The Stash Sisters ATHA guild here in Houston has been talking about doing a coaster and cup exchange for February. When we tossed around this idea, I immediately thought of all the great tea cups and mugs that the British Isles shop in the Village has for sale, and how fun it might be to create a flower mat to match a cup design. Then I started to think about Christmas presents I would like to make...and this led me to go over to the shop and pick up a mug as a gift for a family member (can't say who) and draw out an oversized rose coaster. I took pictures as I progressed since I wanted to show how easy it is to use an 8-gradated swatch in a wide-cut to create more realism in hooking. The key is to use all the 8 values, and to put the lightest value (#1) against the darkest value (#8) on the edge of the petals to make them pop out.
So here is the cup and coaster finished. I'm showing it because I used the rose on the front as my inspiration.
I took a sharpie and drew the petals very roughly on the linen. Just a sketchy outline. Then I went in with my #1 value (#6 cut) and I hooked all the edges of the petals that I thought looked the lightest in the picture of the rose on the cup.
Next, I went in with my #8 value and I hooked all the areas that were the darkest in the picture of the rose on the cup.
Third, I went in with my #4 value. It is a medium value, so I laid it down in between the lines I had hooked with #1 and #8. Just haphazard. Nothing planned. Nothing structured anymore than making sure that the #4 had to be between the #1 and #8.
Fourth, I went in with my #6 value. I placed it between #4 and #8.
Fifth, I went in with my #2 value. I placed it between #1 and #4, and on the edges of those petals I had not already edged with #1.
Sixth, I went in with my #3 value and hooked it between #2 and #4, wherever it would fit.
Seventh, I went in with my #5 value between #4 and #6, wherever it would fit.
Eight, I went in with my #7 value between #6 and #8, wherever it would fit.
That's it. Essentially what this amounts to is staggering values between each other. This process allows for a more free-form structure of the rose than careful planning in fine-cut hooking when each petal is hooked one at a time. It allows for the rose to emerge from a structure of very light (where the light is hitting the flower) and very dark (where the shadows are on the flower). Then all the rest is just hooked in between.
It was easy to do and only took me one evening from start to finish. The binding took another sitting, but not a whole evening.