Having got as far as adding my first sampler for PLOS I decided not to wait until I finished this piece - so here is the piece "under construction", so to speak!
I wanted to do some blackwork - mainly because I liked the way you could use the stitches to produce tonal variations independent of colour choices. I borrowed Pat Langford's book "Embroidery Ideas from Blackwork" from the library and knew I just had to own it. I acquired a second hand copy in good condition. Pat was such a wonderful needlewoman with tremendous design skills.
Blackwork appeals also because all the stitches are quite uncomplicated - the biggest problem I have is being able to see the threads in the fabric!
As a weaver I belong to the "fullsize" sample brigade - I never could see the point of threading more than was necessary and as the time went on and my familiarity with yarns increased I made fewer bad choices. I still have this mentality and decided that the only way I would try enough stitch variations would be to make a series of "fullsize" stitch samples. (Maybe PLOS will change my attitude to samples - I hope so).
Gumleaves seemed like nice shapes with which to begin. In my daily walk I spend a lot of time keeping my eyes open for suitable leaves - our parks are full of gum trees. This was a mixed bundle I collected, dried and traced around for the outlines. Next time I have a collection of Cadagi leaves and I think I could 'branch' out into other species for the future.