In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had two particular examples of times that I truly made a counted canvaswork pattern my own. Let me share a little about the second time.
I don’t know exactly when or where I started seeing designs by Kurdy Biggs a few years back. Her company is Threedles NeedleArt Designs. There is a very distinct look to her work. You can check out her amazing designs on the Threedles website here .
To my eyes (and please note that this is a personal opinion), I found her designs too busy. Incredibly intriguing, but too busy. Especially when I viewed them on a computer screen. I can, however, clearly remember seeing some of her work at Woodlawn Needlework Exhibit in Virginia (ooohhh, another future blog post topic – Woodlawn!) a few years back and for the first time, studying the pieces up close. If I am remembering correctly, they were pieces submitting by Kurdy, her original designs. My eyes were opened to the possibilities as I studied the complexity of stitches, the interplay of threads, the inclusion of beads, and the overall layout. By seeing a couple of pieces in person, a seed was planted to remember this designer and to keep my eyes and mind open to seeking out her designs.
Perhaps a year or so later, one of her new designs really connected with me and I took the plunge and bought the pattern. Here is Cathedral, in the Notre Dame color scheme:
She also had two other pictures of two other color schemes, which you can see here. The key for me was looking passed not only the colors (which I feel like I was used to doing) but also the variety of colors and textures. I did love how she played with different threads, mixing silks and metallics and rayons and such…but it was all too much. For my eyes. I repeat – this is all about my personal opinion.
In planning my own version of Cathedral, I decided to eliminate one variable – color. I picked a deep blue, almost navy color, and used that exclusively. I bought a number of threads in that color – a couple of different silks, a couple of rayons, a metallic – but not as many as in the original design. I knew that I would use gold as the accent and picked out gold beads and one gold metallic. In the fortunate luck of having needlework stores to shop in and not having to resort exclusively to online decisions, I realized how well the thread and bead choices would work perfectly on a canvas with gold accent, as opposed to plain canvas. (Never would have thought about that had there not been some of that canvas staring me in the face in the store.)
As I working my way through the instruction booklet, I simply made decisions at each step which thread I was going to use for that stitch to try to balance out my overall design. A couple of times, I found myself ripping out and replacing, but in general, I was pleased with the effects I was creating. There were also some places where I simply didn’t add in all the stitches or beads that were called for in the original instructions. As I said from the beginning, to my eye, I found it too busy. So, I simply “calmed it down” by removing (i.e. not stitching) what I found that made it busy. Just a thought as you work your own projects as another way to make projects your own.
Here is my version of Cathedral by Threedles: