Well… I wish I could say I’ve been busily stitching away during this past week.  Alas, that is not the case.

My seasonal job has started a bit earlier this year, and I’ve been too tired at the end of the day to make a single stitch.

However, I can update you on what happened after my last post.  I stitched enough of what I had charted to realize that I had made too many color choices/changes within the masonry areas; these will be simplified. (I can hear the sighs of relief! LOL)  And the shadow area was too dark; I will be dropping the darkest shades when I get back to some designing.

So, I ripped out the offending colors. And that’s as far as I got. I’ll do my best to try to squeeze in some designing/stitching when I can…  Many thanks to all who have stopped by and to those who have commented: I appreciate your continued interest in this project!

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Moment of truth

Sorry for the pause… I was under the weather for a few days.

I did finally manage to design enough of the corner of the scene to feel I should stop and actually do some stitching to make sure of my color choices:

A little note: I’m planning to add flowers to the greenery… but I’m not happy with how it looks with just plain cross stitches on the computer screen.  So I’ll be experimenting as I stitch.   Now that I’d like to do some stitching,  I need the color symbols translated into black and white glyphs so I can print it out and read it. (I can’t stitch from a computer screen.  I’ve tried, trust me.)

Because this piece is so huge, I’ve broken it up into various areas so I can work with smaller “satellite” files as I design.  I love my little G4, but alas, it is slow with gargantuan files.  I have a file for the city scene at the top of the piece.  I have one for the lettering.  I have this one for the cloister scene, and so forth.  But,  I do have a main file in which all of the designing I’ve done so far has been recorded.  It’s in this file that I’ve done all of the editing to black and white (thus far).  When I finish designing something in one of my satellite files, and I’m ready to try some stitching, I copy and paste the color symbols into the main file where they are supposed to be located in the design:

The red line in this image outlines roughly the symbols I’ll copy and paste into the main file:

Then into the main file in the proper location:

Viola!  The symbols are translated.  Next, I print out this area…  which I’m sure you’ve  noticed is really pretty small compared to the rest of the cloister scene space.  Sigh.  I feel like I’ve been working on it forever!  But that’s the way my process goes:  I struggle and work to get colors just right… but when I do, things generally move along much more quickly after that.

and I’m ready to stitch:

The cloister scene fits into the blank area.  My fingers are itching to get to it!

The moment of truth:  will the colors work, or will I be going back to the drawing board?  I’ll let you know soon!

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Really messy

At this point in my design process, things look pretty chaotic.  But, actually I made quite a bit of progress… even if it doesn’t look like I got a lot of designing accomplished.  One of the main issues I dealt with was: How dark should it be behind the colonnade?  Well it turns out that my first choices were too dark:  In this image, the space behind the man remains too dark.  The spaces to the left are closer to the colors I think I need.

I know it’s hard to see *that* much of a difference… I pretty much just dropped the darkest shades of gray.  I can easily imagine things will change in these areas quite a bit… they seem very flat and boring to me at present.  We’ll see.

Here’s the color palette I’m using:  Sorry, the colors are really not true in this shot.  What looks like oranges are really gold-ish browns, and you really can’t see the antique purples much at all.

Normally I don’t label everything, but this time I’ve found it useful to group colors by value (darks to lights) and all of the color/blends within those values.  Originally, I was going to make the colonnade masonry shades of gray, until I remembered that the colors of the stonework in the walled city scene are shades of gray, brown, gold and of course, antique violet.  For the sake of design color uniformity, I switched to these colors:

…which I haven’t begun to add to the design yet, but will soon.  First, I’ll design as much of the greenery as I can, because I’ll just wind up deleting a lot of the masonry hidden by the green stuff.  Speaking of greenery, I choose colors for such areas like this:

I choose a “base” color family.  In this case, the 524, 523, 522, 3363, 3362 DMC sequence I tend to use a lot.  Then I pick a “brighter” series: the previous sequence blended in this case with the a yellow green sequence of colors. I’ll use these colors where the sun is hitting the foliage and I’ll probably only use the lightest shades of this color group.  Then for the “shady” areas of the foliage, the original colors blended with blue greens for areas in shadow should work well.

Someone asked how I go about working the over-one into the chart.  I don’t design over-one in the same chart as over-two.  But I do use a simple method of keeping track where the edges of the over-two stitching end, and the over-one edges begin:

Since I have designed the over-one figures in another file, when I copy and paste the backstitch lines, I also reduce them by 50% so everything is proportional (Remember I use a CAD program, so it makes this kind of thing very easy.)  I choose a fixed point in the main design…something I won’t be changing: in this case, the column because it’s between the figures.  When I have the figures positioned where I want them, I create a new layer and I draw squares which are the equivalent of the space a full cross stitch done over-two will take up on the chart, beginning at the edge of the column. (For clarity, I made them red.)  When I’m designing, I fill in around the figures using these blocks as a guide.  The rest of the “over-two edges” layer can be copied and pasted into the over-one designing file (and scaled up 200%) which will tell me where those over-one “fill in” stitches will need to be placed around the figures.  This layer is usually invisible when I don’t need it because I find too many lines distracting.  Which is also why I have the designing grid lines “grayed out” instead of black.

Hmmm.  I guess it’s a little more complicated sounding than it is.  Sorry about that.

I’m to the point where I’m soon going to need to start stitching to see how close I am with color choices… probably after designing the rest of the foliage and the far left column.  I nearly always have to make color adjustments as I stitch, so don’t be surprised if things change drastically with the next post!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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Fruit and Floral Wreaths

The next re-chart on the list, Fruit and Floral Wreaths, is now finished and available at PatternsOnLine.com:

Fruit and Floral Wreaths

Diamonds in Squares is up next.

Another Illuminata post is coming soon…

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Some of the process…

I promised a peek at the computer end of things.  The first image is a shot of my designing screen.  I use an older version of VectorWorks (a CAD program) on an old Mac laptop (my first!) running an ancient operating system OS9.  But it works just fine for my needs.

This is the cloister garden scene near the bottom of Illuminata. (I think in the distant past I posted a pencil sketch; this version is pretty much the same as the original drawing).

The colored stuff on the right are the color symbols I’m using in the piece.  Each symbol was created individually and then placed into a library which was built over a period of years.  It seemed like each new design required new symbols, so by now, the collection is pretty extensive.  Each symbol must be placed individually on the grid.

The heavier lines are backstitch lines of which I’m fairly certain.  The thin sketchy lines are just lines drawn in to give me an idea where I’m planning to place various items.  These lines are deleted when they are no longer useful or get in my way.  (Since the design is created in layers, I can work on just the backstitching or just the symbols or on any other area for which I’ve created a separate layer, without messing up the other layers.)

I don’t know if you can see or not, but by the sketchy lines, I’m planning quite a bit of greenery and flowers, a fruit tree (not sure yet what kind), and the edge of a pool/pond in the lower left corner.  A lot of the colonnade will be obscured by climbing greenery, and by the tree, so much of that backstitch detail will also be deleted as I go.

This is just a view without the rest of the screen clutter.  I’ve place a few color symbols in the topiary at the far left.  My plan is to make the areas behind the colonnade deep shadow to give the scene more depth, while what’s toward the front will be lighter brighter colors.

I’m not sure you can see or not, but the figures are designed over-one while the rest of the scene will be designed for over-two stitching.  The figures are being designed in a separate file where each grid block equals one over-one stitch, so I can still utilize my main color symbols library.  The backstitch lines in the image above were copied and pasted from from the over-one file and reduced by 50% to be proportionate with the main design file.

This is a shot of the over-one file of the figures… as you can see, they’re still in process.  I’ve got color symbols stuck all over the place so I can select them quickly with the symbol placement tool instead of opening the library every time I want to switch colors.  Not sure at this point if the colors will stay the same…

So, there you have a peek at the technical end of things.  Hope I didn’t put you to sleep!  If you’re interested, I can share more of the process as I go… I don’t want to overwhelm with technical stuff.   Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Making hay while the sun shines

It’s a saying farmers use… because as sure as there’s freshly mown hay laying in the field, chances are that rain will come soon.  So you’d best take advantage of the sunny weather while you can, and get it brought in before the rain.

The same saying is appropriate for me presently: I’ve got roughly a month before I head back to work at my seasonal job, so I’m trying to make the most of it.

It’s been bugging me that Illuminata has been languishing for so long, so I’m working on it again.  Here are a couple shots of my studio set-up:

Because the project is so large and there’s so much floss; I’m glad I have a spot to spread everything out so I can grab whatever I need.  Yes, the chair swivels and has coasters. 😉 You can see from the photo that I haven’t really progressed much stitching-wise.  I estimate it’s about 2/3 finished.

Like I said: there’s a lot of floss.  Not all of those colors have been used yet, but probably will be.  I’m pretty amazed that during the many years the marathon’s been in process, I haven’t lost the all-important floss tally sheet.

Presently, I’m designing the cloister garden scene at the bottom of the piece.  It’s got both over-one and over-two stitching so far.  Maybe a screen shot from my computer next time…

Keep a good thought!

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As requested by your votes, Tradewinds has been re-charted and  is now available via PatternsOnLine.com:

Fruit and Floral Wreaths will be next, followed by Diamonds in Squares.

Thanks for your input, everyone!

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