Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Philosophy of Salads, Sandwiches, & Cross-stitch Designs


What do these things have in common, you ask? Well, maybe only my common philosophy for them, approximately stated as "less is more". If you always put everything in a sandwich, if "it isn't a sandwich if it doesn't have 2 meats & 3 cheeses", as an unnamed relative says, then your sandwiches always taste the same, even if half the ingredients are different. If you limit a sandwich or salad to 3-4 ingredients, then each time it tastes different.

The application of this idea to cross-stitch designs is a little different, but it's the same sort of personal predjudice on my part. If a stitchery design has a sea of amorphous shapes in lavenders and purples, and it's supposed to be violets, I don't like it. I want a design of stitches which, if it's done in yellow, people will say "Oh, yellow violets!". And, preference again, I prefer this to be done, if not with the fewest stitches possible, (I can do a violet with fewer than I show here, I think), then at least with a fairly small number of stitches. Partly this is for economy of stitching time, but mostly it's for the design freedom it gives me. But I insist that the flowers be recognizable when graphed out in black & white. Maybe even identifiable to species, like one in this sampler.

My other design preferences are mostly visible here, I think. One is another example of "less is more" — analogous colors. That is, colors which are next to each other on the color wheel, sometimes with a very small amount of an opposite color (here yellow). These colors range from blueish-green to red-violet, and that is certainly my long-time favorite. But I have favorite combinations of pansies that use the red-violet to peach, with mauve and plum and green. (Always remember that green is a major part of garden color combinations, as are dirt & sky, and here tree trunks & pine needles.) And red-violet, blue-violet, and yellow-green. Or forget-me-not blue with primrose yellow and leaf green, against a white wall. Each time few colors, fewer if they're opposites, more if they have something in common, like those next to each other on the color wheel.

Another preference is for symmetries reminiscent of medieval and renaissance designs, like William Morris used. You can see that in this sampler, in a simple way. Tomorrow I'll post the other half of it.

And I think I'll go get some pansies after school tomorrow…

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