Friday, April 17, 2009

Re-interpreting free charts

I seem to be doing a lot of this lately:
I finished stitching my second cardinal ornament from the Imaginating, Inc. free chart ... with these modifications: leaving out the bird house and an accidental rearranging of the placement of the branch and leaves a wee bit ... the changes in the leaves were the result of an error I didn't feel like frogging, but I don't think the symmetry was unduly disturbed.

Then, startitis hit again but at least this time it advances one of my stated monthly goals: the GAST Baba Black Sheep ... though, of course, I Americanized this French chart by stitching it as Baa Baa rather than BaBa. This has changed the negative space in the design and I am adjusting the placement of the remaining words to accomodate the change. I have replaced the GAST Black Crow on the sheep with Brown Black and Cream Mandarin [bamboo] floss from Rainbow Gallery ... so I will have two differently colored sheep instead of two black sheep. I chose the Mandarin from my stash since it has the texture of a fine silk and wool blend. I am stitching the legs, faces and tails of the sheep in cross-stitch, then back-stitching an outline of the sheep which I am filling in with closely packed French knots. As charted in plain old cross-stitch, it's hard to tell that the animals are sheep at all. I have truly tiny black buttons that I will use for the eyes of my sheep. I am also changing out the cross-stitching in the ball of wool to a dimensional specialty stitch [I am imagining a kind of layered triple Smyrna Cross] that I believe will look more like an actual ball of wool with a loosely unravelled tail that meanders through the whole piece, tying the words together. As charted now, I think the ball of wool looks more like a balloon floating in the upper right hand corner. I plan to "finish" this up as a hipster tote bag [i.e.: a tote with long straps that cross the chest so the bag rides on one's hip]. I will use the tote when I attend the Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck this Fall. I have some nice thin wale black corduroy for the tote and plan on lining it with scraps from an old light tan flannel sheet so that my purchases will remain snag-free.

It's odd: sometimes, I follow a chart with such lock-step fidelity that it is scary and as if I have virtually no creativity of my own ... other times, I tend to look on a chart as a mere sketch waiting to be developed into a more detailed rendering. I guess this week has been one of those other times when I just can't resist tweeking and re-inventing until I am satisfied.


Rachel S said...

That sounds great. where's the photo?

riona said...

I'll photograph it when I get a bit more done ... right now I am only half way through French knotting the first sheep ... I've got most of the lettering done as well and the cross-stitch border. I am not sure how the cream colored sheep will show in a photo since it is only a few shades darker than the background fabric [Country Cream overdyed linen] but in real life, the dimensionality of the stitching shows very well indeed. Before I take a photo, I'd like to get some of the black sheep done as well as finish the lettering.

Mary said...

Riona - SO glad to see you back to bloggin - I missed you!

Mary in Minnesota, (from the Stitcher's Retreat where we learned the Hearts and Holly Sampler)

Donna said...

Riona, great idea about the angel on my blog. I think a doll torso would be perfect. I will "play" with it once I get a torso before I actually stitch on it.

mainely stitching said...

Generally speaking, I see the chart as the 'jumping off place' and feel absolutely free to change anything or everything. LOL. It's only the last year or so that I've made an attempt to use the suggested fibers or fabric, and not to change lots of stuff. LOL!

Linen Stitcher said...

I totally relate to your last paragraph. Sometimes, I don't want to stray an inch from the charted design, and other times I make all kinds of floss substitutions and changes in the design to suit my tastes. Ah well, guess that's part of the fun of doing needlework.