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Are you convinced this lesson is about learning to follow the direction of the mesh as you stitch Basketweave, or maybe you think this is how to improve your Basketweave technique. It's not. It's about a way I learned to use Basketweave that revolutionized the way I stitch. For those of you who stitched my Portrait of Elizabeth 1, you will recognize it; for those of you who embark on my Portrait of the Young Catherine, you will learn even more ways I used it.
How I Discovered the Technique
I discovered the technique when I was in the middle of a Cezanne study period and creating a still life including apples. I wanted a plane of color with a second color superimposed on the top; it occurred to me to stitch the apple in red silk in Basketweave Stitch, then overstitch the apple in a caramel color with Encroaching Gobelin. When I finished, I discovered the red Basketweave peeked through, as if the red were an undercoat.
I remember looking at it and saying ahhh! And then I began looking at Basketweave in a new way, as if it were the undercoat of stitching on a canvas, an undercoat I could embellish.
Later, in my most successful use of the technique, I stitched the ground of a landscape in an overdyed green silk, then stitched on top of it with 3 or 4 different solid green silks. It was the most difficult shading job I've ever done, for as I stitched the overdyed silk into place, I had to look ahead and anticipate where I would want to juxtapose the overlay of solid silks. Then on the top of those two layers, I stitched a small accent of a strongly contrasting yellow green.
After my Cezanne study, but unrelated to it, I decided to stitch a portrait of Elizabeth 1, followed by miniatures of Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick, and then in the last year, a portrait of Catherine the Great. None of these portraits would have been possible without my discovery of 'Advanced Basketweave'.
In Part 2 of 'Advanced Basketweave', I will give examples of how the technique has evolved for me, specifically how I used it in Elizabeth 1 and also in Catherine.
Trying the Technique
For now, here is a way you can try the technique if you are interested.
Gather the following supplies: 2 strands of Soie d'Alger, each a contrasting color. If you wish to use the colors I used when I made the discovery: 1 strand of red Soie d'Alger and 1 strand of caramel colored Soie d'Alger, a doodle piece of congress cloth, either white or soft ivory (color).
With one ply of red silk, stitch a small block of Basketweave. With one ply of caramel thread, stitch an Encroaching Gobelin, or Scotch Stitch or Parisian Stitch or Hungarian Stitch on the top. Any simple needlepoint stitch will work.
Completely cover the red with the caramel stitch.
Now stand back from your swatch and you will see that the overcoat of the top stitch (the caramel) doesn't cover the undercoat of red Basketweave entirely. There are still echoes of the red undercoat peeking through the caramel overcoat.
Can you see the possibilities?
In my next lesson, I will discuss how I've used the technique and why.
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Is anyone ever Advanced? Advanced always implies to me someone who knows it all. Now I know some people who think they know it all, and likely you do too, but I know I don't know even a substantial amount of what there is to know.
Rather than think of myself as an Advanced Student, I think of myself as an Advancing Student. I learn a bit here, I figure out a bit there and the days move forward.
These lessons include some snippets of what I have learned and figured out, snippets that have helped me move more of the days forward.
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