I stitched yesterday and today. I stitched my little fingers to the bone, but I don't have as much to show for it as one would think. I spent a good bit of time experimenting, which means I will be happier with the final piece--but also means I don't have everything done I wanted to do.
I had done the minimum amount needed to do the next class for the Bluebird needlecase, so I was in good shape for the next class. The problem is that I am a methodical and orderly stitcher. I NEED to have all the steps for part A finished before I can comfortably go on to part B. (This is one reason I don't get a lot stitched when I take a workshop--having threads going every which way all over my piece makes me bugnutz crazy, so I kind of meander along at my own pace and take very rigorous notes.)
I'm working on the Bluebird Needlecase, which has four classes. The first covered all the counted thread on the piece, the second the surface stitching, the third will cover the stumpwork, and the fourth will handle the finishing. I had the panel stitched that I needed to have stitched, but I had not done any of the counted thread motifs.
The only part of the design that didn't immediately appeal was the stencil-like pattern at the top and bottom of each panel. I liked the design but thought the color was a little intense for my comfort. So I spent some time trying different approaches--which meant that I ended up stitching, unstitching and restitching that motif several times.
The motif was originally cross stitched over one intersection. That looked too heavy to me when I did it, so I tried the other alternates Marsha suggested--I tried tent stitch with two threads (still too heavy), then I tried doing a blackwork version (it didn't feel like a good fit with the rest of the design). I finally decided it was the intensity of the pinks/roses that bugged me. Cross-stitching and double stranding the thread intensified the color, especially the darker tones.
So, I tried cutting out the darkest shades, which made it too prissy-pink--it needed the punch of the darker shades.
I sat and stared for a bit, then tried something I should have remembered from classes with Marion Scoular and Gay Ann Rogers. If you want to lower the intensity of a color, just use a thinner thread in the same color, or fewer strands, and you will have a lighter, more ethereal color.
Eureka! one strand, tent stitch, and I had the effect I wanted. So then I had to stitch all eight motifs again. I did think about color matching and coordinating the color flow but then decided that I didn't want it too matchy-matchy, so I let the shades fall where they may. I'm very, very happy with the way it looks--but this all took most of my stitching time yesterday and part of today.
And now I wish I had taken pictures of each version I did. Sadly, I'm not a natural picture-taker (note I do not say "photographer" because I am in no way close to that!) so I didn't think about illustrating the blog with different versions. And it's been too hazy and cloudy today to get a good picture of the finished motifs--but there will be one as soon as the lighting improves.
The upshot is that I never got to my EGA correspondence course class or St Margaret's Star, but I am happy with what I did get done. Stitching shouldn't be a race to a finish, but a pleasant journey, with interesting trips down paths you don't expect.
However, I think I can now stitch that blasted motif in my sleep!