Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stitching the ANG 2012 Stitch of the Month

I have a confession to make. I'm not a heart person. The shape really doesn't appeal to me when it comes to stitching, and in general I guess. So I was a bit disappointed when the mystery Stitch of the Month project was revealed to be a stylized heart shape. Sigh. What was I going to do? After much thought, and discovering from reading the discussion boards that I wasn't alone, I've decided to just do a stitch sampler, 3 x 4 blocks, using as many threads from my stash as possible, supplemented with new threads to complete the colorway.

To begin, I found a card of Patina, which is similar to Panache, the first thread used. Then I searched through my stash to find a variety of threads that fit the description, e.g., a round thread equivalent to a #5 pearl in thickness, shiny if possible. What I came up with were a Thread Gatherer Silken Pearl, DMC #5 Perle Coton, Rainbow Gallery Fiesta and Grandeur, and DMC #8 Perle Coton. I went a little thinner on a couple of the threads to see what the effect would be, and added in the stranded rayon for another bit of flexibility. Then I set to stitching, and this is what I got.

The colors are dark blue, medium thyme green, lavender, purple, and medium gray on the bottom. I stitched the swatches on brown canvas to be able to gauge how much canvas would show through with the different threads. In pulling threads, I discovered how much I use purple! This also has decided my colorway for me. I'm going to use primarily purples of various shades with a dash of that thyme green. And I'll stitch the actual piece on either sage green or lavender 18-ct canvas.

I found the T-Stitch a quick and easy stitch. It's a variation of the tent stitch, but oh so much less tedious! (I'm not a fan of tent, continental, or basketweave, could you tell?) Here are closer looks at the individual stitched swatches:

You can't really see the sheen of the Patina (top). Panache has the same look but may be slightly thicker. Beneath that is #8 Perle Coton, which gives a more open look. Neither one covers the canvas completely. The middle swatches are the Silken Pearl (SNP; left) and #5 Perle Coton. The SNP gives an even more open, lacier look, which I rather like. The #5 covers much more than even the Patina and is nubbier. For the Fiesta (left in the bottom picture), I used three plies, which gives a similar effect to #8 Perle and SNP. I attempted to just use the strand as it came off the card, but it wasn't a happy experience, so I switched to the smaller bundle. (I took no pains with laying this, as I was pretty sure I wasn't going to enjoy the experience of stitching regardless of the look.) I like the way the Grandeur filled better than the #5 Perle. It was less bumpy, being a finer twist. My preference for stitching with silk was once again confirmed by this exercise.

So what did I decide on? That Silken Pearl in Dried Thyme. I just like the lacy look of it. I also like that color, and it will look wonderful on either the sage green or the lavender. It will recede on the green, of course, and really pop on the lavender.

I think I'll wait to see what the next couple of stitches are before I start stitching on the actual sampler. I'll do some more swatch work with the next two installments to get a feel for the threads, see how the colors are ranging. I may end up using all different colors and not stick to the monochromatic-with-an-accent scheme I'm considering right now. It will be my own little crazy quilt of a design. At some point I'll have to come up with a sashing and border concept I suppose.

Who knows? I may end up with a bunch of swatches to use for reference and no real project at all. My 2012 Stitch of the Month Odyssey has begun, and it could end up almost anywhere.

What are you going to do? If you're not interested in doing the mystery project but still want to stitch along with everyone, e-mail me and let me know if I can help with thread selection or anything else.

Sara Leigh