Saturday, June 11, 2011

WIP: Twilight Angel - Backstitching!

With my forced blogging sabbatical, you'd think that I'd have lots of lovely projects finished off to show you. But that is not the case, as you'll soon see. I hit some minor road blocks with my Twilight Angel, which I'll explain as we go along :)

When we last saw her, all her whole and half cross-stitches were finished:

Here's another picture of the before-backstitching that is a bit clearer:

And here she is with her features (face and hands), her overskirt, the left edge of her underskirt, her blouse, her hair and her wings outlined:

You may have noticed the beaded headband. Here's a closer look:

The design calls for a variety of cross-stitches, French knots (my Most Afeared Foe), seedbeads and a star sequin in the middle. I decided to simplify her headband, since the space is quite small, and I wanted it to actually look like something *in* her hair instead of all these things piled *on* her hair, if you know what I mean *rolls eyes*.

I'm very pleased with the way it turned out :)

For the seedbeads, I used two Mill Hill colours I had that serendipitously matched the medium shades in her overskirt (the blue) and underskirt (the yellow). I intend to use these in place of the blue and yellow French knots elsewhere. The gold beads are Mill Hill Antique Petits, which is why they are smaller. I stitched in the blue and yellow first, and I decided that the smaller spaces were perfect for the Petits.

Previously, I had intended to add the pearly white beads (like those included with the kit, but substituting my own Mill Hills, to keep the finishes the same), but I think that they would have pushed the others out of alignment and ruined the 'headband' look.

And this is my Twilight Angel with her underskirt fully backstitched:

This section was a bit nerve wracking. Although the leading edge of her underskirt was stitched in dark grey, the pattern called for light grey to be used for the folds of her underskirt. But I had a problem - I had about two inches of the light grey left!

I'm not quite sure how I managed that. I'm generally careful with my threads, and have been especially so with this kit. One of the main reasons I love Dimensions - aside from their beautiful designs - is their wonderful customer service. I knew I could go on the website and order more of the colour I needed.

But I can never resist a challenge :)

After carefully studying the package picture, I came to the conclusion that the light grey blended in a bit too well with the darker yellows of her underskirt, and on a much thought about whim, I decided to go ahead with the dark grey. And I'm pleased with the result. As her blouse and sleeves were outlined in dark grey, I think adding that colour to the folds of her underskirt sort of connects the top and bottom.

So this is where my Twilight Angel stands at the moment. All of the regular backstitching has been done; there is some two-colour backstitching on the sash of her underskirt that I have finished but have yet to take pictures of (but will soon!). Being so close to the embellishment stage is tantalizing, but it is here I hit the wall.

You see, somehow in all my careful reading of the project instructions, I had missed the part that stated that the outlining on the Angel's ribbon sash and underskirt sash was actually couching (!). While familiar with the concept, I have never attempted couching so fine, or couched threads for an outline before, and was (and still remain!) very nervous about possibly ruining all the work I had put in so far.

To prepare myself, I started a specific couching project, with similar threads, so that I could test out my abilities (or lack thereof, let's be honest *wink*) and get a feel for it. That project is now finished, and I will be doing an in-depth post about it soon, but I'm still on the fence when it comes to couching on my Angel. I could substitute backstitching. But I'm afraid that if I do so, the sashes won't look as ribbon-like.

Decisions, decisions.

In the immortal logic of one of my all-time favourite cartoons, I am choosing not to make a choice for the time being :) And therefore, I can feel like I'm doing something by not doing anything at all! Ain't life grand?!  Whatever and whenever I make up my mind, I'll be posting up information about all my substitutions (including the colour numbers and types of Mill Hill beads) when I finalize them.

Until then, I wish you very Happy Stitching and a wonderful weekend!


Karen said...

Your angel looks lovely. Personally, I would add the couching around the ribbon. It will give it a bit of dimension, but I understand why you're not sure.

CrazyStitcher said...

Your angel looks stunning, and I love the colour combination of the seed beads you have used.

Good luck with the couching, if that's what you decide to go with. x

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks very much ladies! I'm happy to report that my angel is very flattered that you both think so highly of her :)

Karen: Thanks very much for the advice! I think I'm probably going to take it :) As nervous as I am about my lack of couching skills, the extra dimension might help transition between all the flat stitching and the beads and other embellishments. Wish me luck!

CrazyStitcher: Aw, thanks very much! The seed beads were totally serendiptious. They were in both colours I've had for ages, and I couldn't believe that they matched so well, but I'm very happy that they did :) And that I could therefore ignore the French knots, LOL.

I think I am going to try the couching, and I appreciate your best wishes very much ;)

Rainy Day Crafter said...

Your angel is looking so beautiful - the wings in particular are looking amazing now the back stitching is done! Going by the couching you've done for the rose, I think this will be fantastic if you go ahead with the couching on it :)

And I just love the cartoon by the way - finally, I have a philosophy to live by when I (frequently) can't make a decision, lol, so thank you! ;)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much Rainy Day! My Angel is very flattered that you think she's beautiful :) I really liked how the wings turned out too, although I was super nervous while backstitching them!

Also, I decide *not* to choose a lot, LOL ;)