Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thoughts on Random Stitching

Hello everyone, it sure feels good to be back in the embroidery saddle again.

I hadn't intended to disappear for a week but life conspired to take me elsewhere.

When last we left the shell project, I was leaving to stitch "sand" onto my piece...



Subsequent to that announcement, I received this comment from fellow BNF (blogging needle friend), Rachel Wright of VirtuoSew Adventures:

Random scatters are the hardest of all effects to achieve, but at the same time...you don't need to encrust the piece completely to create the illusion of a sandy beach
As we emailed back and forth, she added this bit of wisdom:
Random is hard because we are so good at pattern-spotting and pattern-making...
This really got me thinking.

Having attempted to stitch randomly a few times before, I often found myself unintentionally choosing a similar sequence of beads or evenly spacing bead clusters...filling spaces...the overall effect being anything but random.

My solution to combat my own mind, was to take a handful of "sand" bead mixture and toss the beads onto the piece, letting them all fall where they may.  I took a picture of this random scatter and used it as a "pattern" for my stitching the beads in place.


Over and over again, as I stitched this piece, I found myself falling back into a habit of selecting a certain sequence of beads or wanting to evenly space the beads out.  It was very helpful to refer to the picture as a guide to break me from my natural tendencies.

Even with the help of the random photo, I'm afraid that my final product is not as "random" as I'd like to believe.  I kept adding things that weren't in the picture and changing some selections.

Shame on me.  End result is nice but I think I have to do a better job of sticking to the original plan.

Rachel was right.  Random is hard.  Much harder than it looks.


Regardless, I thought this whole lesson in randomness was a good thing. Thank you Rachel for sharing your insight ~ it was a great help.

Happy day everyone; I'm off to stitch another sea urchin...

27 comments:

Judy S. said...

Interesting post, Susan. It was funny as I was reading, I thought why not scatter the beads, and voila! That's what you did. I'd say you did a great job of achieving randomness! This is going to be another fabulous block!Glad you're taking time to enjoy summer. Please send some heat our way; our furnace is running this morning...again.

susiew said...

Insightful thoughts ... Back in the day - when I taught Tole Painting - I used to say I had to "plan my random" ..... an oxymoron but oh so true! I still do it. When placing little filler flowers around a SRE grouping, I always check the surrounding flowers before stitching one ... just to be sure it isn't at the same level - both horizontal or vertical from the previous ones. Eight or nine times out of ten, I will have lined them up in a tidy little row .... grrrh! Here's to planning our random!!
SusieW

verobirdie said...

I can't do random. For my sea tangles, I followed the instructions given randomly by excel. I could not do it myself...
Your beach is the most beautiful.

Wendy said...

Just by glancing at this block it looks like random sand on the beach. I can truly appreciate the hard work that went in to making your sand seem random, and it worked! I really like that next to your sea star there is a larger sized pearl shaped piece laying next to it. Job well done.

Catherine said...

Great thoughts on randomness! Your result looks great to me! Some cross~stitcher's have issues with samplers not being symmetrical, or the borders not being 100% around a piece, or just letting their "mistakes" go and incorporating them into their stitching. Wonder is this all comes from the same part of our being and the need to feel certain order in our lives. Perhaps if we all try to be a little more random, we'd stress a lot less.

Oriel said...

What a GEM of an idea and isn't it great that we now have digital cameras and can take these before and after shots!

Cathy Lloyd said...

I'm filing the picture idea away in my mind just in case I need it someday! Your sandy beach looks fabulous!

Jane said...

Very beautiful. Loving the random.

Gerry Krueger said...

I know just what you mean...on a larger scale. When I planted my forest (5247 trees) I wanted it like a real forest but kept finding myself planting seedling trees in rows and regular spaces... ended up tossing the tree seedlings and planting where they landed.. It is something internal but then it is probably what keeps us from being "scatter brained" LOL Ger

Mary Ann said...

The effect is wonderful...:)

crazyQstitcher said...

Hi Susan, Your work is, as always, beautiful. I like your post about the random work, including Rachel's valuable input.
Funny how Stitchers are sometimes disappointed with their own work, while the viewers see only perfection.
The starfish is gorgeous and my favourite seam is the delicate wind-blown grass. Love your colours.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Interesting post..as always a creative technique. I don't think I ever do anything randomly though o so many time I try to in almost every aspect of my life.
xx, Carol

Createology said...

This is what is so wonderful about blogging and getting feedback and input. Almost instantly we can communicate with one another. Who knew "random" would be so difficult. Your sand looks quite wonderful to me. Stitching Bliss...

Sweetpea said...

Well, no matter what you say, Susan, I think your *random* sand is exquisite...as is your entire piece!

Luv the idea of tossing the beads then taking their picture. Genius. ;>}}

Cathy K said...

Another lovely post, and your sand sure looks random to me. And gorgeous! Gerry mentioned tossing her seedlings and planting them where they fall. It is called "naturalizing" and unless I want my tulip (or daffodil or other) bulbs looking like Pretty Maids All in a Row, I naturalize by tossing them and planting where they lie. Great technique to apply to beads, but oh so tedious! So says this woman whose eyes cross at the thought of sewing on all those beads! Hugs xx

Rachel said...

Glad to be of service! I think you did a great job with the random scatter - it looks fabulous!

Lilli said...

Dear Susan, your pictures are a feast for my eyes))) I love your blog!

Anna said...

Hi Susan,
I think your piece is gorgeous and to my eye, your version of "randomness" has an artful element that is more appealing than total randomness, as illustrated in the dropping/scattering of beads. Plus, as always, the exquisite craftsmanship of your work enhances your art further!

Laurel's Quill said...

You did "random" justice. very nice effect.

coral-seas said...

Ha! I don't know if you know this but I HATE doing random - it boggles my mind :-)

You did a great job, the beads really do look sandy. It reminds me of the little trails of sand you get at home after a day on the beach. No matter how carefully you think you have washed or brushed away the sand some always comes home with you.

Nicki Lee said...

Random or not your work is stunning. I love the idea of taking a picture and then following through with stitching as you see it. The random idea is wonderful and is something that I will have to try.

Suztats said...

That's interesting, and rather difficult to capture, but i think it looks super.
Isn't it funny/strange that we must give thought and effort to something so as not to create a pattern.

Saturday Sequins said...

What a brilliant solution!

I'm someone who's better at random than following a pattern. That said, it's a real challenge to step out of a comfort zone, whatever that zone may be, and I applaud you. :)

Have fun with the sea urchin!

Starr White said...

When I was stitching my little mushroom caps, I kept catching myself making neat little rows and "varying" my stitches the same way every time!! I love your genius solution and you made me laugh with your struggle to stick to the picture of randomness. Let the beads fall where they may!!

Sarah said...

Hi there!
Your work is amazing! I have stumbled here via old rose via button gloomiest and am glad to have done. I can't stop lOoling ant that starfish! I was interested in your randomness method. That is the way that Monty Don, an English tv gardener, recommends getting randomness when planting bulbs.
Sarah :)

Sarah said...

Only noticed the typos when too late- olderrose and button floozies not gloomiest!

Sarah said...

Hi there!
Your work is amazing! I have stumbled here via old rose via button gloomiest and am glad to have done. I can't stop lOoling ant that starfish! I was interested in your randomness method. That is the way that Monty Don, an English tv gardener, recommends getting randomness when planting bulbs.
Sarah :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails