I think many stitchers will find the second section of The Needlepoint Book extremely helpful The last chapter of this section, Putting It All Together, summarizes the issues in the other seven chapters with a series of questionnaires.
I thought it would be great if I took my most recent canvas (from Lee Needle Arts) and analyzed it using this chapter. The canvas was picked and planned without using this book. That makes it a great example of many of the projects we do. The articles today and tomorrow will go through this process.
Rather than do Q&A, I’ll put the summary for each section in paragraph form.
The shapes in this design are mostly rounded, with few lines. Along with the rounded shapes they create an interesting but somewhat crowded design (the crowding is a weakness).
It uses aerial perspective exclusively and overlap is the only key to perspective, so the picture plane is very flat.
The arrangement of the flowers is roughly in two horizontal rows. These slightly lead the viewer out of the picture, especially on the left where partial flowers are seen.
The design is balanced with a nice scattering of flower sizes and shapes. A weakness is that pretty much only two shapes are used: straight lines for the stems and irregular rounded shapes for the flowers. Because there is great variety in these rounded shapes, it is not as big a weakness as it could be. All elements in the design are in scale and relate to each other.
There are parallel lines but they are minor in the overall design, only serving to avoid floaters. Although the shapes are curved, the lines and arrangement of the overall design are straight. There were no textures and, as painted, perhaps the large pink flower was the focal point. If so, it was a very weak one.
The design as painted had a strong analogous color scheme of pink, orange and yellow. The stitched design stayed with this scheme. Small accent areas of blue-green and yellow-green add contrast.
The design uses mostly medium values, with light values in the pinkish-white and yellow. The darkest the values go is about medium-dark, a weakness.
When it comes to intensity the design is unbalanced. All the colors but the cool accents and the pinkish-white are bright. Because these more muted areas are scattered around the design, this weakness isn’t as great as it could be. This is, I think, the biggest weakness of the canvas as painted.
The colors are harmonious and most of the flowers have a good balance of light and dark, color, or bright and muted. The weakest is the bottom right flower because the red and dark orange are a bit too close in hue and are the same value.
Because the colors are scattered throughout the design, your eye easily moves from one flower to another.
To keep the design from looking dull in spite of the bright colors, textured stitches were used. In order to bring some order to the design, a special effect of using one stitch for each of the main flower colors was used.
Fiber & Thread
A different thread was used for each color in the design, with two colors having two threads but in different areas.
There are some threads that attract attention to themselves. The hot pink thread, Twinkles, has metallic in it. The light pink thread, Vineyard Silk Tone-on-tone, has several values in each stitching length. Finally, the yellow-green accent thread is a tweedy hand-spun from Dragonfly Lotus, so it looks speckled when stitched.
Happily, the only flower where all three threads are used is the large pink flower, turning it into a strong focal point. While these threads do occur elsewhere in the design, they do not occur together and each occurrence is isolated. No competing focal points are created.
Because the plane of the picture is essentially flat, there is no need for reduced texture for receding planes.
The attention-getting threads only occur once at the right edge of the piece, so they do not draw your eye out of the picture.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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