Tag: Knot Garden


Testing, Testing (phase 3)

There is still much to play with, with regards to the the stitching for the Knot Garden Parterre.

At this point, I’m trying to balance accurate impressions – and therefore useful testing – with not tearing my thread to pieces or wasting any of it. At present I am still thinking of doing this out of stash, if possible, which is why I’m using an impossibly bright shade of green here – I’m unlikely to want it in the real thing!

Now, you see here that the short Parisian Stitch enticed me into a broader strap than I was intending, and it has unbalanced the Mosaic Stitch of the border, which in turn became Scotch Stitch as it turned into the diagonal, and lost the pattern it had.

Here, by contrast, I have demonstrated one of the other hazards of canvaswork, especially for my astigmatic eyes – I’ve suddenly managed to turn a Diagonal Rhodes Stitch into a slightly oblong and twisted diagonal Rhodes stitch. I didn’t see it happening, so I am going to have to guard against it with some care.

I think I need to make my stitches and straps bigger, too: the shape drawn on the canvas is the size of one of the ones on the finished piece, and I started the outer border on the centreline, and turned onto the diagonal at the appropriate point. The first horizontal row of diamonds should have two in it. Two properly square diamonds, that is!

And here you see the challenge I need to address: the diagonal Rhodes Stitches start with a horizontal or vertical stitch, so what I need in the angle between the straps is a gap (as you see top and bottom of this intersection) and not a thread (as you see left and right)

At this point I’ve been stitching and unstitching so often that I have lost count of myself, and keep on losing track of the stitch lengths I intend, so there will be a pause to regroup!

Testing, Testing (phase 2)

I’ve been playing around with possible stitches for the pathway in the Knot Garden. In the source picture, it looks to be made of bricks laid in a pattern, rather like a parquet floor.

I don’t feel I’m obliged to replicate that pattern, but this one on the left is altogether too square, and won’t help the sense of movement I’m going to need to counterbalance the borders, which I rather expect to be rather static, given all the Diagonal Rhodes Stitch that’s going to be happening.

The one on the right is the same Medieval Mosaic Stitch from Jo Ippolito Christensen that I used, voided, in the sunglasses case, but this time worked exactly as diagrammed. I like it, and it’s easy enough to work, but I don’t think it does the job I will be asking it to. I’m sure I will work it for real one day, but not for this project!

When I replaced the stitches that were voided in the sunglasses case with stitches in a different colour and thread, to point up the woven pattern, I got something a lot more hopeful…

I like this one a lot. Although I must admit it does rather recall the diaperwork you sometimes see on Tudor buildings, so maybe not very floor-like!

And then I found another, one that actually looks a lot like herringbone brickwork without any adaptation.

I like this one a lot, too.

I will have to see which of these presents itself most strongly when I’ve got more of the ideas crystallised.

Testing, Testing… (phase one)

Remember this, the Knot Garden parterre?

It’s going to require a little more precision and therefore a little more planning than I usually indulge in. So there’s also going to be a bit more experimentation than usual. I might not go to the length of actually charting the finished piece, but I’m certainly intending to have a very clear idea of what is going where, and what thread or threads I’m going to use.

I’ve been intrigued to note that, from pulling out a huge variety of threads to use, an assortment of fibres and an assortment of colours, I’m beginning to restrict my ideas to a much smaller palette of threads and stitches.

As I looked at the picture more closely, it became clear that the squares within the beds were topiary pyramids. Maybe some are suffering from box blight, hence the colour variations, but this gave me a good place to start experimenting. I’ve gone to the trouble of framing up a piece of the canvas I’m going to use, so as to experiment properly, and my first observation is that I am going to need to be on top form when I work this, because it’s dreadfully easy to go adrift!

However, I think it’s fair to say that Diagonal Rhodes Stitch makes a fine pyramid in topiary! The straight stitches are in the same colour, which they won’t be, but I think the stitch length, compared with the Rhodes Stitch, looks about right for the width of the little hedges that create the strapwork effect.

I’ve also been testing out other threads and stitches – tapestry wool, soft embroidery cotton, stranded cotton. I want to have varying textures and patterns within the strapwork, creating a nice harmonious whole – but a stitched harmonious whole. I could easily chart – or even freehand – a tent stitch reproduction of the picture, but it wouldn’t have the personality needed for the place it’s going to live. Textured stitches will help to create that personality.

A Site Visit

The next canvaswork project, commissioned by my cousin, has had a slight change of direction. It is still based upon this drone shot, but it is to be full coverage rather than voided stitches, and it’s going to sit on her bed, worked in colours from the curtains, to pull those colours onto the bed.

So when I went to visit a few weeks ago, I did a site visit – as shown here, including the Hound of the Doleful Countenance, for scale. We’ve decide that the final cushion is to be a rather Biblical cubit in length (that is, forearm from elbow to fingertips), which will go from the middle of one black cushion to the middle of the other, and at least a handspan high.

I’ve also brought home the cover for the doorstop, in the fabric I need to reflect in my thread choices – which means, not only did I not have such a weight to bring home, but my cousin also still has her doorstop!

My next job is to draft out the pattern to transfer to the canvas. Once upon a time, I had canvaswork design software, and I might have tried to chart a design first, but it didn’t include some of the stitches I might want to use, and with so many of the more unusual threads in my view, I will be doing a lot of experimenting along the way!

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