My sampler continues to grow. Here’s the progress on my latest strip. Filling in the background with long armed cross stitch does take quite a bit more time than does just working the outlines in double running:
In other news, I celebrated yet another anniversary of my 21st birthday over the long weekend. The Resident Male helped me snag a copy of Lotz on eBay as my present (special thanks to Long Time Needlework Pal Kathryn, who pointed me to it).
What’s Lotz, you ask? One of the leading sources on historical pattern books. In 1933 he began the systematic categorization of all extant historical pattern books printed prior to around 1700 or so. His Bibliographie der Modelbucher is a compendium of his research and is considered to be the seminal work in the field. It’s in German, with over 100 plates of page reproductions at the back. I had used some of the Lotz pages when I graphed up patterns for TNCM, but now I have my own copy of the 1963 edition. Although I don’t read German, I’m looking forward to puzzling out the text with the help of OCR software and translation utilities, and learning more.
In the mean time, those of you who wish to see some 16th and 17th century modelbooks, I recommend Pal of Pal Mathilde’s on line linked bibliography as an excellent place to start. To be able to find some of the sources readily available on the ‘net is a wonderful thing, although doing in-person research in libraries does have the collateral benefit of seeing the book two over on the shelf from the one you were seeking. Mathilde has gathered together a selection of reproductions that are readily available (one may require retrieval of a dead link via Internet Archive).
I’m still investigating possible platforms for charting double running stitch. So far none of the commercial needlework specific packages have presented an overwhelming advantage. I’ll detail more of those trials at a later date (you can read reviews of several candidates in my posts from February 2010). I’m now looking at commercial general purpose graphics programs, including Visio, Open Office Draw, GIMP, ArtRage, ArtWeaver, Real-Draw, and others. Criteria for selection include:
Ability to graph VERY LARGE projects legibly on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
Visual breaks between consecutive individual stitches (as opposed to showing a series of many stitches as a solid unbroken line)
Ability to represent the background as dots rather than graph squares (to complement the visual break stitch illustration method)
Standard freeform capture/copy, rotate, mirror and flip tools
Ability to represent both line and solid unit patterns
Ability to vary the width of straight stitch units (to represent various thread thicknesses)
Most needlework packages handle #4 and #5. Several also do #6. The do however fall down on #1 because tend to present patterns at large scale for legibility and in deference to most modern stitchers gauge preference. It would be difficult to use those packages to graph out high stitch count repeats without the patterns overflowing onto multiple pages.
I’ve only found one package that does #2, but to achieve it I run afoul of #1, because the real estate required to represent the stitches as units is prohibitive. #3 is alien to everyone. I appear to have invented that method of presenting counted thread stitching when I doodled up TNCM. It worked, and I’d like to use it again (with edge notation on count), but it appears that the only way I’ll find it is to figure out how to do it again on my own.