Have you ever thought about converting a photo into a piece of embroidery? Here are some photos and some thoughts about each of them. And the final choice for a piece to be worked in Canvaswork as part of the RSN Certificate!

RSN Certificate – The Beginnings of Canvaswork

The RSN term is back after a break over Christmas, and it’s time to mount the Jacobean piece and get started with the canvaswork piece! The initial plan for my first class back on Friday was to spend the day mounting my Jacobean piece. But, there was an unexpected hurdle along that path. More on that problem later!

Problems with the setting up of the fabric for the canvaswork piece

In the final lesson before Christmas, I had started framing up my canvas. As I had thought I would be spending the day mounting, I didn’t take any canvaswork “things” with me except the partly mounted fabric on the slate frame (and I’m glad I made the decision to lug that in!).

The webbing I had been given, and had sewn on before Christmas, wasn’t particularly strong, and before I had put any tension at all on it when tightening the fabric with the string, it ripped! It’s obviosuly better to find this out before any stitching was done, though somewhat frustrating all the same. Heather was quite horrified at the quality of this webbing, so hopefully no one else has had this same experience. Whilst the replacement webbing isn’t as wide, it is certainly stronger. There doesn’t seem to be any downside to this that I can see, except you have to be a little more careful when using the bracing needle, as there isn’t as much ‘space’ between the webbing only section and the webbing and fabric section. So my “free” afternoon was spent re-lacing the fabric. It felt a little like a waste, as I could have done this at home, but there was nothing else I could do, so I might as well get it done there with friendly company! And as a side note, framing up canvas is really tough on my fingers (to the point where they were actually bleeding at the end!), so I’m glad I didn’t then have to start stitching as I’m not sure my poor delicate fingers would have fared well!

What to stitch as my design?

I have spent some time sifting through our photos that we have taken on various trips and holidays (boy I take a lot of photos these days!) to find something suitable to use as my design. The brief doesn’t call for a landscape specifically, but they definitely push you in this direction. Thankfully, this seems to be most of what I take photos of! It’s probably worth noting at this point that your design doesn’t have to be based on a photo you have taken. Some people use postcards, greeting cards, or other pictures they have found on the internet. This was my choice to use a photo I had taken!

I thought it would be nice to use a photo from a ‘special’ trip of some sort. My parents visited us here in the UK a couple of years ago, and we had a lovely time touring Scotland. I was really hoping to find a suitable photo from the town where my Dad’s family are from (Gardenstown – way way way up the top!), but none were really appropriate unfortunately. I’ll definitely keep them in mind for something else, as I might be able to make something from them when I have the skills! I think Dad would really appreciate that.

Anyway, after filtering through hundreds of photos, I found this one of Eileen Doolen which I liked. Except for the sky- far too “Scottish” and not enough variety or interest in it.

Inspiration for canvas work design for RSN Certificate. Photo taken by Catherine of Hillview Embroidery

I also had this photo from somewhere on that same trip (a much sunnier day!), and Owen suggested using the sky of this one in the “Castle” one.

Inspiration for canvas work design for Certificate at the RSN. Photo taken by Catherine of Hillview Embroidery

So a bit of Photoshop manipulation later, we have my ‘design’. I’m a little worried that both the foreground and the sky are all a bit ‘the same’, but after looking at some beautiful completed works they have printed in a book at the RSN, I’m a little happier that it might work out ok. (And fingers crossed it will work half as well as those!).

Design inspiration for canvas work piece being worked as part of the RSN Certificate Course.

Thread Choices

Heather has been quite encouraging about using a variety of different threads. So it won’t just be the different stitches that achieve the different textures, but it will also be the different threads. So on Sunday I went through my “stash” and pulled out some threads that might be appropriate. I will find out on Friday how I went with that! One thing I think already is that I don’t have enough “thicker” woollen threads.

Moving Forward

So on Friday I will be mixing starting up this piece, and the mounting of the Jacobean piece. I’m not entirely sure how this will work, or how long the mounting will take if I stagger it over a few lessons, but I guess I’m about to find out! I’m quite excited about starting this canvaswork piece! Something very different for me, and after working some sample stitches, I’m looking forward to it a lot more than I thought I would! I’m also missing the regular stitching on a ‘serious’ project, and am eager to get my teeth stuck into it!

9 thoughts on “RSN Certificate – The Beginnings of Canvaswork”

  1. You will be able to stop the castle and the sky seeming “samey” by playing with colour and thread choices. Just make sure your tutor knows that so that any wanderings from the colours aren’t perceived as a bad thing. And be prepared to rip things out and do them again to get the colour balance just the way you want…!

    1. I think Heather is very open to changes to the picture to achieve a nice piece – fingers crossed! I have no problem ripping things out these days and have no doubt that will continue with this piece!

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