Friday, 31 January 2014

2014: The Year of the Magnificent Teresa Wentzler

My dear friend Carla is holding her own SAL:  "2014: The Year of the Magnificent Teresa Wentzler" and she inspired me to also make something of TW - something I've never done before and completely out of my comfort zone.

I decided to do Futurecast as that pattern gave me the most scope to choose colours that I liked and avoid the dreaded pinks and purples. I didn't have that many variegated threads that had more than one colour in them and decided in the end to use DMC 4010 for it as I liked the pale blues, greys. beiges and umm yeah there was a bluish purple in there too lol.

It took me 2 days to choose all the colours I wanted to use, though I would have preferred to avoid the purples, I soon realised that the greys were going to be too similar to the other colours to show up much so I decided on using the pale blue as my colour group 1 starting colour, pale beige as my colour group #2 colour and the purple as the third group. I ended up using silver as the metallic and pearlescent white as the other colour even though I was originally planning it the other way round.

These are the colours I ended up using: 

My main colour group was blue with the inspiration colour being 162 - I chose 813, 826, and 827 as the other 3 colours in the colour group.
My secondary colour was creamish - I chose 3866 as the colour and 3782 as the medium colour to go with it.
My tertiary colour was greyish purple, with 159 as the light and 160 as the darker shade to go with it.
My metallic is E168 (silver)
The crystal ball was done in pearlescent E5200
Back stitching around the silver was mostly done with silver thread except around the wings where I used 826, which is also the colour I used for the back stitching around the blue of the dragon. I used 3782 around all the secondary colour stitches and 160 around the third colour stitches.

Having picked the colours and carefully looked at the pattern I realised that using my usual 18ct Aida was not going to cut it due to the 1/2 cross stitches it had - though it's possible to do them on Aida it's no fun trying to guess the middle of a bunch of threads on such a small scale and then hoping that it looks ok. I decided to see what else I still had lurking in my drawer and box. I rediscovered the lovely pale green/blue splotched overdyed 28 ct Lugana that Carla had sent me as a prize many moons ago and after some careful auditioning decided that it would look lovely.

As I'm a fabric miser I carefully measured the amount of fabric needed for the project and realised that if I cut my piece in half I would have exactly enough for this project and still have some leftover for another project, which in my book is a perfect solution.

Although I was determined to wait until I'd finished the border of my 8th century floor tile before starting the dragon I just couldn't wait so I chucked it aside and started it on the second day of the IHSW. I got quite a bit done that day as, for the most part, the pattern wasn't as daunting as I'd feared.

I decided to take photos of the project every day and make a blog post but sadly I never got round to the blog posts as I was too busy with life and stitching. Fortunately I DID make a photo every day so there are progress shots of it. I decided to make them into a single .gif with the shots so you can see them all at high(ish) speed.

I had quite a bit of trouble with the pattern as it turned out - some of it was due to not being used to doing 1/2 cross stitches and I'd get confused where I was supposed to put them and where they were supposed to nest with each other and other stitches - some I spotted on time and fixed - some I only found out about later and if it didn't look off I left them as it was.

I also discovered about half way through that the back foot was a stitch short - as I’d worked down from the leg to the foot and then along the tail to the left and I didn't want to remove a good 50 stitches I decided that having the foot a stitch short was bearable, though it did make doing the foot a bit more difficult later on.

I then realised that I'd made an even bigger goof with the end of the tail - I'd managed to get it 1/2 a stitch off height wise and didn't noticed till I'd almost completed all the silver stitches along the back. Here again I didn't want to deal with so much frog stitching and decided to make it work - and as you can see I did!

The backstitching took a bit of thought as I worked but overall I'm happy with how I decided to highlight the colours I used.

For the beads I made a special trip to the lovely treasure hoard in Eindhoven which is so stuffed with crafty things that people can barely move. I found the perfect silver beads to use along his back and also found some blue that exactly matched DMC 826. I also picked up some white beads thinking that they too might look good.

While I was in the shop I had a look at the embroidery fabric and found a nice brownish linen that was almost finished - sadly the bolt did not admit to what it was but I later found out that it is a 25 ct linen.  End of bolt pieces are good to take to measure as we all know and after having a chat with the guy who owns the shop and telling him that I'd come all the way specially to go to his shop he was nice and gave me what was just 1 cm less than a meter for 75 cm's worth (a meter is 36 inches so I got 35,5 inches for the price of 27 inches) a great deal! I was also tempted by the threads as I had wished that I'd had more colour s to choose from so I completed my collection of the 40XX series and got myself all of the other colours. Fortunately I'd had to baby sit for my ex one night of his kid’s weekend and I had some extra cash burning a hole in my pocket so I was able to splurge for a change.
I ended up using the silver beads in the border as well as along his back as I found that the lovely blue ones were too big and the white ones were too small - a typical goldilocks situation.

The completed embroidery looks like this:

And I will be using it as the front of my diary cover for this year - as soon as I've decided which colour to use for the back, spine and inner side of the cover.