Monday, January 23, 2006

The Surikov Diaries: I

It occurs to me that it might be worthwhile to keep a sort of journal about the Boyarina Morozova, which I just started on Sunday. Nothing too grand, just my impressions of the project while I stitch it. Things like when I finish page 1, page 2, all the way down to page 75 -- oh, BTW, I realized after my last post that the reason it has 75 pages is that it has a lot of white space, and clear gridding every single page, which the program I have at home doesn't have -- if it did, the cross stitch I'm doing for my son might be 30 pages, not just 15.

With that in mind, I began, as stated, on Sunday, January 22. Never mind the fact that I've had this pattern since December 2004. It takes courage to start something this big. As of today, I have 200 stitches on it, which sounds impressive till you realize that the thing is almost 200,000 stitches, and takes up the better part of a 3' x 5' piece of linen. So far, it's very green. Green is not a color I normally associate with winter, but as I look at what I've done, it occurs to me that despite such undeniably summery names as Ivy Green and Thyme Green, it's all actually very cold-looking -- and Arctic ice often appears greenish. I'm in the upper-left-hand corner, by the way, and what I've been stitching is very dark sky. I'm hoping that as I add more greys, the sky will look less greenish and more like a lowering storm sky that threatens snow. As if there weren't already enough in this painting.

Something this size is best worked on a large, large frame -- or sideways. I've opted for the latter. I have it rolled up on a 36" stretcher bar, and plan to progress down one complete side before moving back to the top to stitch the next 8 sections (8 pages of pattern compose a side). So the pattern will go from top to bottom, but not show very much of the subject matter at first -- once the first 8 pages are done, you should be able to see most of the young lady on the far left who's gasping in sympathetic horror, but not much else. I do plan to update this blog with photos, but since I don't have a digital camera (and wouldn't know how to link it up to my computer if I did), I plan just to take a series of pictures with a disposable camera, then post the best to each blog. So there will be a whole lot of updates at once, I'm afraid -- but it's the best way I can think of to handle this. My first pictures are of the first 100 stitches in the frame, and shows something of my work set-up (if it all comes out -- I haven't had too much luck with photographing my needlework. The light's always either too much or too little).

More to come.... /insane cackling, as organ music swells, then fades out....