The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt - Updated 1/19/17

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The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt - Updated 1/19/17

by SteveM » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:45 am

Just take me to the latest update!

I've wanted to do a ship of the line pattern for a few years but have been unable to find anything that appeals to me from the usual pattern sources and art that was out of copyright wasn't doing it for me either. Most graciously, the marine artist Geoff Hunt just replied to my request for permission to make a pattern of "The Ionian Mission". :D

Normally a SAL starts off with a picture of some stitches, perhaps even a full page of work. But since I am making my own pattern I'm going to start now and include any interested parties from the very beginning. I hope that everyone will feel free to give me your advice and criticism anywhere you feel it might help me.

You can see a photo of the art at the link above, it is plenty large which enabled me to crop the image and scale it down to a manageable size. It also looked a bit blue to me so I warmed it up and added just a touch of brightness and got the following (1 pixel = 1 stitch):
Image

I've been working on a pattern and have a few options to choose from. The image below shows six 340x384 pattern mockups fresh from the tool output and without any manual clean up. The center image labeled "art" is the source image used to generate the patterns. Please post below which of the 6 patterns you think look the best or perhaps your top three picks in order, etc.
Image

If the image above won't display well for you then click here to be taken to the photo where you should be able to expand it to full size and scroll side to side as needed.

Update - the key to the mock ups shown above is as follows:
A - Blend Threads DMC
B - Pattern Maker DMC
C - Blend Threads DMC + Anchor blues
D - Blend Threads Anchor
E - Pattern Maker Anchor
F - Blend Threads DMC + Anchor
Last edited by SteveM on Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.
-Steve

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by Allyn » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:55 am

I am so glad you heard back from the artist. :) It's going to be awesome.

The differences are very subtle between the choices and any one you choose will look good.

I started with elimination. I immediatley took out B and E; I didn't like the sails on the background ship. I took out C and F for the sails on the ship in the foreground. After scrutinzing A and D, I decided I liked A better because the shrouds in the standing rigging looked just a tiny bit more clear than in D.

That being said, the differences are so subtle and specific points I scrutinized may not really be important enough to be deciding factors, but there ya go. :)
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by SteveM » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:19 am

I'm glad you mentioned what catches your eye, mine tends to be most critical of the spray at the bow in addition to the overall look of the sails.
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by AlwaysGoofy » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:50 pm

What an amazing piece this will be. I am also on the bandwagon of doing the one that jumps out at you the most. In the end, the piece is for you. I can't wait to see this one as it progresses.
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by rcperryls » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:11 pm

AlwaysGoofy wrote:What an amazing piece this will be. I am also on the bandwagon of doing the one that jumps out at you the most. In the end, the piece is for you. I can't wait to see this one as it progresses.

I agree! The differences are so subtle that I can't tell the difference between most of them. The one that appeals most to you is the one to be stitched! Can't wait to see lots of updates on this!

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by RosemaryD » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:03 pm

Interesting. I think E has the best foreground sail but I'm not at all keen on the water, for which I think C, D and F are good. On my screen the foreground sail in F looks acceptable and I think it has the best overall clarity of image so would probably be my pick. It also has the most subtlety of contrast in the wooden parts of the ship so to me it looks least "flattened", for want of a better description. It's all relative though, they're all great conversions and probably look different to different people on different monitors so don't let my opinion change yours - you're the one stitching it!

Lovely picture, looking forward to seeing it being stitched.
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by fccs » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:44 pm

I like A and D because the ship details stand out to me and because the ocean spray is so close to the artwork. Which ever one you go with, it's gong to be absolutely beautiful. I'll definitely be following this!
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by richardandtracy » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:19 am

I like D the best. The conversion of the bow wave is rather good. The background is OK too. The conversion C is better for the background ship, but the bow wave draws my eye more. That being said, I think all of the conversions would make a great picture, this comparison is like quibbling over the last 2-3%..

Whichever way you go, it is a really attractive piece to stitch, and I'll be interested to see how it progresses.

Regards,

Richard

PS
I was getting quite worried. I did a number of conversions of the artwork image using my program for my own interest at different numbers of 'Colour Space Divisions', and I couldn't get a quality anything like as high as any of your images, even with the number of colours getting up to 400 and using the custom dither with a divisor of 6 not the default 5 (Try it to see if you like the result, with this image I think it was the best dither I could get for emphasising [but not over-emphasising] the sail folds and smoothing the bow wave). Anyway, almost in despair, I looked at the conversion page and... noticed that I didn't have blends switched on. :oops:
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by SteveM » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:33 pm

Thank you all for weighing in. It is true that any of the patterns would be fine for most people and the discerning can make their own choice based on the details. As a comparison, here is a 90 color pattern which represents the standard HAED pattern:
Image

At first glance it doesn't look so bad, but keep in mind this will be about 17"x19" (43x48cm) when finished. You'd have to stand on the far side of your house from your computer screen for it to be an accurate size. For best comparison you either need to enlarge the images to 17"/43cm wide on your computer screen or leave nose prints on the screen. Purple water and sails... eww.

Without further adieu, here is the key to the images above:
A - Blend Threads DMC
B - Pattern Maker DMC
C - Blend Threads DMC + Anchor blues
D - Blend Threads Anchor
E - Pattern Maker Anchor
F - Blend Threads DMC + Anchor

All patterns used 230-250 colors and all made by Richard's Blend Threads program were in fact blended, used Sierra 2-4a dither, 11 color space divisions, and I merged colors with less than 10 stitches.

Pattern "B" is essentially a HAED max color chart and "A" next to it represents what you can get with blending. I look at lot at the bow wave and PM didn't do so well with Anchor, but any time Anchor blues were made available the Blend Threads program made a pretty good bow wave.

Personally I'm torn between the four non-PM patterns. I like the results of adding Anchor colors and I found a thread elsewhere on this forum where people said you can use DMC and Anchor in the same piece without any obvious differences, but there's something to be said for staying with just DMC.

I've played around with some high symbol count patterns and they do look better, but I'm trying to refrain from too must experimentation on that until I've picked between A, C, D, and F. Personally I think F looks the best, followed by C, then D, and finally A. Mostly for the impact on the bow wave as I mentioned above. Any thoughts on using DMC and Anchor on the same project and even at the same time in the needle as a blend?
Last edited by SteveM on Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
-Steve

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by Serinde » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:18 pm

Don't see as you'd have any problem with blending Anchor and DMC -- apart from being burned for heresy, that is, by the Stitch Police.

They are both long-staple cotton, colour-fast... I don't see any problem. (And that might be the only way to get a decent coverage for black, which I've never thought of!)
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by Allyn » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:13 pm

SteveM wrote:...Pattern "A" is essentially a HAED max color chart and "B" next to it represents what you can get with blending. I look at lot at the bow wave and PM didn't do so well with Anchor, but any time Anchor blues were made available the Blend Threads program made a pretty good bow wave.?\


Here you say "A" is PM and "B" is blends. The list showed "A" as blends and "B" as PM. :?

SteveM wrote:...Personally I'm torn between the four non-PM patterns. I like the results of adding Anchor colors and I found a thread elsewhere on this forum where people said you can use DMC and Anchor in the same piece without any obvious differences, but there's something to be said for staying with just DMC....Any thoughts on using DMC and Anchor on the same project and even at the same time in the needle as a blend?


It's been my experience that they'll look fine together, especially doing tiny stitches as I assume you'll be doing.

SteveM wrote:...I've played around with some high symbol count patterns and they do look better, but I'm trying to refrain from too must experimentation on that until I've picked between B, C, D, and F. Personally I think F looks the best, followed by C, then D, and finally B. Mostly for the impact on the bow wave as I mentioned above.


Here again, do you mean "B" or "A"? I know your priority is the blues (which was not a priority when I did my evaluation). But B? Really?

If you like "F" best, do F. I am very much looking forward to watching this one unfold. :)
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by richardandtracy » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:50 pm

Blending the Anchor & DMC threads should be OK. I don't feel, and never have done, inclined to take the part of thought police.

Could you just remember that I have generated the Anchor colour data for the Blend Threads program from a Coates PDF file of their actual thread samples. The colours for that pdf file were not photographed in the same conditions as prevailed when the DMC data was generated. Also, I have not tested them yet (I stitch too slowly!).

After those warnings, I now have to moderate the force & say, that while I've not tested the colours, I can't see that they are in significant error, from holding up the few anchor threads I have to my uncalibrated monitor.

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by SteveM » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:49 pm

Serinde wrote:Don't see as you'd have any problem with blending Anchor and DMC -- apart from being burned for heresy, that is, by the Stitch Police.

I used to worry about the back of my work, not using a knot to start and end that lone stitch, right versus wrong end of the floss, etc. Then I realized that the stitch police would never see my work and I could care less what they think about how I should stitch. Very liberating.

Allyn wrote:Here you say "A" is PM and "B" is blends. The list showed "A" as blends and "B" as PM. :?

Error on my part, the list is correct and I have amended my comments above.

Allyn wrote:Here again, do you mean "B" or "A"? I know your priority is the blues (which was not a priority when I did my evaluation). But B? Really?

If you like "F" best, do F. I am very much looking forward to watching this one unfold. :)

This is what happens when you try to make a post before dashing out the door for work in the morning. I did mean "A" the Blend Threads pattern and not "B" the PM pattern.

I would say that my biggest hesitation to using "F" is that nearly half the floss is Anchor which means my "stash" begins to grow into two brands of floss. A second issue that Richard has pointed out is that there may be errors in his RGB values so I must be willing to face that challenge.

richardandtracy wrote:Blending the Anchor & DMC threads should be OK. I don't feel, and never have done, inclined to take the part of thought police.

In my search I did find that there are some of the traditional patterns out there that use both DMC and Anchor flosses, but I think this might well be the first time anyone has blended DMC and Anchor on the needle for the purpose of making an new color (rather than tweeding in a replacement after having ran out of one brand). I might just go with "C" to limit the blends to the Anchor blues, but if that is the case it'll be a few years before I even need any Anchor floss!

I've not played around with the custom dither very much and am going to look into higher color counts than the ~250 used on these images. Since I'll be using Richard's program the options are much greater. For example, I could make a chart with ~200 colors and one with ~400 colors then copy and paste as desired to capture areas that benefit most from the higher color count then make a new pattern from that result.
-Steve

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by SteveM » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:50 am

I've been playing around with the number of colors used. In the image below the pattern on the left should be the same as "F" (DMC + Anchor) and was created using 11 color spaces and uses 251 colors. The middle image is 13 color spaces and 284 colors and on the right 15 color spaces and 355 colors. All patterns use merging quite aggressively to keep the color count down yet still allow a lot of color options for the larger areas that need it most (It has no faces or eyes that would lose necessary color correctness).

The image is enlarged by 2x to help see the detail and differences. Keeping in mind this is still much smaller than in real life.

Image

The middle image with 284 colors has better looking sails, but the dark area in the water actually looks a bit worse with some green dithering, though overall less "grainy". The 355 colors on the right of course looks even better, but what I notice most is that harsh looking dither that I dislike seeing is markedly reduced with lots of soft blending. By far my favorite of the three... if stitchable.

The Blend Thread program reports the minimum, average, and maximum number of colors in a 10x10 area. Those numbers are:
Left (251) - 4/19.1/51
Middle (284) - 4/21.5/55
Right (355) - 5/24.1/64

That's a notable increase for the 355 color image on the right. I wonder if I would be setting myself up for another restart. Allyn and Richard, can you comment on how your patterns compare on the 10x10 counts?
-Steve

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by richardandtracy » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:37 am

I'm fairly short on experience I must admit. There are really only 4 occasions where I've attempted pictures where the colour count exceeded 32 in the entire picture. The 10x10 square statistics are:
  1. Honeymoon Portrait. Min: 1, Average: 9.0, Max: 43
  2. I'm Watching You. 3/18.7/45
  3. Gryff. 1/11.4/30
  4. Luis Royo: Luz. 1/11.0/35
To be honest, a peak of 45 in a 10x10 square is feasible, and not really too bad. The highest average image (2) meant that there was a fairly marked thread pad on the back over the entire picture, but it wasn't hard to work. If you do waste knots instead of the more traditional loop & double back to start a thread, and finish a thread by a remote tail which is stitched over, you should never build up any areas where it's impossible to push the needle through.

The next question is, have you ever tried more than 20 threads on the go when using parking? I have and it slowed me down so much that I had to stop - I was down to 11 stitches an hour. Simply managing that many colours was utterly beyond me. If you haven't tried it, it may be worth trying to stitch a column as a test piece, and come to a conclusion over whether it'll do your head in or not.

I suspect the biggest thing against the highest colour count picture will be the logistics of preparing, managing and using the thread stash you'll need, rather than the difficulty of stitching it. You'll have to be a lot more organised than I am at the moment.

Regards,

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by Allyn » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:00 pm

ATM, I'm in a bit of a panic because I can't open my project file. As soon as Richard tells me how to fix the "JPEG error #52" I can give you that information.

In my last project, the highest color count in a 10x10 area was 58. Using the method of parking in the Scarlet Quince tutorial in which you don't put a stitch in if there's an empty hole above it, I never had the problem of trying to push the needle through a mat because my needle was always coming up through a 'clean' hole. Not flipping the project because I use away and waste knots also means I'm never trying to jam my needle under wads of stitches on the back. The knots are clipped off the front so no knots remain in the project.

My project uses 214 colors and I've set up a thread organization system that is working quite well so far. It could easily be expanded to include 400+ colors if needed. It works for me; but as we know, a brilliant solution for one person doesn't work at all for someone else. I can share the details with you if you'd like to hear them.

I can park up to 25 needles and it really increases my speed, expecially if I have only 10 or 15 needles going. Over 25, I have to unthread the parked threads and thread each color as needed until I get through the high-confetti area. It slows me down a bit, but by using smooth-eye needles I can thread them very quickly even when the eye gets collapsed a bit.

I've never done a 300+ color project, but I feel like it's doable. I feel no dread or anxiety thinking about tackling something that complex. However, I feel like I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't say that I think you're overthinking this. :) I feel like the details you are agonizing over are going to overcomplicate things once you start working in the thread palette and stop scrutinizing the mockup. I would do the first one with 251 colors, but I do understand that you have to be happy with the project and the details are yours to agonize over if you want to. :)

Now excuse me while I send a most panicked email to Richard. :cry:
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by SteveM » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:03 pm

Error 52 means it isn't a jpeg file, either it is a jpeg that got corrupt or it really is a bmp file with a jpg extension. Try renaming to .bmp and opening the project file again.

Thank for the information on your patterns and confetti levels. The HAED I'm working now is very low confetti in the sky where I am working, but there is a corner of the page that has some 10x10 squares of 10-15 colors and one that is 29 colors. The first time I stitched it 2x1 I had to use the SQ parking method or the needle would be very difficult to push through the hole and was very slow going. I tended to un-thread my needles and only keep a few going at the same time as they kept sliding off the thread. When I restitched that area 1x1 I went cross-country within a 20x10 area with waste knots and had no troubles filling in holes later on. I would like to give parking another try, but will need to use a magnet to keep my needles from disappearing.

This pattern is targeted for 20 count Aida, but I have a smaller version available should I choose 18 count Aida. These larger stitches make for a larger finished project so I want it to look good up close. Hopefully 18 or 20 count will allow me the room I need to stitch full cross 2 over 1 without going crazy dealing with all of the blends and confetti.

The 251 color pattern uses 321 thread colors while the 355 color pattern uses 360 thread colors. So the stash management wouldn't be that much worse. I'll have to think this over so that I don't ruin something that is supposed to be enjoyable.

Richard has made a minor update for me that prints out a histogram of the stitch densities so I can see that the majority of 10x10 squares are below 30 symbols and just a handful are of >50 count. I located that 64 symbol square on the pattern and many of the symbols exist in neighboring squares. I would either grid the page and cross-country the whole thing or focus on a strict SQ style parking.
-Steve

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by SteveM » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:36 pm

Call me crazy, but I am going with a variation on the 355 color pattern. I've changed the dither to be the custom one with a divisor of 5 which means the resulting image is nearly identical in most ares, but the tendency to have checkerboard patterns is reduced. As a result the pattern is reduced a hair to 351 colors, uses 216 DMC and 140 Anchor thread colors, and the min/average/max colors in a 10x10 grid are 4/23.1/60. Using the new histogram feature I could see a slight downward shift in the confetti levels across the board as compared to the Sierra 2-4a dither.

ImageImage

The plan is to order 20 count Aida and whatever threads are needed for the first row of pages. If I find the stitching unmanageable or the Anchor colors off then I've not invested so much that I can't readily start over on the other end of my fabric.
Last edited by SteveM on Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
-Steve

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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by rcperryls » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:39 pm

:applesauce: I am really looking forward to watching you stitch this one. It is going to stunning. I hope you are planning to send a photo to the artist when you have finished it. I'm sure he or she will be amazed at what you will have achieved.

Carole
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Dancing with the Cat
Giraffe Silhouette
Leffet Papillon
mini Moonlight
Little Dreamers Tree
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Hardanger Sampler
HAED Shiver Meow Timbers
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Re: The Ionian Mission - Geoff Hunt

by Allyn » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:23 am

I won't call you crazy. I think it is very doable and I look forward to watching the progress. :)
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