Monday, February 16, 2015

February - WIP on Mucha Girls

Hello my ever-so-patient artsy friends,

February has seemed like a slow month for me when I look at the Facebook posts but it's just because there's not a lot of progress to show that'll look very interesting. I felt the same way when I was first posting my beaded dress progress photos - I thought, "nobody is going to understand what's going on here, it's only interesting to me!" but look! You guys love seeing the progress and so I've continued posting them, now even I feel proud of my WIP shots.

Since working on patterns so in-depth is a new thing for me I'm feeling that again. I'm saying, "nobody is going to want to see all these funny symbols and lines of a WIP pattern" especially when it doesn't reflect what the final stitching is going to look like! And along the same thoughts I can't share it too entirely because these are patterns after all and are going to be sold.

The patterns I'm referring to of course are based on the lovely Hannah-Alexander's artwork and the three princesses I've chosen to do. If these are successful (which I have high hopes they will be) then I intend to contact her further to be able to do more of the princesses.

My current progress is on princesses Belle and Rapunzel. Belle is currently in the finished stage for me, which sounds a little funny to say but it is truly a stage before she is finalized. Rapunzel just got her outlines done yesterday and I haven't opened Meridia yet.

The beginning process for both of them has been similar in terms of deciding what size to do for fabric and getting over my reluctance to put in half stitches where needed (as HAED seems to be very popular for only using full stitches).

Left is Belle. She was about sixteen hours in the making (a great deal of help from my stitching sisters especially Magical was given here on color selection for the gradient).

Right is Rapunzel's progress. She just has her outlines on and the colors you can see are premade from the program (not refined). You can see her really creepy eyes at this stage.

On 36 count fabric these ladies will be twelve inches tall, and likewise if done over two (or on 18 count fabric) they will be twenty-four inches tall. Either of them solo would be masterpieces for the wall and as a set they would without a doubt be a showpiece.

The program started Belle off with 124 colors in various shades of nonsensical macaroni orange and silvers. These were all manually sifted through by hand with the help of my friends to find the perfect gradient to match Hannah's artwork. She now has just 37 colors including the beads. Yes, beads! Hannah's description specifically mentioned mirrored and earthy-tone beadwork for her gown and I was happy to sort through Mill Hill's catalog to find perfect matches.

As for the pattern making process itself, I'm using the program as a guideline-maker and then doing it all by hand. Above I mentioned just reducing the color count - Rapunzel can be seen without the refinement here. It looks great zoomed out like this and you may be wondering why I feel the need to alter it at all. Truthfully the program picks colors that match most distinctly to the pixels but doesn't correlate to the real world threads 100% of the time. Belle's dress, in example, the program wanted to give it very neon-shaded oranges and green in her hair. This is because of the pixelization that occurs when stretching them image out to two feet! So a lot of manual color sorting has to be done to make sure it doesn't look ridiculous when it comes off the computer screen and into real life.

Another reason for all the manual work is that the backstitching should look like backstitching. Left unattended you can see the bottom of Rapunzel's skirt is thicker along the edge in comparison to Belle's. This is because I haven't removed all the excess brown colors leftover from the program forcing all the outlines into full stitches.

With the spirit of the Mucha stylization the outer lines are designated as thick (three strands of thread) and the inner lines are designated thin (just one strand of color). This makes an interesting challenge with the program in trying to get it to acknowledge the same color for the same stitch (backstitch) but in two different pattern designations.

Abby was not interested in helping.
Doing all this pattern work has caused me to realize that my thread collection is quite incomplete. As I said I've had my friends' help in determining what an accurate gradient would be for Belle's dress and hair. Well even this with photos and helping and referencing left and right on the internet, I decided I really needed the full collection to be able to reference things in person. I gathered up all my known locations for thread hoarding and began my catalog.

As it would turn out I have far more colors than I even realized that I owned and only needed to buy a mere drop in the bucket to complete the DMC thread collection. Even so, six of the colors were out of stock and I'm left feeling so close yet so far. With the collection all but complete however I will be able to confirm all my color selections are accurate and feel confident putting the pattern out for others to do.

Though it will not be right away and I still want to do GraniteFire's Progresstinate before I get too deep into it, I have the full intention of stitching these princesses myself and putting up "preview" stitchwork for the patterns. This will obviously not be before I put the patterns up for sale so that everyone isn't waiting on my stitching speed to be able to do it for themselves.

I'll be quite busy in the upcoming weeks so,
until next time,
Ashley Mae


  1. The patterns are coming along really great, I'm sure those will sell pretty well when done :)

    I have a question though, you talk about stitching them on 36ct over one, but also about using half's that going to work out together?

  2. Your progress has been wonderful! So glad I can help :)