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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fun with Composite Stitches

So what is a composite stitch, you ask? It’s a stitch that is made up of combinations of other stitches, often layered on top of each other.

The sleeve on Magi #3 is stitched with a fairly simple composite stitch. It starts out with a simple lattice of a medium weight metallic in gold.
Magi3_sleeve1 12Nov2011
This metallic is tied down with upright cross at each intersection, using a lighter-weight silver metallic.
Magi3_sleeve2 12Nov2011
And in all of the open areas, an upright cross is stitched too, this time in a few plies of silk floss.
Magi3_sleeve3 12Nov2011
The result is a rich-looking “fabric” that looks complex but is actually very straight forward. You can barely see the silver metallic, but it helps the entire presentation by holding down the diagonal lines of gold and adding just a touch more shimmer.

This is by no means the only composite stitch in The Magi. Perhaps the most challenging of these is found in the robes of Magi #2. The stitch seen here has no fewer than 6 steps to complete.
What fascinates me about these stitches is thinking about how the designer created them. This isn’t a matter of simply picking up a favorite stitch book and filling in an area. Creating composite stitches requires either a) a lot of time so that you can try out various combinations or b) a VERY good intuition on what stitch diagrams look like. Or both.

So the next time you’re trying to figure out what stitch to put in an area, consider if that area could us a bit more texture that just a standard stitch out of a standard book of stitches. Then try playing with adding various stitches on top of a light stitch. And see what you can come up with.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

The whole design is beautiful, but I love that section from the sleeve, it's beautifully done