Friday, December 24, 2010

Turkey Backgrounds

Mary Lake Thompson Turkey
Nancy has sent me answers to yesterday's questions about her turkey canvas:

"I've been plumbing the depths of my stash again as I think about the background color inside the borders. In addition to the sage green Rainbow Linen #436 pictured, I also found Silk & Ivory Asparagus #84 (a very close match to the Rainbow Linen) and DMC floss #522 which is a touch more to the olive, less to the blue green. Color wise, I think any of the three would work. What do you think about the texture of the Silk & Ivory for the background? 

Personally, I think any of the three would look very nice as a background thread, especially the Silk and Ivory. You might mix two or three of threads, also. That might detract from the turkey a bit but maybe not if all the threads are similar in color, but different in texture.  That would give a complex background stitch texture without being very busy.

I've been thinking about a stitch for the background and personally, two paths occur to me.  The first is to use a simple quilt-like pattern.  The colors suggest a quilt to me so a quilt pattern in the background, particularly a simple one in calm colors, would look nice.  Rummage around the free patterns on Laura Perin's website and look at the March design (right under the Trick or Treat letters. Wouldn't that look pretty behind your turkey?  If you use Silk and Ivory, there would be a subtle sheen.  If you mixed the Silk and Ivory and the Rainbow Linen, doing the various sections in different threads, it might be very pretty.  However, you will have to test stitch to see how many plies of Rainbow Linen you'll need if you mix it with Silk and Ivory.  On second through, Silk and Ivory alone is probably better for this sort of quilt pattern.

By the way, there is a second free design here which you might use behind your turkey or perhaps as the border.  Scroll further down and look for the Happy Thanksgiving pattern called Playing with Color:  Wild Geese.  See the arrow shapes in the center of the design?  They look like feathers to me and are in three colors. You could add a touch of white or red or orange to the two sage greens you have. Would these make a good background?  The simple border with square corners could then work as an outside border beyond what you have painted.  

A second way to go would be with a slightly diagonal background that slanted from the upper right corner roughly to the lower left corner.  That is the way the turkey is walking.  I'm thinking something like the stitch behind Michele's Christmas March.

Except in one type of thread, not three.  Michele kindly diagrammed this stitch on her blog so you can see the sort of gentle sloped stitch I think would make for a good background.  Feel free to react negatively. These are my ideas and it is YOUR canvas!  A sort of country quilt pattern or a sloped diagonal background may not be your cup of tea, especially since I think the stitch Michele used will take a lot of thread.

I even thought about stitching Gobble on the background over and over again in a darning pattern but that takes some planning and graphing of letters or a free design.  We can talk about it if you like that idea later.  

About the added border: What the canvas as painted shows is a one stitch dark brown border, then a one stitch white border, followed by a four stitch rust border. I tried adding a two stitch white border (for consistency) then an eight stitch outer border. That just gets me two threads above the top tail and not quite below the bottom wing. So I may not have understood your suggestion about the secondary border. Did you mean to come down six threads below the tail and then start the eight stitch outer border? There will definitely be enough left for framing/finishing either way.
It sounds to me as if you need a 16 stitch outside border instead of an eight stitch one.  That would go past the tail a little.  Make sense?  Referring again to the Laura Perin Playing with Color: Wild Geese border, you could make that 16 threads wide by just lengthening the slants to cover 16 threads high.  The corners could also be made any size you need and the plain wide border wouldn't interfere with whatever background you choose.

Here are a few additional random question that have occurred to me, which you may choose to address or not as we progress:

Are there threads or stitches which would work for the hardness/scaliness of the beak and foot? 

I think I'd use a metallic thread (perhaps a Kreinik #16 ribbon) in rows of stem stitches for the feet and beak.  Metallics in the right shade of dull brown would look realistic. You don't want a bright shiny brown.  No Kreinik holographic thread, for example.  

Should I try to needleblend the transitions in colors (red to blue in the head, red to yellow in the breast, brown to orange in tail and wing feathers)? 

Maybe.  You certainly could do this but I'm postponing talking about stitching the bird himself until we settle on a background and borders.  Once we have those picked out, then I'll move on to the turkey himself.  That'll be after Christmas of course.  I know you are getting ready to head out for holiday fun.

There are lots of curved lines throughout the body for the feathers. Most are heavy enough for stitching as such. But the ones on the upper yellow breast/shoulder are very fine and gray. Should I try to stitch those as is or topstitch them after stitching the yellow solidly?"

You can do either, or you can use light coverage stitches when the banding shows.  But we'll worry about that later.  I'll remember these are questions we have to handle a bit later next week.

Everyone have lots of holiday fun today!

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