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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Stitch in Time: Toccata Number Two

One of my favorite designers of modern samplers is Cynthia Zittel of The Drawn Thread. This is her Toccata Number Two. According to Wikipedia, the term "toccata" means "to touch" and is typically used to describe a musical composition that is designed to "emphasiz[e] the dexterity of the performer". If that's what Ms. Zittel had in mind for this piece, she did a wonderful job!

I finished this in 2005, and had a wonderful time with it! Some of the motifs were simply cross stitch, but many introduced new techniques and new stitches to educate and stretch the stitcher's experience.

It was in this piece that I used Japan gold thread for the first time - in multiple sizes. (More on Japan gold in a later post!) The larger sizes were couched down for various techniques, including an introduction to a goldwork technique called Or Nue (pronounced "or nu-way"). In this technique, the couching stitches make a pattern over a background of gold threads. Typically in or nue, the couching stitches are simply straight stitches perpendicular to the laid background, but in Toccata 2, crosses are used to couch a pattern, as seen in the picture on the right.

This piece had many other fun bits to keep my interest, as well. Like the gold and perle pulled work "sampler in a sampler":

And a cute potted flower with satin stitch petals and queen stitch leaves (I used to hate queen stitches until Eileen Bennett showed me her method!):

And a wonderful little dragonfly with wings of perle couched with the smallest size of Japan gold:

And then there's the peacock, and the topiary, and the entire alphabet of letters in different styles and sizes, and the row at the very bottom with seven different little flowers, and...

Needless to say, I had a blast with this piece!

Now, the particulars: I stitched this completely from my stash, matching silks of different brands to the DMC numbers listed. From what I can remember, I used Au ver a Soie's Soie d'Alger, Amy Mitten's Fibers to Dye For, and Rainbow Gallery's Splendor. I used a fat quarter of 36 ct Lakeside linen in Light Vintage Exemplar from Silkweaver's fabric of the month club (when they carried Lakeside!). It was fun to shop in my stash for just the right colors!


Meari said...

Toccata is very pretty. I love the colors.

Jeanne said...

Thanks, Meari! The credit for the colors can't go to me, though, they're "as designed" for the most part. I just found substitutes in my stash.