Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Bluebonnet Tartan/Plaid: Another adaptation!

To be an "official tartan," a pattern has to be registered, and I was surprised to see that all 50 states in the U.S.A. have one!

This is the "Bluebonnet" tartan for Texas, and I think it's a beauty. Even though it has five colors plus the white lines, it's rather simple to set up on needlepoint canvas. However, due to the pattern elements being larger, it's not quite as versatile as the Alpine Meadows, but on larger canvas would make a stunning pillow or tote bag.

When I plotted it out on 18 mesh canvas, it was 6 1/4" from the edge of one light blue square to the other (meaning on both sides of the dark blue stripe) In plain words - stopping just before the red stripes. I had to stop where I did because I had picked up a little scrap of canvas that wasn't quite long enough to accomodate.

On this one, the white is a little bit wider than it was on the green one, so I was able to make it 2 threads wide. The green stripe, therefore, looks correct at 4 threads wide, and the blue ones are 7. Yellow and red are 2 each. This makes the white/red/white stripe larger in proportion to the blue ones than they are on the actual tartan, but I think it will work. I made the blue stripes only 7 threads wide, as 9 was entirely too much, and the pattern would have been huge, and also tiresome to stitch.

Incidentally, the formula for figuring the size of these for each different canvas mesh is simple: just multiply the inches (6.25 in this case) x the mesh (18) and then divide that answer by the mesh size you want to use - on 13 mesh, this measurement would come to 8.65" and on 10 mesh, 11.25". This is only the measurement, remember, from light blue stripe edge to the opposite side- so would be a lovely pillow on 10 mesh canvas if more stripes are included.

I liked the idea of adding another dark blue plus a bit of green to edge what I'm doing, (the arrow points) but, once again, I picked up a piece of already cut canvas, and it isn't quite big enough to do what I intended. It's wider than it is tall, so I couldn't make a square, and had to choose where to place the dominant pattern element (The dark blue stripe).

This was easy, as I just used the strip of canvas with the stripes marked in color (Sharpie drawing pens) and moved it up and down until I was happy with the arrangement.

To do this tartan (or any tartan), first determine what size the finished piece will be, and cut canvas to accomodate it. Mark the center at the top by folding it in half - in this case, mark in the GROOVE, as the center stripe, the green one, is four threads - an even number.

Then mark a line across the top with a black drawing pen, and proceed to mark the colored stripes with colored pens. Draw the vertical right edge AFTER you've marked all the stripes. I changed the colors a bit with my thread choices (DMC floss on this one), as the Texas bluebonnet actually has a lot of purple in it.

After all my life seeing fields and fields of bluebonnets (briefly in the early spring) and picking them in my back yard, I didn't realize this until I started mixing paint when I was painting decorative accessories for the gift shop at the Wildflower Research Center. LOTS of purple. I worked from a real flower sitting in a little vase of water on my table. Also, I changed the red stripe to "burgundy," as there are burgundy spots here and there in the bluebonnet that people aren't aware of until studying this flower up close.

I'm also thinking of the pretty Drummond's phlox that blooms at the same time, and is seen scattered in beds with the bluebonnets at the Wildflower Center. They are red, but have a bluish cast. (The red red is the Gaillardia and the Mexican Hat.)

Now that this is done, here is progress on the Alpine Meadows tartan! I'm really enjoying this one.

When asked why not paint plaid onto canvas, I say because I don't want to mix so many different colors. In a true plaid, wherever two stripes cross, another color is created. I counted 14 on this one, just being curious. (It has five colors)

A pattern resembling plaid can be painted - but not a true one, unless one stitch paints the little intersections, which would take forever and make the canvas very expensive at retail level.

Now - for next time, on with the Angels!! (reviving and revising old ones and creating new ones) I'm being prodded hard and often by a delightful and talented friend who has graciously offered to stitch a model or two for me. This induces designer paralysis in me, as I'm afraid she won't like what I do, and will be too polite to say so.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Isn't it astonishing how when you really pay attention to something, you can discover that the colour or the shape isn't quite what you've always thought it was..!