Friday, December 5, 2008

Auditioning Threads and Stitches

How do you adapt a two-dimensional line drawing to a three-dimensional medium like needlepoint? Simple: Add texture! And the easiest way to add texture is by choice of threads and stitches. Color, in the case of my current project, is a given: black and white. But how can you add depth with such a limited palette?

When I'm picking out threads and stitches, I like to think of myself as a casting director for a film. There are various roles to fill, some more crucial than others, but all hopefully ending in an ensemble cast. One of the crucial roles in this new project is that of the skyscrapers, which account for about one-third of the entire canvas. This is a part calling for a tried-and-true veteran: Petite Very Velvet by Rainbow Gallery, in black V601.

I have to admit, this is one of my most favorite threads. It's played a comedic role as a penguin body, modeled by Pipeline, one of the "Penguins on Parade," and the role of a heavy in the docudrama "Versailles," one of the "Eggs for All Seasons." In each part, when stitched in basketweave, this thread has achieved a seamless, stitchless performance. Just what I want in the skyscrapers--a dull, flat black that looms without overpowering the scene below.

For the sky, I chose DMC cotton floss in Blanc and #310. The horizontal lines, intersected by single diagonal rows, would play perfectly with a gobelin stitch over three threads. I could have chosen silk, but I didn't. There's a lot of sky up there, folks, and I've been told there's an economic crisis. Why buy brand when the generic will do just as well?

Those of you checking the photo from the last post may be wondering, "Why is this crazy lady stitching the black thread before the white?" I know, it goes against most of what all of us have been taught about needlepoint: always stitch the lighter colors first. But that's one of the beauties of Petite Very Velvet. It has a nice, hard bite when it wraps around the canvas, and if you catch your beginning tail of thread properly, you won't see the PVV raising its little head among the white strands later on. In fact, I've used PVV so often, I prefer the look created when the floss nestles against it. If you prefer to stitch the white first, fine! But I don't recommend switching back and forth. You will probably see a very different appearance if you vary the sequence in using the two threads.

There are many other parts yet to cast--supporting actors and "cameo" appearances--and I'll talk about them in order of appearance as they debut on the stage.


Possibilities, Etc. said...

I love this - and of course your artwork. As for stitching white first - that's just common sense, as the white wants to pull dark colored fibers up when it lies next to an area of dark - making it look dirty. I discovered that the hard way. On stocking cuffs, red letters against white look quite messy around the edges if white is done last. This post is great!! Carry on.

goooooood girl said...
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Love to Stitch 99 said...

I love your analogies which make the task at hand seems so much more fun. For some reason, I don't particularly enjoy that. I have often heard that many people enjoy this part the best. I may be the exception that confirms the rule. We always need one of those (grinning).

Napa Needlepoint said...

I'm with you PVV us one of my favorite threads, I just love the way texture disappears when you use it and it often ends up looking like a solid, sometimes textures fabric.

Great choice for the skyscrapers!

Keep Stitching,

Anonymous said...

I love how you choose the type of thread and color to use for each section of the piece. I'm learning so much from your posts. I look forward to seeing many more.