Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hari-Kuyo Honors Our Needles UPDATED

My Old Needles
Today's February 8 here in Chilly Hollow so my old tarnished needles are now wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a raffia bow, ready to be ceremoniously placed in the garbage can.  The Festival of Needles is described in yesterday's and today's postings from the Japanese Embroidery blog.  That's not how I am celebrating but I am not Japanese and I need to modify their Shinto tradition of honoring old tools in my own way since sticking them into a block of tofu and tossing the tofu into the Shenandoah River doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

Stitching Fingers is celebrating by taking photographs of their pins and needles.  However you celebrate your needles, keep in mind that without their humble service, we could not do any form of stitching.

UDPATE:  Carol-Ann's moving tribute to her needles has to be included here today.

Susan has a wonderful project to honor her needles.


Other folks are participating in their own way, which makes me happy.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com

Embellishing Lillian Chermor’s Gold Fish

Lillian Chermor's Gold Fish
Carol and Jane continue their conversation about Carol's Lillian Chermor Gold Fish canvas:

Morning, Carol. I wanted you to know if you haven't noticed already that Blog commentators are sending you background ideas. One recommended David McCaskill's water stitch which is diagrammed on the ANG website. It's an open stitch and very pretty. It might give you the glimpse of brown you wanted. I found it easier to do if I printed out the directions, then turned them sideways (the canvas, too) and worked it as vertical lines instead of horizontal rows. I used both 2 plies of blue silk and two of a thin blue metallic when I used this behind a fish. It was gorgeous! I did the first row in silk and the second in metallic and repeated alternating these rows the whole background.

The second commentator suggested using a open stitch and then mounting the piece over a mirror to give subtle movement to the background. This will only work if you frame your fish but it is a great idea. If you wanted to do this on a pillow, gold lame fabric will add a gleam but not the movement you get from glimpses of a mirror. You can also buy sheets of thin metallic in scrapbooking supplies that are sort of like thick aluminum foil. It can be cut with scissors. I used a bit of this stuff for two "mirrors" on a piece I stitched for the ANG auction years ago.

Carol wrote: 
I found some beads on Etsy.com that I think will be perfect for the teardrop seaweed. Now I need to find some bright green and purple netting or organza for the beads and mirrors. 

Check netting and tulle as well in your fabric shop. My local shop (Joann’s Fabrics) has them displayed together and they are very similar except tulle holes seem smaller than netting holes. Netting is also more expensive, I have no idea why.
I found some threads in my stash that might work for the water; I'll have to check them in the daylight tomorrow. I found several that would work, in a variety of fibers (silk, rayon, silk/wool blends) in colors in the blue to blue-green range. I think I like the ones on the blue-green end of that spectrum best. 

I think blue-greens would look fabulous with the reds, oranges and yellows of your fish. That also is what the Caribbean waters look like. They aren’t blue but a turquoise/green mix.
Carol continues about the threads she found in her stash:
They have a variety of finishes; most have a matte finish, some have just a little bit of shine to them, and some have a lot of shine (the Cire thread from EdMar has a fantastic shiny finish; it might be a bit much all by itself, but perhaps it could be blended with something else). 

The water stitch (above) can be done in two types of thread. Just do one row in one and the next in the other and repeat the rows, alternating the threads. The long wavy stitches we talked about can also be done this way. You can skip a row between the long ribbons of the stitch and fill it in with tent stitches in the second color or you can make the rows touch and alternate threads in each row. It all depends on just how much color you want to show. This means some test stitching on your part to choose the look that best meets the image you have in your mind for this canvas.
Carol continues:
I've been thinking about some of the stuff we've previously discussed.  I really like that verticle wavy stitch that you sent; I think that might be the one I ultimately choose. I don't have a lot of needlepoint stitch books to check other stitches. I think it would look good to make it about the same size as the twisted seaweed. Because it has that small tent stitch area between the wider parts, I could use one of the more matte threads in the wide part and introduce a really shiny one in the skinny part. 

I agree. I’ll start putting together references of various stitch books with ribbon-like stitches that resemble the wavy seaweed on your canvas.
While I still like the idea of the school of fish in the darning pattern, I don't know that I have enough space in the background to do that. And as you said in a previous email, it probably wouldn't work very well with the wavy stitch. I think that idea might have to wait for another canvas. Fortunately, I have another tropical fish canvas in my stash for which it might be perfect! 

I’m with you on this point. I think your 9x9 piece is too small to work in a darning stitch school of fish.  Still, this is a good idea and if it is perfect for another canvas, then you can use it there.
About the Ultrasuede. After thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that if I decide to use the Ultrasuede, I don't want to use it on the fish itself. Maybe on the twisty seaweed, but only if I can't find some ribbon that would work there. I really want the seaweed to be a detached element, and I can't figure out in my head how to do that with the Ultrasuede without it losing that flowy feel that seaweed in water has. If you have any ideas about how to make that work, I'd love to hear them. 

I can’t think of any way to use Ultrasuede as a long length of twisted fabric except to cut lengths that are the size and length of silk ribbon. Personally if I were doing that sort of seaweed, I would stick to silk ribbon. It’s easier to work with. Here’s the River Silks website color card. 

Click to work your way through the pages. They have overdyed ribbons but they seem to be in shades of one color, not a mix of blue and green like your two strands of smooth seaweed. See anything that looks good to you? Of course you could make one strand green and the other blue. You will need to measure the width you want before you order ribbons. I suggested the River Silks ribbons because they come in various widths (4mm, 7mm and 13mm) and they have overdyed colors. I use 4mm ribbons on 18 count but I’m not making fake seaweed! Because you’ll stitch right over the painted smooth seaweed ribbons, you can use any width you like (you can twist the ribbon more or less to make it narrower or wider) but you’ll want something that looks good with the fish and the teardrop seaweed. This means you’ll need to experiment. You can cut lengths of paper and dangle them in front of your canvas if you don’t have a variety of ribbon widths in your stash. 

Remember to make a color copy of your canvas before you start stitching.  You can use it to position the ribbon seaweed after you stitch over the painted areas.
Carol ends:
I think that covers all the additional thoughts I've had on what we discussed. I haven't given much thought yet to the hot fix crystals; I think I have plenty of time before I need to make a decision on those. 

Since the hot fix crystals go on at the end, you have plenty of time before you have to get those, assuming you use them.  Right now you are assembling your supplies of embellishments and choosing a background thread or threads. I’m going to look up long ribbon looking stitches for you and send you references. If you don’t have any of those books, I’ll stitch samples for you to see and then stitch a diagram for the one you like best. Once we have some test samples stitched of the background, then we can start tackling stitches for the fish. I’d rather know what background you want first, however.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com