Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Stitching

Last week I had four days off of work. I didn't just sit and stitch (really), but I did have a project and goals. In the next couple of weeks I'm getting together with friends for some belated birthday lunches and needed gifts, so I made a towel for each friend featuring birthday month. My goal was one a day...I didn't quite make it. I'm still using what's upstairs and handy and most of my thread is in the basement. I had everything I needed except for black for the cat. I braved a gusty storm on Monday to get that and finished up the four towels. Phew!On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I started off my project with this turkey. I stitched all of the towels with DMC perle 5. Probably not my first choice, but it was handy and I really ended up liking it. The stitching, mostly outline, is very dimensional. For this design, I stitched the leaves in backstitch and the rest in outline.February came next. For this one I stitched the ruffle around the heart in split stitch. It is not the best stitch with perle in my opinion, but I wanted the line to be less firm and more, well, ruffly, and the split stitch did that. It was also easier to maneuver around the curved shapes.July gave me fits. So far, I'd gotten away with outlines, but if I just outlined the stripes, they would just be a mass of confusing thin lines. And the stars were gray, the color of the transfer. So I outlined each stripe, staying to the "inside" of the line for each red stripe. Then I filled in with chain stitch. It's pretty heavy but okay. I tried doing the stars in white and outlining them or filling in the background in blue but it was awful. So, I pulled it all out and made the stars in blue.

I used the star stitch from the Kissing Pillow chart to stitch each star. I gave it a nice shape and a bit of an open center on some (hard with a tiny shape and such thick thread). I stitched the fireworks using whipped back stitch with some French knots. Again, backstitch is not a stitch I would usually use with perle cotton--it looks very wiggly because of the sheen of the fiber. But it worked quite well, I think, for fireworks. I did some of the smaller ones in plain backstitch.October came last. I liked this one a lot and had fun with it. The turkey's eye is a French knot but I stitched the eyes of the doves in February and the cat's eyes with a granitos stitch and I like the shape it gave. Just not quite round.

You can find really good instructions and tips for these stitches at Mary Corbet's website, Needle 'n Thread. I found myself recalling a lot of her tips as I stitched this weekend.


Rachel said...

Looks like you've had a lot of busy fun with these. Perle isn't always an easy thread to stitch with, but it does help speed the work along!

terryb said...

I like to work with pearl as well, but seldom with No. 5. Even for hardanger, I usually work with 8 and 12. For blackwork and redwork, I like the 12 which is a bit more substantial than multiple strands of floss, but still lightweight enough to work easily with. Of course, if I were doing shaded blackwork and were approaching it seriously, I think I would opt for the collection of silk threads assembled by Leon Conrad (Mary Corbet discusses it in her 2-24-10 blog). Wouldn't that be a nice addition to stash?