Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carol Chooses Gold Fish Background Threads

Carol's Threads for the Gold Fish
Now that Carol's pretty much settled on her background stitch, its time to choose background threads.  Carol rummaged around in her stash and sent us photos of what she found.  In both pictures, the thread on the left is the Cire.  For those not familiar with Brazilian Embroidery threads, Cire is a three ply nylon thread.  You can read more about the threads used in BE here.  In the photo above, the thread on the right is a Thai silk, in "jungle green."
Carol's Five Options
In the photo above, the threads are, from left to right, the Cire, a Chinese flat silk, a different type of Chinese flat silk, Planet Earth Silk (Baltic, 117) and Empress Silk (color 29).

Carol says, "Of the five options, I really like the darkest of the colors. Problems that I see with these are: 1) the Planet Earth silk is about the equivalent of perle cotton #3, which would not give me the partial coverage that I think I want; 2) the Empress silk is hard to find (I do have two skeins of this color, finding a third if I need it would probably be difficult; 2) they are really dark and I wonder if they would be too dark for the canvas as a whole."

Jane said:  I have a carefully hoarded small stash of Empress Silk which is no longer easily available since Needle Necessities has closed. It is possible that ThreadworX's Overdyed Soie d'Alger is a similar shade, though. Empress Silk was Chinese silk, which is slightly shinier and slightly harder to control than Soie d'Alger in my own opinion.'Alger&pg_num=1

My skein of dark teal blue Empress Silk is either 21 or 31. The paper label is pasted over the number slightly and I can't really read the color. Sorry. The closest color match on my DMC color card is 3809, if that helps tell you whether I have a skein of what you need. If it seems to be a match, send me your mailing address and I'll pop this in the mail to you, Carol.

Carol continued, "Of the remaining options, I think the best is the Thai silk. I have four skeins of this color, so no potential of running short. Plus, it's a good match with the Cire. I think it offers a nice level of reflectivity, without being overwhelming. It's not quite as shiny as the flat silk, but has more shine than the matt silks like Silk 'n Colors or Needlepoint Inc. The other two create issues in that what you see is all I have of those. I'm pretty sure that is not enough to stitch the background."

I'm sure Carol's right that one skein won't be enough to cover her 9x9 square's background.  After all, the stitch she has chosen will take a lot of thread.  Luckily I think Carol's mix of Thai silk and Cire will be lovely. The dark colors will probably set off the fish beautifully, too. We'll have to be certain to use rich shades on the fish to make sure that it stands out in every way but that shouldn't be hard. I think we've got the background stitch and threads pretty much nailed down. Do you want to do a little test stitching to figure out your custom version of the Swirl stitch and see what threads you have for the fish? You'll also need a thread or perhaps a ribbon for the teardrop seaweed as well....

Have fun exploring your background stitch. One thing I forgot to mention is that you'll have to make sure the stitch covers the painted seaweed.  Adjusting the number of plies should do it, although if it doesn't, there are other things we can try.

Carol commented, "I've been thinking about this as well. If I don't do complete coverage, clearly the seaweed is going to show through. I was thinking they could be painted over. Are there other options?"

It is possible that you can adjust the width and placement of the Carol Custom Swirl stitch so that it completely covers the seaweed. Painting over things will also work although I suspect matching the natural shade of brown of your canvas might be a challenge. You can also try stitching over the seaweed in tent stitches using 2-3 plies of DMC floss in a color that matches the background. This is what I did when I added and outside border to my O'jishi stylized lion mask. You may have to play around to find the right number of plies to hide the color yet not make the background stitch stick up in that area.

Carol respomded, "Thanks for the link. I love the background on this piece, BTW. The way you changed the colors of the background to match the painted canvas was brilliant. Anyway, I think the stitching would be a better option than trying to match paint to the canvas. Although here's something I thought of last night. What do you think of not covering the seaweed (or maybe even stitching over it in a satin stitch in the seaweed colors in one or two ply, and then stitching the background over it, making it look like a shadow of seaweed, off in the distance? Do you think that would look ok--would people get the effect I'm going for, or would they say 'oh look, she didn't cover up the painting in the background?'"

Personally I think not covering the painted seaweed before doing the background would look like the background colors have bled instead of looking like a shadow. The only way to know for sure is test stitching, however,

Those are the only other options I can think of at the moment. Any commentors have other ideas how to hide the painted seaweed on Caro's canvas?

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