Chinese Rug – Practicing Motifs

I don’t usually post about this step of the process, but I’m going into more detail on the design process with this project, so here we go.

I started with background stitches. I don’t want to use the same stitch each time, so I’ve tried out several different stitches that I thought might work.

I always keep a small bag by my chair in the living room, where I normally stitch. This bag has some Silk & Ivory, floss, etc. When I want to practice ideas for a new project, I pull out whatever thread I’ll be using for the project – color doesn’t matter at this point. So I pulled out Natural Silk & Ivory for this project. I started at the left with Oriental stitch – I like this stitch but wondered if it would create too much of a pattern for the background and take away from the other design elements. Just to the right of that is Caswell stitch – I think doing this over and over for a large area would drive me crazy, so it was eliminated. Just to the right of that is Diagonal Double Parisian – the stitches were just too small to repeat over and over so I stitched another version using longer stitches. This is okay but will definitely create lines across the rug – eliminated. Above these stitches, and still in Natural color, is Double Trellis – I liked this stitch but wasn’t sure about the canvas peaking through, so I stitched it a second time using Honey, which I will be using as the background color for the actual rug. I don’t like the holes in the canvas showing through for a rug – eliminated. Now to the other stitches done in Honey. On the top, left is Milanese – I like it and will consider it. At the bottom, right is Giant Diagonal Mosaic – don’t like it at all – eliminated. The next stitch on the top row is Giant Brick stitch – like this one a lot and will be easy to compensate around the design. The last stitch on the right is Diagonal Weave (or Woven) stitch – it’s okay and moves along fairly well, but I’ve eliminated it as well. So I’m down to Milanese and Giant Brick. At this point I think I’ll use the Giant Brick but we’ll see.

This is the photo collage that I showed you before with ideas from 3 different rugs that I thought would work for the borders around the outside of the rug. I knew I wanted to do the Meander border, so I did a small section that included a corner to see how much space it would take up and how it would look.

This motif will be stitched in Gobelin over 2 threads. I’ll stitch the bottom half of the Navy over 2 threads as well. (Yes, one strand of the motif on the right is the wrong color.) I need to made the pointed corners a little neater. That’s one reason I always practice stitch the element first, finding the problem areas and hopefully getting them solved before I start on the project. I said in an earlier post that the small motif above the Meander motif in the collage photo would be different in my version. The small blue and white motif in the photo above is what I will use as the motif above the Meander. The colors aren’t what I will use though – still have to decide what colors to use where. The Wheat stitch is in blue and the Double Cross stitch is in white – for the second cross stitch, I used a Long Arm Cross so it would fill in the area between the Wheat completely.

This is my first attempt at the flower from the photo collage. I used 2 different shades of blue, but I’m not sure there is enough difference in color. I may need a slightly darker shade – another reason to practice stitching first before I order my threads. I have an idea on how to improve the flower, but I’ll keep it as a surprise when I start the rug. I don’t want to give everything away before I even start.

What’s left? I need some scrollwork to place between the flowers and I need 2 versions of butterflies – one for the corners of the border and one for the center medallion. Let’s see if I can get that done this week and do a rough layout. Then I can think about how much of each color I’ll need and place an order in about 2 weeks. I hope to be able to start the real stitching around February 1st.


7 responses to “Chinese Rug – Practicing Motifs

  1. Very interesting, especially the first part showing the different background stitches. Since I mostly cross stitch with some decorative stitching for accent seeing all the stitches you could use for background is really informative. Thank you.

  2. The Honey and Navy look well together for the Meander border. I’m not seeing two different shades of blue in the flowers, though–maybe it’s my monitor?

  3. I am learning a lot as I follow your process. There is so much work involved in test stitching, but I can see where it pays off. The two different shades of blue can only just be determined with my monitor, but I agree with you that a darker shade will set off the contract better.

  4. I agree you might need a greater contrast in the flower – maybe make the lighter colour lighter, rather than the dark, darker (depending on the colour of the background…) ?

    The thinking and experimentation is at least as interesting as the stitching – thank you for sharing it with us!

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