Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Trellis Stitch

I was flummoxed by the name "trellis" stitch.  The samples I found surely didn't look like a trellis to me at all.  So I did something I've never done for either the TAST or the 2008 challenge:  I did a practice panel.  Here it is, completed just after Valentine's Day when Sharon first posted the assignment:

I watched the videos Sharon provided on her blog and decided to work squares instead of circles.  I'm a linear thinker so it just seemed easier to me if I could try duplicating the rectangular samples offered up in the videos.

I varied the weight of the fiber, because initially I couldn't see how this stitch could be varied very much.  I thought I could get different effects on my panel if I simply changed the type of threads I chose.

Lo!  Spacing the stitches far apart using fine thread clearly showed a trellis effect.  Note:  It's impossible to space the stitches using fine thread close together.  You won't be able to see the bridge stitches in order to work the succeeding stitches.

That said and done, I confess I am having difficulty with this assignment.  If I work the stitches with large spaces between them, it is very hard to control the knotting and consequently the regularity of the fiber length in each stitch.  But now that I've got some ideas, I'll start stitching on the panel and see what evolves.  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Depressing Lace

Well, I finished my lace panel on time but I failed to post in a timely fashion.  This was partly due to my Internet service provider not providing, partly due to my disappointment with the overall attempt.

Here's the panel, more or less.

First off, working on the tulle was not as difficult as I thought it would be.  In fact, after the first few minutes of stitching, I hardly noticed it at all.  I back-light the canvas to make the holes more obvious, so that probably helped obscure the surface tulle.  And as long as I did not have to rip any stitches, it was like working on the plain Aida cloth. 

However, I am unhappy with the panel for a number of reasons.  First, I didn't think through the design adequately.  I wanted the panel to look like the corner of a lace curtain.  But I kept trying different stitch variations so the piece doesn't hang together the way I wanted it to.

I am happiest with the top rows, which look most like the chicken scratch stitch.  I also think the large chicken scratch stitches along the right hand side best exemplify what I was trying to achieve with the piece - the look of lace.

The two flowers look out of place because I used only one-sixth of a chicken scratch stitch (or a half cross stitch).   I thought about doing these over immediately after I finished them, but I was afraid I might damage the tulle if I tried ripping them out, so I let them be.  And I thought that I could integrate them into the lower part of the panel better than I did. 

I really dislike the way the woven thread work turned out.  I have curtains of lace with a honeycomb weave, and that is the look I was trying for.  But I think the woven threads are too thick and the honeycomb does not integrate well with the rest of the motifs in the panel.

That said, here's the do over if I ever decide to make lace instead of going to the store and buying it (Ha! Not a chance):  Work the entire panel in one strand of floss using the woven (honeycomb) stitch.  Then, work the top motif along the top and the right hand side, over the base woven stitches.  Integrate the motif that appears on the right hand side throughout the rest of the panel.  Omit the flowers. I think by laying down the base of woven stitches, and then working the motifs over them, I would have gotten the lace look I was trying for.

For the moment, I am letting the panel "rest."  I am toying with the idea of somehow spiffing it up a bit with beads or maybe gussying up the flowers or ripping out the woven stitches... Sigh!  I just need some time to decide what level of fiber surgery is necessary to save the life of of this lace.  Readers suggestions are certainly welcome.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Flowers It Is

After mulling over a modern look for my chicken scratch panel, I decided to consult some of the needlework books I have in my library to see if I could find any patterns for flowers that used cross stitch.  Well, there were a lot of them actually, but I settled on one likely candidate and went to work.  Instead of using the double cross stitch that makes up chicken scratch border, I used a half cross stitch and varied the direction in each petal to give the flower a bit of interest.  I also wanted the flowers to stand out from the borders, so changing the stitch was one way to do this.

After completing the first flower, I realized that I needed to give the petals more weight.  Using one strand of floss as I had for the border resulted in a flimsy flower.  It looked like it didn't belong in the panel.  Not wanting to rip it out and work it again, I went back over the stitches with a second strand of floss and that seemed to fix the problem.  The second flower was done first time around with two floss strands.  I am not sure I am completely happy with them, but I am letting them percolate in my mind before I change them in any way.

I wanted to put a side border on the panel, to mimic what I might see in a curtain.  I toyed with the idea of just turning the top border and working it vertically, but since part of the challenge is to explore, I thought using a different stitch might be interesting.  (Side note:  Interesting is a word used to describe something that 1) doesn't quite work, 2) is outright goofy but the viewer is too polite to say so, or 3) genuinely innovative and so unique the viewer needs time to digest what she's seeing.  Number three is definitely out!)  Here's where I'm at so far:

I am going to finish the vertical border today and then try to come up with some stitches that unify the sections I've completed so far so that the piece works as a whole.  I have not yet done much with needle weaving (I did just one row in the horizontal border), so I will probably attempt to use that stitch as a filler.  However, I don't want to use up all the negative space on the tulle.  In looking at commercially made lace, the netting becomes part of the lace design.  And since one of my objectives was to be man emulating machine, I think I want some tulle exposed.