WARNING: V-E-R-Y L-O-N-G post alert!
A few months ago I mentioned that I would be restarting one of my current WIPs when the time was right. Well, that time is now and the project is..... *drum roll please* .....Sherlock aka Scarlet Macaw Preening.
You may recall that I was not happy with the hand-dyed fabric and after 20 hours of stitching I was hating it more and more. The fabric had also obviously stretched during the dyeing process and was measuring 15ct making the project even bigger than I had anticipated and the thread coverage poorer! So I put dear old Sherlock away and started searching for an alternative fabric, regardless of expense.
I had a successful find at The Crafty Kitten. Dawn was SO helpful and obliging that I can't thank her enough! She sent sample pictures of how various fabrics would take the dyes and cut the piece of fabric to my specified size. So, thank you, thank you, thank you Dawn! You're a star!
As a reminder, here's Sherlock on the original fabric:
16ct (15ct!) hand dyed Buttered Almond by Silkweaver Fabrics (boring, dull and hardly mottled)
And this is him alongside his new fabric:
32ct hand-dyed Autumn Woodland Belfast Linen by The Crafty Kitten (mottled and colourful)
The fabric pictured is the full size 30" x 40" so that's exactly how Sherlock will transfer to the finished piece (I'm not stitching the background). The blue is slightly more subtle than in the photo and the whole fabric has more of a khaki feel but even with colour adjusting the photograph this was the best match I could get. What do you think? In my mind there's just no comparison and I am absolutely over the moon with my replacement choice. It's definitely going to give the project that forest-type feeling I was looking for.
In order to get the colour I wanted there had to be not one but TWO HUGE compromises. Not only did I have to resort to evenweave to get the desired dye effect, but to linen too! Throughout my whole stitching life I have never ever stitched on anything but Aida! Ulp!
Although I'm definitely jumping out of the proverbial frying pan and into the raging fire I'll hopefully grow to love the linen and not feel too daunted or frustrated about this rather large and unique task I have set myself. At the moment I'm quite excited as I feel I'm giving Sherlock the background he deserves. And I also know that if I want a really good result I'm going to have to put in the effort of 700+ hours!
However, this is where I need your help and advice please.
The linen is very soft so I cannot get good tension on the millennium frame without the fear of stretching it. Nor does the weave lie fully straight (although it's not actually that far off). So, should I resort to using a large hoop to get even and straight tension? or perhaps Q-snaps? or just try to get the linen as straight as possible on a looser tension?
I'm not a fan of hoops or Q-snaps as I'm very frightened of damaging the stitches and/or fabric and worried about the mass of excess fabric picking up dirt.
If I do use the millennium frame will I be able to manipulate the linen to straighten the stitches as much as possible as I go along and/or once the whole piece is completed? I know with Aida adjusting the stitching is virtually impossible to correct, but as this linen is so soft, might it be possible? I just don't know!
I realize that stitching preferences are very personal but would appreciate any insight you can give me. I've already trawled through various Google searches but haven't really found any helpful answers. Can my virtual blogosphere friends help? I hope so!!!
I'm confused and really just don't know what to do.
In the words of The Beatles - Can you please, please help me, help me, help me...ooooh!!!
All the best and
Happy stitching :)