Friday, December 4, 2009

"Everywhere is within walking distance . . .
if you have the time" ~Steven Wright

Now that the "272 Words" chart has been published, I thought it might be helpful to offer some stitching tips specific to this design. Some of these points are based on questions from stitchers and store owners. I'll update this post as questions arise, and bookmark it to the site. Here are some general guidelines:

~ TECHNIQUE: Technically, this is a very simple stitching project. The pattern calls for full cross stitches only. No backstitching, French Knots or Algerian Eyelets. Nothing fancy. Just plain old vanilla -- full cross stitches. The real challenge, I think, is endurance -- the time involved in stitching a piece that's 349w x 375h . . . roughly 22" wide and 24" high. As Steven Wright says: "Everywhere is within walking distance . . . if you have the time." I am reminded of how Yo Yo Ma first learned the Bach Cello Suites; his father instructed him to learn one measure per day. One measure! A measure here, a measure there -- after a few months, you've got a Gigue and a Courante under your fingers. So to with stitching . . . a word or two per day . . . in a few months you'll have the Gettysburg Address on linen. (Of course, we stitchers know that we can't restrict ourselves to merely one word a day . . . stitching is too darn fun!)

~ MODEL: The model is stitched entirely in colors from The Gentle Art. DMC equivalents are provided, but, using Mad Men marketing parlance . . . "results may vary" if the piece is stitched with DMC only, or a GAST/DMC combo.

~ THREADS: The colors are largely localized, with GAST Nutmeg the color of Lincoln's words. The "Gettysburg" caption part is stitched in green (Chives). The chart calls for 10 skeins of Nutmeg (I used 5-yd. skeins). This is a generous skein count -- allowing for frogging and adjustments for variance in overdyed thread color values. I used the darker parts of the Nutmeg skeins for the capital letters, as a way to accentuate the beginnings of the sentences . . . especially the opening words, and important capitalized words like "Liberty" and "God."

~ STARS: The 50 red and blue stars (stitched in Mulberry and Freedom) contain no political message in terms of red and blue states. The aim was to have "ABRAHAM LINCOLN" stitched in an "Chief Executive" blue (GA Freedom) -- suggestive of The Presidential Seal. The two stars on either side of his name are in Mulberry, to offset the blue. (Okay, so I'm a recovering Political Science major, but politics is a subject for other venues.) :) There's no doubt that our 50-state complement was made possible by Lincoln's preservation of the Union. Each of the 50 stars in the sampler is identical in size; the entire complement is included to show strength in numbers. Again, inspired by the Presidential Seal with its 50 white stars in a circular pattern.

I'll update this "Stitching Tips" list as questions arise. Of course, these are just guidelines.

Finally -- why is there an apple in the photo? I had a piece of Lambswool left over from the "272 Words" cut of linen. The apple is part of a small new design. Isn't it amazing that the same cut of linen looks completely different against an alternate color palette? It's the miracle that takes place when thread meets linen . . . isn't that why we love to stitch?

Have a good weekend! "272 Words" recently went on a road trip across town, at the invitation of our local EGA Chapter. More on that next week. Ciao!


  1. This is an absolutely beautiful piece. I intend to stitch this and will be ordering chart and supplies soon. Thank you for all the details on the chart. Congratulations! Beautiful. Bravo! Bravo!

  2. Wow! What an impressive and beautiful piece of stitchery! I have just discovered your blog through visiting Diane of Little House Needleworks. She has a link to here and am so glad she does! This will need to have a place on my stitch wish list. I have a couple of questions (and I apologize if you have possibly addressed them already. I haven't gone through your archives yet). Is your sample done 2 over 2? What would your opinion be over possibly doing it 1 over 1 on a 28ct linen or possible doing it 1 over 2 on 40ct? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Thank you, ST and Laura! I'm very grateful for Diane's support throughout the years -- she's helped me on all fronts, from design ideas to printer recommendations. Diane, you're great!

    Laura, the model sample is stitched with two threads over two, on 32-count Lambswool linen. As for other counts, I will defer to the knowledgeable stitchers on this list. My "over one" stitching experience is very limited.

    Let me throw the question out to the group -- would 1 over one on 28ct, or 1 over 2 on 40ct work? I'd be interested in the opinions of these fine stitchers! Thanks!

    ~Liz aka Lady X