Thursday, March 3, 2016

Inching Along...

This past weekend I decided to pull out a small Sandra Gilmore painted canvas that I had been working on last year, but got stalled with it and put it aside to work on other counted pieces.  It's called NANTUCKET, and it looks like this:

I'm in love with all of Sandra's garden canvases, and this one appealed to me because of the bold turquoise gate, as well as all the flowers.  And it is small, approx. 8" by 10", so how hard could it be to finish, right?  Ha, ha.... Joke's on me, because there are dozens of colors in the flowers and greenery, so it turns out to be more involved than I expected.

In a canvas like this, I like to start with the background areas... which means stitching the wall, the shadows, the foliage, and the sky. ( By the way, since this design was painted on "vintage" canvas that is blue with parchmenty blue sections showing thru, I decided to add a few clouds floating by,  picking out the lighter blue areas on my canvas and turning them into clouds.)

Then on to the focal points, which are the garden gate and all the flowers.   The gate was easy enough (diagonal satin stitch done in silk Splendors), but the flowers required a bit more thought.  What stitches to put where?  And what type of thread?  I started making the flowers with variegated DMC floss, which has lovely variegated pinks and yellows.  But the softness and fineness of the cotton floss just didn't stand out on top of the foliage (which had the upper leaves stitched with variegated ThreadworX floss).  So I decided to try the shiny rayon Ribbon Floss to see if they would add more shine to my flowers.  I started on the left side of the canvas and made all the tall yellow flowers with long bullion stitches.  With lots of overlapping bullions, here's what they look like up close:

And yippee!  The Ribbon Floss did give the flowers a discreet shine, so I decided to stitch with Ribbon Floss for all the rest of the flowers.

This past weekend I wanted to push on and get more of the flowers stitched, so I moved over to the lower left side of the canvas to work on those flowers.  I used 1 strand of Ribbon Floss for the smaller pink lupines (?) as indicated by the pink arrow.   Then when I started stitching the tall blue delphiniums, I realized that 1 strand of Ribbon Floss was too small, so I tried doubling my thread in the needle, and made lots of sloppy, loose french knots with 2 strands of Ribbon Floss (where the blue arrow is pointing) - and voila! - the flowers had the bigger, looser look I wanted!

Then I had to figure out what to do with the purple hydrangea heads.  I didn't want to make any more french knots (had enough of those!).... so I decided to try massing irregular cross stitches - some 2x2, some 1x2, and just mix them up.  I also stitched them in more shiny Ribbon Floss, and to "floof" them up a bit I stitched each cross stitch twice, one on top of the other, as the purple arrow shows.  I even sprinkled a few french knots around the hydrangeas (you can see them in the upper, smaller masses, but I haven't added them to the larger, lower mass).  

Whew! By the end of Sunday, I was tired of making french knots and needed to put this project aside.  Now, the only thing I have left to figure out is how/what to do with the climbing roses.  Bullions? Satin Stitches?  Can't decide... but I'm sure I'll figure something out, so I can get this piece finished, the stitch guide done, and finally move on to something new!  

No comments: