Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I did a bad thing....

....and started a new project. I have been trying to work my way through my existing Works in Progress (WIPs) and being careful to not purchase any new projects (though somehow acquiring a free one from someone else's stash reduction doesn't seem to count). But the other night, after relaxing with a scotch on ice, I got the brilliant idea to pull out a kitted-up project and get it started.

And it's a big project. BIG.

Some of you may know about the trend over the last decade or so toward computer-generated charts. A designer will start by importing an image into a computer program which converts it into a stitchable image. A GOOD designer will then fine-tune the image to improve the balance and color issues. In the early days of this technology, the goal was to create an chart that was similar to the old hand-drawn charts and to feature an image stitched with a lot of background fabric still showing. Over the past few years, however, the goal has been to recreate artwork in it's entirety with a chart that requires the needleworker to completely cover the fabric. In a way it's like the old tent-stitched needlepoint charted projects except that there typically are a lot more stitches per inch so that the design is more detailed.

A few year's ago, I was at Stitcher's Paradise in Las Vegas. I highly recommend stopping by if you have a chance. This piece called Baby Ghosts by Mystic Stitch was on loan to them by a customer. I loved it! The only problem were those little words at the bottom: "stitches: 250 x 352." What does that mean? Well, we multiply those numbers together to get the amount of little x's you're gonna have to make to finish this chart.


Using 73 different colors.


Looked like I would BE a ghost by the time I finished this one. But it was so cute! So I got the chart and started collecting the DMC floss (including the 16 skeins of black) needed for this. I dug out some 18-count aida that I'd picked up at a sale and decided to baste a grid onto the fabric. I thought it wouldn't take more that a couple of hours to work out and stitch the gridding. It took two full days. However, I expect that I'll save time being able to easily locate my stitching location.

Here is my fabric with the grid on it. I used three colors of thread: yellow for the 10 x 10 stitches grid to match the chart, dark green for the edge of each of the 25 (!) pages of the chart, and red to mark the middle of the overall chart. As I reach a basted line, I cut and remove just that part that's in the way so that I don't end up stitching into it and having trouble removing it later.

Here is a close up of the area near the upper middle of my chart. You can better see the different lines. Note that the page edges are often off from the general 10-stitch grid area. After I finished getting the grid on, I put the whole thing away for "someday." As you can see by the stitching on it, someday arrived.

After getting this big project gridded, I had to decide how to handle 73 floss colors. I'll talk about that later.