Friday, May 24, 2013

The Second Background (Dr. Who) - Part Two

O'jishi's Background Underway
Alternating Cashmere Pairs
When I stitched the first canvas in my Dr. Who series, my choices were wide open.  I narrowed them down by taking inspiration from Dr. Who's TARDIS, the blue police box that the hero of the TV series travels in.  I used the same shade of blue that the TARDIS is painted and found a stitch that had the same rectangular shape to it.

This time I have limited myself somewhat by decided to use another stitch but the same threads as in the original piece.  How do I pick a stitch from the zillions of choices?  My first thought was to pick another stitch with the TARDIS' rectangular shape.  I went with Alternating Cashmere Pairs, a beautiful stitch that I have used before as a light coverage stitch on Leigh's O'jishi (above).  To the left you see my test of this stitch.  For the pairs of cashmere blocks that were horizontal, I used my Lorikeet wool and then I switched to the Silk Lame Braid for the vertical cashmeres.

However, this stitch is too big and bold for my canvas, isn't it?  Look at the Doctor's head.  The pairs are almost as large, which throws the whole canvas out of whack.  I'd forgotten one of the rules of backgrounds--the scale can't overwhelm the central design.  So despite how much I like this stitch (and the two threads I choose cover beautifully), it isn't right for this design.  I ripped it out and started again.

This time I looked for stitches that were smaller, that had 2-4 repeats in the same space as The Doctor's head.  I remembered the ripples of light that are in most of the Dr. Who opening sequences over the years and looked for something that would echo ripples in time and space as The Doctor moves between them.  I found a beautiful squiggle stitch from Kandace Merric's Pattern Darning Heart.

You can see it on the lower left of this photo.  It has two repeats in the same area as the Doctor's head, but it looks too busy to me.  I filled in the squiggles with Silk Lame Braid squiggles and that made it even busier.  Compare my version to Kandy's heart and you will see how the change to a darker and thicker thread (I used three plies of the Lorikeet wool) made this stitch ponderous and heavy.  So I ripped out again.

My third attempt is in the upper left corner of the canvas.  This is a sort of Bargello stitch I found in the background of a stitched mermaid canvas.  The repeats are larger than the Doctor's head but the stitch is quite narrow so that doesn't seem to matter.

I think it is going to work but I will have to remove the squiggle stitch and take it all the way down the left side of the canvas and then do a few more rows to be certain.    So how do I pick a background stitch from the zillions available?  I hold tryouts, either on the canvas itself or on scraps of leftover canvas that I save after I cut excess canvas off pieces I am finishing myself.  I make careful note of what doesn't work and that helps me figure out what will.  And I rip out A LOT.

Stay tuned to see how well this new mystery stitch works!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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  1. As a new convert to Dr. Who I will watching to see what you do with this. :) I love the show but am only on season 2!
    Nancy P

  2. Nancy, I'm working away on this and have come up with a three stitch combo for the background. Stay tuned! Once I get it finished I'll post photos. However, I just saw a black and white checkerboard pattern behind the Tardis ornament on Facebook and it looks nice. (I designed a Tardis ornament 2 years back so I didn't buy that painted canvas.)

  3. My LNS just got in my order of the tenth Doctor! Woot! Heading up to the shop right now to get it and the threads! I don't know why I didn't order the Tardis and Weeping Angel at the same time. ha ha but will order them and #11 today. Would you mind if I copied your background idea on the angel? Nancy P

    1. Whoops, message went before I was ready. All the stitches I choose use a lot of thread so you probably will need two spools/cards/whatever of the thread you choose.