You may recall from my my first post of 2016 that I will be partaking in Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST) this year. The first challenge comes out today, so I spent some time on the weekend getting ready with a design that I thought would be adaptable enough to use a variety of stitches on. I will have to see just how successful that is, and if this doesn’t work I will revert back to a more traditional sampler. Not necessarily a bad thing! I’m not sure I will be able to get all the stitches for the year onto this one design (in fact I’m pretty sure that will definitely not be achievable!). As it will be easy for me to transfer the same design again (I’ll talk about this shortly!), I may end up with a few elephants at the end of the year, all with a different decorative coat. My very premature thinking is that they could become gifts for my nieces if I make them up into cushions. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Not one stitch has yet been stitched!

I have cheated on the design front, and have chosen the elephant out of Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom colouring book. I decided if I were to use the design in the same size as in the book, it would be too small, so the first step was to enlarge it onto an A3 size piece of paper. I made two copies. On one, I have penciled in some ideas for what stitch to use in some places of the design. The other copy I guess you could call my master copy. I used it to trace the design, and it will be my go to reference point throughout the stitching process.

TAST 2016 design and stitch ideas.jpg

As you can see, there is a lot going on in this picture, way too many lines for me to trace onto the fabric for stitching over, especially since I don’t have any real idea where I’m going to end up with this design. My next step was to work out just how much of the original design I would use. As I’d gone through the design and worked out a few ideas for stitches, I had an idea of what I wanted my design to look like. So I traced that part of the picture that I feel gives me good balance between being a little ‘structured’ whilst also giving me enough freedom to play with the stitches each week. Let’s hope so anyway!

traced design

As part of wanting to really learn a few things through this process, I decided to give the prick and pounce transfer method another go. I’d attempted this method once before, when attempting to trace the design for the Trevelyon Cap Course, but one thing I learnt through that, was that prick and pounce doesn’t work (for me anyway), with a lot of really intricate lines, I just ended up with black dots everywhere that meant nothing! (Any guidance or suggestions on this would be great!). The process was slightly more successful this time round, although as you can see from the photo, the right hand side of the design was much easier to make out than the left. So still some learning and experimenting with this transfer method required. But this does mean that in the event I want to use this pattern again, it will be very easy to transfer, as over half the work is completed! I used a mid-weight vellum, and taped two A4 pieces together to get the size I needed. Overall I’m reasonably happy with how it worked out. A few wobbly lines, but hopefully I can cover them up in the stitching process.

Through working on the Trevelyon Cap Course, I’ve become really accustomed to using a frame, rather than a hoop, and really like the way it holds the fabric. At the last Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, I picked up a Siesta no-sew frame, and thought this would be the perfect project to try it out on. If my Millennium Frame wasn’t the large one, I’d have used that. Unfortunately, to cut a long story short, after about an hour of trying to get the fabric set up and taut in the frame, I have decided to go with my large seat hoop. This was a very successful method for my crewel work cushion, so I’m not that upset by it all! I think my fabric is just too wide for the Siesta Frame, as I could get three-quarters of the fabric lovely and taut, but it was flopping all over the place on that last quarter. So I’ll try it with a smaller piece of fabric on a different project.

ready to start

Now for my thoughts on colours. I want to use what I already have in my stash. I’m thinking a very glamorous, bright, pink coat for this guy. Not sure I will use gold threads, but maybe some yellows thrown in for good measure to give the idea of glittering gold. I’m thinking I will colour in the original in the book in these colour tones to give me an idea of what it will look like.

I’m really excited about starting this project! Something a little different, and I’m looking forward to developing not just my stitching skills and knowledge of stitches, but also my design and colour combination skills. So let’s begin!

Is anyone else joining in on TAST this year? How are you approaching it? I’d love to see pictures of your stitching!

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