Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Setting the traps
The little Lobsterman nutcracker is finished, and I accomplished my goals!
One of those goals, as you may recall, was to try out a thread new to me. Sometime ago, at a visit to my LNS, the owner excitedly handed me a card of Petite Frosty Rays to try out. He'd been using it on a Cooper Oaks beach scene, and decided it produced the perfect look of wet sand. Being well-stocked with my lighthouse canvases, he thought I might find some use for it.
Petite Frosty Rays, upon closer inspection, was a lot like Flair, which I used eons ago with some success. Stitching with these threads--a nylon/rayon sheath that encases a fine metallic filament--is a lot like stitching with Barbie-doll pantyhose. The metallic filament part turned me off from using it on a lighthouse model, as I like to aim for more realism when stitching those canvases. But in a fantasy piece such as the Lobsterman, I decided a little bit of glitz wouldn't go amiss--and free thread is free thread!
The card specifically states to use short lengths and stitch taut, and as far as thread length is concerned, Rainbow Gallery isn't kidding! The area of sand was too small to use my "sand and snow stitch" from a previous posting, so I worked it in a horizontal diagonal cashmere. Does my sand look "wet"? I think so. Will I run out and buy another card anytime soon? Probably not. I used almost the entire card (six yards) for this small area--not terribly economical.
Once the sand was in place, I used DMC #3 perle cotton to stitch the boots--each side three rows of gobelin stitch over three threads, with the toes in a satin stitch. Then it was time to stitch the traps themselves, and those little devils gave me fits!
On a doodle canvas, I tried seven different combinations of threads to achieve the color of wood weathered by salt water and air as well as the texture of wood. I finally settled on a curious marriage of one strand of DMC #5 perle cotton #414 (gray) and one strand of a tan Impressions. The outside of the traps were worked in a modified gobelin stitch; two plies of DMC cotton floss in long stitches produced the netting, against a background of floss stitched in basketweave.
I'm happy with the way this replacement model worked out--different from the original on 18-count canvas in both stitches and threads, but I'm now more familiar with what does and doesn't work on 13-count canvas!