It’s been a year since I showed you this piece. I stopped so I could try to figure out the rigging. Now that Ghiradelli Square is complete, it’s time to bring this one out and try to get it completed this year.
Here’s where it was in July of 2016:
I spent several mornings with brown #8 perle cotton, trying to get part of the rigging done. I started lower down on the canvas and followed one line of rigging up toward the top of that line, ran the thread under the stitching of the masts or cross beam, then down another line of the rigging. The thread is loose at both ends, hanging off the bottom of the piece. Then I could work on the sky background, moving the rigging threads a little to get the stitches in. When a small area was completed, I could tug each loose thread to get the perle cotton to lie flat again. Very slow going.
Here it is today – after a couple weeks of work:
I’ll continue with the background until I reach the next cross beams. Then I’ll have to stop and figure out the next 3″ or so of the rigging. I’ll stitch the masts and cross beams first then place as many of the lines of rigging as I can. Finally, I’ll fill in more sky. At that point it will be time to scroll the canvas up and I can see how much more there is to do. (Plenty I’m sure – but I’m hoping more than half of the rigging will be completed at that point.)
I haven’t been spending a lot of time on this – maybe 1-2 hours a week. But I wanted you to see how the sky is developing and how I started the rigging.
I’m using 4 overdyes and two solid colors (light blue and white) to stitch the sky. It does take some planning to decide when to change colors and try to have it look fairly realistic. I’m only about a third of the way through the sky.
But it was time to do the start of the rigging. This is going to get really complicated! For each rope, I have to decide which mast it will be attached to, and whether the rope will go to the crossbar, in front of a crossbar or behind each crossbar. I’m going to print out the photo I took of the rigging before I started to stitch and see if I can figure it out. Right now I have 4 ropes on the canvas (each is #8 brown perle). The first two go from near the top of the main mast to the side of the first crossbar. The other two start in the same place, but go behind the first crossbar to other masts. Right now I’ve run the perle under stitches for the crossbar and then followed the line to where it will go next and left the end of the threads hanging on the front of the canvas. This way I can pull the ropes out of the way as I stitch the sky and then pull them taut to keep the thread straight.
While I figure out the rigging, I’ll put the canvas away for a while. Once I have the paper copy marked where the lines need to attach, I’ll get it back out and get back to work.
ASOW was a Russian ship line from the 1800s. The canvas is from a painting by Danish artist C. W. Eckersberg, which he painted in 1828. The painting now resides in the National Gallery of Denmark. DH decided it would be fun and challenging for me to try a tall ship and this is the one we decided I should start on first. I have two cross stitch designs of tall ships as well for future projects. Here is the full canvas.
I started with the sky and will work my way down the canvas. I’m using old Needle Necessities Inc floss, three plies at a time. I have four different threads for the different colored clouds, a blue overdye, and just plain white. All threads for this are coming from my stash. The stitch is Swirl Variation 2 from Ruth Schmuff’s iStitches, Volume 4. It moves along quickly. Here’s where it is today:
I’m not sure about the blue. It’s a little brighter here than it is in person, but it may be too dark. I may switch to a lighter blue floss, not overdye, in order to tone it down a little.
I’ve started the first mast with a golden brown floss and white Basketweave for the small white flag at the top. I’m not happy with the flag. I tried slanted Gobelin but it looked terrible, so I’m still thinking of what else I can try. The ropes for the rigging will be done in #8 brown perle after the clouds are stitched. I’ve taken close up photos to help place them correctly. I’ll stitch the sky/clouds down to the first crossbar and then try the first of the rigging. This will definitely be a challenge – but fun!