Sunday, June 14, 2009

What I learned in needlepoint school

Once again I had the pleasure of taking classes from Joan Lohr and Ruth Dilts, who I refer to as “The Rainbow Girls” because of their connection with Rainbow Gallery. No matter how old you are or how many classes you have taken, there’s always something to learn.

Starting and stopping threads could be a class in itself. In the Valentine House class (canvas provided by Susan Roberts, threads provided by Rainbow Gallery) we used pin knots under Rhodes hearts and away knots with tails long enough that the knot can be cut, the tail threaded in a needle and then woven under the just-stitched area. This keeps dark threads from showing through under lighter adjacent areas, especially if the neighboring area is stitched with a light coverage stitch.

Thread ideas included using Very Velvet or the petite version as the under layer for a padded stitch. It will give good height and grips really well. A favorite combination for a night sky uses Petite Treasure Braid and Impressions in combination. I loved the use of Fyre Werks Soft Sheen FT53 (espresso) for the chocolate kisses—you could almost taste the Hershey’s milk chocolate.

From the Hearts and Clouds class (canvas by Alice Peterson, threads by Rainbow Gallery) I was reminded to go up a needle size when using Flair or Frosty Rays—the needle paves the way for the thread and the canvas will go back where it belongs after the stitch is done.

I had never thought about which direction to stitch with threads like Arctic Rays, Fuzzy Stuff and the like, but it makes total sense to come up in a full hole and go down in an empty hole. This fluffs up the thread and maximizes the effect. Afterwards, tease the threads with the eye of the needle or a soft toothbrush to make things very fuzzy. I was surprised to hear Joan recommend against using a bunka brush on Angora, preferring a soft toothbrush to bring up the nap. I am working on a large nutcracker, King Richard, and I have used Angora for his ermine cape and cuff trim. Since I am a stubborn sort, I will be stitching in the margins and comparing the effect of a nap brush vs. a toothbrush.

Here’s a great idea for finishing a nursery canvas if no pillow or wall hanging is needed. Set the stitched canvas in a glass-topped tray or have your framer make one for you. This can rest on top of nursery furniture and hold powder, wipes and other baby paraphernalia.

Finally, I was reminded that you can change the colors of baby/children canvases to suit either a boy or girl if you love the design and it doesn’t have an appropriate combination. So as long as you can get full coverage from the thread and the stitch combination, you can make any design work for you.

Happy stitching!

1 comment:

Love to Stitch 99 said...

Wonderful tips. Learned quite a bit from reading this.

Thanks :-)

Pierrette =^..^=