Thursday, July 22, 2010

Drawing and Designing Crosses: another tutorial

I had intended to post the drawing of the flowers for the cross in the previous post, but found these - and thought it might be fine to encourage you to draw your own sizes and shapes - and then put the flowers on them if you wish.

I have put pictures on the other blog of two I made long ago when I was practicing silk ribbon embroidery - and started making crosses for gifts for Godparents and ornaments and Christenings - all kinds of fine uses! When trying out new techniques and learning new things, I decided to put them to good use while I practiced!

Anyway, to draw your own, this is how it begins: These are sketched onto tracing paper - kind of squiggly and rough, but O.K. to determine size, etc. Just ideas that pop into the head from time to time. These are very simple Latin crosses, so easy to draw onto canvas when you get the size right. Actually, any piece of white paper is fine for doodling. I have saved copy paper I was going to discard just for this purpose.
When you have done this, and have a size that suits you, simple make a good tracing with tracing paper and a black felt tip pen (I use the Paper Mate for this, but NEVER use it to draw on canvas). I also use a plastic drawing triangle, utilizing the 90 degree side. Then, fold the tracing in half and mark the center fold with a pencil - this gives you guidance for placing the pattern elements - as the jewels, etc.

I found this scan of a drawing I had made on canvas - to use as a model. I had marked the lines and diagonal intersections where I intended to put a bead. These things must be worked out first, as it's a mathematical thing of being centered and symmetric - very very simple.

Just mark the center of the canvas - on the thread unless you have something in mind that is even numbered (as the cross in previous posts), and work from there. It's always good to make a scan of the drawn canvas for future reference. This one is 6" high on 18 mesh canvas.

The next one is very small - made as an ornament. It's 5 1/4" high on 18 mesh canvas. It's on an even count, as the little "gold beadwork" border is Smyrna crosses with Kreinik gold braid (#12). Very easy to draw!! Also, it has many many possibilities for jewels and color schemes.

On this one, if designing your own, it's good to start with the jewels first - and then work outward to make a nice arrangement of the borders. I worked these in simple slanted gobelin.
The next scan shows how the canvas looked when drawn. I had to do some juggling at the corners, as the Smyrna cross bumps wouldn't fit there. This is O.K. I had to do this, as to make them fit would have messed up the shape so that the jewels wouldn't fit like I wanted them to.

The second of these is on an odd count, and the arrows are pointing to the corners, where the 2 x 3 stitch "jewel" wouldn't fit, so I simply placed a "Smyrna cross" size there.

This one, again, could be worked in many different colors, etc. I started with exactly the same tracing as I worked with when doing the little one with the round jewels.

I have posted two pictures on Possibilities, etc. of crosses I made years ago when first working with silk ribbon embroidery and beads. I got tired of wasting little pieces of canvas - and my time and threads, so started doing small crosses. At least these were useful at gift giving occassions when such things were appropriate and appreciated!

The last one is a piece a drew for a friend who requested it. It's small- and I had to do some juggling to get the lettering and placement of the words to fall into the shape I needed to use - it worked well, and she was pleased.

Notice at the corners (where the arrows point) that the count didn't quite work out the way it should have, so I simply "rounded" them. The one stitch inside the gold "chain" was for insertion of a bead or a cross stitch with a sparkly thread (to make a bump) to resemble a jewel

This is such a very simple process - I hope you will be encouraged to try it for yourself - and be very imaginative!! I'll do the flower tracing in a few days, with also thread and stitch suggestions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Drawing the Cross onto Canvas

I'm having to plagiarize my own canvas, as all I had for reproducing it was an old photograph, which I enlarged on my color copy machine.

The first thing to be done was to figure out the size of the thing. I managed that by counting the little "jewel" things across the top (11 of them) and then down the side. I drew it out on scrap canvas and measured it - the cross is 6 1/4" high on 18 mesh canvas without the little 3 thread border.

Of course you could do it proportionately larger by putting it onto 13 mesh instead of 18. Having determined the height and width, I could cut canvas the right size. I like to leave at least 1 1/2" all around - 2" if I'm doing it commercially so that people will have the option of putting a background for use as a Bible cover or framing.

You can see that this is on an EVEN count, as the jewel is four stitches square - perfect for a little Smyrna cross "pearl." So - one must mark the center of the canvas at the top for guidance by drawing a line in the GROOVE between the threads. If the count had been odd - one would make the mark ON THE THREAD.

Incidentally, you might play with this format, and make a larger, very interesting cross by making the jewels 3 x 3 stitches in stead of the 2 x 2 I used here. There are all kinds of possibiilties for stitching and decorating!! Next, just go around the cross from the first little jewel.

I find it very very easy just to "eyeball" draw without having to count stitches by only making two marks - you can see where the arrows point. Then when finished, you can go back and fill in the missing spaces. This way you can concentrate on counting the jewels and not the stitches.

I marked the corners just to show where the border will be. Be sure from time to time to check yourself - run your thumbnail down a thread and make sure everything lines up. This one is so simple, but one can get "off count" if not paying at least a little attention.

The third picture shows the outside drawing complete.

At this point, you might figure out something of your own to do with the shape instead of doing it like mine. I have charted for people things like "With Faith all Things are Possible" - simple things. OR a wonderful interesting background with lots of silk ribbon flowers on it.
I only sketched in the stripes with two different blue drawing pens (sharpies). I left them incomplete, as I'm not sure what I'll do with the center - probably go ahead and show you how to trace the flowers onto it for stitching - but you could also just leave the center with no painted flowers and do the silk ribbon variety instead. I'll give you the tracing next time for the flowers.

Setting up these stripes originally was easy, - as, again, it's on an even count, so making the three dark blue stripes 2 threads wide, and two wider light blue stripes (4 threads wide) was logical. Try also making a much smaller cross by using maybe only 5 or 7 "jewels" across the top - and proportionate on the rest of the shape.

Be imaginative, and enjoy the process!! The color picture of the painted cross is on a post just previous to this one in case you missed it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More "Paint Your Own Canvas": A Floral Cross

I found this photograph, as I have found so many long forgotten, while cleaning out boxes after a major move of residence. This one is a scan of a photograph, as I painted it long before I had a digital camera and computer - a VERY long time ago.

As I remember, I drew and painted this for a class I was teaching in trying out different techniques and canvas preparation. I think this is the one which led to my deciding to start using silk ribbon embroidery for flowers on crosses and then, later, crazy quilt adaptations.

Anyway, over the next week or so, I intend to give you here the instructions, starting with cutting the canvas, in detail for drawing it onto canvas yourself - and then suggestions for stitching.

There are plenty of tutorials on canvas preparation now here and on my other blog, Possibilities, etc., to help you know which pens and which paint to use, and how to use the paint brushes, etc. etc.

This is a more advanced Freebie, and I hope you put it to good use and enjoy it!! Just please remember that it's for your own entertainment and for giving as gifts either as a painted canvas for stitching friends or as a stitched and finished piece - but NOT for sale as a painted canvas.

For more detailed instructions for Painting Your Own Canvas, I have the book in two chapters now as an E-booklet on my web page, Elegant Whimsies. Under "our designs" just click on E-Books.

I think this has confused some people who have only seen the coil bound version. This is the downloadable, much less expensive version, as you receive it almost immediately upon purchase, and may download and print it out yourself. I revised it and added a lot more color, newer materials and techniques.