Street Door #1

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March/April 2020

Get up and Fight!

You know how it is, when you're overthrown by headaches for a long time so that you just cannott do as much as you would like? And a matter very close to your heart remains on a standstill? If you are like me, at some point you just cannot bear it any longer, and it comes to something I would call an emotional clearance. You get so angry with yourself (and your headaches), that you launch yourself headlong and with all your might on your project, pain or not.   

That is what happened to me with my first architectural project,  a street door. I was so angry, that I didn't even pre-wash and neaten the linen, just cut it out, swearing like a trooper, traced the outlines from my photo onto it on my makeshift lightbox, and mounted it on the largest hoop (30 cm or 12 ") of my seat frame and sat down to stitch. And lo and behold - the migraines were gone! Yay! 

Since I don't have a stash yet worthy the name, and I was so desperate to finally start stitching, I had to choose among the floss colours I had on hand. Next time I would get to it more calmly, choosing the most matching colours and ordering them first, but for the first attempt I found it was okay. It was more important to me to figure out how I would stitch something like that in the first place.   

Street Door, Kaßberg, Chemnitz

Street Door, Kaßberg, Chemnitz

My plan was to fill the whole door including the wall opening with colour, while adumbrating the surrounding masonry by black lines only, like in an ink drawing. 

Working my Way Through the Door

I began by stitching the upper horizontal part of the wall opening. It cost me some restarts to figure out the best stitch for it. I was stitching with Sublime Floss for the first time, and I wasn't sure if I like it. To my mind, it has a slightly tighter twist than DMC floss, hence it appears to be a bit thinner and "firmer", the result being a somewhat poorer coverage. The most annoying thing about it, however, was that it apparently isn't a pull skein. I had to pick apart most of the skeins from the beginning, resulting in a tangle and the messing up of the labels.   

After some unsatisfying approaches with Split Stitch, Long-and-short stitch, Satin Stitch and the like, suddenly the thought flashed through my mind: 'Self-couching would be much better'! I hadn't any particular stitch in mind, but there is a stitch, also called self-couching - it's the New England Laid Stitch. And it worked perfectly!  

Street  Door, New England Laid Stitch

The Beginning - New England Laid Stitch

As you can see in the photo above, the wall opening is an agglomeration of colours. There is the cameo pink plastering, with large spots of a dark grey ... washout? plastering? ... there are semi-transparent ochre areas as in the plastering above the door, and light blue grey concrete smears towards the bottom, all unregular and mixed up as is usual in unoccupied and neglected buildings. 

This is where my two-threads-approach came in very handy, so I could mix two colours in the needle, taking into consideration the shadows and - of course - the perspective. For most of the planes I went back to Long-and-short Stitch (which is a Split Stitch filling, actually), because all those patches should blend into each other as much as possible.   

Wall Opening

Wall Opening

© Design & Content: Angela Nowicki