Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Turkey Reappears

Mary Lake Thompson Turkey Canvas and Potential Threads 
Nancy has been busy with other things so I've left her alone a while before giving her more work to do on her turkey. We're starting to talk about the turkey himself now. Here's Nancy herself, with a few comments from me in blue:

"Hi, Jane. I remain in awe of the effort you are investing in guiding me with this canvas. Your last e-mail alone would be a huge assistance to me, and it's just one of many!! 

I have not had time for test stitching on feathers/body yet. But I did spend time last night with more stitch books. I found that I could find more reasons why a stitch wouldn't work, than I could find ways that it could work. That's why your vision has been so helpful. Anyway, here's my report so far:

About your thinking on the foot, claws, leg, head, beak and wattle: I like all of your ideas; some were new to me. I'd never thought of putting a ply of floss with a metallic! But it makes sense! About your idea for the head with random tent stitches in metallic: Are you saying, turn the canvas 1/4 turn? Or 1/2 turn? In other words, do the added metallic stitches go on top of the tent stitch or do they make a cross stitch? I am confused there. But I think the look will be great.

Nancy, I meant for you to tent stitch the turkey's head and neck and then turn the canvas 1/4 turn so that the head is now on the right or left side. That will make either his breast or upraised tail feathers the top of the canvas. When you scatter random tent stitches in metallic on top of the previously stitched layer, then turn the canvas right side up again, you'll find that the metallic stitches will have made the top \ of a cross stitch on some of the regular tent stitches you did first. Of course you can just leave the canvas upright as usual and do the \ stitches randomly but I prefer to turn the canvas and do tent stitches with the canvas turned. These make the X when the canvas is back upright. Adding that top "leg" of metallic here and there adds a touch of shine here and there, which is perfect for turkey feathers. Cluster the cross stitches in areas where you want highlights if you like, as on the highlight on the waddle over his beak. Make sense?

One more question on the head: where the red butts against the blue, would you needle blend a bit so it's not a solid dividing line?

I think this is up to you, Nancy. Is the canvas painted so that there is a clear dividing line? If not, then needle blending will work if you use the flosses instead of your Silk N Ivory threads for these areas. I don't think there is much shading between these areas but I'm looking at photos, not the real canvas.

Your idea about the bead for the eye is one I will pursue with a trip to a bead shop.

What follows are some ideas on stitches from my time with stitch books yesterday. The books I used are:

The Canvaswork Encyclopedia by Jane Zimmerman
SuZy's Small Stitches by SuZy Murphy
Favorite Stitches Book 2 by Brenda Hart
Stitches for the Millenium by Brenda Hart

I don't have the Zimmerman book, but perhaps someone visiting Blog does and can comment. I pulled out the other books, though.

For the feathers on the body:
Tie-Down Stitch 489 - Zimmerman p137
Scallop Stitch - Hart's Millenium p90
Plaited Stitch- Small Stitches p103, Zimmerman p111
Small Grounding Stitch - Zimmerman p110
Ray Stitch - Murphy pp145, 146, 147

Looking at the Plaited Stitch, I think it might be too busy for your turkey feathers. The turkey is painted with a great many shades. That makes it busy-looking. I'd go for a calmer stitch myself.

The Scallop Stitch resembles the painted canvas the most of all the stitches you turned up. It also can be turned to face the side ) or turned to resemble a smile. If you use only 2-3 plies of a floss-type thread, the painted canvas will show some, adding depth to the feathery look.

I like the Ray Stitch but it doesn't really look like your feathers. What do you think about top stitching Ray Stitches on the turkey's head and neck in metallic? You'd just put a few ray stitches here and there instead of the random tent stitches with metallic, thus adding a feathery look on top of the tent stitches that are on his smooth head, neck and the very top of his breast before the canvas turns cream colored.

For the upright tail feathers:
Leaf Stitch - Murphy - pp155, 156
- Hart's Millenium p118
- Zimmerman p149 #'s 541, 542
Tie-Down stitch - Zimmerman p140 #522

Tail Feathers in Close Up
I prefer Leaf Stitch for the tail feathers, making it longer than diagrammed to fit the shape of each feather. However, first I would deal with the brown triangle shapes at the base by tent stitching them in a thread that is a different texture than the thread used for the tail feathers. For example, if you use silk floss for the feathers, use Silk N Ivory or wool or a synthetic that looks like wool such as Burmilana or Rainbow Linen for the brown areas on the tail. Once the triangles are stitched, then tent stitch the light tan areas at the top of the tail feathers (again with a thread that contrasts with your feather threads but make sure it is dark enough that it will contrast with the color of your background stitches). Finally, try using long stitches in the same dark brown as the triangles for the tops of the tail feathers. I think you can do the long stitches slanted or vertical as the shapes move across the top and down the right side.

You may find that when you use leaf stitch for the tail feathers that you will use more plies there than on the body of the turkey. Obviously some practice stitching is in order! Sorry.

I can't comment on Zimmerman's Tie Down Stitch since I don't have this book but I noticed you considered it for both the tail feathers and the body feathers. Try some test stitches and see what you think. It would be nice to be able to use various sizes of the same stitch in both places.

I'm thinking I may try to incorporate a bit more of the sage green than is painted so that all the green in the border doesn't come off as a random addition.

Do you have a sage green metallic you can add here and there?

I will try to get some test stitching done soon so I can see what these stitches look like. I will get photos to you when I have something to catch on camera.
I think that's all for now."

This is plenty for you to cope with for now. You don't have to plan out the entire turkey at once, you know. I think I'd stitch the head and tail feathers first to give myself an idea of what they look like. That will make choosing body feather stitches a little easier. After all, this is needlepoint Adventure, so a little uncertainty is expected. That's normal!

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

Under the Deep Blue Sea

Needle Works of Austin has posted a photo of their newest monthly club which will start in June.  It's called Under the Deep Blue Sea and features canvases of fish, a seahorse and a mermaid, all from Labors of Love.  Details here.

By the way NWKS is putting new things from their TNNA January market order up on their website almost daily. You'll want to see the latest here.

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