Tuesday, June 4, 2013

W22: Patterned Backgrounds for Needlepoint

When the book popped out of the Biblio-Mat this week, I was excited. Given half a chance I will always jump at the oppourtunity to try something new in the arts and crafts field and pick up a new skill. Especially if the alternatives are textbook sized pieces on child psychology.

How could this possibly go wrong?
Patterned Backgrounds for Needlepoint, by Sheila Marton and Mimi Selick was published in 1977, and it shows. The entire book consisted of 24 pages of text and 73 pages of patterns. Patterns of needlepoint backgrounds. Four of these pattern pages contained colour photographs of finished work but the other 95% were simply black and white grid filled with dots, forming repeating patterns one could use for needlepoint.

Needlepoint patterns or the most intense bingo sheets ever.
Having never done needlepoint before, I decided I would undertake a project to create a piece. Partially because it’s always amusing to learn something new and partially because writing a review on 73 pages of repeating grids would be incredibly boring. After a quick search online, I procured the materials I would need: embroidery thread, a piece of cross-stitch fabric, and needles.

Came out to $10.01, or five times the cost of the book.
Learning the actual process took a good hour but the techniques were simply enough to absorb. It pretty much came down to drawing with boxes and stitching diagonals. Being of the age that grew up on the NES, drawing 8-bit art came pretty easily so I doodled up a design that I felt captured the scope of this project. Stitching the outline took an hour and a half. It was then that I knew I was in trouble.
Awesome designs? The book will tell you how to make the backgrounds!
For those who have never tried needlepoint, it is the delicate art of using thread to create an image on fabric one pixel at a time in the form of a stitch. The kicker, though, is that the stitch has to line up with the holes in the weave of the canvas. Those holes are very very small. And there are very very many of them. Yeah. I was basically a human dot-matrix printer, complete with the whining.
Five hours in.
I consider myself a fast reader. I can plow through most novels in a day with ease and I usually budget out roughly six hours in my week to read through whatever the Biblio-Mat throws at me. Five hours in I was finally out of the top portion of the piece. Starting on the part with the green thread, the resemblance to watching grass grow was uncanny.

Seven hours in. Kill me now.
Currently the piece is barely halfway completed. Being 3am already, I will choose to strategically take a knee on this one and temporarily suspend this project till next week. My inherent stubbornness makes me want to keep going. However, the notion of explaining the reason that I was sleeping at work tomorrow is due to staying up all night doing needlepoint is keeping that at bay. So after ten hours of needlepoint, this is the end result:

Ten hours worth of work. Even the canvas looks miserable.
On the plus side, I did catch up on an entire season of The League, two episodes of Game of Thrones, and three films on my Netflix queue.

To be completed.

Book rating: 4/10 (At one point in time this may have been a useful book. That point in time is not now)

Random quote: “Each can be read in many ways: 1) hold book upright 2) hold book upside down 3) hold book sideways 4) enlarge or reduce pattern 5) change proportion 6) reverse squares and circles.” (Rocket science at its best)

8 comments:

  1. And menfolk thought that it was easy being at home all day stiching up something lovely for the sofa--as in a pillow; stool cover or quilt. But it is the creative challenge that makes it -- well -- fun.

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