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Far Horizon 3/9

March 10, 2011

I’m very frustrated and I need some help.  I finished the flowers on the orange pot and all the black detail on the dress.  The only thing I have left is the background.  I started with the bargello pattern that Tony suggested in class at seminar.  I think it looks to heavy and perhaps the blue is too dark.  Then I went to a darning pattern. I am not sure about the direction that the background should present……… I would welcome some comments.

I am happy with the flowers on the pot. I used 4m ribbon and Japanese Ribbon Stitch.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Leigh Shafer permalink
    March 10, 2011 9:57 pm

    Jan, you’re right about the bargello being too heavy – just the small bit you’ve completed is starting to take over the focus – you want the focal point to be your lady and her pots.

    As to the darning pattern, how about trying a more open look – perhaps over four, under two, over 4 under two, and alternating on successive rows. Leave a fair amount of open canvas. Can’t tell from the picture what thread you’re using, but I would suggest a light weight – perhaps a waterlilies, or a #12 perle or equivalent.
    I visualize the sky as being almost there, sort of wispy, but not solid.

    Hope this helps – maybe as a jumping off point for your own ideas . . . .


    • Cathy Kirk permalink
      March 10, 2011 10:53 pm

      I completely agree with Leigh – the background needs to be very light so it doesn’t draw the eye away from the figure.

  2. Margaret Condy permalink
    March 10, 2011 10:15 pm

    Well in my opinion, for what it is worth, I like the darning pattern, but would do it with a thinner thread and lighter color blue. Gorgeous piece. I’ve done several of those Sundance pieces and love the large areas where you can really get a pattern going. They are made for bargello. However I have never beaded one. I’ll hold on to that idea.

  3. Diane Ackley permalink
    March 11, 2011 12:34 am

    First, I so love what you have done with the rest of the piece. I agree that the bargello looks too heavy and draws the eye to it rather than receding into the background. I think the darning pattern seems to be too even and heavy. You might try a darning pattern with one strand of silk or cotton floss. Another good look is one strand of a running stitch in a random pattern of long and shorter stitches i.e. _______ ___ _________ _______ ____
    ___ __________ _______ ____ ______
    etc. Choose a color that is only one or two shades darker than the shade of the canvas. A very light light blue would work. I have taken a lot of canvas embellment classes and this long and short look has been done by many teacher.

  4. Sue Wenn permalink
    March 11, 2011 2:15 am

    Another idea is a bargello with a longer/more irregular wave pattern with a lighter color or finer thread. An overdye with a very light blue? Such a lovely piece!

  5. March 11, 2011 8:04 am

    I like the daring pattern better. I see her looking out over the horizen which in that local would be endless. The stitch should reflect that. In a painting it would be a very smooth texture with no evidence of brush strokes. The stitch should provide that feel. Myself, with what I have learned so far, I would be tempted to see how a vertical continental stitch in the lightest blue would look, or maybe Icicle by Weeks Dye Works, would look. I think any stitch that “shows” would be too much.

  6. March 11, 2011 8:07 am

    P.S. I want to thank you for your blog. You have been an inspiration to me. I loved your Galaxy piece and went to the website you sited. When I made my purchase I wrote a note about how your blog and work on Galaxy sent me to their shop. You should get a commission! (smile)

  7. March 11, 2011 8:11 am

    The more I think about it, the more I like icicle for your sky. The other colors in the piece are so warm, a cool sky would be a nice compliment. And icicle is white with tiny tinges of palest blue, reminescent of the ice on the rocks in the Adirondacks in winter (and spring, seemingly forever.) I’ll shut up now!

  8. Mary Ellen Winnicki permalink
    March 11, 2011 8:12 am

    Try the stitch in only one ply, you might be much happier.

  9. Cynthia permalink
    March 11, 2011 8:13 am

    Hi Jan,

    I love what you have done with the design so far!

    The background stitches that you are have tried out are the same size/scale as the stitches used in the foreground so they have the same importance visually.

    I would recommend a much smaller sized stitch such as the T Stitch or Alisha’s lace. Actually for this design I would also suggest trying the Basketweave Stitch with an overdyed or a varigated thread by switching the threads when separating and recombining to reduce the color change.

    I would also recommend that you use a lighter thread such as a cream or a very light blue which would only be one or two shades darker than the white canvas. How about a varigated/overdyed thread with cream, light blue or possible a subtle bit of peach? An option would be Caron’s Waterlilies or Wildflowers as there are many lovely threads in these collections that have very subtle and soft color changes. You can see the colors here;

    Hope this helps and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do. 🙂

    Windy Meadow

  10. Bonnie permalink
    March 11, 2011 9:09 am

    I agree with what has been said so far about the weight of the stitch – I think they are too heavy. Switch to a single ply of something, maybe even a 12 perle. Then I would go for a more irregular darning pattern with the stitches going horizontal. Longer stitches not lining up and blank canvas showing through in spots (like random missed stitches). I did this on a road runner canvas I have with similar mountains in the background. The stitch blended well with the shape of the mountains, but the light coverage and the irregularity helped blend it into the a sky should.

  11. La Vonne permalink
    March 11, 2011 9:15 am

    I have stitched a wonderful sky using 4 strands of Waterlilies. There is one that is pale blue, shading down to nearly white. Use horizontal stitches of random length, and it will look like a lovely sky with little wispy clouds. Don’t be afraid to use long (12-14 threads) stitches so the sky will not look choppy and heavily textured. It will fade into the distance as it should.

  12. March 11, 2011 9:49 am

    I would stay with bargello but 1-2 lightweight threads and shipping every other row.

    It would give the idea of stretching onward and onward – as horizons tend to do.

    At times blend a light blue and a white then go back to a pale blue overded.

    Perhaps in an appropriate space, stich a small area (width and then a few rows) in white to give the illusion of a cloud.

    Just a few ideas.

  13. Mari Bangs permalink
    March 11, 2011 10:42 am

    I agree with Cynthia about keeping the sky simple. The focal point is the lady and pots. I would recumbent just a simple tent/basketweave in a soft fiber such as Impressions. I just did that on a piece in which I wanted the clouds to be dominant and the simple stitch and soft fiber did just that.

  14. Debra Steaffens permalink
    March 11, 2011 12:07 pm


    First of all, I’ve really enjoyed watching your stitch this piece and Galaxy.

    As to the sky background, I agree that the bargello is too heavy. I also think that the pattern darning is too heavy and too even. I created a piece that was basically a fish tank with lots water background. I used two strands of overdyed floss (Needle Necessities at the time) which I stitched in varying lengths horizontally, but not as a pattern darning. Sometimes the stitches were over 3 or 4 threads, sometimes over 10 or 12 (this was a large piece). You might try something like that. Using an overdyed, varying your thread lengths, and using only two strands (which you can railroad) might allow the background to stay in the back. Debra

  15. March 11, 2011 1:58 pm

    I like what you have done. Maybe you could use two shades of blue for the background. Mix up the threads. Use 2 ply of color A and 1 ply of color B for a while. Then change to one ply of A and 2 of B. Or all A then all B. I’ll be interested to see how it all turns out.


  16. Winogene permalink
    March 11, 2011 2:23 pm

    Hi Jan…… you remember the sky on our Mt. Rainier ANG nametags???? I think the stitch we used was called Alicia lace……with one strand of a very pale shade. Wouldn’t that do very nicely on this piece????? It would give you just a pleasant suggestion of color and texture!!!! Try a tiny bit on a sample to see !!!

  17. Jo Thompson permalink
    March 11, 2011 6:23 pm

    I worked this same canvas many years ago and had a hand-written stitch guide done by Tish herself. She suggested one ply of Medici in a white overdye with pale pink and blue.
    I don’t know what the stitch is called but it is vertical and an uneven stitch done randomly every row. It gives the illusion of distance and is very pale and certainly doesn’ fight with the rest of the canvas.
    It’s been fun watching the modern way NP is done with all the many different stitches. I knew a few different ones but there was nothing like today.

  18. April 12, 2011 11:00 am

    I am loving the look of your piece. The background is great and turning the pattern sideways looked like a completely different pattern.

    “Random” sends me into shock. Give me holes or canvas to count and I’m in hog heaven. I have the hardest time stitching anything embroidered on canvas. I can stitch it on fabric but not on canvas.


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