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American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Thursday, 3 January 2013

A Question Answered

Elizabeth asked :-

You posted at the beginning of your challenge that Marsha would be pleased to answer any questions and I hope you can ask her some for me. I would like to ask Marsha how long it takes her to chart a sampler, match the colours etc - how does she decided what symbols to use for threads and if she is starts a chart how does she start? What does she find frustrating / interesting about the process?

Marsha replied:-

The length of the process of charting varies according to the complexity of the design, the condition of the original, and whether or not I have access to the back side to examine the unfaded colors. If, for example, I'm working from a museum piece in exchange for royalties paid, it's rare to be able to work from the original and examine the back side, and that kind of work takes longer than charting a sampler that I own. With samplers that I own, I'm able to disassemble them and examine both sides very carefully during the charting process, and once the chart is done they are sent off to a textile conservator for cleaning and remounting.

There is a kind of "art" to selecting symbols. You don't want them to be too similar especially if they abut each other (for example a large "O" beside a minuscule "o"). The chart is easier to read if the symbols are bold and distinctly different.

If it's an original design, rather than a reproduction, I begin with a freehand pencil sketch over grid paper, and from there the process is pretty random, like putting the Muse through a blender. Colors aren't firm until linen is in hand, and then it's thrashed out laboriously until the palette suits me. It's awfully frustrating when I can't find just the right colors, or when I've spent days filling in with a color that is all wrong. In that respect reproductions are much easier to chart than originals---no guesswork, unless there are holes to be spanned often requiring leaps of imagination.

Thank you Elizabeth and Marsha, it is very interesting to read about the process.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


EvalinaMaria said...

I learn something every day! Thank you for sharing great questions and answers.

Margaret said...

Fantastic! Thanks Elizabeth for asking, and thanks Marsha for answering! So interesting!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Marsha. It is so interesting to hear more about the process of charting them.

Michele said...

This is really interesting. Thanks Marsha

Erica near Chicago said...

If you are compiling a list of possible questions, I'd like to know if there is a master list of all SL designs (OOP as well as current). I'm not a registered participant in the SL Year because of the number already registered when I discovered the group, but am stitching along with you never the less. Thanks!

Lanie said...

Thank you, Marsha for always so generously sharing your vast knowledge.

This process is so fascinating to me. Now that both of my girls are in college, I'm trying to figure out a career choice. Can I come "job shadow" someday?!!!

Scarlet Letter said...

Hi Erica,
The only "master list" exists in what I refer to as Noah's Ark, a box full of one each of everything I've designed. I plan to send some long lost, out of print specimen to Nicola for one of her prize draws.

Lanie, wish I could afford to hire a helper!

Erica near Chicago said...

Thanks for answering the question Marsha. Your "Noah's Ark" must be an amazing archive.