I promised you this post a while ago, and I really only need to copy all the details from my deviantArt and add a couple explanations and pictures, so here we go!
A while back, I read about a pretty cool challenge on dA - basically, you chose a medium you wanted to work with, gave a couple constraints (like 'no nudity' or whatever), and then they gave you a prompt and you had one month to make something with it. Of course I chose needlework, and my friend Ashley, who's actually a community volunteer on dA, gave me the following challenge:
I challenge her not so much on theme as I do in execution: a 5x5
square on 14 or 18 count, it could be a mandala or other symmetrical
pattern, but she must use strictly metallic threads to see it done.
These could be DMC metallics, Kreinik in various weights, or any other
thread manufacturer. It does not have to be a 'full coverage' pattern
for the size but it should keep in the spirit of the challenge!
Here's what I made, together with the decription I wrote:
As Ashley has obviously noted going through my gallery, I tend to
shy away from using too much metallics in my work, so I decided to use
this challenge to take the bull by the horns and experiment with a
couple of different metallics. I dug into my stash and asked on a copule
groups on facebook which brands people recommended. These are the five
threads I ended up using (starting from the middle outwards, I stitched
the 'frame' structure first and filled in all the little bits in the
Petite Treasure Braid (Copper/PB39): This
one came highly recommended, and it really is a joy to work with! It
comes as a one strand floss on a card of 25 yards and is a little on the
expensive side, but so worth it. It's super pretty and has just enough
coverage for 14ct stitching (but is probably better for for 16 or 18ct).
Ease of use: 5
Metallics No. 10 (Gold/325): A pretty traditional metallic I've had in
my stash for a few years but never got around to using it. It comes in a
twist of two strands I'm not entirely sure are supposed to be
seperated, but I did so anyways as one of the strand had perfect
coverage (I wouldn't recommend it for smaller counts, though). It was
pretty nice to work with, but hard to thread a needle because the
splitting of the strands made the floss super fray-y. It's EXTREMELY
sparkly, nothing subtle about this one! It comes in a package (it's a
little weird, not really a skein) of 20m and is one of the cheaper
options for metallics.
Ease of use: 3.5
Light Effects (Silver/E168): I had actually used this before, but only
on a little backstitching. For that it was nice; it's a lot less
cooperative for cross stitching! It comes in six dividable strands, in
skeins of 8m, just like the usual DMC, and just like that, I had to use
two strands to get a decent coverage. It wasn't that hard to work with,
but sometimes a little tricky to make it lay nice on the fabric. It's
not super sparkly, but has a nice sheen to it that I really like. It's
also on the cheaper side, and the six-stranded-ness gives it a lot of
Ease of use: 3
Diamant (Gold/D3852): A newer thread by DMC. It comes as a undividable,
one strand floss on a spool of 35m. It's a really nice gold colour and I
bet it's super nice to use for detail work or even cross stitch on
lower counts, but one strand is just not enough coverage on 14ct, and
two strands are a little too bulky - my stitches with this floss are by
far the least-neat looking ones I've made in years! It's a little
pricier as well.
Ease of use: 2 (in this scenario)
#4 Very Fine Braid (Copper/3270): The classic of the metallics, at
least for me! I've used my fair share of this one (although not as much
as my friend Magical,
she's the master of Kreinik!). It's pretty nice to work with, and the
#4 had a nice coverage on 14ct (there's all kinds of strengths for
different uses). It's not quite as metall-y as the others I've tried,
there is a fair bit of some kind of nylon (I guess?) base in the thread,
but it's still a pretty decent sparkle and comes in a huge range of
colours. There's only 11m on a sppl, though, so if you need a lot of it,
it can get quite pricy.
Ease of use: 4
there we go...they are all pretty nice to work with, but I think my
favourites are the Petite Treasure Braid and (surprisingly) the Madeira
Metallic No 10.
Now to the specs of the design itself:
- Nevermore linen by JodyriDesign (I thought it was 16ct, so I was a
little worried there, but turns out it's a 14ct after all so all is
well!), a leftover from my Turtles all the way down
'Geostar' by KLT Charting - if you now the design, you'll probably
notice it's not complete. There will be a final round of 'spikes',
bringing it to almost 8" spare instead of the 4.4" it is now (I'm
calling this 'close enough' for the challenge requirements). I didn't
have time to do the whole thing and it'd be too big anyways, but I will
use my favourite two colours (the PTB and MM) to finish it of soon.
Total time (so far): 11h 24min
Of course I'll continue working on this now that the challenge is over (the results are still out, but there were so many awesome submissions I don't think I'll win - which is totally fine as I had a ton of fun!) and show you the result in the end.