Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tweaking as I go along

As DH was taking the photo of the Baltimore row house canvas that I showed in my last blog, he remarked casually, "You didn't add any dentil moulding to the top of the building." "You didn't have any in your drawing," I replied. "No," he said, "but I'll probably carve some when I build my version."

After deleting a few expletives, I counted the canvas threads between the capstones. Yes! I hadn't painted the dentils, but I sure as heck could stitch them! So the cast-iron trim at the top was worked in DMC #5 perle cotton white and #415 in a combination of tent, mosaic, and slanted gobelin stitches.

For the marble trim around the windows, I chose white DMC floss. I'd initially thought of blending in a ply or two of gray to simulate the look of veining, but some experimenting on doodle canvas only produced some dirty-looking marble.

Choosing a thread for the bricks was easy: my hands-down favorite for bricks is Sheep's Silk "Lingonberry," a silk/wool blend with a subtle overdye. The stitch I'm using is a diagonal vertical oblong cross with the canvas turned 90 degrees. The design shows one full and two partial housing units, but butting the bricks together on doodle canvas didn't provide a distinct line between these areas. So I added the line with a single row of tent stitches using DMC floss #919. Another instance in which it pays not to paint a master for a design until you've stitched a model!

For once, I let DH do all the research for this design, so I wasn't aware of the unique screens sported by these homes until Cyn Davis of Maryland left a link in her recent comment:

It seems William Oktavec, a Czechoslovakian immigrant, began painting brightly colored designs and scenes on the window screens of row houses in Baltimore in 1913. Painted on the outside only, the screens allowed residents to look out but prohibited passers-by from looking inside unless there was a light source in the room. Check out this link to find out more about The Painted Screen Society of Baltimore!

Now to get back to brick-laying!


Cool City Stitcher said...

This is looking good! I love the history lessons you provide.

Tara said...

Oh yes! You have to include a painted screen. I'm also a Marylander (family from Dundalk) and it never occurred to me that you were leaving that out of the design.

Popular scenes are pastoral or nautical.

Needle Nicely said...

What a painless way to learn history. Thank you!

mskathk said...

So very interesting. Thank you for sharing the link.

Anonymous said...

The addition of the dental molding really makes the building come alive! I'm glad DH pointed it out to you. I've never heard of screen painting so this was a wonderful touch of history for me. Can't wait to see what you come up with.