Revisiting an Old Favorite

Leslie Ehrlich © 2010

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Trees are an embroidery motif mainstay for many of us. They can be created in as many ways are there are trees!

One popular method is to couch down compilations of threads, ribbons, cording, miscellaneous fibers or trims. I enjoy this method, as the raw "ends" become my roots and tree limbs, quickly creating the trunk so I can move on to making foliage. These are simple to do by just couching the fiber selection onto the spot where you would like your tree to live!

Another method is to use that perennial cast away fabric, polyester! It can be appliquéd down as is, manipulated with wrinkles and bumps to create lifelike depth for the trunk, burned for an aged affect and even stained with Adirondack Alcohol dyes to add the image of shadows, bark and knots. Other fabrics such as velvet and silk work well for this application too!

Dyes, Adirondack Alcohol Inks, paints and watercolor pencils are more great tools to use to create the illusion of a trunk that can then be topped with dimensional embroidery. In the picture below, you can see a sort of "halo" effect created with pencil and dyes; this begins to create the visual thought of foliage in the environment behind the tree.

Last but not least, tree trunks can be created with thread. I enjoy combining a variety of thread types such as stranded cotton,  perle cotton or silk, and then adding layers of Stem Stitches, topping off with random Chain Stitches and French Knots for effect. I like to combine two or three colors of brown or tan so that the stitches themselves add depth.


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