Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Crewel Lily of the Valley: I think it's finished :)

After smoothing out a couple of the leaf outlines and making the top fillings in the leaves slightly darker, I think it's finally finished.  I've stitched this piece with Appletons Wool on Linen with a bit of DMC Diamant.  Below are a few photographs of the finished piece.  Now, to the sketchbook to plot the next piece!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Back to Blogging and Back to an Old Project!

After I finished my RSN Crewelwork piece, I was dying to start a new piece of crewel, so I had started this piece back in 2014.  I wanted to combine the traditional crewel feel and techniques with a motif that was a bit more modern and designed this Lily-of-the-Valley design.  I had almost finished the filling in the leaves when I needed to take it off the slate frame to start another piece.  It sat in my studio cabinet and I'd get it out periodically to consider finishing.  However, there was always another piece that was moved ahead of it.  So there it sat until a few weeks ago.  I had been working on finishing my City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate when I just needed something to stitch- no big decisions, something that was ready to go and just pure pleasure.  And, from the depths of my cabinet this piece emerged!  I framed it back up, got my ziploc baggie of threads back out and started stitching on it again.

 Since I thought the filling on the leaves were complete, I started back with the stem stitch on the stem.  I have to admit that the methodical packed stem stitch is a technique I find incredibly satisfying.  It looks so lovely on the surface and it really enjoyable to stitch. 

I chose to use darker greens because if you study the leaves of lily of the valley, you will see that the leaves are mainly fairly dark green with faint lines of lighter/more yellow green.  I wanted that darkness reflected in this piece. 

After I finishing the stems, I felt that the fillings on the leaves needed a bit of darkening.  The darkness of the darkest green in the stem seemed to dull the subtle shading of the lighter greens in the fillings.  I decided to go ahead and add in some darker greens while following the subtle gradient already defined in the lighter colors. 

Part of the reason that this piece had sat in my cabinet for so long is that I had started stitching two of the blossoms and I was not convinced about the techniques I had chosen.  They felt flat and just "not right",  so I ripped it all out and started anew.  I also decided to add in a bit of gold so the white would stand off the cream of the linen more.  I thought the gold would help to break up the white in a way that may help to highlight some of the subtle blanc to cream shading I was exploring.  And, let's be honest, I like to gild the lily when I can.

For the gold, I am using one of my current favorite metallic thread--DMC Diamant.  Tracy Franklin introduced me to it when I took her Silk and Gold class in Williamsburg a few years ago and I love this thread!  In all the metallic threads that I have used I think this one shreds the least.  It is also a similar (though not exactly the same) line weight as the Appletons Wool I was using for the rest of the piece when it is stitched.  It is also very helpful that it is pretty easy to get my hands on now too as a number of online stores stock it as well as Hobby Lobby. 

There are a couple minor tweaks I'd like to make before I reveal the full final piece.  I will post it shortly.  In the meantime, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!