Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Summer Sips Backgrounds

The newest series from Leigh Designs is a set of 4x5 inch ovals called "Summer Sips."   As you would expect, they show eight different summer drinks, all the sort of thing I associate with a trip to the beach.  Six of the series have stitch guides, and you can see photos of those on the Leigh Designs website.

It's those stitched models I want to talk about today since they all have fabulous backgrounds and backgrounds are things many stitchers struggle with.  So why not visit the masters of the art and see what they came up with?  First, let's look at Carolyn Taggart's "Hurricane" and  "Pina Colada."

Hurricane Stitched by Carolyn Taggart

Pina Colada Stitched by Carolyn Taggart

Hurricane has a simple upright stitch that skips a channel. It's small scale and effective since it doesn't fight with the central motif but it does echo the upright shape of the tall drinks glass that is elongated even more by the fruit on the flamingo toothpick.  Pina Colada's background is a simple trellis pattern.  The diamonds formed by the lines crossing look a bit like the paper umbrella, unifying the background with a main part of the design.

Strawberry Daiquiri Stitched by Pat Miller

Pat Miller's "Strawberry Daiquiri" has a very unobtrusive background which appears to be skip tent stitch.  Because the color of the thread is almost exactly the same as the pink canvas in the background, all you see is a little texture, allowing the string of diamonds and pearls to be prominent and setting off the drink with its huge strawberry very nicely.  If you compare the unstitched needlepoint canvas outside the red oval with the stitched background inside the oval, you will see just how much the texture adds to the canvas without really making a loud statement.

Lemon Drop Stitched by Sandy Arthur

Sandy Arthur's "Lemon Drop" also has a very unobtrusive background, a darning stitch that slants / to echo the flow of the lemon slice and flower that decorate her drink.  Sandy use a quiet background stitch that copies the direction the main elements slant.

Cuba Libre Stitched by Sharon Quick

Bloody Mary Stitched by Sharon Quick

Sharon Quick's "Cuba Libre" and "Bloody Mary" have use the same pale pink color in their threads as the background canvas and both have decorative stitches in the background.  The Cuba Libre has a wave stitch which is neutral despite its horizontal orientation because of the up and down movement of the stitch.  This is a nice choice because of the seahorse and the fact that Cuba itself is an island, suggesting waves and a drink to be enjoyed with an ocean view.  The Bloody Mary also has a decorative stitch, this time an eyelet stitch that give the background the sense of oval petaled flowers. Since the Bloody Mary has peppers, celery leaves and an olive as garnishes, it makes sense to have a plant-themed background.  

So all the backgrounds relate in some way to the main theme of the design or echo the direction of the main motifs and all are light coverage.  One last thing I noticed was that all the Summer Sips except the Pina Colada have pink backgrounds that are very close to the background canvas color.  This helps keep the background in the background, even when it is quite fancy like Sharon Quick's wave and floral eyelet backgrounds.

Hopefully this gives you ideas for your next backgrounds.  Thanks very much to the extremely talented team at Leigh Designs!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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