Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Charts, New Ideas for Handling Tedium

Let's face it, there are always tedious parts to each needlepoint project.  It may be the endless background, a ton of basketweave, an area's stitch that just seems hard--but Christa has a great strategy for coping with the boring bits.

Of course finding a project you absolutely adore works, too.  How about Vicky's Rainbow Birds?  She's following a Brenda Hart stitch guide for this Laurel Burch design.

How about this wonderful background for Ruth Schmuff's latest mystery class?  Stitching a beautiful stitch in the background always makes it go faster!

Of course if nothing else works, you can always buy yourself a new design and use it as a carrot to get you to finish the old one so you can start the new.  Scarlet Thread just posted new Carolyn Mitchel charts and they are getting the amazing Kurdy Briggs/Threadles Cleopatra's Eye kits ready.

However you cope, hope today's stitching is fun.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Choosing Gold Fish Fin and Body Stitches - Part Two

Lillian Chermor's Gold Fish
In this section Carol ask about ways to hide areas you don't want to show on the canvas and Jane proves--once again--communication is HARD.

Carol writes:
One other thing I thought of last night. We discussed the need to to cover up the painted seaweed in the background by stitching over it with a brown floss to match the canvas. Do you think I need to do the same with the seaweed in the fish itself (using a floss that would match the color of the fish underneath). I am a little concerned that my Brazilian floss (Lola) isn't going to provide complete coverage, especially if I do the textured stitches. I guess that means I probably should. Have I mentioned I also hate "pre-stitching"?  :-)
Jane answered:  You might want to stitch over the seaweed that covers the fish body but you might just be able to add more plies to the seaweed than you use on the fish.  If it won't cover as you normally use it, you can just up the amount of thread and see if that works.  If you do tent stitch the seaweed use as few plies as you can get away with, then switch to a sharp needle when you are ready to do the stitching on top.  That makes it easier.  But be careful with those sharps!  I discovered when I started using beading needles on silk gauze that I often touch the tip of my needle to my finger to help find the whole when coming up from underneath.  OUCH 
****I don't understand what you mean here--the part about adding more plies
to the seaweed is confusing me.****
As for confusing you about stitching the seaweed with more plies of Lola so it will cover well, I meant that you might ply the Lola (it's three plies twisted into one strand, right?) and then use one full strand plus part of a second strand. More thread equals more coverage.  Do you normally use Lola as one full strand?  If you do, then two full strands might not work.  It might be too fat to look good.  But you could use one strand plus one ply untwisted from a second strand and get the coverage you need.  I am not very familiar with Brazilian embroidery threads.  The ones I've used behave terribly for me so I am no expert on using them. However, when I am faced with using a thread that doesn't cover well, I add more thread to the needle.  Sometimes I use more of the same thread; sometimes I toss in a metallic or another type of thread.  You can get all kinds of interesting effects when you combine thread types (although that might not be appropriate here).  I've mixed a strand of Wisper with 2-3 plies of DMC cotton for a fuller but not fuzzy beard, and I've tossed in some Accentuate to give sparkle to a beard.  
Light dawns and Carol figures out what Jane was trying to say badly:
I think I've figured out my problem understanding your comments about the seaweed. Lola can't be plied easily; it's like perle cotton. In fact, it's about the size of a perle 5. It's meant to be used as is off the skein.
You'll remember that I decided to use the doubled sided satin ribbon for the seaweed to give it that twisted, dimensional effect. So I need to cover up the painted seaweed in the various places.
My concern is that in the places where the painted seaweed is in the fish shape, the Lola isn't going to give complete coverage and the painted shape will show through. So my question was, do I need to do a tent stitch over the seaweed shape in the color of the fish in those spots to help cover it up? I'm less concerned about the background, as I can always add another ply to the Empress to get the coverage I need.
I get you now.  (Boy, communication is HARD!)  I thought you could ply the Lola to add a bit more thread to the areas where double sided ribbon won't completely hide the painted seaweed underneath it.  I'm not familiar with the nylon threads used in Brazilian Embroidery so I went to the various BE websites which made me think Lola is plyable.  Sorry.

Do you have a matching color in another Brazilian Embroidery thread you could put in the needle with the Lola to provide fuller coverage?  From what you said, two strands of Lola won't work.  In those situations I add a ply or 2 (or 3) of a floss type thread.  You can also toss in a slightly darker shade to make it look like a shadow of the seaweed underneath. 
The area you are most worried about is the area where the seaweed is over the fish body, right?  I personally would simply stitch the fins and the fish body right over the painted seaweed area, then see how much shows.  It is possible that you can add a few tent stitches here and there among the Tressed Stitches instead of your beads and that will cover enough that any area the twisted ribbon doesn't hide looks just fine.  Or you can plop in the beads and they will cover nicely.  The trick will be to get wide enough double sided silk ribbon.  Silk ribbons generally come in three sizes:  4 mm, 7mm and 13mm.   I recommend that you pull out a ruler with metric markings and find the widest area on your fish so you can get the ribbon size that will cover the widest area of seaweed.  Then just be careful with how much you twist the ribbon.  Tack it down with either invisible thread (which is a pain to work with as it is, well, invisible) or a ply of DMC floss or whatever other floss you have in a matching color.  The best ways to hide any color that is not covered by Tressed stitch (or any other) is to add more thread to your needle and to use tent stitches on the bare spots, then make sure you use ribbon that is wide enough to hide most everything.
But until you actually start stitching this, I don't think we will have an exact idea of how much of a problem this will be.  You have to remember that your piece will not be viewed as closely as you view it while stitching once it is finished.  You might notice a bit of paint later but probably no one else will. The casual eye will probably read slight color changes as a shadow.  
Carol writes:
I guess what I REALLY need to do is figure out how well the Lola is going to cover with the stitches I've (nearly) decided on. Which means doing some sample stitching. Bleah
POOR CAROL!  You can always stitch on the actual fish and then rip out if necessary.  I prefer test stitching but some folks can carefully rip out and restitch an area if the first stitching doesn't work the way they want.  Good luck on this.  The fish is going to be really spectacular.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at