Working on Orpheus

I’ve been using a frame – and my Lowery stand – again for the first time in many, many months. Well, I always use the Lowery in that it is by my side and holds my needles and scissors by means of some little disc magnets, but I am now using it for its prime purpose of holding a frame. Orpheus is just a little too large to sit comfortably in any of my hoops except the 12″ one, which is too large for my cut of hand-dyed fabric (square designs and round hoops are never an ideal combination when trying to be thrifty with fabric).

So into the Easy-Clip frame it went, and I must say, it really is an easy frame to use; not like lacing fabric onto a slate frame, which I’ve never done but looks like a day’s job in itself judging by some of the online tutorials I found. One consequence, however, of not having the sides of the fabric secured to the frame is that tension is OK North-South, but not so great East-West, and so the central motif looks a bit elongated. In fact, it’s 8cm wide and nearly 9cm high. I hope ironing and stretching when the whole thing is finished will correct that.

A slightly elongated Orpheus

Now I’ve got to a part of the design that has pulled stitches and I’m worried the tension isn’t enough to stand up to all that pulling. I’ve decided to put the fabric into an 8″ flexi-hoop temporarily, do the stitches, then quickly take it out, iron it, and put it back on the frame for the rest of the work. Unfortunately there are four small pulled motifs which I don’t think will fit into the hoop, so they will just have to be done on the frame. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a visible difference.

While working on Orpheus I had a sudden thought that it might look better using #12 for some of the stitches; unfortunately DMC 402 doesn’t come in #12, nor does any closely-related shade, or any similar Anchor shade. Oh well. I may put a suggestion in the chart pack which stitches could look good in #12 if you happened to do it in a colour that comes in all three thicknesses. Actually, I think DMC 3813, which I’m doing the second Orpheus design in, does come in #12, so I might experiment there.

And finally, why I always stitch designs myself before putting them on the website – because sometimes it’s only when stitching a design that I realise a stitch or stitch combination which looked obvious and simple on paper actually needs a fair bit of thought when producing it with thread on fabric. The double cable stitch border surrounding the central motif will have to be done, not in the usual 2 start-wherever-you-like stages, but in 3 fairly carefully planned ones!