Another strip well started. This one is a mixed stitch interlace, graphed out from yet another museum artifact, and another pattern that will be appearing in TNCM2:
As my dawn-lighted picture reveals, I’m working it in two passes – first setting up the double running stitch outlines, then going back and filling in the dark center stripes. After some initial experimentation, I’ve settled on using Montenegrin stitch for those stripes. Although it’s a legitimate historical stitch contemporary with this style, and is spot on in terms of raised texture and density, I’m not entirely convinced that all artifacts labeled “punto spina pesce” use it (or in fact- employ the same stitch).
Contemporary work of that name more commonly refers to plain old long-armed cross stitch (LACS) but LACS doesn’t give the raised, tightly plaited appearance of the older pieces. Plaited – yes, but the angles in LACS are more acute than those in the museum artifacts. Montenegrin is closer in terms of texture, but is also not spot on. I’ll continue to experiment, but I will finish out this band using Montenegrin, and play further on later band.
To answer Ellen, this is done on 40 count using one strand of Soie d’Alger in color 1846. As you can see from the proportions of the work however, the ground is not exactly square. The 3×8 rectangles used to “bind” the interlaces together clearly show the skew. The bottom band of pulled thread work was done over units that are 4×4 threads. The double running band above it and the one I’m working now are done over 2×2 threads – approximately 20 stitches per inch.
To answer Rachel, yes – holding large frames is a pain. I much prefer working with my small round frame. But I don’t want to compromise the silk I’m using. I use my frame stand as that extra “third hand” to hold my frame, and then stitch with one hand above and one below it. If I can get a comfortable angle, it’s actually faster than stitching using the round frame, where one hand holds the frame and the other does all the work. The round frame does provide a more even tension in all directions. I suppose I could seam on a carrying cloth edge and then lace my piece left and right to improve side to side tension on the flat frame. I’ve done that before on others. But the Millennium provides much better overall tension than my old scroll frame, and I like being able to advance work at a whim, or collapse it for transport. I would not have been able to do this type of work on my old frame without lashing the sides.
To answer Anne, I don’t as a rule endorse retail outlets, I don’t accept recompense in money or kind for anything mentioned in String, and I don’t accept “review copies” or gifts from makers/sellers hoping for positive exposure. However I will say that the source for the frame was Needle Needs in the UK. I bought my silk from Needle in a Haystack in California, and the ultimate source of my ground cloth was Hand Dyed Fibers (I bought it from the original purchaser). The needlework stand I’m using is a Grip-It, which I bought about 20 years ago at The Yarn Shop in College Park, Maryland – long out of business. I altered the Grip-It to accommodate the Millennium by replacing the original jaw bolts with longer ones. It appears that the Grip-It is no longer being made.