Well I have these three Heaven and Earth Designs that have been in my "to do" pile for several years. I thought it was time to finally figure out fabric for them and get to work on them. I had the background removed from them because I wanted to use a hand dyed fabric for them.
I used to really like Jobelan, but the last HAED I started on it I was having terrible problems with stitches slipping behind the fabric. I will finish it but not anytime soon. I don't particularly like Lugana or Jazlyn anymore either. I'm not a fan of linen for densely stitched over one work. So I had to figure out something else. Leave it to me to be difficult, right?
So in my searching different hand dyers, that left me with three options that I could see.
One, try out the fabric from one of these new companies like Dovestitch who don't use the standard fabrics to dye on, but rather have their own made for them. However, after reading about their fabrics, I noticed that the fiber content of their evenweaves was the same as that of Jobelan or Lugana so I decided not to bother since it was likely to be similar, and thus have similar issues for me. Scratch that one.
Two, Jubilee. Several dyers have this listed as an evenweave option, it's 100% cotton and it's a pretty thick heavy fabric so the slipping stitches shouldn't be an issue. However, it seems that there is some form of supply problem from Zweigart - everyone I contacted about it said that it was on backorder and had been for a long time. Even though it's a Zweigart Fabric, even Silkweaver who is a subcompany of Needleworker's Delight - the North American distributor for Zweigart - was no longer listing it as an option anymore. So even though stitching wise it was a viable option, I might have to wait three years to get my fabric. Scratch this too - I wanted to start these this year - maybe even finish one of them.
Finally, three, Monaco. This proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Not a whole lot of dyers use this fabric, and most of those who do don't offer it in larger cuts and 18x30 wasn't going to be big enough. I decided to go with Sassy's Fabbys, Lauren has never steered me wrong in fabric selection and is always helpful. So now it was just a matter of deciding on colours.
To give you an idea of just how great her service is - I sent her pictures of the designs I was going to stitch, with my ideas of fabrics I might like to use. She gave me some suggestions in return - which of my selections would and wouldn't work because of colours being too similar, etc, and I left it in her capable hands.
My fabrics arrived last week pictured here (middle row) with my colour of the month selections, also from Sassy, and some Silkweaver fabrics I ordered in their Christmas Sale.
And the three designs getting stitched on them are these, all from Heaven and Earth Designs from artist Rachel Anderson, and all using Michele's background removal service:
Right away I knew the green was perfect (it's not as blue as pictured) for Lily of the Valley. The soft grey was perfect for Rose. The purple I was a bit skeptical about. The pictures on her site were of a much more lavender blue, and this piece is decidedly more pink with little hints of blue here and there. I decided to start that one first, because I knew the other two pieces would be perfect and I needed to set my mind at ease. I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised.
Had the colour been what I had been expecting, the flowers would have blended into the background so much so that they would have barely showed up - which I suspect is the reason Lauren suggested this colour to me instead of the one that I had originally picked. I'm extremely happy with how it is going. In fact I can't seem to stop stitching it I'm enjoying it so much. As of today I've been working on it a week and have completed the first six pages and then some (a fair bit more since I took the picture).
And how is the Monaco fabric? Undyed and loaded with starch I will never like it. Washed and dyed with all the starch removed it is FANTASTIC! Six pages completed and not one slipped stitch. It's got a wonderful hand, it's nice and thick, the weave is dense so the coverage is fantastic - absolutely no fabric showing through between stitches which I absolutely hate when stitching a piece like this as it makes it look "sketchy", the colours look washed out, and takes away from the effect of looking like a painting. Fine for a sampler, but not for this. If I ever finish these three, I definitely see more of this fabric in my future for over one stitching.
On another note, I still haven't been able to get myself back into design mode, my heart just isn't it in it right now. Someday I will return to it, of that I have no doubt, but for the time being I'm having fun just stitching and will continue on that path for a while until some lightning bolt of inspiration hits me.