MIXED STITCH INTERLACE

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.


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3 responses

  1. When I starting using a slate frame, I needed a new stand that could hold it decently (since it was large), and yet be within my limited budget. I found this stand from Joanns (online only) that works decently well, although it does have problems holding the same position for a long time (it can slowly start to sink until the frame ends up resting on me). But for the work I did, it was far better than the old one-clamp I used to use that is more for roller frames.

    It holds the frame on both sides, in the middle of the frame, and could fold & travel with me in a bag. I could easily use both hands while stitching, and could flip it around to finish off portions on the wrong side, tho’ some areas were hard to get to. I can also swivel it around to work on the other side very easily. It was also less expensive using a coupon.
    http://www.joann.com/edmunds-stitch-master-floorstand-/xprd1144603/

    Someday when I can afford it, I do want the new hoop you have, as the reviews of it sound wonderful. I also want a better stand, but again, when I can afford to buy an all-metal one I’ve an eye on.

  2. Hmmm. For those looking for an equivalent of my floor stand. The other Edmond’s product – the adjustable crafts floor stand looks a lot like my Grip-it clamp style frame. I also note that a quick Google search on it turns up prices starting at about half of what Joann’s wants for the same thing.

    On hoops – the only one I use is a little guy – a 6-incher from Hardwicke. The Millenium frame is a scrolling style flat frame. It doesn’t have pierced sides for lacing like a traditional slate frame.

    A better stand would be nice, but I’m incapable of buying a new thing until the old one is worn out or used up. I guess I’ll have to stitch faster!

  3. It is nice to see the progress. I really love the thistle border. I finally finished my project, and officially have to start my next one, but it is kinda overwhelming atm. I look at all the different options, both from all the modelbooks that you helped with and your book, and in some ways I don’t know what to do. I haven’t noticed any bad effects from the hoop frame on the silk, but I have heard that the stuff I have been using is very durable compared to normal. Overall I wanted to say something so you would know I hadn’t forgotten about your blog since I have been slacking and not commenting, lol. Been reading, just been very very busy…..

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