Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Coastal Christmas Banded Ball Ornament

Feb 6 2016.

For many years I have been thinking about making ball ornaments similar to the floss wrapped, banded ornaments I had seen at

http://www.en.coricamo.com/set,94034,christmas-balls.htm

except that I envisioned adding a stitched band to a fiberfill stuffed fabric ball that was assembled, like a beach ball, from lens shaped pieces. I knew that it would be easy to find, or design, something with a repeating motif that would wrap around the equator of a ball but for my Christmas gift ornaments I wanted to stitch a scene, like a winter landscape or Santa's workshop. I started searching but I never did find a Christmas or winter scene that had the necessary short and wide proportions.

Recently it occurred to me that if I put together fragments from Victoria Samplers' "Mystic Christmas Sampler" I could probably stitch a band that is about one inch tall and wide enough to wrap around an ornament sized ball.  So I made a start on it  ...

  photo island christmas trials.jpg

but before I could decide what else I would add, so that stitched band so it would circumnavigate the ball, I had to take a break and do some experiments.

February 27 2016 - Seashore/ Southshore Christmas Ornament

Having almost exhausted my procrastination projects experiments I was finally ready to get back to my seashore ornament. I started by removing the boat that was at dock on the left hand side and adding a distant boat at sail.  (From Mystic Christmas Sampler.) Then I had a brainstorm and decided that I would add some colourful buildings from Lunenburg Harbour. (Where dh worked as he earned his PEng.)  I tentatively added some red sheds to the right edge. It really made the design pop (and made me wish that I had frogged the sailboat) so I decided to do some more frogging and make the right side of the design more graphic.

First I removed the two tall, dark, skinny buildings and replaced them with a blue shed and a Christmas tree. Then I reshingled the church roof to be more like St. John's Anglican at Peggy's Cove. Finally I replaced most of the greenery with more snow. All of these changes gave the design more "punch" and made it more "legible" from a greater distance.

Before

 photo island christmas trials.jpg

After

 photo 818.jpg

I don't think that I will do any more frogging on this stitched piece so when I get someplace to buy some well matched fabric I'll probably assemble it. However, I know that I will make some changes to the design before I start to stitch the gift ornaments. I will definitely:

- Make the red sheds more compact.
- Switch the red sheds and the boat at dock, or replace the boat at dock with one that is face on and slide the red sheds over so their right corner is tucked in behind the tree.
- Replace the sailing boat with a simplified Bluenose II
- Redesign the church to be more like St. John's Anglican at Peggy's Cove
- Except for the wharf at the boat sheds, naturalize the shoreline to rocks and snow, bring the center section forward and push the lighthouse section back.

Additionally I will try to redraw one of the houses with a center gable dormer, redraw the lighthouse to resemble a local one and consider adding other NS features such as the Halifax Town Clock, the Mahone Bay yellow church and the old Lunenburg School.   But first I think I'll undertake a simpler project...

March 7 2016

I know that if want to a make personalized NS ornaments I will have to do some charting, but I'd rather be stitching. Today I made myself grapple with the part that I expect will be the most difficult. A tiny, so super simplified, Bluenose II. After I charted it I decided that I would stitch it on the end of the fabric strip to minimize future frogging. That made it easy to stitch but a bit of a challenge to photograph!

First I folded the end over the previous ship at sail so I could see it adjacent to the lighthouse.

 photo 891 2.jpg

And then I looped it around so that it was adjacent to the Lunenburg sheds.













The verdict is that overall it works but I think that at this scale it should be in the foreground, not the background*.

And the sails fade into the background more than I would like.  That makes me wish that I had a darker fabric, and if I end up stitching on 25 count that might be an option.  In the meantime perhaps a bit of topstitching will help pop them forward or maybe I just need to place the ship so that some of the white sails are in front of a darker background, like the red sheds and the Christmas tree. That would work especially if I pull the ship forward a little so that the red and green are sail height. 

Note also that the light on the sails is coming from the right but the light on the original houses is coming from the left.  (If I keep both one or the other could be flipped around the vertical axis.)

But I really must stop dragging anchor!

March 8 2016

Last night I quickly added some dark background adjacent to the boat.

 photo 893.jpg

While it does help to define the edge of the sails it also makes them seem out of focus compared to the background.  Clearly if the boat is in the foreground it will need some topstitching.  But would I topstitch to indicate all 8 sails? 

Well it turns out that this is an irrelevant question because a quick google search indicates that the mainmast of the Bluenose is about 10 stories tall!  So if I want to stitch it in the foreground the buildings would have to get a lot shorter!  That isn't likely to happen so I guess I'm back to figuring out how much topstitching it needs if it is in the distance.

Later that day ...

And here she is topstitched with the lightest beige grey sewing thread that I had. It is probably a bit too crisp for a background object but maybe a lighter thread would work.

 photo 897.jpg



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