Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Exploring Surf and Sand with the Experts UPDATED

Seeing Stars Santa (Jane Wood)
This spring I've been busy stitching a Santa from Leigh Designs' Seashore Santa series. I'm not the only one--guides for this set are also available from Sandy Arthur, Pat Miller, Sharon Quick and Carolyn Taggart. All are superb stitchers with their own distinct style so I found it fascinating to see how we all choose to add sand and surf to the blank backgrounds behind these Santas.  This may be because Leigh Designs wanted these all to be made up as stand ups with an oval top to serve as models for trade and trunk shows.  So we all started out with a very similar background shape and size that we had to cover.  I want to talk a bit about the design decisions everyone made.  First, look at the entire unstitched series.  These are all on 18 count "sandstone" canvas, which is an ecru with a yellow cast.

Now look at the photo above.  That's my Seeing Stars Santa.  I decided I wanted sand and ocean in the background because my Santa is a beachcomber, wandering the edge of the surf looking for washed up starfish and pearls.  I offset my Santa to the right so that I could add encroaching waves to the right corner.

It isn't obvious from the photo of the full Seeing Stars, but I used the same stitch, a wavy Bargello, for the entire background.  All I did when I got to the edge of the water is switch colors of silk floss and add pearls, clear beads and Swarkovski crystals to the join to indicate foam and washed up pearls.  The sand is Gloriana's "Honey Bronze 107."  The waves are Classic Colorworks' (formerly Crescent Colours)  Belle Soie "Babbling Brook CCS-027."  I should credit the idea for this to Brenda Hart who came up with something similar for a Melissa Shirley Beach Birdhouses canvas for a Bedecked and Beaddazzled embellishment class.  Here is Brenda's version.

Coral Reef Santa (Pat Miller)

Now let's look at Pat Miller's Coral Reef Santa.  Pat didn't add water to her background but the addition of little shaped beads gives me the impression of foam on wet sand around her Santa's feet.  She used a darning stitch background and an open stitch for the mound of wet sand.  Her Santa is centered.  Love those French knot corals, by the way!

Catch of the Day Santa (Sandy Arthur)

Next up on the page is Sandy Arthur's Catch of the Day Santa.  Sandy's Santa is centered on the background with his back to the ocean.  She also used an open darning stitch but it creates the sand while the wavy stitch at the top creates a choppy ocean.   While you are looking, check out the mermaid's hair--genius!

Globe Trotting Santa (Carolyn Taggart)

Carolyn Taggert's Globe Trotting Santa is next.   Her Santa also faces the ocean and is centered on the background.  The sand behind Santa is a  Bargello stitch (which I used) but the water is a random long stitch in an overdyed thread.  Carolyn added movement to the water by staggering the join between sand and surf.  Because both her sand and water stitches are horizontal ones, the join where the two meet is smooth.   By the way, I think the shells, coral and globe Carolyn created in Santa's arms are superb.

Treasure Island Santa (Sharon Quick)

The final stitch guide in the set is for Sharon Quick's Treasure Island Santa.  Sharon also used a wavy Bargello stitch on the background and her Santa also has his back to the water.  The wave in the stitch creates wavy water.  Her sand is quite unusual. It is a mounded shape like most of the other piles of sand but the mix of an overdyed thread (I think) with an open Staggered Cross (I think) creates a lot of movement in the sand.

To sum up, use a wavy stitch of some kind for water, overdyes make both great sand and surf, you can go with either an open stitch or a full coverage stitch for water and sand in backgrounds, create movement by staggering the margin between water and land in some way, and don't be afraid to toss beads and other embellishments around.

Many thanks to my fellow model stitchers for the master class in stitching surf and sand!

And now a word from our sponsor--all the stitch guides and canvases above are available for your favorite shop to order from Leigh Designs.

All the Seashore Santa Models (Sandy Arthur's tag is cut off but hers is the left hand Santa.)

UPDATE:  Thanks to Don Lynch of Associated Talents I have all of the Seashore Santa models from Leigh Designs' booth to show you.  Enjoy!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com
© Copyright June 13, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.