Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Up close and personal
I have three goals for this project: (1) to try familiar threads in a different way; (2) to try at least one new thread; and (3) to pull all threads from my stash. That being said....
When I work on a canvas that features the face of a person, I like to do the face first--that way I have someone looking at me and cheering me on as I progress. This little guy wasn't designed as a sinister Ancient Mariner--he's the quintessential dead-pan Downeasterner. Stitching faces on 13-count canvas in the past, I used DMC #3 perle cotton. Okay, but a little rough around the edges. So I decided to try DMC cotton floss, using 8 plies, for the face in basketweave except for the nose and cheeks in a satin stitch. My first experiment succeeded.
Before I could stitch the moustache and beard, I needed to pick a thread and stitch for the fellow's slicker. Piece of cake: in my stash was an unopened skein of Silk & Ivory "Big Canary " (think Big Bird from Sesame Street). Silk & Ivory works beautifully on 13-count canvas, even in a Nobuko stitch, which I decided to use for the main part of the slicker.
When I'd stitched enough of the slicker around the face, I then needed to choose a thread and stitch for the beard and moustache. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: No 50/50 silk/wool blends are created equal. Silk & Ivory is a 50/50 blend, but so, too, is Felicity's Garden--about half the thickness of S & I and heathery in appearance. So I combined one strand of Felicity's Garden "Granite" (a dark gray) and one strand of "Baby Squirrel" (a lighter, brownish gray) to stitch his forelock, eyebrows and moustache. The beard was stitched with the same combination of threads in an upright gobelin stitch--twice, going down through the same holes, to give it more prominence. I could have used Silk & Ivory for these areas also, but the lighter-weight Felicity's Garden gives them a finer, hair-like appearance.
Next up: choosing a thread for the sky!