Thursday, 7 January 2021

Candy Mountain Stitchscape


Happy New Year!! I hope you were all able to have a lovely festive period over Christmas and New Year? Ours was much quieter than usual due to the semi lockdown restrictions but it was happy and food/gift filled nonetheless. Next year we'll have to have huge celebrations with all of the family and friends we weren't able to see this time around and perhaps a Christmas in July to receive the presents we couldn't be given!

I was very lucky as I was given some truly wonderful presents and feel very spoilt. My gorgeous other half bought me a big pack of mixed Kaffe Fassett cotton squares! The colours and range of prints is astounding and it was all crying out to be turned into a Stitchscape. 
A few of them had this kind of candy colour theme so whilst I was feeling inspired I chose three of the prints and combined them with the green leaf fabric I already had in my stash and a lovely yellow/orange batik which was part of a fat quarter pack I also received from a certain someone. (He really outdid himself this year!! Thank you honey <3)

There's a lot going on in this piece and so many colours! I've tried to keep it all combined by re-using the same colours throughout the layers to tie it all together. It's not a colour palette I would normally go for in a Stitchscape but I love the freedom of this slightly more abstract landscape - sometimes you can't get bogged down in realistic looking scenes and need to just cast all of those hang ups aside and have fun! 
I haven't really done anything too dramatic with the fabric prints themselves as if you are going to splash out on Kaffe Fassett fabrics you should honour and respect it I think, his work doesn't need much improvement. 

Where I can I've also kept other layers quite simple so the batik at the top just has single strand back stitch following the lines (using a variegated thread for a bit of interest and to match the colour wash in the fabric) and the leaf fabric has big fly stitches following the leaf veins in the print, with whip stitch outlining the edges. I have mixed up the colours a bit on this and changed the line thickness (a great trick for making things seem bigger or smaller) to match the thickness of the lines underneath. 
Looking at this layer close up you can see the white lines that I was going over where they are slightly more curved than my thread line, but weirdly you can't see these from afar and I'm not too worried about being able to see them, they are a part of the fabric after all. 

For the Fassett fabrics themselves, this fabulous big floral number didn't need much at all, and some areas or lines I haven't stitched on, just picked out certain colours and sections. The big pink flower became more and more sun-like as I stitched it and does now look like a rather stylised sun peeping out from behind the hill ridge line. It wasn't consciously intentional but I wonder now whether my sub-conscious just does these things for me? 
I have roughly satin stitched (wouldn't win any awards at a needle-painting ceremony) the pink petals, following the lines and colours of the pink print underneath. Where the yellow french knots are there are areas of yellow print underneath so I have just filled those and made it look slightly more like pollen. 
The yellow/orange flower on the left has a similar satin stitch treatment just to make that layer the same depth and I added some stem stitch to the green highlights, along with some off-white stem stitch later on as I had some leftover on my needle from the bullion flowers (waste not want not!).

I left the striped layer almost until last as I really wasn't sure what to do with it. It's beautiful but so many options! I could have filled in each of the spiky layers, or gone around the spiky layers, or made a fly stitch from the point of the spikes downwards.... In the end I plumped for a much simpler whip stitch along some of the straight and obvious print lines, with a few of the lines left as back stitch for a contrast in texture. As I was planning knot flowers over the top there wasn't a lot of point going wild because whatever I did would be covered up and I think I hit the right note with this layer. I made the edge of it slightly more fun and exciting with a different variegated DMC thread for french knots - the colours matched the general theme of pinks and yellows really well which I was rather chuffed about.

And the final Fassett layer, how gorgeous is that?! It was a similar flower type as the pink one above but I didn't want to repeat what I had done. I did fill the centre of the flower with more french knots, again following the line of the pattern and, now I look at it, it could maybe represent fiery water with the pink flower sun centre reflected? With a bit of artist's prerogative and an imaginative eye maybe?
The petals I just worked straight stitches into so it's a bit choppier than the satin stitch which has given a different texture (and maybe implies watery ripples? I'm going to go for this water idea now I've thought about it!) and on top of that I've stitched these truly beautiful oily iridescent flower sequins that The Mother gave me for Christmas. The pack of sequins itself has lots of different coloured undertones, three of which I've used here. There's one that gleams a sort of light blue/pink/purple, one that has a red/orange/deep pink mixture and one that's more of a yellow/gold depending on the light. They are really lovely and I just can't stop looking at them. 

Because of the blue sequins I've added tiny little specks of a blue thread, just one strand, one twist french knots scattered here and there to help tie those in. The sequins looked a little bit lonely among the straight stitches so I've added more french knots in another variegated thread which goes from dark orange to pale yellow and fits in so well, providing light and dark across the layer. 
The top of this layer has been edged with several strands of the two orange threads used for the straight stitches. I think it was three strands of the darker orange and two of the lighter orange, completely stripped apart and then put back together so they were blended, then folded in half for thickness and couched down. 

The bullion flowers were all started with just the dark green stem stitches providing a base, then an off-white used for the flowers themselves. This was quite an important colour I think as there are just so many colours and patterns going on in this hoop, a break from it all is needed for the eyes and was possibly the only colour that would stand out whilst fitting in (ie; a black would stand out, but not fit in if you see what I mean?). They didn't look quite right on their own though so I have used the slightly more zesty green from the leaf layer and worked little pistil stitches among the bullions to help colour balance the greens. 

I'm rather chuffed with how this has turned out and hope I have done Kaffe's designs justice! There are always so many options for stitches and textures with this type of fabric print, would you have done anything differently?

So the stitch run down for this piece! I have used; back stitch, whip stitch, satin stitch, french knots, bullion knots, stem stitch, fly stitch, pistil stitch, straight stitch, couching and beading (if you can count using beads to hold the centre of the sequins in place). 

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