Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not a Good Morning

It is not a good morning.  I learned late last night that Judy Harper is very ill.  Please send good thoughts out to her and her family.



About the same time there was a bad earthquake in New Zealand centered on Christchurch.  I have a friend south of there and I do hope Anne, her family and her friends are well.  Send more good thoughts, ok?  Illness and natural disasters are, well, natural but that doesn't make them fun when they happen to your friends.

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

While I Futz With Luna's Hair

While I test stitch hair stitches to see which plays nice with Luna's cloak lining stitches, here are some things of interest for Blog readers.

First up, here's a review of Sandy Higgins' finishing book, which has been in print for many years because it is a classic.  If you are interesting in finishing your own needlepoint, you'll want to consider buying a copy.

Needlepoint Tool Time has the new small colorful sequins in stock.  Tisha had a little accident when taking a photo of some of the available colors. I had to laugh at Robin's comment that Tisha has created the Assortment Color Pack by dropping the camera!

Are you curious about how to use sequins in NP?  Check out what Denise did with a lovely Raymond Crawford ornament.

Finally, if you just want a little eye candy to enjoy with your morning cuppa, Stitch By Stitch has a lovely gallery of finished pieces to enjoy.

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

The Turkey Question: How Do Stitches Meet?

Mary Lake Thompson/Melissa Shirley Turkey Canvas
Nancy sent me a note last week about her turkey canvas.  She'd run into an unexpected problem and wanted some ideas about how to overcome it.  Take a look at the background stitch in the photo above.

Now think about stitching that background around the turkey's head.  Nancy's calls this the "Who owns the line?" problem after what Amy Bunger says on this very same issue at Peggi's Needlepoint Study Hall blog.  Amy is talking about her Home Study Halloween House canvas but this issue is apt to turn up on any canvas.  Just how do you compensate two very different stitches when they meet?

Let me quote from the discussion Nancy and I had so you can benefit from what we worked out.

Nancy:  Hi, Jane. I'm stitching away on the background on the left side of the turkey. I'm coming up on stitching around the head and wattle and have a question about a perennial needlepoint issue: merging a vertical stitch to a diagonal stitch.

I know from Needlepoint Study Hall a good question to ask is, "Who owns the line?" I'm sure the answer in each case around Tom Turkey is "Tom Turkey." I didn't think it was such a deal as I worked around the tail. But as I get close to the wattle and head I'm not sure about where to draw the line. I don't want to distract from the turkey by putting too much background against it, but I don't think I want any canvas showing either. And that wattle is so very narrow that it could easily get lost.

Here's my thought: what about stitching a single row of tent stitches around the turkey head in the background thread? That would mean the vertical background stitches would overlap the tent stitches, not the turkey. I'm not sure I've seen this option suggested anywhere. Is it a possibility? Have you seen such a solution? 

Jane: I've been thinking about this all day since I found your note in my email box this morning. I've run into this occasionally and have done one of two things--either laid a row of stitches (couched or backstitched or stem stitched, depending on the breadth of the line I needed) on top of the line where the background and the foreground meet or I have used tent stitches as you describe.

I think you are going to have to do more test stitching before what will work but I personally would put tent stitches in the area between the waddle and the neck using the background thread. If you have a metallic line running through that area, just do tent stitches with both threads.

You may find you need to put in a few backwards tent stitches as well as regular tent stitches, depending on the shapes and how they meet. I would work the background up to the waddle, take a good look, and then pull out any stitches you need until it looks good to you, then fill in the empty spaces with tent stitches. If it looks right to you, it is. 

This is one of those questions that we all have to tackle in our own way but you are certainly on the right track thinking that outlining with tent stitches will help. I think you'll find you want more than one row but again, it all depends on how things look to you as you get your background close to the turkey's head. With so many stitches and threads available to us needlepointers, it is hard to have hard and fast rules beyond SharonG's "If it looks right, it is." That one I stick to religiously!

Nancy:  Thanks so much, Jane. I knew that once again you'd be helpful! I hadn't thought about backstitches, but I can see that they could also be useful in solving this issue. I'll tackle the background/image boundary with renewed confidence now! 

While thinking about the background, I've been putting in the pale yellow breast with more silk, but haven't got too far yet. 

Jane: Glad to help out, Nancy, even if it is just to say that you are going to have to experiment to see how to keep the little waddle from disappearing into the background. I think the contrast in colors will help you but an outline, tent stitches, or both are probably the answer.

Nancy wrote later: I finished the background yesterday. It went fine around the wattle and head. The only trouble I had was figuring out the stitch pattern where there was just a small area. I finally figured it out yesterday and will restitch a small area at the top where I goofed. Now it's on to the feathers! 

Thanks for this very interesting question, Nancy.  I'm sure Blog readers will have other tips for handling the meeting of two very different stitches.  I hope they post them here in the Comments or email me at chilly hollowat hotmail dotcom so I can post for them.

By the way, anyone interested in compensation should take a good look at Tony Minieri's four part article on this topic.  This has been republished online on the ANG website.  He breaks stitches down into four types and discusses in depth how to compensate each type of stitch.  This doesn't directly address how to handle the area where two different types of stitches meet but it is an essential resource for the serious needlepointer.

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