Last week, I mentioned running into a stitching wall on the Medallion Project. There’s something rather deflating about getting some hundreds of hours into a goldwork and silk embroidery project – fiddly hours, you know! – and running into a wall. Something seriously deflating.
I attacked that wall in innumerable quick sequences, without photographing each one. I was engrossed, engaged… perhaps a wee bit enraged… and the camera was the last thing on my mind! I did catch the second-to-the-last attempt to scale the wall – the last attempt being the one that catapulted me over it. I’ll tell you about it and show you what I did. You can let me know if you agree, disagree, feel sick when you see it, or what!
The little areas in question are these small sections of a band that runs behind the main central element of the Medallion.
You can see some of these sections pointed out in the photo above. See them?
Initially, my plan was that these should be gold. So I tried them out in gold, couching a fine gold tambour thread in that area. The gold tambour thread I used is the same gold thread that I used in the Tudor-style rose, and it was an awful experience all around. It was a pain in the neck to couch the gold in those small spaces, but worse than that, it just looked yucky. I was stumped!
I relied on the age-old trick of walking away and coming back to it later. After all, maybe if I came back later, I would find it wasn’t as bad as I thought, right?
I came back later.
It looked bad.
No, not really! I make it a policy never to cry over cut threads. Instead of weeping, I attacked! One after another, I tried every idea that popped into my silly head.
I tried filling with other gold threads – the Japanese gold I showed you yesterday, check thread, to give it some crinkle and texture (oh, double yuck – didn’t work at all in that close area). I tried filling with color – the lightest blue used on the monogram part of the project, which ended up looking somewhat dirty and dull. I tried filling with the darkest red used in the roses, but there wasn’t enough contrast in the shades between the dark blue and the dark red, and it just got lost.
Contrast! I needed contrast.
So I tried filling with Soie Ovale (the background silk used in the center part of the Medallion). But it was too stark. I tried filling with the creme Soie de Paris (also used on the Tudor rose, in the center), using split stitch, which looked matted, and then stem stitch, and finally satin stitch – which was my final attempt in the photo above.
Between every little trial, a thought bubbled up inside me: Maybe you should try that rosy pink color used in the Tudor rose…
No, no! my innards cried. It would look…. so….Pink….
You see, I am just not a Pink Person.
But a little voice inside me kept nibbling away: But it would provide contrast. And it would tie in with the roses…”
I rebelled until I could rebel no longer. There was nothing for it. I had tried everything else! Why not at least try it?
So I did.
I tried the pink Soie de Paris, in a satin stitch.
And I saw it and thought…
Maybe if I add a tiny bit of gold on the edges?
And I set about making the requisite mess, adding the gold.
And then, placing some stretched gold pearl purl and red silk onto the very edge the center cinquefoil, I stepped back…
and I said…
I’m ok with pink.
Sometimes, the unexpected – and even the unwanted – just works!
At least, I think it works – what do you think? Have your say below!
If you’d like access to all the tips and techniques discussed in the Medallion Project, including complete step-by-step coverage of the Tudor-Style Rose, conveniently collected in one document, interlinked, referenced, and indexed, why not add the Marian Medallion Project e-book to your library? It’s packed full of all kinds of embroidery tips for undertaking a project like this, all in a convenient electronic format for easy searching.