Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stitching The Ground Elmer Sits On

Because this is a Christmas stocking, I want it to have a lot of zing, which means I want to use things that shine and catch the eye--things such as metallic threads, beads and/or crystals, or I can also use color to make this stocking a star on the Christmas tree.  I can also use contrasts to make elements of this stocking stand out.

Studying the Kirk & Hamilton stocking and thinking about Christmas stockings in general and how I'd like this one to look, I thought I would like to have bling in each section, whether it is the dog, the toe or the top.  The snowflakes are easy but how do I make the dog stand out with bling?  I decided that the best way to do this is to surround the dog with beaded or metallic stars in the dark blue sky and to treat the lighter blue ground he stands on as sparkling snow.  If I make the dog darker and solid with heavier threads, those contrasts should make him the focal point.

So I needed a thread and a stitch to accomplish this.  First, I pulled out all the threads in my stash which are close to the blue of the ground the dog stands on.  Keeping in mind that I wanted sparkle, I tossed out the dull threads that are wools or cottons, won't work well on 18 count canvas, etc.  I ended up with a card of Silk Lame Braid, which is a new thread from Rainbow Gallery that twists silk and metallic together into a soft thread with a little sparkle.  This thread is intended for 18 count (there is a 13/14 count-sized version) but I used a size 20 needle to get it through the holes instead of my more normal 22 or 24 as this thread is easily snagged.  I choose Sky Blue SL13 and used shorter than normal lengths to cut down on snagging or roughing up this delicate thread.

Now for a stitch.  I'd recently seen Robin King use a nice stitch for her SharonG Miss Kitty bra and tap pants set--Victorian Stair Step.  I liked the look but decided that I wanted the slant to go the other way, so I reversed it into Backwards Victorian Stair.  It gave me a little diagonal movement, especially since I used a sparkly thread that gives movement through its shine.

Here are two online diagrams of the normal Victorian Stair Step stitch.


If you look closely at the final photo, you'll see I stopped stitching my blue snow ground the dog sits on before the painted canvas ends at the horizon.  That was the logical stopping point.  I'll continue the darker blue sky a little more to meet where I want the backwards Victorian Stair Step to end when I stitch that part of the stocking.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow