Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taking it from the top

I just bet a lot of you are saying right now. "Yup, she's needle-blending again!" With such an expanse of sky behind Les Eclaireurs lighthouse, I really didn't want to miss the opportunity.

I certainly don't subscribe to the "my way or the highway" school of thought when it comes to stitching, and I've seen skies stitched any number of ways--some really good, some not so good. When the canvas area in a design permits it, I choose needle-blending for a number of reasons.

First, it's easy to do. Anyone who can basketweave can needle-blend: it's just a matter of combining different colors when you've stripped and re-assembled your plies of floss. It's also economical, since floss is one of the least expensive threads available.

Needle-blending, I think, produces a more realistic-looking sky--it stays in the background, where it belongs, while providing additional depth to the design. And it lets the main element of the design--in this case the lighthouse--take center stage.

I began stitching this design at the top of the canvas, using four plies of DMC floss #3755, and ending at the top of the gallery surrounding the lantern room. I then introduced DMC floss #3325, switching the combination of plies every six rows deep, using the following formula:

Row 2: DMC floss #3755- 3 plies; DMC floss #3325 - 1 ply
Row 3: DMC floss #3755 - 2 plies; DMC floss #3325 - 2 plies
Row 4: DMC floss #3755 - 1 ply; DMC floss #3325 - 3 plies
Row 5: DMC floss #3325 - four plies

It's been pretty hot and humid around here the last several days, and I began suffering from sticky fingers, so I switched over to work on the lighthouse. DMC #5 perle cotton #310 in tent and satin stitches formed the lantern room and gallery. The top of the tower was worked in slanted gobelin stitches with DMC #5 perle cotton #321.

I wanted the stitch for the rest of the tower to simulate the look of brick, so I used a cashmere variation two threads high and four threads wide. It doesn't matter that my bricks are an even number of threads wide when the design area is an uneven number, since the lighthouse itself is conical.

Next, I'll finish off needle-blending the sky and begin on the white areas.


Cool City Stitcher said...

Thanks for sharing your 'recipe.' I love your technique for stitching water and sky.

Edy said...

Could you send me your mail address? I have a couple of pictures of the Bermuda light houses - St Davids and Gibbs. My son and DIL lived there for four years and he is a fairly good photographer.