Let’s start the week with progress on Modern Crewel – this kit that I reviewed here.
For those who have written asking for a pattern and materials list, you’ll find it in Inspirations Magazine issue 90, which you can order here in print form or here in digital form, if you don’t already subscribe to the magazine. Inspirations also offers a materials kit here.
I’m two steps away from finished on this project, and I’ve run into two snags in the form of materials shortage in the kit. So here’s my weekend progress and a little chat about how to overcome a materials shortage in a kit when the materials are not easily had.
Since last we met and discussed this project, I’ve finished the last of the elements on the foliage part of things here – the blossom on the right, the dragonfly, and the berries on the lower left.
While meandering along through those elements, I realized that the flower on the right requires one bead (like the beads in the center of the pomegranate) and that the dragonfly requires two.
There were no leftover beads after filling the pomegranate center. I was a little disappointed to be short of beads, especially in the case of the dragonfly eyes.
The flower was easily enough handed, though – I just worked a French knot at the base of the flower, where the two blue leaves converge.
But when it comes to the dragonfly, it’s the eyes that really bring the thing to life. While I could substitute French knots there as well, I’d rather have the sparkle of beads here.
So I’m going to scour my own bead collection for something similar enough to suit the dragonfly’s eyes. I need approximately the same size beads, but I don’t think there’s a problem if the color or the shape are a little varied.
When I started stitching the berries on the lower left side of the design, there was a part of me that wanted to change the approach on these. I thought about long & short stitch shading on more realistic looking berries.
But then I realized that would be taking a lot of the fun away on this type of somewhat-whimsical design. So I stuck with the original plan and ended up loving this satin stitch and alternating French knot combo. It was quick to stitch, fun, and satisfying!
I’ve started the hillocks, too, which moves me very close to the end of this piece. I plan to finish before February expires.
On the center hillock, I realized I didn’t have enough thread to finish it according to the directions. With only about 5″ of the 40 perle left, I couldn’t make the second pass of weaving the finer perle through the heavier lattice design. So, I decided instead to leave it. No substitutes, no alternate approach.
The vertical weaving lines of the finer perle are in place and they look fine. No one will ever know that there’s a layer of weaving missing.
I ran out of the finer perle for two reasons: I stitched the inside lattice on the pomegranate twice. And my stem stitching on the tendrils (in the brighter green) is a lot more compact than the stem stitching shown on the model.
If I had only worked the inside of the pomegranate area once, or if I had worked the stem stitched tendrils much more loosely, I would have had enough thread to finish the hillock as instructed.
Still, I’m a huge proponent of kits erring on the side of excess rather than privation. I would have liked, for example, a few extra beads thrown in for good measure and a little more thread on the more frequently used specialty skeins.
And yet, if you do run into situations where your kit is a wee bit short of this thing or that, think of how you can make a good substitution. French knots work for beads (sans sparkle, of course!) or you can substitute a different type of bead.
If you run short on thread, how can you change the stitching plan to use less thread? Or can you substitute a different, more abundant thread for the thread you’re running short on?
These are the types of small challenges that can make the design more interesting – and more unique to you!
And speaking of making changes in a kit design, the last two hillocks are getting a small make-over. I’m going to eliminate the needle lace stitches and go with something that’s a little more typical of crewel, even though the piece isn’t properly crewel work. While I like needle lace stitches in some types of stumpwork and in whitework, I’m not a huge fan of them in regular surface embroidery in color. I don’t know why – just a preference, I suppose! So all along, I’ve been toying with some other ideas for those hillocks. We shall see what develops!
Any tips on how to overcome shortages in kits? If you have any ideas you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment below!
Also, don’t forget – I’m giving away three gorgeous books this week! If you haven’t joined in, you can find the article on the give-away here. The drawing is Wednesday morning, so jump in while you can!