Jan 19, 2013

Creating tension

Hello people!  Before we talk stitching, in case you are browsing in a JCP store down those wide aisles, looking from side to side to see if anything catches your eye, beware of the lurking mannequins positioned right in the center.  That's all I'm saying.
  
For several days I've been working on February's pear.  Finally finished it today after so many color changes, that I would prefer watching a black and white TV show tonight.  Here's a sneak peek.

Originally I wanted this on a really dark background with light floss but once again, my stitches were poorly done.  I seem to always have this happen when using a very light thread. 
Nasty looking stitches. Why would the same stitcher using the same needle and same type of floss have a different looking stitch just because of it's color?  Is it possible that the linen is the problem and always has been?   I tried other fabrics and took a good look at the result.  Aha!  The lighter color still looks wimpy but there is a definite difference.  This Rook linen is stiffer and more coarse than the top linen.   After some testing, I realized that my stitches are better looking on a 26 count of stiffer linen than on a higher count softer piece.  Tension. I've always had a problem with it but there's no pill for this situation. I obviously need more support in my linen to keep my stitches uniform.  Scarlet Letter kits were my first samplers and they used a 25 count coarse unbleached linen.  My satin stitches always look angry and I knew that was caused from incorrect tension, but it never dawned on me that this also applied to the entire project.  Blamed the fabric!  I've always preferred a stiff linen and now I have another reason for that choice.   My latest dyed linens are soft and I have so much trouble with them ~ now it makes sense.  Do I want to practice until I correct my 30 year old stitching manner?  No.  Not a chance.  Don't want or need the frustration, especially if a solution could be found with fabric choice.  
 Why did it take me all these years to realize this?  What a putz.
My floss box is painted and ready for hinges but I've been working on a simple way to have my DMC color guide books attached to the underside of the lid.
Hope you're enjoying your weekend.
Thank you for visiting, stay safe!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

36 comments:

susanc said...

I like the look of the light thread on the darker linen; kind of a damask-look. Those pesky mannequins; they seem to jump out when you least expect it! ;) Have a great rest of your weekend!

Barb said...

Hi Marly, Thanks for the linen suggestion. I have always had the same problem with light floss. Maybe I need to take a good look at the linen that I am using.

Peggy Lee said...

Masterchief thinks my last screw has come loose. He heard me laugh out loud at the mannequin thing. I thought I was the only one who had that problem.
Very interesting about the linen thing. I need to look in to that when my brain is fully functional. It's too late in the day now for me to think.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Bad mannequin. B-A-D!!!
My first samplers were from the Scarlet Letter, too. Small world.
Hugs :)
Lauren

Patty C. said...

You are so funny but not a putz- lol Glad you figured it out! Hugs ;)

Margaret said...

I love the sneak peek of the February pear. It looks so pretty!

Penny said...

JCP isn't the only store where mannequins jump out at you! My dh knocked over a whole Christmas display many years ago -- a lady sitting on a horse was knocked clear off, so that her feet were sticking up in the air... and all her Christmas packages went flying..... we laughed and laughed.... I'm sure the decorators there were not that happy....
Glad you figured out your stitchy problem, and your Feb. pear looks great!
Penny D.

Rebecca said...

The February pear looks very interesting. I am sure it is beautiful. Can't wait until you release it.
The linen tension subject I have never experimented with. I just kind of wade it up in my hand as I stitch. I always think that the imperfect stitch of a lighter thread just shows more than a darker. If I don't take my time and "lay" out my stitch they all look imperfect. I kind of like the imperfect look since many antique samplers have the same effect. If I want perfection I stitch with a single thread.

Anne said...

Marly!! (Sooo behind on catching up on posts!!) So glad I caught this one because I've had the same thoughts about how stitching with a light colour always throws my tension off>!?! So bizarro no?! Perhaps it has something to do with the dye (or lack thereof) to make the threads a bit wimpier??! Anywho, it's looking great!

Faye said...

U is ca-razeeee! Loved the mannequin story.....

Evelyne said...

I love the colour of the February pear.
Have a nice Sunday, Evelyne

Krista said...

Nice to see your process. I have had a time playing with the different linens to find just the right one, some too stiff, some too soft, and some just right :)

busyhands said...

Looks lovely, beautiful color palette

Siobhán said...

LOL at the mannequin story!

Vickie said...

ooOoo Marly! Wow that pear looks really beautiful!

Colleen said...

Interesting thoughts about the stiffness of the linen and light stitches being less than perfect. I usually use a soft linen. I'm working on LHN Winter Plaid, with the called for linen, which is quite stiff. I don't mind it as much as I thought I would - it's for stitching after all, not fondling. It has a lot of cream in it, and I think the stitches look a little better on the stiffer linen. A pzzle!
Thanks for sharing your pear patterns.

Casa Pearl said...

I so agree about stitching with light colors-I hate stitching with whites. The colors on your new pear are gorgeous and I look forward to seeing the completed design.

Shirlee said...

I noticed that questionable mannequin placement the last time I was at JCP! What are they thinking ?!?!? I haven't decided yet if I like the softer or the stiffer linen. I'm still basically at the stage where "the pattern calls for this, so this is what I'll use."

Leanna said...

Hi! I think Anne, above, is right. I don't like the paler hues sometimes...they are very wimpy! Ever notice how very worn the thread gets at the needle when stitching with white or a pale yellow? I'm thinking like DMC 677 or 3078. It's got to be something that is done to the cotton so that a pale dye will take hold. And the dark linen just shows the problem even more.
Just thinking back to a Hallowe'en ghost I tried to stitch on Peoria Purple linen a couple years back. Oey...not pretty...
You always make me laugh...now the mannequin story...! Not really giving s any details makes it even funnier...

MJ Hunt said...

Morning Marly........well the SL unbleached+warm water+Downy+soak worked just wonderfully for me. The linen is much more workable. Slightly wrinkled like you said but after stitching they all are. Alittle ironing when finished and all will be perfect! MJ

Amelia said...

Nice blog, I like it very much. I follow you. Kisses Marly.

Janice Boucher said...

Hi Marly.... I have the very same problem with the lighter threads. White? Forget it! Those stitches never look good, even or uniformed. I tend to use 3865 when it calls for white. Looks a little better. Noticed that "whites" tend to look fuzzy too. I also found that the stitches look a little better when I cross each stitch as I go along. I don't know why that is. Stiff linen bothers me. I have to have something just a bit softer. But that's just my preference.

Myra said...

Oh I love the peek of your February pear. I too have problems with white floss as well as black, you may have just solved the mystery.

Judy said...

Hi Marly. Imaginations can go wild with the mannequin story! I agree about the light thread--now I can blame it on the linen!! Your Feb pear sneak looks beautiful. Looking forward to it!

Judy heartland stitcher

Deb said...

Oh gosh, I can only imagine what happened with the mannequin. Hopefully, it's not something like my son did one time in Macy's of all places. Face plant! LOL

Love the sneak peak of the pear. Pink! Love me some pink!!

Mª José Sánchez Yánez said...

Que blog más bonito tienes, me encanta ya tihttp://mariajosesy.blogspot.com.es/enes seguidora, besos.

CJ said...

I know what you mean about JCP. Anxiously awaiting the new Pear.

CJ

Sweet William Primitives said...

Hello Marley! I've just recently found your blog and have found myself laughing out loud at some of your posts! Just last week I saw a story on one of the morning programs that the stores are putting cameras behind the eyes of the mannequins for security..who knows, maybe you made someone else laugh out loud too! (;
PS your stitching is always lovely.

Syd said...

I have the same problem with lighter colored flosses. I blame it on the floss itself! When DMC only had white, I swear the stuff was against me - their B5200 seems to lay so much nicer.
I can't wait to see the final reveal on the February Pear! Thanks so much for dreaming up this great series.

Bertie said...

Yes tension, tell me about it!! I don't think we will get that by now Marly haha. The pear is looking good so far. Your story is a good read! I wished my English skills in the language was a tad better!

Have a good week!

Carol said...

Oh, those colors in your February pear sneak peak are beautiful, Marly--can't wait for the big reveal! I think JCP is putting mannequins in the aisle to make up for the lack of people shopping there. Seriously--have you noticed how few people there are in their stores lately?

Barbara Shores ~ Village Folk Art said...

Yes ... I wonder about my tension too. It varies from one day to the next. I have not been stitching long enough to know about those technicalities. I just want to be happy with the end result hoping it is more right than wrong.
Love visiting, as always...
Peace & Blessings, Barb

Kaisievic said...

I love stitching on soft linen. We can be like Jack Sprat and his wife!

Maggee said...

I don't like the stiffer linen. I have the same problem you described, and it always seems to be on the stiff fabby. Sometimes I have to just ignore it, like if it is a particular color that MUST be used (I have one going right now). Other times, I KNOW it is the thread. Lighter colored threads are thinner, and thus look sloppy sometimes because there is less to cross, if you know what I mean. I stopped doing anything with white in it year before last, for just that reason! But... we made up, and I just go with the flow now! Hugs!

Suzanne said...

I am glad that I am not the only one that thinks light colours always look messy no matter how you stitch. I dread stitching light colours, but especially white!

backporchcarver said...

I just found this post and I am so relieved. I am new to cross stitch and just learning on the 32 count linen. I nearly gave up on it. I was using the light color and just making a mess, tore it out so many times I ruined one piece of linen! Thats when I decided just to change the color cause I thought it was because there wasn't enough contrast and I couldn't see it properly. I have gotten used to stitching on the 32 and really like the look so it is a relief to know now not to use the light colors. Thanks everyone for your comments and thanks Marly for bringing it up.

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