Friday, June 18, 2010

Stitching Cha's Background (Or Not)

If you've been peeking over my shoulder as I stitch painted canvases for a while here at Blog, you know that I usually stitch the background of pieces first.  I often am asked why.  Is this the right way to stitch a painted canvas?  Well, no, I don't think there is a right or wrong place to start on a canvas, but personally, I like doing the background first.  It's my personal preference. I just like getting a good start on the background before I stitch the main parts of a canvas.  After all, backgrounds are HUGE and stitching them seems to take forever.

Sometimes it makes sense to do the background first.  Perhaps there is going to be a ton of compensation in the background.  It is often easier to count across bare, unstitched canvas to get the stitches compensated correctly if you work the background first.

Other times you'll want to stitch the background later, and I think Cha-Cha is going to  be one of these times.  Remember the six areas on this canvas?  The leaves, flowers, fruit, bird, branch and background?  If I am going to use fancy stitches in at least some of these areas, they all have to harmonize.  I am not sure I will know if the background stitch I've chosen (Brenda Hart's wide diamonds stitch from page 114 of her Stitches for the Millennium book) is right until I stitch a little of all the other five areas.  Here is what wide diamonds looks like.

To stitch it, I've found the easiest way is to do the blue stitches on the left first (working left to right), then working right to left do the yellow stitches, then switching to work left to right again, do the red stitches in the example above.  In other words, stitch the blue backbone of the stitch, then add the bottom area and finally stitch the top.  These three steps make up one wide diamond.  The diagram shows how the next diamond and other rows interlock.

It's a lovely stitch.  I saw it on one of Brenda Hart's student's canvases and think it is beautiful.  I also think it is perfect for Cha but I won't know for sure until I stitch some of all the other areas to see that the stitches I've chosen play nice together.

Here are the few rows of Wide Diamonds I've worked using one ply from the gorgeous JL Walsh overdyed silk wool in shades of pink.  I turned the canvas on its side to work vertical rows instead of trying to master the horizontal stitch.  If a stitch diagram doesn't make sense to you, turn the diagram and see if stitching it on its side seems more logical to you.  I do this all the time.  Of course I have to turn the canvas on its side, too!

Stay tuned to see if Wide Diamonds works or if I have to rip out the test rows I've done.

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