Tuesday, April 24, 2018

“Frankly my dear.....

....I don’t give a damn.” One of the most famous movie quotes in history, by the time you get to this line in the movie and Rhett finally says it, you just want to stand up and cheer! Finally someone tells Ms. Scarlett they have had enough! And like I said in my last post, he’s my favorite character because he just doesn’t take anyone’s crap! But most of all he’s a survivor above all else and that really appeals to me.

If you know anything else about Rhett Butler, you know that he looks sharp as a tack so I want to impose that with my stitch choices. We already stitched his jacket and skin tone. Now what to do with the color of his shirt? It’s a small area and I wanted the fabric to look like a small check, so I stitched in a skip tent pattern but as a cross stitch in Pepper Pot, color Salt 02 and by doing the stitch as a cross stitch, the stitch appears more square reinforcing they checkered affect. To stitch his eyes, I used a Kreinik (brown) metallic #12 Braid 002. The pupils of Rhett’s eyes on this canvas were painted all black. I thought it made him too sinister looking so I replaced a few stitches with the brown metallic to slightly soften the look. I stitched the mustache and the eyebrows in long and short style diagonal stitches in DMC pearl cotton 5 in black (310). I like the contrast of using a different thread for facial hair than the hair on his head.

Rhett has that dark and handsome thing going on and he has that unflawed jet black hair. I really wanted it to look dark, thick and slick. When you want that dense look in the best thin in my opinion to use is Rainbow Gallery’s Flair. I used black (F501) and just more than a touch of light gray (F591). While we only need a touch of the light gray — and we could have done without— it makes him look distinguished and it helps break up that expanse if black so it’s not too one-note. Similar to how I stitched Ashley’s hair, I found my part line and drew a line with blue dressmakers chalk (which is in a pencil form). I then stitched long and short in both directions leaving the vertical row for the part unstitched/empty. I stitched down the right side first then I worked from the top down on the left side in the black. Once I got to the silver streak, I had both colors going in separate needles at the same time. I will often do this as I find it an easier way to shade. Remember though to maintain good thread management so you don’t get tangled up on the back side. Once I stitched the bulk of the hair, I then went back at the end and stitched tent with the black Flair over the empty vertical part row. I find black much more forgiving when doing hair. It’s so dark and dense it hides a lot of stitching flaws so if you’re cautious about trying “Flair for hair” (I love how that rolls off the tongue), I recommend trying it in black for your first attempt.

As soon as I saw the flower in his lapel, I knew I had to stitch it as a woven ribbon rose. I think it’s rather busy how it’s painted but if you use the right ribbon and simplify, it could really be a feature. When doing woven ribbon roses, you need the appropriate sized ribbon and a matching thread—floss or pearl cotton is fine is that’s all you have but silk ribbon is just luscious. You probably won’t see your thread but having a decent match helps disguise it if it peaks through. I am using Planet Earth Fiber 4mm ribbon in the color Lollipop 011 which has a little over-dyed edge which will look especially nice once it’s woven into a rose. Using 3 strands of DMC 3687 I made a circle of 5 “spokes” in a circular pattern. On smaller flowers you can use 3 or on a larger you can do 7 or 9 but it has to be an odd number so that’s your most important take away. You don’t want your spokes too loose or too tight, remember these are going to create your petals and you don’t want them so tight they over wear your ribbon. Below are my spokes:

Attach your ribbon in the back either by burying it under existing stitches or piercing it with your needle and come up one canvas thread from the center. I tend to like to work clockwise but you can work in either direction as long as you keep going in the same direction. You then go around the clock weaving over and under, over and under. Keep going round and round and as you do, manipulate the ribbon a little so you get some nicely shaped petals. Once the flower seems pretty full, keep going until you make sure you can’t see any of the spokes’ thread and when you are satisfied with your rose, poke your needle under a fat nice petal through to the back of the canvas and end your thread as your normally would when working with ribbon. And here’s my finished rose.

If my description wasn’t detailed enough, Sarah Homfray has a great instructional video HERE. If you aren’t familiar with Sarah, she has taught for the Royal School of Needlework and is an enormously talented embroidery teacher. Many embroidery videos can be easily converted to needlepoint especially if you aren’t afraid to pierce the canvas (there isn’t a law against it you know), so if you ever want to try a new to you technique and can’t find a needlepoint video, I highly recommend looking at embroidery videos to help just remember you want the idea of it not the exact science (because this type of needlework work isn’t).

While we’re on the subject of silk ribbon, let’s work on that ascot. Now men’s fashion is not usually my thang but in reviewing some images of Rhett’s character, he has an array of neck adornment. Traditional ties, bow ties and neckerchiefs. I’m going for a broad silk necktie look, not to be confused with the narrower necktie that we’re used to today. To get the effect I am looking for, I decided to use River Silk ribbon in 10mm in color 310. I stitched a couple of long directional stitches about half way down and then long directional stitches on top of those to fill in the length. The stitches that go only about half way provide subtle padding and help with coverage towards the top. With a ribbon this wide, keep a light tension, don’t pull the ribbon to much, let it breath and billow on its own but don’t let it twist, use a laying tool to lay it flat. I prefer one with a rounded tip, not sharp for ribbon work. Then I used The Collection Designs Swarovski Flatback crystal in color 3700 6mm color Crystal which is a gorgeous irredentist purple/pink/green with a single The Collection Designs miyuki size 11 seed bead coincidentally enough in color crystal as the tie tack. The colors in this crystal are perfect for the look I want. It is subtle without being garish, just what it needs. And while I am mentioning The Collection Designs (also know as Embellishing Plus for their crystals, beads, etc.), they also make an awesome beading thread that is totally invisible, yet it’s very strong, and absolutely will not break or stretch. I originally purchased it for beading, which it’s great for, but I also use it for couching especially when I want something to appear to just float on the canvas or if it’s a heavier component, it’s what I always turn to. I would normally wait and do my ribbon and beading as the last components of my design but I’m trying to work in sections for the sake of the blog readers so do as I say, not as I do.

My version of Mr. Rhett is now complete. I think this is the perfect example that proves you don’t have to do anything outrageous to bring a character to life. He looks pretty damn (there’s that works again!) suave, if I do say so myself!

We are chipping away at our Gone With the Wind canvas and like the ladies in the mid-afternoon at the barbecue, I need a nap, although I guarantee if I snuck out, I would not be whipping a vase at Rhett’s head! I’d sense his presence anywhere. Who will make their presence known next? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

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