Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Right Stitch, Wrong Thread

What's Wrong With This Picture?
Anyone new to stitching painted canvases will occasionally make a mistake and have to rip out.  You'll choose the wrong stitch, the wrong thread, the wrong color, etc.  Not to worry.  This is normal and good.  Being able to recognize a mistake and fix it is a skill any good stitcher wants to cultivate!

Actually, anyone--new to painted canvases or not--will make mistakes and have to fix them.  Since I'm writing this with folks new to stitching needlepoint canvases without help in mind--and I made a mistake I've ripped out--I thought I'd talk about mistakes in detail today.

The photo above shows my first attempt at working the Pirate Cat's coat.  I wanted to use a textured stitch in red because the coat is painted red and because the Dotted Swiss stitch I used for the brown shirt is textured.  I didn't think that a smooth coat next to the raised stitches of the shirt would look good.  The texture of the coat and shirt need to be similar.  Of course I could use the same stitch both places, but what's the challenge in that!?!

When choosing clothing stitches, I find it helpful to think about what I believe the clothing would look like in real life.  Since I think of a pirate's coat as being rough, perhaps made of wool, I rummaged in my stash for red threads with some wool or wool-like texture.  I came up with a nice bright red Vineyards Silk.  Then I went through my stitch dictionaries, looking for something that was both textured and slightly vertical in feel.  I was thinking of a corduroy coat, you see, and corduroy is made of vertical lines.  I found Long Upright Cross Stitch and it turned out to have the perfect texture, not too rough or prominent, but able to stand up to Dotted Swiss and look enough like a corduroy coat to make me happy.  (If you are curious about Long Upright Cross Stitch, it is roughly like the top diagram on this page except the vertical stitches are over four threads, not two.)

I'm happy with the stitch but if you look at the photo above, you can see the red Vineyards Silk thread I choose is too orange in tint and the thread itself looks too heavy to me.  I had planned to top stitch the orange and blue fold lines in the coat but I don't think that'll look good on such a heavy thread.  So it's back to the drawing board.  Out came the Vineyard Silk thread and I rummaged in my stash some more, only to find a nice dark garnet Soie de Alger which turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

The Right Thread and Stitch
Ripping out is a good thing.  That's how you get just the effect you want!

Tomorrow I'll show off the finished coat and talk about stitching the collar.

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