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Week One: Spot Sampler Introduction (w/c April 13)

In this unit we will cover:
– Getting started – Requirements – Tacking the layout – Choosing your threads

There are some documents you will need:

Images for Week One can be found in the Gallery at the bottom of this page. Please email your questions and photos to [email protected]

Choosing your Colours

How to choose a colour scheme? Read the Colour section from the Getting Started document for a great discussion on working out your own preferences. Or a different approach is to take inspiration from around us from anywhere that captures our imagination.

Susan tells us that her Spot Sampler was inspired by a favourite china mug – as simple as that!  

Requirements – Fabric and Threads

Your ground fabric needs to be an evenweave fabric with linen the most suitable. The minimum count we recommend for the Spot Sampler is 32 count so we can include Area 17, the Dragonfly motif stitched in the Reticella technique. Its finished size: 10.6 x 16 cms (4¼ x6¼ inches) which is 128 threads wide x 198 threads deep. Please add 3 inches all round for framing and finishing. Susan’s Spot Sampler has been worked on 32 count ecru Zweigert linen. The choice of thread types is wide – cotton, linen or silk although a strong thread such as cotton Perle (8 and 12) is recommended for the whitework bands. Susan has used:

  • DMC stranded cottons:pinks (151, 3354, 3733, 3350 & 150), blues (794, 793 & 792), greens (772, 3347, 3346, 3345 & 895), yellow (3822), white (Blanc), brown (779), and black (312);
  • A pink machine embroidery thread,
  • A variegated silk (Beautiful Stitches ‘Venetia’),
  • Gold metallic (DMC Fil metalise OR-CL)
  • and DMC Perle 8 and 12 (Ecru).

Don’t feel obliged to match these colours, shop in your own stash and use what is at hand.  

Working the Embroidery – Hoop or Frame?

It is possible to achieve good results while working ‘in hand’ but in general the best tension and most consistent stitching comes when your work is held taut in a hoop or frame. The Drawn Thread, Pulled Thread and Reticella bands should definitely be worked with the fabric held taut. Many of the Design Team worked the Sampler on a Roller Frame to manage the long length of the ground fabric. The Spot Sampler is a smaller project so Stretcher Bars, a Slate Frame or a bound Hoop are all options. Not recommended is a lipped plastic hoop such as a Susan Bates hoop as hoop marks are often impossible to remove.  

Tacking the Layout

Tacking defines the edges of the Spot Sampler, shows the placement of each of the Areas to be stitched and helps avoid counting errors. Use a coloured sewing thread that can be easily seen but not red or black as they may leave a residue when removed. Tacking over and under four threads is helpful with counting threads. Many like to remove the tacking as they go but some leave it until then end, either way a fine tipped pair of tweezers is a handy tool to have.

Looking at the Tacking Layout (gif, 411kb), the centre point of the ground is tacked first followed by an outer frame that encloses all the Areas and is 200 threads high and 140 threads wide. You could tack each Area as well if you are not confident of getting your work in the right place. You can always decide to do this as you go along.  

Week One Image Gallery

Select an image to open the Gallery, your photo can appear here too. Please email your questions and photos to [email protected]

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