Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Taming the Tricky Stitch

Black Stitches on Cat Body

The bottom of the Egyptian Cat was a little tricky to stitch because a)  I am using a black thread (one ply of a strand of Colonial Needle's Persian wool) on a black area, b) the area itself is rather narrow with lots of compensation between the Egyptian collar's strands, and c)  the stitch itself turned out to be rather difficult to count correctly.  I have certain tricks to help with all of these.

When you stitch with black threads on a black area good lighting is essential.  This is a small area so I was able to stitch it in brief time periods during daylight areas.    If the area had been large enough I needed to work it at night when I normally do the bulk of my stitching, I might have used a white hand towel in my lap as well as good lighting.  I'm told red towels work equally well but I tend to use white as I have plenty of those stashed away in my kitchen.

I was able to use tent stitches in those narrow areas between the bottom body of the cat and the head where the collar covered much of the canvas.  Tent stitches are a life-saver in those areas!

Straight Lines That Curve
I ended up turning my stitch diagram and my canvas on their sides so that I worked this horizontal stitch vertically.  For me, a vertical stitch is easier to see and count for some reason.  The next time your stitch gives you fits, try turning it and the canvas a quarter turn.  You may be surprised at how much easier the stitch is to work when it is turned on its head.

Straight Line Curves On the Side

By the way, this optical illusion stitch was used by Tony Minieri on the background of a Debbie Mumm canvas and I diagrammed it from there. Thanks, Tony!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright May 5, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

The Cat in Wool

Lotus Pillar CloseUp

Last time I talked about my Egyptian Cat canvas, I promised a good look at the finished lotus pillars with their silk ribbon tops. Here you go!

Now it's time to turn my attention to the cat.  I have Colonial Needle's Persian wool in black to use for the cat, but what stitch?   The cat itself is a stylized one, not realistic, so I decided I would skip the traditional stitches for fur in favor of something with pattern or texture.  But what?

I found the answer on Facebook with an optical illusion stitch Tony Minieri used in the background of a Debbie Mumm canvas he wrote a stitch guide for.  I thought it would give the perfect illusion of texture on my cat.  Here is what I came up with.  The photo is black and white so you can see black stitches on black canvas.  It's a light coverage stitch with the unstitched voids between stitches creating the illusion of a curve.

By the way, I separated the Persian wool into three plies and stitched with only one.  Tapestry Fair's Egyptian Cat is on 18 count and that works best for that size canvas.  The thread itself has a very tight twist, making it quite durable in basketweave, but if you do another stitch using just one ply, use a larger needle than usual as the needle will abrade the thread in the eye and cause it to separate if you use the size needle you are used to on 18 count.

Tony's Optical Illusion Stitch

I worked this stitch on the bottom of the cat up to the collar.  I switched to tent stitches in the spaces between the collar rows and also used tent stitches on the cat's neck.  You will never guess what stitch I used for the cat's face and ears--skip tent!   This isn't a traditional stitch to use with wool, but this isn't a traditional cat.  Skip tent in my Colonial wool looks great.

Skip Tent Chin

In this photograph the cat's chin only is worked in skip tent.  However, I have finished the face except for one ear by now.  Next time I post I hope to have finished the ears and nose and perhaps the eyes so I'll be ready to start on the cat's elaborate collar and headpiece.  Stay tuned!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright 2May 18 016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.