Thursday, January 21, 2016

Still More Optical Illusion Needlepoint: Folds, Wraps, Interlocks and Mitered Corners

Gobelin stitch zig-zag

Colors produce the illusion of folding in the first pattern. The dark sections seem to be slanted away from you, and the light sections slant toward you. The effect is one of looking at something that has been folded into equal sections and partially unfolded. The pattern is done in upright Gobelin stitch, the basic stitch of bargello, and is repeated below in continental tent stitch. Each upright line of the Gobelin is a stitch over 5 threads (or bars) of canvas. The stitches ascend and descend by one thread at a time. The upright lines of the tent stitch are 5 continental stitches in a vertical row. Because of its slanted stitches, that pattern requires an additional row of canvas squares. The Gobelin rows were worked from left to right and the tent stitch rows from right to left. Both cover both sides of the canvas; however, the tent stitches require 2½ to 3 times as much yarn to cover the same amount of canvas as the straight ones. This is a good design to work with two needles, one for each color. When a color section is complete, let the needle and yarn drop down the back of the canvas, holding the yarn out of the way with your free hand.

tent stitch zig-zag

Gobelin all-over from zig-zag

These are linear patterns, suitable for borders, frames, and narrow objects like belts and straps. It is easy enough, however, to make them into all-over patterns. Let me give you a couple of examples. In the first example, the pattern row is repeated over and over, but the colors are reversed in every other row. The three-dimensional illusion has been lost; nevertheless, it is still an attractive pattern. As always, when you approach the edges of your all-over pattern, you may not have room for a complete pattern row. In that case, do as much of the pattern row as you can, ending with straight edges.

Gobelin zig-zag with lozenges

The colors are also reversed in the second example. Here the pattern rows meet only at the highest and lowest points, leaving small blocks of empty canvas between them. Since the points are offset slightly, the empty blocks are not diamond-shaped as one might expect. The parallelogram-like segments of the pattern are sometimes called “lozenges”, used frequently in bargello patterns. I worked all of the pattern rows first. The odd-numbered rows are identical. The even-numbered rows are identical to each other, but differ slightly from the odd-numbered rows. This causes the lozenges to point to the right in one row and to the left in the next. Each lozenge is worked over this pattern of threads: 2, 4, 6, 6, 4, 2. I used a third color to fill in all the lozenge shapes. This pattern does have an optical illusion effect.

wrapped bar samples

The next pattern produces the illusion of a ribbon or heavy cord wrapped around a bar. The “bar” is made up of lozenges in Gobelin stitch over this pattern of threads: 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 1. I worked all the lozenges of the “bar” before starting on the “ribbon”. Use the picture as a reference to complete the pattern, enlarging it if necessary. Again, the pattern is repeated below in continental stitch. To make this easier, I've made a typed pattern below with the number 1 representing the “bar” and number 2 the “ribbon”.
wrapped bar pattern
To do this as an all-over pattern, I suggest you leave a couple of rows of empty canvas between each two repeats of the pattern. When all the repeats have been completed, fill all the empty squares with a third color, preferably in a tent stitch, to make the “bars” and “ribbons” stand out even more.

interlocked links sample
This next pattern shows interlocked links, as of a heavy chain. The motif is done in continental tent stitch. Some background has been added to make the stitches easier to count. You should be able to work the design from the picture. If you want to do it in Gobelin stitch, simply substitute a short upright stitch, over a single thread, for each of the tent stitches. This motif, repeated in rows or scattered, works nicely on a large project. Do you also see how the links can be manipulated to form the capital initials C, D, G, J, O and Q? With a little work, you can also make B, P, R and U.

mitered corners sample
Some of you may have done sizeable pieces of all-over patterns and may now wonder how to finish the edges neatly. One way is to make a “frame” with mitered corners. Work a band of upright Gobelin stitch along each side of the piece, leaving several spaces open on both sides of each of the corners. Work the corners as shown below. The number of stitches in the miter will depend on the length of the stitches in the band. Make sure the stitches used in the miter end in the same square of mesh each time. Back-stitch both the inside and the outside edges of the band with the same color or a contrasting one. Turn fabric canvas under along the edges. Trim plastic canvas just outside the “frame”.

Finally, let's revisit the twisted ribbon pattern at the end of the November 16, 2015 post. Use the picture as your guide, but choose your own colors. Skip the first 5 squares of mesh and begin in the sixth one. Each upright stitch covers 4 threads or bars and the stitches ascend or descend by moving up or down 2 threads at a time. No space is left open between stitches. There are 5 open squares between the top two (blue and red) stitches and 5 more between the red stitch and the other edge of the canvas.

twisted ribbon sample
Here's a similar design done in tent stitch, along with an alphabet chart to help you place the stitches. This one uses 5 shades for each “ribbon”. The one that begins and ends on the left has shades A, B, C, D, and E; the one that begins on the right, shades F, G, H, I, and J. You may assign any colors you like to the letters. You may want to print out the chart and outline the two “ribbons” before you begin. You may also want to back-stitch around the two sections when you have finished stitching them.
twisted ribbon pattern
Experiment with colors,


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