Undertaking the Canvaswork Module has been both a joy and a pain so far. I explained in an earlier post how I came to take on Canvas Stitches as my first module in the Royal School of Needlework Diploma, when usually Appliqué is recommended as the starting module for this qualification. On the one hand I have enjoyed the process of working through selecting and blending threads to bring my project to life. Now that I have a better understanding of the types and qualities of some canvas stitches, I have even enjoyed the process of selecting stitches to convey the elements of an image. On the other hand I have not particularly enjoyed the sheer drudgery of have to fill ever single hole in the canvas – which is a definite requirement for this module.
Thankfully the piece is reasonably small. The module brief suggested it should be no bigger than 6 * 8inches and I have followed this suggestion. However that is still leaves a lot of surface to be stitched when all canvas threads must be covered. Ensuring good coverage means having sufficient strands of thread in the needle to fill the spaces – for example a lot of the areas I stitched in stranded cotton required at least 10 strands in the needle. The technique chews up a lot of thread, and sampling stitches on the side of the work has been really useful.
The Canvas has 18 Threads per Inch (TPI) and is a reasonably stiff canvas with a rough surface as I found out on the first day when I accidentally dragged my knuckle across the underside of my piece while tensioning and took a layer of skin off the back of my knuckle joint. I learned to be a little more cautious of canvas after this incident. Having silicon thimbles for both protection and to grip the needle has been invaluable.
Once again the skilled RSN tutors have been really helpful in guiding me forward and on the whole I am happy with how this piece is coming together. I have used a range of threads; stranded, wool, silk, linen, metallic to name a few and think I have managed to achieve good texture on the bullfrog. I also wanted to convey the vibrant colours and semi transparency of Autumn leaves against an early Autumn clear sky and I think this has worked fairly well.
There is still work to be done on this piece but time is running out and mounting day approaches. I am now finishing all of the surface stitching including the twig stems that will hopefully bring this ‘Frog on the Windowsill’ piece to life.