working with balance

November 17, 2008

Earlier this month I did a couple of posts (here and here) on a design I stitched.  The piece seemed out of balance to me. I started working on the balance with scissors, paste and a lot of great ideas from those of you who stopped by and left comments or sent me emails. The input was encouraging and eye opening. I’ve learned and am thankful for every bit of it.  Some of you will recognize your ideas being implemented below. Many thanks to each one of you. I only wish I was a more apt student.

This is what the design looked like in that last post.


There are four versions of the designs that I’m planning to stitch. I’m only putting two of them in this post. If you don’t see some of your ideas here, they are no doubt in the other two versions.  My printer’s quality and getting good photos of cut and paste work combined against me on those. And these two I’m posting are extremely poor. Still they are a rough idea and when I squint, I can live with them.


In the photo above is a change of orientation. The flowers and scrolls are positioned horizontally instead of vertically by rotating the design ninety degrees counter-clock wise. Once I did this the orientation of the original motif at the top right and lower left were sticking out like sore thumbs. So I change their orientation to vertical instead of horizontal and placed both in the same rather than opposite direction. More symmetry was added by repeating the floral shapes and scrolls on the lower right.

And then I still had the positive “b shape” to deal with. It was hard to let go of that shape, but it has been removed from the right side. In fact it is so hard to let go that I’m thinking of stitching or beading that shape along the narrow left and right blank border areas. On the left from the line extended from the top of the center area to bottom margin. And on the right from the top down to the line extending to the right from the bottom of the center area.

Today I was showing someone the work on this design. They were stunned at the difference in the design caused by the change in orientation of the positive “a shape”. These are the rows/columns of over-dyed orange shapes on the left and right of the center area. 

Changing one thing easily leads to another. Making one change may lead to an unintentional change that is either a happy coincidence or another aspect of the design to played with.   

Below is the next version and an one hundred and eighty degree flip.



Here I widened the left and right borders. I’ve played around with making both sides as wide as the center. But I couldn’t do it. The idea might grow on me if I play more with some of the other aspects of the design.

One thing I want to do is extend the black scroll line along the bottom to the left margin. I was going to block out the last row of green stitches. But I want to leave them and work the black stitching between them. I think doing these two things may anchor that part of the design so that it doesn’t float so much.

In this version the number of positive “b shapes” declined/increased to lead the eye along to the second group of flowers. This is one of the suggestions that came in via email so you won’t see it in some of the comments. Many thanks to this kind friend for this idea and I’m not sure about how many others but a lot.

I’m also trying to decide about the placement of the flower and scrolls on this. Some times I want to pull them a little more away from the center and add more scrolls to connect the inner flower to the scroll framework more directly.  At other times I think the only thing I don’t like is the outer flower. Would I be happy, if I just changed the petals a bit?

What do you think? Any further suggestions? Things are glued down but I’m still open to more cutting and pasting.

On another note, my header photo is still lost. I wish I would find it soon!

Next scheduled post: Wednesday (us, west coast)

Playing with balance

November 7, 2008

I’ve been worked with the embroidery design from Monday’s post in the last few days. The photo below shows the current state of affairs.


I’m feeling uncertain about what is happening with the balance. In my sometimes backward way of doing things, I’m now working with the photo below and playing ‘what ifing’ or ‘second guessing’ all over again. What do you think? How could I bring better balance to this piece? Or what were the flaws from the beginning?

I like the minimal look. The blank fabric areas please me. I like the repeat of the original doodle in the upper left that can be seen in the photo above where it appears on the lower right. Once I got past that spot and stitching down the straight key lines, I couldn’t stop working but I was no longer liking it. However, there is not much to rip out if I decided to do that. And if I want to restitch in a different color scheme the stitching doesn’t take long. This is perhaps 3 or 4 inches square.


Playing with shapes

November 3, 2008

I was at loose ends in my stitching this weekend. It’s not that I didn’t have several “should” projects on the table. But I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with any of them. I got a few steps further on a couple of things that needed attention, but nothing was fun. I finally said to myself, I will make a small doodle in order to stitch something.

I didn’t have anything particular in mind. I tried playing with a couple of cross stitches. I made a little pattern with the stitches themselves until the original doodle emerged. If you’d like to follow my thought process, I have it numbered in the second photo. I suppose even the thoughts of the original doodle could be broken down in a somewhat similar manner.

I suppose this might not be relaxing or fun to others but it is just my cup of tea–very relaxing and my mind just drifts along caught up by the shapes appearing out of the stitching. 

I won’t say choosing colors was relaxing. I had just picked up an over dyed thread for the original doodle without a lot of thought about anything more that a very simple doodle. To get the colors for the positive “a” shape, I resorted to pulling out the threads from a piece of scrim I had. That has left its own interesting pattern in the scrim.

I also learned a valuable lesson about using a neutral instead of a color for the small border lines or key lines. I won’t mention how long it took before I came to the conclusion that was the best possible choice and how dark it had to be. But there were multiple trials. If I’d had light outside, I would have been grabbing photos as I went through the various color auditions. 



Two more patterns

May 3, 2008

Two more patterns have been added to this darning pattern piece.

The blue is composed of four shapes over lapping by two threads in the center. The purple pattern is composed of two shapes one hidden behind the other. They are offset vertically by one thread and horizontally by two threads to the best of my recollection. 

This piece is drawing to an end. I’ve got two more definite patterns to put in and then I’ll have to see what needs to be filled in. I like the scattered open effect of some of this now but it is changing and somewhat out of focus as the work progresses.

More purples and a second green

May 2, 2008

I’ve been playing around with this darning pattern shape piece from a few days ago. At this stage it has two more purples and a second green.

The second green seems much better than the thread I tried earlier. I thought the first had too much yellow. This one is more of on tone with the first. And finding it made me rethink the lightest purple. So that purple is in for the moment and I’ve added two more purples.

The first purple added is a dark blue purple as part of a fade out on the red purple in the small purple line. I hate it; it’s out.

The second new purple is over here. In this simple overlapping line.

This piece is progressing. I’ve got the picture in my mind where the overall design should go. I just don’t have all the stitch patterns worked out yet.

There is one new pattern I worked out last night. I’m excited about stitching it. I actually had a few minutes to sit and stitch before posting so it’s on its way.

I’ve been working on the lock stitch and have tried some more experiments there. I should take that “off grid” this weekend.

Trying again

April 15, 2008

I’m trying a little more with this piece. Many thanks to Marg at Maggie’s Textiles! She had just the right words to keep me stitching a little longer on this.

While stitching more concrete ideas came to mind as to what to try next. I’m still seaching out turning the PE images into stitching.


Secondly, I’m still considering the shapes from last week’s project.

And in regard to that project, there somehow had to be a small dark background in the center of the name square. My eyes rest on it more comfortably…at least if I don’t look at the lettering too closely. Now on to finishing. 

More play with shapes

April 14, 2008

There are so many shapes that came to mind from the little project I stitched last week that I haven’t been able to leave the ideas. However, I have had no success in stitching out what I see in my imagination. Here is the attempt to date. Poor thing I may have to abandon it, if I can’t devise a rescue.

On leaves Judith at has done some lovely work in a post here. I’ve been working some more on the leaf project and taking a lot of photos, too. They should come up some time later this week.

Finished except for finishing

April 12, 2008

I think I’m done with the stitching on this small project.

I’ve got the lettering done, too. Not all that I hoped for, but given the space limitations and my abilities…about what I should expect.

The one area I might decide to adjust is making a solid green square behind the center motif. It’s to be a bookmark for a neighbor of my mom’s who is an avid reader and always popping in to see how my mom and aunt are doing.

Still working…

April 11, 2008

I’m still working on this project. I’ve started doing some very basic lettering. But this is the point in time photo I took yesterday before the sun went down or I rushed out the door to somewhere else.

I love the unplanned stitching that is taking place after filling up my mind in the last few weeks with basic shapes. Stitches seem to flow out on to the fabric. Then sometime I sit and stare asking what is next? I do have an end goal in mind that is providing a few limitations.

I’m thinking about another project with some different threads and colors. I’d still like to turn some of the Photoshop Element experiments into stitching. 

Working with a pattern

April 10, 2008

I’ve been doing nothing except doodling the last few days. I do a few leaves, I learn a couple of new stitches and I play with these basic blackwork shapes.

 Here is the progress on blackwork doodle to date. Perhaps it is because I’m so feed up with wordpress or my browsers problems with wordpress that I’m only uploading one picture. However, wordpress has made one giant step in the right direction for me. I have spell check back.

In light of some of my recent posts, I found two things of interest in my rounds about blogline in the last day or two. First, Mary Corbet at Needle ‘n Thread has done a great video tutorial on the raised chain band that I was working with earlier in the year. And then I found Gina at Fan my Flame has stitched laurel leaves together with thorns to create a cloth. In the same post there is another cloth made of washers and copper wire.