Saturday, May 08, 2010

DMC Memory Thread: Creating "Coral"

I had already stitched a "blank" when I ran out of steam and out of time when I was creating the Coral Reef series - which is the feature of my article in the new issue of Needlepoint Now. I just received my advance copy, and Elizabeth B. has a way of making my little projects look better on paper than "in person."

Anyway - that, combined with some new underwater pictures I found, motivated me to dig in the stash for this one, dump out threads, and get started on a new piece. The background is worked in Nobuko stitch with DMC floss - a blue in two shades that aren't too far apart in value, and done with "needle blending" (Anne Stradal taught me). You can see the divisions marked on the side on the canvas - they're about 11 threads each. The sand is worked in horizontal diagonal cashmere stitch.

I have put up a tutorial on the method of using the DMC Memory thread on Freebies, Etc., as it took me a while to work it out, myself - trial and error. (mostly error and frustration in the beginning, but being determined, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong - so now it's rather easy!)This coral was created as the result of a picture I saw that had really gorgeous, bright colors - and the yellow is was exactly the color of the Memory Thread in my stash - as well as the peach for accents. The "polyps" are French Knots made with a variegated pearl cotton by DMC.

I always place the main elements first - usually a coral, a spray of seaweed, and a "critter." Then I can work around these, adding one thing and one color at a time, as any pre-conceived plan with color choices never seems to work.

As for the creature in this one, I had the bright idea, after studying pictures of sea urchins, to do a different kind of woven "spider web." Instead of the "ribbed" version, where one goes back over one and forward under two, I decided after looking at this beautiful thread, to try making the thread stay on top of the ribs - going back over two and forward under one. Doing this is going counter clock-wise instead of the usual clock-wise motion.

The thread was in one of Sharon B.'s gorgeous hand dyed hanks, (Pintangle) and actually has some very fine, variegated color metallic spun through it - about the weight of blending filament. Normally I wouldn't use metallics on these, but this seemed to fit. The texture seems to be a wool/silk combo from the feel of it, and it has a ropy twist, which makes an interesting surface.

I'm anxious to try this one with something smoother and see what it looks like. I figure that someone else has probably also developed this stitch - and it probably has a long, elaborate name, but this is how these things come to be. More on this one as it progresses.


Anne Stradal said...

I love your little critter!

Rachel said...

I've not seen that sort of spider-stitch in any of my (very long)bookshelf-full of embroidery books, so you may have come up with an unpublished variation there!