Wednesday, February 14, 2018

“Heaven help the man who ever really loves you”....

Bet that wasn’t the quote you thought I was going to lead in with, but it pretty much sums up the whole story. When I think of all the unforgettable characters in Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler has got to be my very favorite. I mean a lot of us are attracted to the bad-boys but he’s not just that, I think he’s multi-faceted in comparison to many of his fellow characters. Let’s face it, everyone else is pretty consistent. Scarlett is selfish, vain and completely self absorbed, Ashley always his wishy-washy idealist self, Melanie the sweet, angelic one and Mammy’s just trying to keep her attitude at an appropriate level. But Rhett, on the other hand, one moment he’s bringing trinkets to Scarlett (and in the book to Miss Pittypat and Melanie too) another a hardened blockade runner but in the midst of a sinking south, he’s the only character with the gumption to tell it like it is — whether you're going to like what you hear or not. In some ways I find him more gentlemanly than the illustrious Ashley, at least he respects women enough to be honest with them. Let’s look at all the great one-liners Rhett has, shall we?
I mean those are some unforgettable lines! My personal favorite is the one about being kissed and often and by someone who knows how...wooh whoooo, Miss Pittypat pass me your smelling salts for I dare say my knees get weak at the thought of it!!! If you’ve read the book, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend you do, there are entire characters in the book that are missing from the movie, Rhett’s wardrobe is portrayed more like a dandy, wearing bright snappy colors and always the latest fashions for Paris, so I’m going to keep that in mind and amp up that purple ascot. His stature in the book is also much bigger (more Cary Grant than Clark Gable actually), but I digress.... I decided to start with his suit jacket since is the largest expanse of his outfit. I wanted something that looks almost knitted so I went with Vineyard Merino in Pale Honey (M-1189) and Glazed Ginger (M-1191). This thread has a tight twist so as you stitch you want to let the needle fall and relax that twist a bit. Because this thread has so much texture, I wanted to keep the stitch relatively subtle, the look of a light tweed and Kennan stitch fit the bill perfectly. The empty space within the stitch leaves a little breathing room to show off the character of this thread and keeps the thread from appearing too heavy. It’s slightly loftier than I would normally use on an 18 count canvas but with that bit of breathing room it works. 
When you use lighter coverage stitches you need your thread to be a really good match, otherwise you need a stitch with full coverage. This is kind of the situation I ran into with Scarlett’s bow shown below. I know I’m going to put silk ribbon over this area, so I stitched right over the bow and assume that the silk ribbon on top is going to cover enough of the green you don’t see it peaking through the stitch and even if it does you won’t notice because of the bow’s shadow. 

This is why you can’t stitch areas in a vacuum, because as much as you think each area is their own, they aren’t, the piece is layered and you have to approach it that way. I don’t want to have to deal w this area again later if my silk ribbon bow doesn’t completely cover, might as well fill it in completely now and prevent potential headache later.

With Rhett being dark and handsome, the thread pallet we’ve been using for the other characters’ skin shading won’t do. Rhett is slightly darker, more tan, so I’m going to use the Splendor color card in Bronze (as opposed to porcelain, like the others) to help with shading. I know I’ve talked about the Rain Gallery thread cards before but seriously, having so many skin shades in a single card is so convenient. Choose the correct card for the tone you’re using and it’s like half the work is already done for you. For Rhett’s skin I’m using three strands of colors S1085 for the outlines of his face, S1131 for the shadows, S1085 for the checks, S1083 for the highlights, and S1098 as the majority of his skin tone. I’m using all the colors on the card except the darkest one at the bottom. 

If I do say so myself, the colors for Rhett’s skin are spot on, I especially like the blush color which isn’t too pink. You may notice a little something going on with his nose, as I was stitching, I took one long stitch diagonally down the length of his nose from the upper left to the lower right and then basketweaved over it. It’s a quick and easy way to add just a subtle padding to the peak of the nose. I don’t incorporate this on all of the people I stitch but I felt his nose didn’t have enough definition color-wise, again it’s subtle so I’m not sure if you can even notice it in the picture but sometimes the smallest changes are enough to add a bit of character. Here is that subtle padding before it was all covered up (sorry for the bad quality photo).

And here is our Rhett thus far.:

Next time we’re going to deal with Rhett’s hair. NEVER a strand out of place, even while saving dames in the middle of a burning Savannah. And I’ll finish off his other facial features, mustache,  boutonniere and ascot....oh, what to do??? Don’t you worry your pretty little head, I have some interesting ideas in mind, but like Rhett at the political discussion at the BBQ, I know when it’s time to take my leave.....for now....

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Until next time.....