Friday, March 10, 2017

You Asked for It!

4-way pattern on paper inspired by Hawaiian quilts
4-way pattern on paper inspired by Hawaiian quilts
When we did the Winter Questions and Answers (February 14, 2017), I mentioned that we had received so many questions asking for help with certain projects that we couldn't answer all of them in a single post. I promised to complete the instructions in the first post for the month of March, and here they are. First, let me inform everyone that there will be two posts (or possibly more) devoted to answering the question about 4-way designs. The first of these will appear later this month and will touch on such topics as Hawaiian quilts, reverse applique, and pencil-and-paper art. I hope you will enjoy these posts as much as I did preparing them for you.

This first section is for those of you who would like step-by-step illustrations of the Swedish weaving pattern. The pictures below show the top and middle sections of the design step-by-step. The colors are similar to but not identical to the yarns used in the needlepoint design. The colors were worked with six-ply embroidery floss, except for the two straight burgundy lines, which were done with three strands of craft thread (or you could use two strands of cotton crochet thread). For the bottom section of the design, turn your fabric 180°. Repeat the first section in reverse order. It was fun to convert one type of needlework into a very different one. It makes a point that I have made before that patterns have multiple uses. Thank you for the opportunity to demonstrate that.

Swedish weaving sample Step 1
Swedish weaving sample Step 2
Swedish weaving sample Step 3
Swedish weaving sample Step 4
Swedish weaving sample Step 5
Swedish weaving sample Step 6
Swedish weaving sample Step 7
Swedish weaving sample Step 8

The next section is for those of you who wanted to do the little animal heads in needlepoint. Remember that each square represents a tent stitch ( / ). I have stitched the designs on #7 plastic canvas so that the stitches are easy to see. The designs are stitched in knitting worsted and back-stitched in a single strand of black crewel yarn. If you do them on #10 or #14 needlepoint canvas, they will be quite a bit smaller. This is good for repeated designs, either as a border or as an all-over spaced repeat. Done on quickpoint canvas, they will be quite a bit larger. I did not attempt to match the colors on the patterns except to assure that light and dark tones bear the same relationship to each other.

Tip: Some of the designs have been modified slightly to make them easier to do in needlepoint. The tent stitch traditionally starts at lower left and goes to upper right ( / ). In a number of cases I have used a reverse tent stitch that starts at the lower right and goes to upper left ( \ ). You can see this in the spaniel's forehead, the fox's ears and jaws, the owl's ear tufts, etc. Doing this sometimes causes a tiny piece of the canvas to show through. If you don't like this, put a traditional tent stitch underneath the back-slanted stitch.

spaniel, fox, and owl on plastic canvas

As I stitch a design, I sometimes change small elements of the pattern to make a design that is more pleasing to me. I made the cat's mouth smaller and the terrier's nose larger on these two designs. That does not mean the revised designs are better than the original patterns. You may prefer the original pattern, or you may wish to make modifications of your own. Don't hesitate to change details to get results that you like better. To emphasize eyes and noses I do a cross-stitch instead of a tent stitch.

catand terrier on plastic canvas

Occasionally I make larger modifications. When I first stitched this bear's head, I did not like the result at all, but found it difficult to determine why I disliked it. Finally I decided that the eyes and nose were too close together and the nose was not prominent enough. I added another row of stitches between the eyes and the nose and made the nose more noticeable. This had the effect of making the bear's head longer, so that it appears thinner than the one on the cross-stitch pattern. These are the kinds of decisions you must make as you stitch.

bear's head on plastic canvas

Below are some more small patterns suitable for borders or scattered all-over designs. Do them in straight stitches, back-stitch, and French knots in a single color for blackwork, redwork, or whitework, or in multicolor for Holbein embroidery. Or use what you have learned about making your own patterns to convert them to cross-stitch or tent stitch. The colors are simply suggestions. Use your own choices.

Let's have fun with these,

Holbein stitch patterns for butterflies, bugs, and leaves
More Holbein stitch patterns, for butterflies, bugs, and leaves

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