Monday, July 5, 2010
Amber waves of grain
I thought it was pretty appropriate that I was stitching shafts of wheat on the Fourth of July! In researching photos of wheat on the internet to determine how best to stitch this area, I came across some interesting facts.
The Kansas wheat crop, primarily of winter wheat, averages 300 million bushels a year. In nine out of 10 years, it leads the U.S. in wheat production, bested only by North Dakota in that odd year.
But I get ahead of myself: before I could stitch the wheat, I needed to stitch the background! Denise DeRusha's painted canvas has a wash of pale green in spots that I found attractive and wanted to keep, but how? The center background sections of the other two postcards I've stitched are needle-blended, but using successive values of one color family of floss. I decided to perform an experiment, using three shades of floss of similar intensity but different color families entirely. The result is a little like swirling pistachio ice cream into French vanilla and topping the confection with whipped cream!
I used DMC floss #772 (pistachio), #3047 (French vanilla), and #746 (whipped cream), turning the canvas upside-down and working toward the horizon. I began with two plies of green and vanilla, graduated to four full plies of vanilla, then back to adding green where the canvas was painted that way. Then I started fading to vanilla again, using one ply each of green and vanilla with two plies of whipped cream, ending at the horizon with four plies of whipped cream. I'd never tried this before, but am so happy with the results, I may just try it again!
I then added the wheat, using Sheep's Silk "Gingersnaps," a 50/50 silk-wool blend, in a combination of stem and satin stitches. The little houses on the prairie were added in a Scotch stitch variation with floss. All that remain now are the sunflowers and tornado, and I'll be finished!