Having tried four different corner leaf motifs for my new Shisha Mini I didn’t really think any of them was going to work; but as I’m still trying to decide which shisha stitch variation to use as well, I decided to work another one with four different corners to try out. First one up (using the original dots on the pattern): a sort of fan of five lazy daisy stitches. This looks quite good, though perhaps a bit large. Keep it in mind and on to the next two options, for which I drew a leaf outline around the pattern dots.
The mirror, by the way, is attached using a herringbone variation in #5 perle cotton. The first one I did, last month, was Cretan stitch (also in #5). As for the two leaf shapes, one was outlined using buttonhole stitch (top right) and one filled with fishbone stitch (bottom right). Neither of them looked right. The buttonhole leaf, though I like it in itself, is too clunky (and wonky) for this design. The fishbone leaf I found too solid. Then as I was reading Mary Corbet’s blog I came across a project of hers using pistil stitch (a French knot with a tail). Another useful stitch, not too solid and easy to get into the right shape.
Looking at the two varied-corner projects, I wanted to try two of the corner variations on “proper” projects – the fan-style motifs using lazy daisy and pistil stitch. And although with hindsight it would have made more sense to vary only one thing in these two projects (namely the corner motifs) I decided to try out various other things at the same time. First of all the centre shisha bit. And then the threads. I’d ordered three different threads from Tamar Embroideries, all in shade 243 – stranded cotton, brodery or mercerized cotton, and matt cotton. The second one is described on the TE website as “similar to cotton a broder”, the third as “similar in weight to our mercerized cotton but with a softer feel and a matt finish”. From threads I bought from them earlier it seemed to me that the matt cotton is actually a bit heavier than the mercerized cotton, and that both are heavier than the coton à broder I have, which is mostly #25, but they would be interesting to try. What wasn’t noticeable until I stitched with it: the stranded cotton is a bit heavier than the ordinary DMC variety too.
So here is the third attempt, with herringbone variation in #8 perle cotton, two strands of Tamar stranded cotton for the curls and matt cotton for the lazy daisies. I like the central motif, it reminds me of a sunflower; it works better in #8 than in #5, I think. Two strands of stranded cotton makes quite a heavy stem stitch line, and although the lazy daisy fan is a pretty motif the matt cotton is far, far too thick for it.
The fourth version uses a crossed long-armed fly stitch variation in #8 to attach the shisha, one strand of stranded cotton for the curls and mercerized/brodery cotton for the pistil stitches. The mercerized cotton works OK for the pistil stitches, although it is still a little more solid than I had in mind, and the curls are more light-weight but perfectly visible in one strand.
So what am I going to use? For attaching the mirror, either Cretan stitch (if I want it to be suitable for beginners) or crossed long-armed fly stitch (for a slightly more challenging version). Although I really like the look of the herringbone version in perle #8, its petal shape is a bit too much like the plaited fly stitch of the Shisha flower I use for workshops. As for the corner motifs, pistil stitch would make sense as I want to use different stitches from the Shisha flower which uses chain stitch for its scrolled stem, and a lazy daisy is in effect a single chain stitch. Unfortunately, I like the look of the lazy daisy fan slightly better than the pistil stitch fan. One option would be to go for French daisies – lazy daisies secured with a French knot.
Now I want to stitch a series of Shisha Minis with all the different shisha variations, at the same time trying out different combinations of threads for the corner curls-and-fans. For example brodery cotton for the curls, and two strands of stranded cotton for the fans (in pistil stitch, lazy daisy or French daisy), or the other way around, or one strand for the curls and two for the fans, or perhaps go back to standard DMC threads after all. I’ll keep the updates coming!