My goodness, I can't believe I have not posted anything since mailing in my pieces for judging back in April. Where has the time gone? I do apologize, and on this sweltering hot July day, will try to make amends by bringing things up to date while sitting in the air conditioning.
I received my package back from the Master Craftsman judges, to find that my Step #4 (the parrot/peacock that I needed to fix stitch direction on the tail feathers) was passed on re-submission (Yeah!!) so they moved on to judge Step #5. This was the Elizabethan original design. I was relatively confident that it would pass, and must say was a bit disappointed to get only a "Provisional" pass. I sometimes feel like they believe they can't pass people on the first try!
I went through the comments carefully to see what they wanted changed, and was thinking to myself "really??" Then I got to the end of the comments, and even the judges admitted that the changes were "nit-picky". I knew they wouldn't take long to fix, and put it aside to begin thinking about my design for the final piece (they send the instructions for the next piece as long as you have a provisional pass.) I think that's what threw me off course -- I hit design block! More on that later. For now, I'll concentrate on Step #5, what they wanted changed, and how it looks now that I've changed it.
The things they wanted changed were:
- The Coral Knot tendrils at the top that had the knots too far apart
- Some small areas of Satin Stitch that seemed bulky and rough
- The color on the big Tulip (this was a suggestion only, not a requirement)
First, the Coral Knots. Here is a photo of what they looked like originally.
I have placed arrows to show the knots, and how far apart they are. I have not read anything in any of my books that says you should only have space between them for one knot, and I liked the look of them spaced out like this, but the judges said I needed to change them to be closer together. I have done so, and the picture below shows the result.
It's a different look than what I wanted, but okay.
The next issue they pointed out was the uneven Satin Stitch at the mouth of my little bell flowers. To be honest, I was not totally happy with those myself, and it didn't surprise me that the judges pointed that out. I have a vision of what those flowers should look like, and could never quite realize that vision, although the new version is closer.
Here is the before...
And here is the after:
Finally, they didn't like the satin stitch stem of my purple tulip. They also suggested that I replace the inside of the tulip petals with yellow to provide better color distribution. Again, I was careful to balance my color distribution, and didn't think it was really necessary. Here is the original, and you can see the thick stem and the all purple tulip. I have arrows pointing to the petals they suggested I change.
I replaced the stem with a line of chain flanked by rows of outline, and it is a much smoother look. I was trying to replicate the stem of a tulip flower which is thick and round, but I can see how it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the design. As for the color suggestion, I opted to compromise. Since their commentary was a "suggestion" it meant I was not required to make the change. I decided to add some yellow instead of replacing the purple entirely with yellow. Again, not sure it was necessary, but at this point in the process I've learned (to a certain extent) to just give the judges what they want!
Luckily, all of these changes took me less than 2 days to accomplish, and the piece is now finished. All I need to do now is re-wash and block it and send it in for the October 1st judging deadline. I sure hope I don't wait until the last possible day and end up having to pay extra for Priority Mail like I normally do!
That will be the only thing I send in for October. I made a huge amount of progress yesterday and today on my design, and finally have one I am happy with (my next blog post will be about that design.) It's a very ambitious project at dimensions of 13" by 27". I still have a few things to tweak on the design, then get it onto linen (can you believe I have a piece of linen exactly the right size!!??) then select my color scheme, and THEN I can start stitching. This is a bad time of year for me to concentrate on stitching, because so much of my time is spent training our horses and going to competitions over the summer. So at this point, I am not even going to put pressure on myself. I'll be happy to finish it over the winter, and send it in for next April.
Let me know what YOU think of the changes the judges asked for. Do you like the results? Would you have left it the way it was?