Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A limitless sky

After my last post, in which I introduced my new Sanibel Island, Florida, lighthouse ornament design, I received a question from Pierrette Pattyn. She asked what my ideal lighthouse would be, if I could control all the elements of the design. Her question really got me thinking, and prompted me to go back into my file of lighthouse photos to review what I had done.

What struck me most was the way in which I had approached stitching skies. Probably my favorite is the one I did for the Portland Head, Maine, lighthouse as an insert for a Sudberry House pencil box (top left). I stitched this sky in basketweave over a solid blue canvas using four shades of blue DMC cotton floss. Starting at the top with the darkest shade of blue, I "built in" clouds, varying the cloud layers by alternating light and dark shades of blue from the same family.

I was able to use this technique again in stitching the New London Ledge lighthouse in my home state of Connecticut (top right). Because this canvas was designed for a Sudberry House bookend, I had more room to play around with the sky. For the Bass Harbor Head, Maine, bookend insert (bottom left), I used four different shades of blue DMC floss but layered the shades randomly in basketweave, with the darkest shade at the top graduating to the lightest shade at the horizon.

And, just to keep myself humble, I've posted a photo of a "lighthouse ornament gone wrong"--Heceta Head lighthouse in Oregon (bottom right). The lighthouse itself is accurately represented, but my choice of stitch--jacquard--in a solid shade of DMC floss is a prime example of messing up a canvas by using a decorative stitch that isn't the slightest bit realistic! My only excuse for over-engineering this canvas is that I did it in 2002, and I've learned a heck of a lot since then!

Now I'll go back to needle-blending the Sanibel Island lighthouse sky, so you can have something to look at in my next post!


Love to Stitch 99 said...


I really love the Portland Head Maine the best as it has more of the elements I like.

If it had been a fictional one, I would have liked to see flowers in the trees like we can see in Spring, also flowers on the ground, a few birds, perhaps a sailboat on the ocean, etc.

That is why I said I would need a big canvas with lots of room to put all this on.

I like the house and picket fence instead than just a lighthouse like we so often see when visiting lighthouses.

Love your sky too in that one.

Pierrette =^..^=

Anonymous said...

I love all the lighthouses you do, but really love the first one the best! There are few lighthouses that have houses attached so you get to see much more is this one. They don't feel quite so lonely.

The sky is perfect! Love the way you stitched the clouds and sky. It's been a long time since I was in New England.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

LOL that jacquard stitch looks like hot weather lightening. You've come a long way baby!! Your needle blended skies are fabulous. Simplicity is great! damn you're good. Textured stitches can be very distracting.