Saturday, July 18, 2020

Wrestling with Pharaoh's Background

The last time I showed you Pharaoh, I was basketweaving the statue and trying to figure out how to stitch the cream and gold striped background.  The black areas on the statue took a long time as I had to stitch them during the day when I don't really have stitching time. I find black on black (and navy on navy) too difficult to do after dark, even with good lighting.  So I stitched a length of thread each day in the daytime, which is all I have time for.  But the statue is finally done.  More on him in a minute.  Let's talk about the background of the canvas now.

Background Auditions
I knew I wanted to use DMC's cotton floss in ecru but I had no idea what stitch would look best.  I needed something smooth and on a small scale that wouldn't outshine the statue or the fan.  I needed a background stitch that would stay in the background and not try to overshadow anything.  So I did some testing of various background stitch that are small and not overpowering.  That's the mess in the margins.

I ended up with two stitches that I liked and tested on the canvas itself.  The top stitch is Double Hungarian, stitched with three plies of the cotton floss.  It is in rows like the stripes are painted but the gold paint shows through and it seems a little too busy now that I've stitched a few rows.

The bottom stitch is Byzantine 2 which I found in Ruth Schmuff's iStitches Volume One.  It is a smaller version of regular Byzantine stitch which normally is over 3 or more threads.  You can see the stitch and other variations of Byzantine diagrammed on Susan Robert's Needlepoint Teacher website. She calls it Byzantine Variation 1.

I ended up using Byzantine 2 (also called Byzantine Variation 1) with my three plies of DMC cotton floss in ecru.

Cream and Gold Area Done

As a finishing touch, I backstitched the "ditch" between the rows of the Byzantine stitch with gold Bijoux, which is a very thin gold metallic.  That adds a touch of subtle gold in keeping with the original cream and gold paint job.  Note that I ripped out the cream area at the top of the ornament and restitched it as lime.  I didn't think the compensation of the Byzantine stitch at the top would look good.

Original Unstitched Canvas

As a reminder, here is how the design was originally painted by Leigh Designs.  You can see I adjusted the cream areas to work with my vision of Pharaoh.

Next time I'll finish the statue and add a special touch, then tackle the feather fan.

By the way, I have listed all the postings about this design on the Chilly Hollow Stitch Guides blog so you can easily follow along as I blog stitch this.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright July 4, 2020 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.