This has been a long time coming…
But at last, I have finally got there with this piece. Once I knuckled down and just stitched it, it really did move along quickly. It’s still not quite ready to come off the frame – a few more French knots for the bobbly bits on the stamens. In theory this shouldn’t take long, but in practice I think it probably will as it is quite the struggle to get the needle through all the stitching now. At a minimum it seems to be two hands to tug, and I can see pliers being used in the not too distant future!
Finishing the last few petals
Last time we had a look at this piece it had come along in leaps and bounds, with just one main petal and one tiny petal left to complete.
As I had hoped, neither presented any major problems, though both had their own little problems. I think I have finally got to the stage of knowing where I’m going to have a problem, whether it be with stitch direction or colour shading, that I can now pre-empt it. So I can plan a bit better and get it straight in my head before I start stitching. Definitely a good thing!
The flower centre
It was now time to tackle the centre of the flower. Something I had been dreading for some time. My problems weren’t helped by every time I asked a tutor how to stitch it they gave a different answer to what they had previously said!
The lime green section was nice and easy – just a lot of small satin stitches.
Then we changed course a little bit, and to be honest, I’m still not completely sold on this approach. One of the primary things you need to keep in mind when stitching silk shading is that you work from the back to the front – back petals first, then the petals that lay on top etc. But with the centre, I was told to stitch the round ‘bubbles’ which sit on top of the stamens in the picture, before stitching the stamens.
This doesn’t appear to have created too many problems. There will need to be more added in now I have the stamens in. I was told to stitch it in this way so I had a good direction of where the stamens were coming from. I’m not sure if it helped or it didn’t.
The decision on the stamens
There has been a bit of talk around here on how to stitch the stamens. I was again given differing advice from the tutors, and was at a bit of loss as to how to progress.
But after a break, I decided I was definitely going for the long-armed french knots. Until it came time to actually stitch them. I freaked out a little, I’ll be honest! But that wasn’t the only reason. When you look at the photo, the straight bit of the stamen is a different colour to the bobbly bit on the end. So a long armed French knot wasn’t going to work.
The RSN have booked in a few Sunday classes for the rest of the academic year, and since I’d missed a couple of classes due to travelling (tough life isn’t it?!), I thought I’d pop along. This also gave me access to a different tutor which was a great way to get different feedback on my work. I spoke with Becky about my concerns, and she echoed them. And finally I had a solution – straight stitches with a French knot on the end. So simple! After a few samples I decided I needed two strands for the French knot. This has the added advantage of being able to mix the thread colours to get the slightly different shades.
And now, all I have to do is stitch them up! If only it wasn’t so hard to get the needle through, this would be a really quick and easy activity!
Finishing the leaves
To finish off the leaves was also quite straight forward. A few rows of stem stitch in a few different colours, and they came together quite well. I’m reasonably pleased with my full leaf, not so much my two part leaves.
With the left leaf I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to get the stitch direction correct. It doesn’t help that it is bending in a slightly odd way either!
Next up – mounting!
So on Friday, this piece will finally be coming off the frame! I’ve cut my mount board, and will be ready to stretch it after I have the ‘ok’ from the tutors. This is definitely my least favourite part of each piece. But, it does make a big difference, and I’m glad I know how to do it properly.
Last time I gave you an insight into what I thought about the rain drops. But what about the whole piece now it’s almost finished?
If I’m honest, I’m not overly happy with it. I know you can see the development and improvement throughout the piece. This is favoured by the assessors to a degree. But I also think I could have generally done better. Some of my edges aren’t neat, I really struggled with the part leaves, and it shows. Whilst I have learnt a lot and improved a lot within this piece, I would have preferred to have done a better job. I guess there is always the next piece!
The other thing which is bothering me, is I have no idea what the assessors will say or what they will think of it. With my previous pieces, I had a general idea of what I had done well and what I had done poorly. With this, part of me thinks it all needs radical improvement! But, it is done, and it will just be the waiting game for the assessment results. I am however determined to get better results for my mounting this time round than I did for the canvas work piece!
Working this piece and managing different guidance received
One of the initial problems I had when working this piece was the way the tutors changed their idea on how it should be stitched. I can understand where this comes from, as each piece is unique, and will need to be approached in a different way. What was frustrating however was differences were sometimes miles apart. This is obviously a good lesson to learn and consider when learning a practical subject – get as many different ideas and methods first, and then choose what you think sits best with you. Whilst the RSN will say all tutors stitch the same way, in reality, this isn’t the case.
Working on the project continually
As we have seen with this piece, this is a technique where just getting in and doing it, is the best thing. Yes, you will still see your stitching improve and develop, but without the changes to your stitching style, and needing to get back into it each time you pick it up. You also develop a keen eye for the colours and start to ‘know’ which colour you need where, rather than having to measure it against the photo continually.
So I am fully on board with the advice of doing this project on a continual basis. I’m just not sure you need to attend class as they recommend. Yes, there are times you need advice, whether it be for learning how to do a turnover, how to tackle a difficult stitch direction, or what to do with stamens! But, stitching at home in a dedicated fashion will probably yield you similar results, without the expense or the travel time.
Having said that, you need to understand the technique and how to read your photograph to be able to do this! A delicate balance!
RSN Silk Shaded Rose – till next time!
I won’t be writing about this piece again for a while here. I will wait for the rather terrifying assessment results to come in before I share any more with you on this piece. But, if you would like to know how I get on with mounting it or what it looks like once finally mounted, do make sure you stay tuned via one of the other ways I’m sharing with you over the next few months. Moving day is getting closer!