Sunday, March 27, 2016

Crystals and Crows and Confetti (Oh My!)

Hi y'all! :)

Fair warning: this is a long, rambling post in which I'm begging for your opinion, if you've one to venture.

Well, I'm having a bit of trouble deciding which fabric to use for an upcoming new start, so I figured I'd write about it and get some input, if you're willing. :) The chart in question is called Crystals and Crows, by Omar Rayyan, an artist whom I adore! HAED has already been charting his wife's work, and I thought if he ever submitted work to be charted, I would definitely pick one to stitch. So here we are!

I must confess, I'm actually surprised by my own choice. I thought I might wait for Contessa with Squid to be charted (a personal favorite) or perhaps something like The Favorite. Instead, I chose the more whimsical fantasy piece, Crystals and Crows:
I fell in love with this piece gradually. The more I looked, the more I saw, and of course, I love the color range. I'm doing the max color version of this chart, which is a bit daunting, but there was a definite difference in the mock ups, and max color was the clear winner. It has 237 colors! Even Golden Kites only have 200, so this will be a definite challenge.

My quandary is choosing which fabric count to use: 18, or 25? Ordinarily, I would stitch my usual columns on 25ct. However, a chart with this much confetti does not lend itself toward column stitching at all, as I've found with Pavonia. It's not impossible, but cross country is much easier, as I don't like having too many parked threads, and each 10x10 block can easily contain over 50 colors. (I counted one with 78 colors on Pavonia once.)

I've never done cross country on 25ct, and as I'm getting older (new glasses again this year) I thought maybe it's time to switch to 18ct. (I've decided I don't like 20ct very much anymore; it gets too bulky with a lot of confetti.) I know this project will take several years, and all that confetti can be hard to see sometimes, as I've learned with Pavonia. However, I am resisting the commitment to 18ct! It's a matter of pixelation: I want the details to be as defined as possible, but I also need to see when I'm missing a stitch. Normally I don't mind the difference between different fabric counts, but for some reason, this one is bothering me.

To help with my decision, I did a small test swatch on 25ct and 18ct fabric. I wish I had chosen something specific to test for detail, but I was more interested in testing the confetti factor. So I stitched a bit of random background leaves, and not even well defined ones at that, from the middle of the pattern in a 3 square grid, so 900 stitches. I did meander a bit, but it's mostly the same between the two:
18ct on the left; 25ct on the right
These were laid next to each other for the picture, so actual relative size is shown. So what do you think? Which would you choose? Can you even tell the difference? Again, I apologize for the fact that it looks like nothing but smoosh, but trust me, they are leaves. Believe it or not, there are 110 colors in this sample, so it was an excellent test for confetti. It really wasn't bad on either swatch, but I think the 18ct got a bit bulkier, probably because I stitched with 2 strands rather than 1, as I did on the 25ct.

For those that are interested, here are the backsides to each swatch:
As you can see, I'm not really concerned with making the back look neat. I find stitching this way gives an even coverage across the back, so it's not really lumpy at all, just a bit thicker than usual. I do use the loop start for 2 strands, and the pin stitch start for 1 strand.

Every time I think I've made up my mind, I change it again. Non-stitchy friends have claimed the colors are easier to see on the 18ct, and it looks brighter. I agree, but I don't know if the brightness is a side effect of the white fabric (didn't have ivory in my stash).

I think I may know which way I'm leaning, but I thought I'd fish for opinions from fellow stitchers before I decide for sure. :) Thanks in advance for any comments or opinions!


  1. They both look great but I like the 18ct. It doesn't look pixelated and it will be easier to see missed stitches

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  3. I also like the 18ct and I think with the really colourful design you have chosen, plus the fact that the picture you are doing is a watercolour, the blending is not as important as in a hyper-realism piece. I think both would be nice but the 18ct doesn't detract from the stitching or make it look pixelated and would be easier to stitch. Let us know what you decide!

  4. First of all - that charts is gorgeous!! I really love it and it will be amazing to watch and I bow to you for doing a MC piece (all that confetti would drive me insane and I usually love confetti).
    I like both swatches you did. I think working on 18ct with the loop start could be easier, I once tried a pin stitch and it was fine on Aida fabric, but I imagine it to be harder on Lugana (you have to aim right to get the needle down in the right place and Lugana tends to slip away). If 18ct is easier on your eyes, I would go with that because all the colors will require a lot of concentration and staring at the holes ;-) I think the detail will still be incredible with it =)