Valley of Shadow – The Valley

Here I have stitched the valley and its walls.  Somehow when we are in the valley, it seems like there’s no possible way out.  So I stitched the wall using parallel vertical strokes to give that feeling of being trapped beneath cliffs.

The Valley by Carmen CS
The Valley, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer: Father, when they feel trapped in the valley, trapped in their grief, help them to remember that You are there with them.  Help them to walk with You and trust that You can lead them out.

Valley of Shadow – Treeline

To stitch the treeline at the front of the valley, I chose to use a primarily vertical stitch of varying lengths.  This gives the look of dense pine forest.

Valley of Shadow - Treeline by Carmen CS

Valley of Shadow – Treeline, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer: Father, in their darkest moments, help them remember that You are with them.  Help them to feel you love and accept your comfort.

Valley of Shadow – Stitching the Words

The words are designed to be stitched using the “standard” needlepoint stitch – tent stitch.  Here I have stitched the words first.

Valley of Shadow - For Thou... by Carmen CS
Valley of Shadow – For Thou…, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

I pray, “Father, be a light for them in their grief.  Be with them, and help them to know that.”

Valley of Shadow – Blues and Yellows

During this stage of picking the colors is when the key I painted on the canvas pays off.  Just looking over the painted image it’s easy to miss colors.  But the key means that I know just how many shades of each color are needed.

Untitled by Carmen CS
Untitled, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.Yellows by Carmen CS

Yellows, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Valley of Shadow – Prepping the Fibers

Before a DMC floss can be used, it must be prepared.  At minimum, this means cutting the thread into usable lengths and putting those lengths on a thread card.  Recording the DMC color number on the card makes keeping the colors straight across projects easier.

Start by slipping the paper bands off the skein and opening it up.

Open the Skein by Carmen CS
Open the Skein, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Then the thread can be pulled out and cut into good lengths.  Attach the lengths to the prepared thread card using a hitch knot.

Prepped Skein by Carmen CS
Prepped Skein, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Valley of Shadow – Picking the Fibers

The first step to doing the stitching is to pick the fibers.  Typically, I pick one kind of fiber for the majority of the design.

There are many choices of fiber available for needlework today.  They have different feels (or hand), luster, colors.  They require different skills to prepare and stitch with them.

For this project, I have chosen to use DMC cotton floss.  It has a smooth hand that is nice to work with.  It comes in a wide array of colors, which you can count on to be consistent from one lot to another.  It is widely available.  I have purchased a number of lots of various colors from retiring needleworkers, so I have a “library” of colors that I can choose from for any new project.

DMC Cotton Floss by Carmen CS
DMC Cotton Floss, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Valley of Shadow – Painting complete!

Here is the complete painted canvas.  Now I can start picking threads.  The key on the right shows each shade I will need, so I can make sure I have all the fibers necessary.  But I will refer back to the original photo for fine-tuning of the colors.

Insp18 Valley of Shadow by Carmen CS
Insp18 Valley of Shadow, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

One note: I have not been reporting my progress in real-time.  Painting actually took me about a week, and since then I have moved on to stitching.  I’ve been reporting in bite-sized chunks, both for your understanding and to break up the writing :-).