Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Thistle by Zecca (ZE 178) - part 1

Hi Everybody... Robin here.

The Thistle is the second class I am teaching at TNNA in Long Beach. The canvas is by Zecca (ZE 178), measures 3.5" x 5.5" on 18 mesh and comes with my Stitch Guide.

Another fun canvas to stitch by Zecca.

I had fun researching the Thistle: its origin, symbolism,  and botanical details. Just look at these inspirations from Google Images.

Screen shots of Thistles from Google Images 

Again, as a class piece, I was looking for the "teachable moments" and boy, did I find some!

Turkey Work and Appliqued Felt were the first things which came to mind. And, as it turned out, they were the Stars of the Show.

First order of business, though, was to figure out a Background Stitch. Initially, I thought about doing some kind of Celtic design. I was all over the place without much forward traction.

I asked Pat (my guy and owner of Business Visuals photography) what kind of background did he see for the Thistle? Have you ever done that? Asked a non-stitcher for their viewpoint? It can be very helpful.

Pat said, "What about a Grasses stitch... something to look like the Thistle is in a field?" Interesting. Then, I handed him a pad of paper, and asked him to draw it for me. A few pen strokes later...

Grasses Stitch by Pat Ryan

Grasses Stitch. My mind started thinking about the family of Fan Stitches also known as a Diamond Ray.  Kind of looks like Grass, right?

I have used it before (offset and slanted) for the Grass underneath the Shepherd in this endearing Frank Bielec canvas by Maggie Co. ("Watching" • M 1021).

I added the Eyes to the Sheep... brings out the personality.

But, for The Thistle, I wanted a "look" of Grass, but not so tightly covered. I wanted a more "open" look. So, for something more open, take the design element and start spreading it out.

Previewing the background stitch in Photoshop

I played around with it in Photoshop. (Truly a designer's best friend!) I repeated the Fans and filled in with Pyramids. I liked the look. Pat liked the look, too. Once stitched, we really liked the look.

So, I am naming the background stitch: Fans & Pyramids.

And, you can take it one step further by adding Beads: Fans & Pyramids with Beads.

What's that you say? What about a little "bling?" What about a Sequin and a Bead? Now, you are thinking like me. LOL.

I'll be back with the finished Thistle in the next blog.

There are several seats still available for The Thistle class at TNNA on Sunday, February 3. Hope to see you there.

Until then... Hugs, Robin


  1. Brilliant. Wish I was going to TNNA. Maybe someday. xoxo Steph

  2. Thank you Stephanie for your kind words. I know you would flip out to go to TNNA. I, too, hope you have the experience.


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