary couching around her paws.
Normally I advise doing one row of couching at a time because you get a neater result, but you have to throw that out the window when it comes to trellis, so it’s worth being very careful at this stage.
Because this is for texture, use a good contrasting thread – in my case yellow. Instead of laying it at right angles, this time go for 45 degrees. (You can gradually vary the angle on the tail or neck to show the curve, but try to be subtle) It’s best to start in a large area and work your way out to the fiddly bits.
The idea is to lay a criss-cross pattern of bars over the whole area. Pay very close attention to spacing and angle – I tend to hold the thread and swing it until I find the right place to put the next stitch. You might also find it helpful to at least start by doing a few in each direction until you get the hang of it.
Spacing is also important, don’t let the diamonds get too big – remember that the space between the points is far wider than regular couching.
Cover the whole body. You can make the spacing slightly smaller on the neck and tail, but don’t go overboard as you need to leave room for the next step.
You can see that there really shouldn’t be much going on at the back at this stage.
At this point you have two options. You can couch the whole body in one colour (the more medieval option) or you can play with it as I’ve done.
Whatever colour option you chose all you’re doing is stitching down the intersection of each cross, being careful not to pull them out of line. I tend to go for a single stitch, but you can use a small corss if you prefer. I find a cross stitch a bit lumpy – it’s worth doing a little experimental panel on some waste canvas to see which you prefer before you jump in to the dragon.
If you go for the multi-coloured option I can’t really give you an exact plan, as every grid of stitches will be different. You need to visualise where the final gold lines of the dragon’s body will be.
As you can see I started with the highlighting white points.
Then some deep red lowlights in the shadowed parts of the body. I will admit I wasn’t sure about the red at this stage, and used it sparingly, but in the end I think it looked great.
The Green is hard to see, but I used a little for the not so lowlights
then fill the rest with yellow.