Practice Piece

The Secret of Long-and-Short Stitch

When you are looking for needlepainting, which is done in the so called long-and-short stitch (which is actually an offset long-and-long stitch), you will find in most cases illustrations looking something like this:

Long-and-Short Stitch v. 1

This is absolutely okay - as long as you are after a flattened, two-dimensional effect, where the colours blend only to a limited extend.

Did you ever see the incredibly naturally looking embroideries by Trish Burr? How does she achieve such an effect? Well, one thing I can say: it can never be achieved with the regularly worked long-and-short stitch shown above. 

For such a natural look, you have to split the threads at varying heights to begin with. Something like this:

Long and Short Stitch v. 2

To see the difference in the outcome, just have a look at the following three circles:

Long and Short Stitch Compared

Long-and-Short Stitch Compared

The first one is done in the "flat" manner, the second and third one in the "natural" manner. I admit, the third circle isn't especially well-made, but if you compare the first two circles, you can clearly see the difference between a regular long-and-short stitch and needlepainting. 

Apart from the irregular arrangement of the stitches, it is very important in needlepainting to align the direction of the stitches with the shape of the motif. 

Long-and-Short Stitch Lessons Revisited

If you have read my First Steps in embroidery, you will know that I had embarked on Mary Corbet's L&S Lessons as a complete newbie. With the final "success" of a large hole in the fabric. 

If you have read my First Steps in embroidery, you will know that I had embarked on Mary Corbet's L&S Lessons as a complete newbie. With the final "success" of a large hole in the fabric.