Monday, October 20, 2014

Beading, Turkey Work, and French Knots

Followers are probably used to seeing these methods on my projects.   I LOVE LOVE LOVE to use these methods on my projects.  Some times I intentionally look for a place to add it in, especially beading.  Some areas of projects just scream for turkey work and it's almost an injustice to do anything else.  Like this one. 

Here is the anticipated finished product. 

I love Beading, Turkey Work, and French Knots!  
Yes, I know it sounds crazy and it's intimidating to most people but really, those are my favorite.  Once you get going on any of those, it's just therapeutic.  You get in a rhythm and it just flows.  It always takes me a few practice stitches on turkey work, but once you get the pattern going, it can be very relaxing. Like everyone else, I still get a little antsy and anxious when I head toward the canvas with a pair of scissors but it has to be done and it always turns out well, even though I'm sweating the whole time and feel like I'm cutting off too much.  I haven't had the nerve to try it with the electric mustache trimmer that some use but maybe one day I will be brave enough to try that. 
On this piece, I originally couched a fluffy fleece product on the swirls.  But when I didn't have enough and couldn't match it......and since I wasn't loving the look....I ripped it all out and started anew.  Sometimes, you just have to start over or you will never be happy.  Sometimes, you just have to basketweave what's left and get it off the bars and move on.   I know you've all been there, right?   In this case, I took it out and started over.  And went with FRENCH KNOTS! 
Yes, there are probably thousands of French knots in this piece.  For a little while I was trying to count and there were about 100-150 in a medium swirl.  I was using white Wildflowers thread and I wrapped the needle twice.  I know there is some controversy and some stitchers have strong opinions when it comes to this topic and believe that you should only wrap one time no matter what.  I am not afraid to buck the system...go against the outrageous.  It's fun!   So I used a thick thread and two wraps to get the knots a little bigger (hoping to need fewer of them) and so that they would look a little sloppier and not quite so uniform.  I just started randomly placing them in the swirl pattern and then just kept cramming them in. Basically until I couldn't fit anymore.  And then I'd put some more....LOL.    I built up the center ridge on the large swirls by adding as many as I could pull my needle through.   It really looks like it took a lot longer than it actually did.  This was a weekend night project.  It goes faster than you think.  I used about seven skeins of the wildflowers though.  I think that's a lot.  I don't stitch with long lengths so it took a little longer to stop and start so much, but if I tried to use a long thread with the knots, it would tangle and make a mess so I just stuck with my short strands.  I've learned over time that shorter strands are ALWAYS better. 
I nearly always use Burmilana wool for turkey work...not always - I've used everything from Gumnuts Poppies to cotton floss...bucking the system and all that.   (wink)   But in this case I used four strands of Burmilana.  Any wool works great but you have to figure out how many ply you prefer depending on how tightly you pack the stitches and what thread you go with.  I like to use an even number of ply so that I can slip through the loop in the back and not have to use knots.  Especially on something like this where it could get thick and messy anyway.  I didn't take a picture but the back looks really smooth on this turkey work and I think that is what knots and you just pull the end strip up and cut it with the rest of your loops so there is essentially no craziness on the back.  It just looks like rows of backstitch.  Lovely.   And so much fun.   Don't be intimidated by turkey really is worth the effort and once you get going on it, it can be enjoyable.


Margaret said...

Whoa! That is pretty darn cool.

Eileen R said...

Absolutely beautiful!!!

Diane Gasior said...

Ok Sister. time to take your show on the road and yeah this piece. It is magnificent!

Diane Gasior said...

Should say teach this piece. Sorry

Suzanne said...

Thanks, everyone! I can't wait to get this one framed up. And Diane, I would love to teach on the road!...maybe I should just pick something and start somewhere. Probably need to get with you and talk it over since we are soul sisters and all that....LOL

Preppy Pink and Green Puppy said...

This is amazing, Suzanne! The next time you do turkey work, would you please think about videoing it? I would love to learn your technique.

Suzanne said...

I will sure try - I do finally have it down pat where it's pretty easy and rhythmic. But you have to use a frame and two hands. Thanks for the support!