When feeling your way through an embroidery project for the first time, it isn’t unusual to change your plans for embroidery techniques as you progress.
You might, for example, have an idea that you think is brilliant, that you’re sure will work …. but when it comes down to actually trying it, the Cold Dead Fish of Reality slaps you in the face with a resounding Nope!
And that’s what happened to me recently with the Mission Rose project. I was all geared up to tackle the blue silk areas – I had a Plan! I liked the Plan! In my head, the Plan worked.
With the blue silk background, I had this notion that the blue helped to convey the whole idea of a kind of “window” for the piece. Not that the Mission Rose is supposed to look exactly like a window, but I liked the idea that it imparted a mild suggestion of a window. And the blue, in my mind, enhanced that impression.
But I didn’t want the blue to remain unadorned. It needed something over it – something that breaks up the blue a bit and also aids in reinforcing the security of the appliquéd fabric.
A kind of lattice work over the blue seemed the way to go, because it would echo this idea of a “window.” Besides, I liked the idea of incorporating some lattice work into a goldwork project, after playing around with different lattice techniques on the Lattice Jumble Sampler. It seemed to be a good way to demonstrate how playing with stitches translates into application in other projects.
I sketched out different options of line angles and widths on a print out of the original pattern. And while a diamond lattice would have been ideal for the whole window idea, the diamond shape looked odd behind the marquise shape of the center of the design.
So instead, I set about working a square lattice (trellis) design using gold smooth passing thread over the blue. I measured and marked the points where the laid threads would begin and end, using a fine tipped marker right next to the yellow felt outline.
In the photo above, you can see the first couched lines.
Before those were all the way in, Twinges of Uncertainty were already setting in!
But with the first line crossing the verticals in, I knew.
I didn’t like it. And I knew I wouldn’t like it.
It’s good to realize fairly early in the game that a technique just isn’t going to do it for you!
Besides the fact that I just didn’t like the rigidity of a lattice filling here, the thread choice causes a difficulty. Smooth passing thread is not a supple thread – it is somewhat flexible, but it is not limp and supple. So the cross lines on the trellis sit up on top of the vertical lines underneath, creating a very definite shadow – a fact that I had not taken into consideration at all during the planning stage.
You can see the effect better in the photo above, with the light at a slightly different angle. Even with the intersections couched (there are tiny couching stitches at the intersection, though you can’t really see them well in the photo), the thread sits too high. And couching in between the verticals would make the line look wavy.
Opting for a different thread was a possibility. For example, gold tambour thread like the kind used on the Tudor-style rose could possibly work. It’s a bit more flexible, so it would probably not sit, high and stiff, upon the the vertical threads in the same way. But… the tambour thread was too bright a gold. And then there’s Elizabethan Twist, which is a flexible, very fine twisted gold thread. It might have worked ok.
But I didn’t like the rigidity of the squares. I decided a lattice design over the blue just wasn’t going to do it for me.
And so I scrapped it, in favor of a different technique.
Any guesses on what that technique is? It’s not going to convey the same “window” impression, but it’s a technique I’ve used before and that I like a lot.
I’ll make a little more progress on that, and share it with you soon!
If you’d like to follow the Mission Rose project from start to finish and watch it develop, you’ll find all the articles relating to this project listed in chronological order on the Mission Rose Index page. You’ll also find articles that include the embroidery pattern, all the materials used and explanations of techniques.