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Historical Sampler - Design Alternatives

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12 June 2008

Historical Sampler - Design Alternatives

Here is the original design :-

remembering that I'm just using the scrolling vine design, and changing the flowers and leaves.

Here it is after I've been mucking around with it to remove as much detail as I could, leaving the vines :

It looks terrible, (it actually physically hurts to look at this way) because I couldn't get the maroon and white out (or at least both the same colour) but it does have a good skeleton of the scrolling vines to trace, which is what I want.

Because it is the cover of a book (from Cyril Davenport's book on Embroidered Books), and the photograph was taken to show the spine of the book as well as the front, the photograph is crooked.

So I took the top quarter of the design, and flipped and rotated it to create 3 other quarters, so they were all 'on the same page' so's to speak.

I haven't been able to do as much work in Photoshop as I wanted to do. I don't have very many skills in the tool so I've used various methods to show the various options I came up with.

Here it is at a first design option, stretched so that only the top half of the vine was used (I was talking about that as an option in an earlier post, with a slip down the bottom)

If I put a slip down the bottom, where that large roundish white space is (it was the large rose in the centre of the original design) I could have it coming up into those two white spaces on either side of the descending vine, and also out to the sides a bit, so it would work if I wanted to do this .....

I've realised that it's not just the *look* of the vine that is affected by my choice of how the vine is sized and rotated.

The sizing and positioning affects the work space I've got to put in the flowers and leaves as well.

It's a pretty tight space left in between the vines given the typical Elizabethan attitude of having the ground space well covered.

Having just the top half of the vine gives me big spaces. Maybe more than I want. Clicking on the picture should show it sized to 24 x 44 cm (the size of my scroll frame, with allowance for a 4 cm border around the edge)

Here's another layout - with the scroll frame orientated the other way, and using the full cover, but two copies, laid side by side

Imagine they are attached by a braid or something similar. Backed interlacing?

This seems like quite an attractive option - but boy - would the flowers be small!!
Especially since I've been thinking about using slips for some of the leaves and even some of the flowers because I can get clear designs for them. Imagine dealing with teeny weeny slips. Argh.

I would like to do it this way, but I think there just isn't enough space.

This following is the final option, which I thought I'd be using, and I think that I will use, although I do like both of the others.

Since I'd printed out my 4 quarters and taped them together, and sticky taped them onto transparent grid paper, I thought I'd show this version, rather than a Photoshop version, since it includes the scroll frame :

(Noticing I need to add more tracing paper on the right there - I was too busy getting the quarters to line up to notice I was out a bit vertically)

I will trace through onto this paper using a pen of the same width as the vine (I have one, at 3 mm) to get a copy of the vine design all ready to be transferred to linen.

I didn't get rid of all the thorns on the vines (visible on a close up of the picture) when I was in photoshop - I'll just ignore them.

For some reason, the flower in the centre has turned out a bit ovoid after the taping together, even tho the vines all match up nicely.

It's quite a big space. This would be a great place to put a finely detailed slip (perhaps done on high count fabric) or an more complicated motif of flowers, berries, fruits etc done as surface embroidery. I think if it was done as a single flower it might be a bit too big.

It was originally done as a single flower, but things have changed with it's new "ovoid-ness".

The flowers and leaves

The leaves in the original design are all the same size and shape (rose leaves, funnily enough).
I will be using different sizes and shapes, within the constraints of the room I have.

The flowers are of several different sizes, according to the space allowed by the neighbouring vines.

My next job is to identify these sizes and the number of each. I think I'll cut cardboard circles to represent the sizes (although not all flowers are strictly circular) .

As I am embroidering the flowers I will have to choose appropriate flowers (construction methods) for each particular sized space.

News on Slips

I have spent the last few days mucking around with cross stitch pattern making software (PC Stitch in particular, and a couple of free ones).

I discovered a problem.

Modern cross stitch is made using many many more shades of colour than 16th cross stitch was.
Where 12 colours would have been used then, 50 might be used now.

If I specified 12 or so colours in the software applications I tried I'd get a huge loss of detail to the point where the design was useless.

I suspect that it calculates the colour by looking at the colour of it's neighbours and calculating an intermediate colour, matching it to a DMC thread. Whatever it did, it was a complete mess.

The only way around it is to post-process the design, either in the cross stitch software itself, or in something like Photoshop, and replace all similiar colours with a single colour.

I would rather have a root canal than sit for hours at the computer clicking. Also I'd have two new concepts to cope with - designing in little squares, and designing on the computer screen.

So I'll do my cross stitch patterns by hand. I don't mind hours at my desk. At least then I'd only have to cope with designing with squares - thinking about colour blending and light fall on the object. I have 200 oil pencils - I'll just pick out ones that suit my colour scheme, and match DMC thread as closely as possible.

Cascade Lame Thread and other fun things

Paula Hewitt of mentioned Cascade House Silk Lame Thread (an Australian company), (well, actually it was via Mary Corbet in and I promptly fell in love.
(marked with a star)

and described at

They are non-divisible, with a gold thread running through. Sort of a poor man's Gilt Sylk Twist.
I'm envisioning a green or two, for use in leaves, and a cream for flowers (with the gold - it should look just lovely, with just small flowers)

I have put a few things in my Wishlist. I want to get a few different threads to try (including Gilt Sylk Twist). I have canvas to get for slips, and thinking of getting a few different fabric counts (since this whole thing is an experiement). Some silver purl (I already have some in gold).
A million things.

I'll be buying them slowly over the next few months.

Before that, I need to study lots of colour photographs, and determine the colour scheme. I'll mark up a DMC floss chart, since there are lots of Conversion charts to other threads using it, and it has a good range of colours.

So much to do.... :-)

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Blogger Dragonsally said...

my goodness you've been busy today.
I tried to work out how to do something in Photoshop yesterday and couldn't - and I've got a book. I wish there was a free course we could do. I hate being beaten by these things, as you know!

Thursday, June 12, 2008  
Anonymous Romilly said...

One of the things I do when designing cross stitch (I use PatternMaker4 by Hobbyware) is rather than import the design as cross stitches, I use it as an underlay (overlay? I'm at work so can't find the direction immediately). What that does is put the image underneath the grid like tracing paper. Then I can do the design by hand using my choice of colors and the outline of the image... Did that make any sense? I can try this weekend to give better directions. There might be a similar feature in PCStitch.

Friday, June 13, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Sally - there are courses on-line. I don't know how complete they are - but at least they are more interactive.

Romilly - It turns out that I won't have the full version of PCStitch (be able to Print or Save) so by hand it is! Thankyou for your suggestion re using an overlay tho :-)

Friday, June 13, 2008  
Blogger coral-seas said...

Hi Megan, I really enjoyed reading all the thoughts and trials for the design. I really enjoy your so have tagged you, I hope you don't mind. See this post on my blog for details.


Sunday, June 15, 2008  

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