Friday, May 14, 2010

Stars: Marlon Brando Block Done

How do you like Marlon?  I finished the block itself last night.  The rice stitch borders proved unexpectedly easy once I realized that each  corner and the two flanking triangles were stitched as a unit.  I'd tell anyone about to stitch Marlon to remember to turn your canvas so that each corner is in the same position as the chart in the book before you stitch, however.  It is really easy to get the positioning wrong if your canvas isn't oriented the same way as the diagram.

The colors gave me fits, though.  Tony asks folks to lay down the foundation, then tie the corners of the rice stitch crosses with four shades of crewel wool in color B. (He used Appleton crewel.)  My color B is black so getting four shades of black wasn't easy!

The first thing I did was change 2 strands of A4 (A is violet for me) into one strand of terracotta C5 (Impressions 3064). You may remember that in the last step, the little violet wings around the center square that I stitched were supposed to be terracotta.  I simply switched the colors so that my bottom layer was terracotta instead of violet.

I am not at all hesitant to change colors and threads on this piece since I choose my own colors and will have to deviate from the instructions to make this all work well together.  I would encourage anyone working this piece to take a similar approach.  If something isn't working the way you'd like, change it.

Then I worked with my black threads that tie down the underlying terracotta layer to try and make them get darker on the outside and lighter on the outside.  I did this with texture.

B3 makes up the inner tie downs.  Mine is Burmilana 3641 (a doubled strand) which is charcoal and slightly fuzzy.  B4 is the next set.  I used Gumnet's Tulips fine crewel wool in 999.  It is a darker black and fuzzier than the Burmilana.  Instead of using my B5 thread, I choose B7 for the next step.  This is my Trebizond silk perle in color 111, which is a glossy black that is smooth.  It's darker than the first two threads.  I ended the series with B2 instead of the B6 I'm supposed to use.  My B2 is Gold Rush 18 (color G031C) which is a lovely chainette thread in sparkling black.

I'm sure you can't tell much from the photos but in person this is a little darkening of the blacks in the corners.  That's the price I pay for choosing black as one of my colors.  Other folks will have a very pretty shading in their Marlon Brando corners.

The last step before I put this away for a while is to do the sashing below and to the right of Marlon and extend the outer black border a bit on the left side of this block.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at


  1. I like it and when you do the sashing it is going to look better to you!

  2. I like how Brando looks but he is more 3-D than the other blocks. It's very interesting to see how these develop in person. There are a lot of stitches I've never thought to use layered in all the blocks.