Sunday, May 25, 2008
A Peacock from Gail
As I began stitching on this gorgeous, thing, it really brought home the importance (and enjoyment) of working on a well prepared needlepoint canvas. This, from Gail Hendrix (see her blog here) http://squiggeedesigns.blogspot.com is stitch painted, and almost perfectly symmetric - which makes it incredibly easy and relaxing. I dumped out my stash to choose theads - the colors are amazing on it - and have found almost everything I need. A pattern this "busy" can't take textured stitches, but is most effective done in just plain basketweave. It is the selection of threads that has been the challenge. I wanted to have a variety of textures, but even that must be kept simple and to a minimum. I am using the Petite Very Velvet (Rainbow Gallery) for the body and the outer background - so also used Kreinik metallic gold 002V, as it is very nice against the matte of the velvet. Surprisingly, I found almost every color I need in the "eyes" of the feathers in YLI ribbon floss. It has a great sheen, a little shinier than silk, and except for one, no sparkle on this one. I have seen too many times people choosing threads simply because the color is right, but in the end, the piece is overwhelmed with too much fuzz, sparkle, hairy stuff, etc., and ruined. The eye can't settle anywhere - and the effect of the design is lost. The exception I've made here is the use of "bump" stitches, which I wouldn't have done if the design hadn't been painted almost perfectly symmetric. Everywhere I see a little area of four square stitches, I put a smyrna cross - and because of the symmetry, it is balanced, and the eye isn't distracted, but rather encounters some interest and variation. On the breast of the bird, I'm using Splendor silk with a strand of blending filament, as I wanted a bit of sparkle here along with the matte sheen of the silk. I will use beads on it, but in a minimum amount - just as Gail has the dots painted. A few on the breast, and some on the white area at the bottom. Using too many beads on this, as I had originally planned, would make entirely too much distraction from the pattern itself. It would look jumbled, I think. Anyway, I can't remember when I have enjoyed working on a piece of needlepoint this much. First - I didn't have to paint it myself, so I'm not sick of looking at it. Second, the colors are delicious, and it is so well painted on canvas, I don't have to think at all about where to put the next stitch. It's good to be aware of this when you are shopping for a new canvas - look carefully to see if it is well painted, and no lines in the space between the canvas threads instead of on them - it really makes a difference! There are a number of bird ornaments in Gail's line of designs - and Pat, of Needleartnut is now showing the stitching in progress of a wonderful blue-jay ornament - do tune in and watch that process. I intend to, as I might learn something new!! I forgot to mention that this is a "rollie," and will be finished as a cylindrical ornament for the Christmas tree, or to just sit on a shelf or table. Lovely thing, it is!