I then played. I like the way blanket stitch can create interesting curves. I am also very into stitched crosses. The blocks of running-stitch were brought across from my coffee-house piece. I got inspiration for the large sweeping marks from one of the mark-making pieces I created ages ago. I still keep the pile of squares by my desk. They have been so useful, if ever I'm stuck.
I built it up, adding more sections of colour, to create more layers and give it depth, expanding the stitch-colours, trying new marks on top of what I'd already done. It was looking really interesting, but I felt it lacked something. It needed more powerful contrast, a bit of 'oomph'.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been gradually going through rag-boxes that a couple of people gave me when I first started getting into textiles. I've been ironing what I want to keep, and sorting the bits and bobs into warm and cool colours, patterned and plain, so I can find things more easily. At the bottom of one box I found a tiny tangle of wonderfully lumpy wool. I was about to store it away. Then I placed it on the piece.
I have 'couched' in some wool before, on the first map piece I created, and was really pleased with the textural contrast it provided. This seemed like it was well worth trying...
I didn't overdo the couching, as I didn't want to flatten the wool's lumpiness, so I stitched just enough to keep it in place and to add a subtle glimmer of mustard thread, to tone down the white and help it 'belong'.
One final bit of work I felt it needed was a few stitching additions to the mustard stripes top left. I softened them into the piece by stitching across with some pale blue, which really did the trick and echoed the couching of the wool.
I am pretty sure it's done now. I'll live with it for a bit.
I am really pleased with the overall effect, but also with the way sections of it work, when you focus in on details. It's so hard to photograph this work - you can't really appreciate the layering and detailed stitching when you take a picture of the whole thing, especially with the larger pieces.
Hope you like it! Now... Tea-bags and wax...