Directional Straight Stitch
I call this a directional stitch because it uses a very purposeful direction in the stitch in order to get the look we are after. With this stitch we can accomplish both painting with thread to apply the colors we want, and control the shape and add motion to the piece. As with the detail lines, we use our 'S' curves rather than a straight line. By adding many more lines of stitching we build up the thread painting adding color just as we did with the zigzag stitching. Remember that these lines are not always an S but they always have at least a bit of a curve in them. This will help to shape our pieces and give them a more natural appearance.
Straight Stitch Thread Painting
In some cases, we don't really want to build color up from shadows as we have in the past, but just to add color to liven up a piece. In the sample below, the color additions liven up the foliage. Most of the time we backtrack along the stitch line and then branch off for more stitch lines. I can also carefully travel a few stitches along a seam line or the base of the applique piece to the next position, and then continue Thread Painting. Another method, especially useful when many lines of stitching are on a piece, is to not quite follow all the way along your stitch line when backtracking and end up an eighth to a quarter of an inch away from your start point. These techniques allow you to travel along an applique piece without it being too noticeable.
By adding long lines of thread painted color, we also add motion to our pieces. In the case of the Flower Bowl below, we have room to add long curvy lines to give the effect of a flower petal that has curve and flow. Notice some of the darker contrasting thread colors that emphasize these curving lines.
Our colors are built using the same methods as before, we are just using the straight stitch. Add your cool tones and shadows first, working your way up through mid tones, and then lights and highlights.
Homework: Play with this expanded version of the straight stitch and practice building color and thread up. Remember to practice traveling and the S curve.
Next week - Final Installment
Examples of combining stitches, and a review of what we have learned in this series.