Often with needlepoint we have clues about perspective. One petal might overlap another, or the colors might change, giving us a sense of depth. Creating layers in needlepoint can really enhance your project.
In the Tudor Rose, there are no clues on the canvas about perspective. If you look at 16th century embroideries, this rose is almost always made in layers. Red is on the bottom, white above and the gold center is on top.
That layered idea is one that can translate to needlepoint but it requires a bit of thought. The key to creating a layered look is to find stitches that have increasing depth. While not actually layers, it creates the same feel.
Begin with Tent Stitch and Tent Stitch variations for the bottom layer. These stitches should all be over a single intersection. While you can have Cross Stitches over a single intersection here, try to keep them in thinner stitches so they are on about the same level as the Tent.
In the rose Tent Stitch is done in dark green and two shades of red.
Although you can use many larger stitches to create a feeling of nearness to create this layered look you need stitches that look thick, not just large. Gobelin, especially if it’s padded slightly, creates a thicker layer. If you build up the stitch by using thin threads and multiple stitches sharing holes you get an even more pronounced depth.
You can layer Gobelin to create additional layers, as I did here.
In the rose the taupe layer is done with two strands of High Cotton. It does not overlap any other stitches, but it does look layered on top of a red base.
With the white stitches near the center, there is actual layered stitches. These stitches began in open holes but ended in holes inside the circle of taupe stitches. You can actually see the taupe peeking through, emphasizing this layer.
The topmost layer of stitching should be beading, Turkeywork, or knots. These things will always be higher than the surrounding stitching. To make them look as if they are a higher layer, be sure that these stitches slightly overlap the edge of the surrounding, but lower, stitches.
In the rose I used French Knots in a bright gold to create the messy look of the stamens in a real rose.
If you compare the picture of the unstitched canvas with the completed piece you’ll see how the careful choice of stitches here creates a greater sense of depth.