Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cha's Flowers and Optical Illusions

Looking at the Cha-Cha canvas, the flowers immediately jumped out at me as a logical starting point because it was easy to choose stitches for them.  As you know, I like to choose stitches based on the shape of the area they will go into.  The flowers are roughly round, so using round stitches seemed to make sense to me.  I had the added bonus of the full flower on the left bottom being located near my test background stitches.  If I stitched the flowers, I'd have a better idea just how well the wide diamonds stitch in the background would look with stitched flowers.

Of course the flowers have red-edged petals and a round center surrounded by a ring of stamens.  I would have to come up with different ways to stitch those areas.  I couldn't use round stitches on the edges.  Well, I probably could but I didn't think that would look good.  I want smooth edges to contrast with the stitch pattern on the petals.  That made me think of padding the petals in perle, then overstitching the red edges with long satin stitches to give them a slightly raised look.

In search of inspiration, I did a little browsing on Flickr, looking for photos of the centers of poppies.  Although I think of Cha's flowers as magnolias, the centers are clearly based on poppies.  Seeing good closeups helped me decide to do the yellow center in tent stitches topped with a + and then an X in green silk floss, then do the stamens around the center in fuzzy French knots.  I used Impressions in deep plum for the French knots and did only one wrap.  Here is a photo from Flickr that helped me make up my mind how to stitch the centers.

I ended up using Brenda Hart's Ming Variation (page 17 in her Favorite Stitches book) for the partial flower's petals.  These were stitched with two plies only in two shades of Needle Necessities' peach/vanilla/lemon overdyes.  Once the Ming Variation stitches were done, I added a doubled strand of peach Accentuate to the empty spots between the Ming Variation stitches. The three top rows of stitches in the example above are Ming Variation.

Note that some of the petals have Ming Variation stitched running vertically and some have it running horizontally.  I did this deliberately to make the petals more distinct visually.  I think the enlarged photo of the partial flower will help you see how I turned the stitch.

For the larger full flower, I increased the size of Ming Variation so that the stitches are larger, then stitched the petals in the same way.  Both flowers use the same threads and stitches except I used my enlarged version of Ming Variation for the full flower to make it seem to come forward.  (In the stitched example on black plastic canvas above, the bottom row is the BIG Ming Variation.)  The smaller scale Ming Variation on the partial flower makes it recede.  It's all about optical illusion and playing with space for these flowers.

I am still stitching on the large flower but tomorrow I'm going to answer the question Melinda asked in the comments--how do I anchor my JL Walsh silk-wool when doing light coverage stitches?

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