Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Noel" part 2

The sleigh gave me fits. I started with Kreinik braid, trying the outline stem stitch. It didn’t work. I then tried couching a braided trim from Access Commodities, starting with the scroll shape at the bottom of the stocking cuff. I decided the effect was too dark and strong for the entire sleigh, but I kept the scroll in place. I like it and I am sticking with my resolution to refrain from ripping stitches out until I am absolutely certain they don’t work. I finally tried basketweave using 2 shades of Neon Rays and one gold Shimmer Blend ribbon floss. The sleigh glows but doesn’t overwhelm the piece.

I then alternated between stitching the teddy bear in French knots using 2 strands of Burmilana and stitching the tree in random long and shorts stitches using one strand of two different Wildflowers colors. I have found that using one strand of a thread like Wildflowers or Wisper and building layers results in a much finer effect than doubling the thread. It’s hard not to want to rush, but if you compare the two results (layering one strand vs. stitching with multiple strands) you’ll go for the slower approach. Besides, if you are stitching an heirloom, you might as well do it right. The star is a button I picked up on one of my many searches for embellishments and the ornaments are from a Little Charmers bead set that matched the painted colors perfectly. Little Charmers come in about 15 different colorways, often with different size beads mixed in.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Noel" stocking is finished!

I have finally finished “Noel” for my sister, only one month later than advertised. (We won’t even consider the purchase/start date for this Tapestry Tent stocking.) I always have a love/hate relationship with my Christmas stockings. I love them for the first 60% and then I get bored or frustrated because I can see in my mind’s eye what the finished stocking will look like and I want to move on to the next fun project. I am finally back in love with this one.

I began with Santa’s robe; the painting was so detailed that I decided to stitch it in basketweave using Petite Very Velvet and Kreinik braid in #8 and #12. The bag is also done in basketweave using Soie Crystal silk and Kreinik blending filament. The filament shredded at every opportunity which is why I now use Accentuate filament. Accentuate is stronger, does not shred or break and comes in a ton of colors. The green corners on the bag are Smyrna crosses done in green Kreinik #12.

The pony is also stitched using Petite Very Velvet. His mane is stitched in random satin stitches. The boots are stitched in basketweave with Petite Very Velvet and Kreinik braid for the buckle.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hat on the Cat Needlepoint

Yesterday I had a great time--I took two classes from nationally known teacher Cynthia Thomas. My favorite stitch is the one for the green hat; it's a Star Octagon variation. By removing the center stitches from the Star Octagon and replacing them with a bead set in the resulting hole, Cynthia created a new stitch. She suggested looking at stitch books in a whole new way--look for a part of the stitch to remove and replace with a bead or beads. I can't wait to get home and use this idea for some of my "in the works" canvases.

Stay tuned--today I have an all day class with Amy Bunger.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good Hart Needlepoint

Having found that I need the carrot and stick approach to finishing large stockings, this is yet another carrot for hours of basketweave.

A few of my favorite things….

I added the “Good heart” because we live in Good Hart Michigan. The heart is a Rhodes heart.

For the snow, which was painted with a multiple of blues and greens mixed with white, I used a long stitch variation with Snow and an overdyed Kreinik that matched the painted colors. I stitched with two needles, one threaded with Snow and the other with the Kreinik. A magnet set kept the unused needle and thread parked away from the action.

The tree was done with a long and short stitch using Boucle’ for the greens (also used for the holly bough trim) and Fuzzy Stuff for the snow.

For the smoke from the chimney, I unraveled Flair and couched it down. It was great fun to unravel the Flair—it was a bit of revenge for its tendency to do that on its own.

Still stitching the cuff on the stocking in basketweave…and now working on two Halloween candy canes that my good friend Linda gave me for Christmas. You’ll see them next!