Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chilly Hollow Stitch Guide Blog Updated

I've updated the CH Stitch Guide blog with a review of Amy Bunger's stitch guides.  This is one you won't want to miss--there's a real surprise included!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Fortunately, I Love Pink

The newest Needlepoint Now will go out in the mail this week.

In other good news, SharonG has updated her blog with a description of her new book which will be out shortly.

January, even cold wintery January, is looking up!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Even More Turkey Background Discussion

Nancy's Turkey Canvas from Mary Lake Thompson

Hi, Jane.  Thanks for your patience waiting for me to get the background tryouts done.
There’s no rush, Nancy.  Take your time thinking over the background stitches and testing them in various threads and colors.  That's an important step.  Once we have the background and some idea about the borders then we can move on but you will need some time to do the test stitching to see what you like and what you don't.  I  could have told you to use Stitch Whatever for the background but you will be happier if you work it out for yourself.  What I like and what you like can be two very different things.
The main thing about stitching painted canvases is to take the time to try various things and to not be afraid of them not working.  There's always something else to try.

I went back to my stash and looked for neutral threads, mostly in Silk & Ivory.  (You're right. I don't mind laying silk, but 6 -8 strands on a background would try my soul.)  Back to the Silk & Ivory:  I tried Sawdust, but thought it was a bit too much yellow; Cafe au Lait which might work but it does put a lot of color in the background; and Sand, which is definitely the choice if neutral is what we're going for.  It plays nice with all the colors in the turkey.
I like the idea of using Silk and Ivory “Sand” for the background and saving your pretty sage green colors of the wide border we’ve decided to add around the outside of this design.  I think we’ve got our background thread and color!  Congratulations.

I decided to try out five background stitches:  Donohue, Horizontal Gobelin Variation, Twill Variation, Diagonal Wave, and Slanted Brick.  Here are my reactions:

Donohue by Tony Minieri - It's familiar since I did it in the 2008 ANG Mystery Kimono canvas.  It covers well, will be slower to work since the stitches are shorter, and seems a bit too small in scale.
Scale is very important, so if Donohue looks too small, then it’s definitely out of the running for this background.

Twill Variation by Brenda Hart - I reversed the slant so the peaks would rise from the lower left to upper right.  The Silk & Ivory covered well, will work fast since it's over 4 threads.  But the angular peaks don't seem to relate to the image of the turkey.
You are right, the turkey seems a bit rounded.  I thought the peaks and valleys looked a bit like feathers but if you think not, this isn’t the right stitch either.  This is what auditioning stitches is about--finding the right fit for your particular canvas.

Horizontal Gobelin Variation by Brenda Hart - The Silk & Ivory covered well enough.  I tried doing the tent stitches both in the same thread and in a Kreinik of the same sand color.  Either would work.  It's a lovely stitch which would be fast, but again, I don't connect the basket look with the subject matter of the canvas.
This gives a slightly woven effect.  I think it is a beautiful stitch as well but if you think it’s not Right, well, it’s out of the running.

Diagonal Wave by Brenda Hart - Good coverage, lovely pattern.  I like this stitch, but am not sure there is much space where the full repeat would show.  I think it would be a good option, and the repeats could always be shortened.  I was doing it vertically a la Brenda Hart; perhaps I should have done it horizontally a la Michele Herron??
You can try it to see if you like the horizontal effect.  That’s probably how I would do it. actually.  Of course running it horizontally means you will almost certainly need to do a full row of it across the canvas before you stitch any part of the turkey proper so you get the row in place to work from later.
As a reminder, here is how Michele did this stitch in the background sky of her Christmas March.  Click on the photo of the finished piece for a better look. The row is a bit tricky because in some areas the stitches drop down one thread and in some areas the stitches drop two threads.
Michele kindly diagrammed this stitch for us on her blog.
To work Diagonal Wave most easily, click on the photo for a larger diagram, then print it out.  Turn the canvasand the diagram on their side to work one row from above the turkey all the way to the other side of the canvas below the turkey, skipping the turkey’s body.  However, you can use a skinny loud colored thread to stitch across the turkey to keep the count going and then pull the thread out later.  
Michele used three different threads for her sky (so her diagram has three colors) but you can work every row in the same thread or add a random metallic row occasionally if you like, Nancy.  You could also toss in another color if you like at random a few times.  I wouldn’t stripe the background in a regular series of colors, however.  I think that’ll be too busy.  One stipe of a different color or texture here and there is probably enough and may be Too Much, depending on your taste.

Slanted Brick by Brenda Hart - This would work fast over 4 threads, the thread I used covers well; it's a diagonal stitch which means easier compensation decisions, and the scale seems to work well with the image.
This is going to be easier to compensate than the Diagonal Wave stitch which is definitely in its favor!  It is a simple but elegant stitch.  I would use Slanted Brick #1 at the top of page 27 of Brenda Hart’s Stitches for the Millennium.  This slants // the way the turkey is walking, which seems to make sense.  For those without this book, Slanted Brick #1 is four long slanted stitches three boxes (or four thread intersections, however you think about it) followed by skipping four threads, then repeating the four long slants.  Then you skip four threads again and repeat for the row.  The next row puts the four slants under the skipped areas of the row above, centered midway in the skipped space.
Nancy, you could also do one of the groups of four slants occasionally in either a metallic or different color.  This will look choppier than the Diagonal Wave stitch, however.  Probably this stitch is best done in all one thread and color.

So there you have it - I'm down to Slanted Brick or Diagonal Wave.  I think either would look good and be restful to the eye around the busy bird.
Now it is up to you to decide which you like.  I suggest you do one more audition of these stitches, doing 2-4 rows of each stitch in whatever thread and color combos you like and then hold them up on either side of the turkey and see which looks best to you.  When you decide which stitch you want to use in the background, stitch at least one complete row of the stitch.  That’ll come in handy when we start talking about stitches for the turkey proper as you’ll immediately be able to see how the turkey’s stitches look against the background.

On to more of your ideas beyond the background:
Yes, the Herringbone stitch might work for feathers.  And I really liked your idea of using one of the leaf stitches for feathers!
Herringbone and leaf stitch are both a real possibility for the turkey, at least in part.  I’ve been looking at the turkey proper and see that there are light and dark areas of the design.  His head, the back at the base of his upraised tail, and the dark wing tip feathers are all dark while the upraised tail itself, the body feathers and the orange-rust colored wing and body feathers are all lighter.  It occurred to me that we might want to use your Impressions in the darker areas and your silk flosses in the lighter.  But that all depends on the stitches chosen.  It can be tricky to mix stitches done in flosses next to stitches done in a tapestry wool-like thread, if that makes sense.  We’ve talked about adding touches of metallic to mimic the iridescence of real turkey feathers, too.  In other words, we have a ways to go to plan out the turkey. But settling on a background stitch and a border treatment are important first steps.  Have you decided what you are doing for the borders now?

I surely appreciate all your ideas and help.  Let me know if you need more information about my test stitching or anything else.
Will do.  Just read over the above and ask if anything isn’t clear.

The family is gone, the holiday is over (except for the de-decorating), and now I'm going back to work on the Haunted House project for the rest of the evening.  I am planning to have both the House and the Turkey done this year.  Wish me luck!
I do.  These are both large projects but they are going to be magnificent when done.  Happy Stitching! 

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow