CROSS-CULTURAL STITCHING

Lord Ganesh is a beloved and hard-working Deity here in India. His image is omnipresent.  Aside from gracing his many temples, Lord Ganesh rides on dashboards all over the nation, protecting almost every car, truck, and bus.  He wards the door of most homes; and blesses many shops, schools and public buildings.  His image has been rendered in just about every medium, from exquisite woodcarving to molded pink plastic.  He has been sculpted, printed, woven, painted, and stitched. Hmm. Stitched.

So of course, I had to work my own.

I tried to draw up my own freehand design, but decided in the long run that it would be easier to use an established image.  That way I couldn’t get the iconography wrong.  I found a kids’ coloring book page via Google.  Its simple shapes were particularly suited to inhabited blackwork – the traditional form with heavy outlines enclosing counted thread fillings.  I sized the design for some cloth I had on hand, and printed it out.  Here you see the cloth and the design taped to a window – a free version of a light table –  for pattern tracing:

gane-3

And here’s progress to date – about four days’ worth:

gane-2

He’s red because red is a happy color.  I’m about two-thirds done, with one ear, some “filler” and some of the lotus frame left to go.  I’m very pleased with the way he’s turning out.

For the record, I’m using plain old DMC six strand cotton floss, color #498; two strands for the fillings, three four the chain stitch outlines.  I’m working on a coarse cotton/acrylic “linen” that’s not quite even weave (you can see the distortion in the floral pattern in the face, with the north-south axis looking slightly squished compared to east-west).  I’m doing this at (for me) a huge gauge of 16 stitches per inch, and the entire piece measures across from lotus-point to lotus point is approximately 8 inches across.  All of the fillings above are from my free Ensamplario Atlantio collection.

I have a special purpose for my Lord Ganesh, which will be revealed in time.

6 responses

  1. This is absolutely beautiful! I hope to see the finished product!

  2. Lovely! I hope Lord Ganesh is suitably pleased. How do you keep your lines so clean and sharp in the fillings when you are using 2 strands at 18 stitches per inch? I’m just a beginner and I struggle to have clean lines with 2 strands in double running stitch at 14 stitches per inch. So far I haven’t tried more than one strand for fillings.

    1. One thing that helps is not to use a sharp pointed needle. This is a bit counter-intuitive, because one would think that piercing the threads in double running would make neater lines. But it doesn’t. I use either tapestry blunts, or for one or two strands of floss – a ball point needle made for hand-sewing on knit/jersey type fabric. Blunt needles push the threads and the weave aside rather than split and fray them. That helps.

      1. Thanks, Kim. I went out and bought some ball-point needles and they do make the stitching easier! Now to practise, practise.

        1. Practice, practice, practice. 🙂

          One more hint – although others can do counted work without a frame, I find a really taught tambour or flat frame really helps. Think drum skin tight. Plastic hoops and q-snap style frames aren’t enough for me. I recommend a good wooden hoop, padded with twill tape, or a flat frame slate style laced on all sides. My Millennium roller frame works nicely though even without side lacing.

  3. I can see how keeping the fabric really taut would help but I’ve never mastered using a hoop – never seem to have enough hands. I suppose that’s just a practice thing too. I know there are some nifty lap frames that might get around the hands problem but my lap is too far away for my eyesight. I can read at that distance, with glasses, but I have to take my glasses off and hold the work about 6 inches from my nose for finer focus. (Working from a chart is a real challenge, too: glasses on to read chart, then off again so I can stitch.)

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