Design decisions for the Turkishesque embroidery

I thought I’d talk about my design process for the Turkish-esque embroidery. I transferred the design using carbon paper. While the design transferred onto the fabric beautifully, it transferred off the fabric just as quickly. This accelerated the decision process considerably, though I didn’t make it through before losing the outlines for a couple flowers.

Supply list (considerably less than $10)

  • cloth napkin from a thrift shop
  • carbon paper
  • leaves, stems: DMC 3808, 3809, 3810, 3811
  • flowers: DMC 3830, 3778, 3802, 355
  • flowers: DMC Color Variations 4128

Future work: All the large leaves are supposed to have fillings (like the two near the bottom). I’m not sure I like the effect of my current fillings, so I may rethink my approach. I plan to fill in the flowers more, particularly the one on the right, and there’s a missing flower to redraw.

Design principles for this project:

  • Keep lights and darks balanced for the blue-green stems and leaves.
  • Don’t be too predictable, but repeat some elements throughout the piece so it feels like the different parts of the design belong together (continuity vs variety).
  • Emphasize the focus of the design – the flowers (color contrast).

Color decisions: I looked through my stash of embroidery floss, and discovered I had a range of 4 blue-green colors (DMC 3808, 3809, 3810, 3811). I thought these might make a more interesting design with the stems and leaves than a standard green leaves and brown stem. I posted a lot about tertiary colors last week, so I picked some out of my stash (DMC 3830, 3778) for the flower on the right. These contrast well with the blue-greens. I decided on a purpleish color (DMC 3802) and a complementary golden yellow/tan (DMC Color Variations 4128) for contrast to emphasize the big dragon flower. The golden yellow/tan can look brown or golden, depending on which colors surround it. I picked DMC 355 (reddish-brown) for the topmost flower. It only looks red next to the green – otherwise it looks rather brown.

Stitch decisions:

I chose Portuguese border stitch for the stems, in the darkest blue-green. I worked outlines for large leaves in back stitch, stem stitch, and split stitch and worked the small leaves in herringbone stitch. The purple-and-yellow flower center was inspired by kantha embroidery. The yellow flames are in fly stitch.

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9 Responses to Design decisions for the Turkishesque embroidery

  1. Laura says:

    The more I look at those bottom leaves the more I become convinced that those inner patterns are daisy like flowers sprays rather than part of the leaves. I can see them as more flowers in the bouquet with leaf shapes in the background.

  2. meri says:

    It’s becoming a beauty Hannah! So beautiful choices you did.
    I like so much following you doing this work!

    [by the way:i wish i knew why that stitch is called Portuguese border stitch…as well the Portuguese knotted stem stitch. so far I haven’t found any Portuguese name for them. None of them are stitches we can find in our traditional embroideries. Surely it is all about the mixing culture in needlework Mary Corbet talked about some days ago]

    • Hannah says:

      They’re not Portuguese at all? Oh, that’s funny!

      I got some linen and some extra yellow thread for a Castelo Branco project from one of the magazines you sent. I’m not starting it til I finish a few of the current projects, but I’m making plans!

  3. That’s an interesting and very effective stitch choice – well done!

  4. Radka says:

    Beautiful embroidery:)

  5. Elmsley Rose says:

    You’re a transfer paper girl! I use chalk paper (one side covered in chalk). I don’t understand why more people don’t use these types of transfer papers – it’s just a matter of re-drawing the design 2 or 3 times, and voila! I’ve had a lot of success with my Clover Charopaper. And because it’s chalk, any extra or wrong spots will come straight out with a dab of water.

    • Hannah says:

      I honestly haven’t settled on a method yet – I’ve mostly worked on kits with pre-transferred outlines. So I’m still experimenting!

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