Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Da Vinci's La Sacpigliata via Maria Diaz and me.

Cross Stitch Collection
Sometimes a pattern catches the eye and cries out to be sewn. I saw this pattern on the front cover of Cross Stitch Collection, as you can see it invites you to stitch your own masterpiece.  I liked the idea and the other patterns also looked like ones I might use, so I bought it.  However, once I took a good look at Maria Diaz's pattern on 14 count (or over two on 28) I was surprised at how big it would be finished and framed. The design area was 9.5 by 9.25 with a stitch count of 132 by 130.

Destined for me, not as a gift for someone else, the size was an issue. that required some consideration.

Then I remembered the skirt linen (small-owls 18.01.2015) and wondered if it would be possible to use that.  That posed it's own issues of size and colour.  The skirt having been made in panels and a fairly beige shade.  

First I got out all nine of the sepia shades that made up the pattern and laid them out on the fabric.  Conclusion, it was too dark, there was not enough contrast between the thread and the material.  I was momentarily disappointed however I was also determined.  So, I bleached it just a bit, just enough.  I think it was at this point I had either a moment of genius or insanity as I decided to stitch the pattern not over two on my skirt linen as previously for the owls, but over one.

I normally just hold projects in my hand but in this case a hoop was a must to hold the threads open. Cross stitch needles were too big so I used small quilting needles.  I had enough needles to thread up with one strand of each colour which made it much easier than constantly re-threading and in some areas I used parking threads for the first time.

La Scapigliata fresh off the hoop
There was an amazing three D effect when working this which is difficult to see in pictures. It is particularly pronounced when viewed from a slight angle.  You may get a hint of it when viewing the last picture on this post if you turn the screen at an angle  Here she is just off the hoop and with a twenty pence as an example of the scale.

I think it worked out at about forty five stitches to the inch.  There is a tiny bit of backstitch on the original Maria Diaz design however, once I had the cross stitches finished I felt she was complete without it.

I had one problem with the pattern, which was a colour pattern, the problem, the print started to rub off as I picked it up so much whilst sewing.  With a black and white pattern I make a copy so I don't wear the pattern out before I finish it. (I destroy the copy afterwards) with the colour that was not an option.

I entered her in the local craft competition, for once I had some high expectations that my little masterpiece would be a winner, even of the overall prize and not just the cross stitch class.  My expectations were sadly dashed and she did not place at all.  Now you may find this odd, I know I did, but I felt rather badly for my version of La Scapigliata being passed by for recognition.  Her serene expression took on melancholy overtones.

Fame at last
That was redressed when I sent a picture into the magazine which was published on the letters page the title "Art in miniature". I had taken the picture with a penny for size, and as the colour went well with the sepia tones, it was edited out for publication and although the title of the article alluded to the reduction in size from the original it did not actually mention either the finished size or the estimated stitch count.  All the same, honour and serenity restored with world wide fame.

I had in mind an old style ornate frame, you know the kind all gilt and squiggles, something to reflect the style in fashion from the time da Vinci originally sketched this pleasing visage. 

I still sort of have that in mind and think of the frame it is in as temporary until I find the right one.  It has been in its temporary home and happily on my wall for several years now, it may never have a different frame.



I am still chuffed to bits with my very own Da Vinci on the wall, so happy with it am I that it will be familiar in this format to anyone who knows me from Facebook as I use it for my profile picture.

La Scapigliata on linen 

    So happy anniversary of the artists birth and all the beautiful things he created and inspired.  

                                                                                                                                                                 
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