Saturday, December 25, 2010
I'm working on the leader of the Easter March, the Easter Bunny. I'm using Silk & Ivory and an encroaching Gobelin over 4 for his fur. I tried Silk & Ivory for his arm to bring it to the forefront, and ordered Trio for his body. The Trio was not nearly as white as the Silk & Ivory, so I ended up not using the Trio. The fatter thread has been just fine for the areas that are stitched in Basketweave and I can sculpt the fur to add dimension.
If I had been thinking ahead, I would have stitched his body first and fluffed it up with my nap brush. Now I am using a combination of the nap brush and Judy's Boo Boo Stick to bring up the nap. A credit card or store loyalty card is perfect for protecting the areas stitched around his body from the brushes.
My next fix will be to redo the lower part of the basket--it needs to come out from the canvas. Since my first attempt is never going to rip out, I'll be working over it. Now, back to "work".
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Here are a few things that changed in the process of teaching the class.
1. Kreinik drastically changed the color of the #8 braid I was using. Luckily, my class was able to trade with each other so no one had to rip out any stitches.
2, After seeing how much my polar bear picked fibers and fur out of thin air when stitched with Petite Very Velvet in white, a couple of stitchers switched to Vineyard Silk for the bear. Much better. Note to dogs: stop shedding.
3. For the wheels, one of the stitchers left the blocks until last. This allowed her to anchor a thread in the center of the wheel, letting it hang free on the front of the canvas. She used the thread to show the right direction for the random long and short stitches, rotating it as she stitched. Much easier than trying to imagine the proper direction.
4. I had originally stitched the base as a modified rice done entirely in . To beef it up a bit, we added Kreinik #16 for the underlying cross stitches. That also left a bit of sparkle at the corners and center of each block. Will I go back and back stitch mine to make it better? What are the odds?
5. One of the stitchers went to four ply for the sky, instead of my 3 ply because she is having the canvas made into a pillow.
Keep stitching and stay warm.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The owner of the home had stitched quite a collection of needlepoint ornaments and she displayed them in imaginative ways. Ornaments were hung from cabinet knobs, door handles and hung on the side of lampshades. I’ve also seen wreaths and garlands that were adorned with needlepoint ornaments. Whether you have a huge collection of needlepoint ornaments that more than fill a tree or you have just begun your collection, you can spread holiday cheer throughout your home.
Happy Holidays, Michele
Thursday, November 25, 2010
This project is almost finished...soon I can move on to another wonderful canvas - the Easter March!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
So, on Sunday, with plenty of sports to watch on television, I buckled down and stitched the Christmas tree. I started with the beads, breaking “the rule” about stitching beads last. I wanted to place them when I could still where the artist had painted them and I didn’t want to refer back to a photocopy for placement. I used a combination of Mill Hill iridescent beads and Sundance size 14 beads, attaching them with my favorite beading thread, Prisms.
Taking two different skeins of Boucle’, one overdyed and one solid, I stitched the tree needles using a satin stitch. I cut the overdye into two parts, giving me one length of light green and one of medium green. I had thought about stitching the lighter areas as though they were snow-covered, but I didn’t like the idea of the snow from the tree blending into my snowgirl. I decided that the effect that I wanted was of a moonlit tree.
The ornaments were originally stitched as Smyrna crosses with Kreinik #12, but I thought they got lost in the foliage. I then stitched over the Smyrna crosses with YLI Ribbon Floss in the Shimmer Blend version and they popped right out. The star was stitched with the same Ribbon Floss—I stitched two vertical lines slanting inward and topped them with two horizontal lines to make the star shape.
And now, back to work—the next Giants playoff game starts at 7:30.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The class, taught by the delightful SuZy Murphy, was called "Santa in a Martini Glass". The canvas was provided by CBK Needlepoint.
This was a breeze to stitch and will look great finished as a stand-up for our bar.
Since stitch guides are just that, guides, I made a couple of changes to SuZy's stitch guide.
SuZy stitched her glass with Water 'n Ice from Rainbow Gallery, which gave the glass a frosted effect. I decided to stay with the bright holiday colors and stitched my glass with Petite Frosty Rays to match the painted canvas. The base of the glass is painted a bright royal blue. Although I have seen martini glasses that are painted exactly that way, I had to agree with SuZy that no matter what thread you pull in blue, the base just screams "look at me first...and second...and third."
The second change I made was to use a darning stitch from Brenda Hart's book "Stitches for the Millennium". Appropriately enough, it's a martini glass pattern. I chose to stitch Lemon Drops instead o Appletiniis in honor of my stitching friend Linda B.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
"Mine" by Sandra Gilmore of Once in a Blue Moon designed this very cute canvas that had been languishing in my stash for a couple of years. I had started the Jacquard stitch for the sky and then left it as a UFO (UnFinished Object) for over a year. I was inspired to pick it up again when we had the Patty Paints trunk show in Florida. I purchased two of her sparkly pumpkins with the idea of having 3 coordinating pillows made.
I had intended to leave the tent stitches in between the Jacquard blank, but I don't know how exposed canvas holds together over time. I first tried a Kreinik #16 for the tent stitches, but the color was wrong and the braid too fat. I had a Neon Rays that was a good color, but the thought of stitching that much with the slippery devil of a ribbon took all the fun out of that section of canvas. I settled on Treasure Braid, taking two stitches over the exposed star areas. I liked the richer shade and its lower profile. I haven't decided whether or not to add star buttons or to leave it as is.
The cat's eyes (and the pumpkin's) are Kreinik glow-in-the-dark braid with 005HL for the black slits. Her nose and gray outline are tent stitched with Very Velvet. I love the stitch I used for the cat's fur. I found it on a blog "Melita Stitches 4 Fun." It is shown, with permission by David McCaskill, in her blog about her sunflower canvas. I had toyed with the idea of using a different stitch for each section of the cat, but I love the overall pattern I got from using just this one stitch with black Silk & Ivory.
The pumpkin was not painted with a glittery finish, so I used Gold Rush 14 to tie it to the sparkly canvases by Patty Paints. I used the Nobuko stitch for the main body, but I didn't love stitching it (the Gold Rush was hard to pull through) and I think I could have chosen something that would look better. However, these camvases are just for fun and I could hear my friend Linda using her favorite line when I want to rip something out--"What are you NUTS???"
Next up: the purple polka dot pumpkin.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Here are some of the stitches I used:
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The garland is stitched entirely in French knots using Tone on Tone Vineyard Silk in Landscape. The berries are also French knots using a red #16 Kreinik braid.
I was taught a long time ago that white-white stocking tops usually draw your eye first, a bad thing when the stocking should be the focus. I used Natural Silk & Ivory and the Nobuko stitch for the cuff. The name and the area around it are basketweave. Trying to carry a specialty stitch with its compensating stitches into small areas results in a mess, so the area around “Evelyn” is just plain basketweave.
Next week - stitches I used on this project.
Now on to the new project--I’m thinking Halloween.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The fur trim will be masses of Jump through the Loop Turkey work. I couldn’t think of anything else that fits as well, so I broke my rule again, using a time-consuming stitch for effect. Jump through the Loop was the perfect Turkey work variation: 1) it stands up straight rather than leaning in one direction and 2) I can remember how to do it without having to drag out a book every time I try to stitch it. Unlike traditional Turkey work, you start at the top. The loops will be cut and shaped when the stocking comes back from the finisher.
The stocking, hung by the chimney with care, has a pug-nosed Teddy bear stitched in Perle cotton French knots. The fur is a chenille I picked up somewhere, couched down. It will get a little trimming before going to the finisher. The main stocking was stitched with Planet Earth silk. This is the first time I had used this thread and I really liked it. It is very similar to Vineyard Silk, but its thickness is closer to Silk & Ivory. The stitch was a woven stitch.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The little red wagon was stitched using Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss. My trusty Thread Zapper worked its magic again—using it to “cut” the thread keeps the metallic from shredding out as I stitched. The tire is Very Velvet and the wheel is two Jessicas with a Smyrna cross in the center. The outer Jessica was stitched with Kreinik #12 Red Pepper. The inner Jessica was stitched with Flair, as was the Smyrna cross at the center. I used to be terrified of Jessicas until I stitched several on a Susan Roberts mini house. Just take a deep breath and try it!
I wanted the logs in the fireplace to look a little birch-like. I used two strands of Burmilana and the upright Gobelin. Just enough of the canvas shows through to give the logs some texture.
I looked at the fireplace long and hard, trying to figure out how to give it some life. The black interior came easily—framed Cashmere using black and gray silk. The gray walls were next—Diagonal Mosaic using 3 strands of Burmilana. The wood mantel and surround took the longest time to figure out. I found a brown Spring in my stash and started by basketweaving the smaller areas. I stitched the dark brown lines with Medici and an encroaching Gobelin line. I’m sure the stitch I used has a name, but it escapes me.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Robin started this terrific class by having us stitch the heart background with just 2 ply of Splendor. 2 ply! And it worked.
This canvas and Robin’s stitch guide have a lot to offer. You stitch with a varied selection of threads, ribbons and beads. I was introduced to YLI Line Clear Beading Thread and I think I might be changing my beading thread from Prism. I love clear beading thread because it’s practically invisible, strong, thin and it works for all bead colors. Prism can stretch, however, and the YLI thread does not appear to. However, it is so clear and thin that it vanishes before your eyes and it is tricky to knot.
Robin included a lot of surface embroidery stitches, taking me back to my childhood and learning crewel embroidery. The Beaded Pattern Couching she introduced us to was a hit with everyone (she referenced a recent issue of Needlepoint Now and a Brenda Hart piece as her inspiration). She also used the Crescent Stitch in more than one area. I’m not afraid of many stitches, but this one has always intimidated me (other people may fear Random Long and Short, among others). I suspect that by the time I have this piece finished I will be a master of the Crescent Stitch.
One part of the class that I really enjoyed was Robin sharing her “doodle canvas” as I call it. You could see the various stitches she tried until she found her “Eureka!” stitch. It gave me hope as one who is learning to write stitch guides. Even the best sometimes have to try a stitch that may not work. It was also informative to see how the same stitch could look completely different when worked in a different thread or thread combination.
This piece will definitely be a class piece at my store this September.
Friday, June 11, 2010
We worked with a couple of difficult threads (they unravel), Flair and Water N Ice. I whipped out my trusty Thread Zapper and shared its wonderful cutting/melting effects with the class. I loved everyone's reaction--"Wow". And, being a candidate for Teacher’s Pet, I promised Suzy she could have mine after my class on Sunday.
Tomorrow morning at 8am (groan) I am taking a class from Robin King, needlepointer extraordinaire and producer of Amy Bunger's DVDs.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Like Grant’s stocking, Evelyn’s is from Susan Roberts and is on 13 mesh. There is enough detail and whimsy to keep a stitcher’s interest and to allow for fun stitches.
I started in the toe of the stocking where most of the toys and presents are. Here are some of my favorite things….
The purple package to the right was dressed up with the addition of purple vertical stripes in metallic. The trees are Sprat’s heads, another stitch name I just love (sprat n.
1. A small marine food fish (Clupea sprattus) of northeast Atlantic waters that is eaten fresh or smoked and is often canned in oil as a sardine. Also called brisling.
2. Any of various other similar fishes, such as a young herring.)
The elephant with the clown on his back was such fun. Nothing fancy here but the clown’s collar, Petite Sparkle Rays that was ruched (another great-sounding word) and couched down.
The rolling Santa toy has a beard and mustache done in random long and short stitches. The tree is also random long and short, using the same overdyed Vineyard Silk in the garland border.
The lion and his cage remind me of antique toys. The roof filigree is done in French knots, reversing the direction for each side. The thread was Sprinkles (cut with my Thread Zapper). The wheels were satin stitched using just 2 ply of Splendor, breaking the wheels up into sectors. I got the idea to lighten up my thread from a canvas stitched by Brenda Hart. She used just 2 ply on 18 count for her piece; forgetting for a moment that I was working on 13, I followed her lead. I was surprised at the result. The center of the wheels are Smyrna crosses using the same Sparkle Rays I used for the bars (to be continued).
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Evelyn's stocking is off to the finishers next, so stay tuned for that final result.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I'm almost finished with Evelyn's stocking; in between sessions with that canvas, I worked on this little one by Petei.
A few years ago we had Petei's trunk show in our Michigan store and I bought the entire Nativity set for my stash. I had seen it finished at a market in Dallas, stitched with stitch guides by John Waddell. Of course, I had to have those, too.
I have started with Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, figuring the Wise Men, shepherds and various critters can show up later.
I made a few of changes to John's stitch guide involving my choice of threads. For the sky, I used a thread that didn't exist when the guides were written--Vineyard Silk Shimmer in Night. It covered the 18 mesh white canvas beautifully and was much easier to use than the Gold Rush 14 called for. I substituted Vineyard Silk for Madeira silk because I didn't have Madeira and I didn't want to have to strip and ply a thread. I know that a lot of the same threads are called for in the entire set and I am trying to keep this easy and quick.
John called for the Serendipity stitch, one I can't believe I had never tried before. I found the easiest way to stitch it was to start with the Mosaic stitch as if I were stitching a Framed Mosaic. I then added the second set of stitches. This is definitely going to be one of my "go to"All in all, I know I am going to have fun following John's stitch guides as I work on this collection.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Although I chose this canvas for the mesh, the size and the simplicity of the design, I really enjoyed stitching it. Instead of the year + (okay, years +) I take contemplating, ripping out and re-stitching my usual 18 count Tapestry Tent stockings, I finished this stocking in 7 weeks. (And I didn’t stitch in the store, just for an hour or two at night. Alright, I did finish the sky with 4 hours of basketweaving while watching the Masters.) I love this Santa’s sweet face, the doll pointing the horizon out to the horse, the bear looking down at the doll, which is in turn looking at the cardinal, and the calm face of the reindeer. I know this stocking will have a happy home and will be part of many wonderful Christmas memories.
Time to start Miss Evelyn’s stocking….
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The reindeer’s basket was stitched in Perle cotton #5 using the Cross Stitch with Beads stitch found in Suzy Murphy’s latest book “Suzy’s Mini Stitches”. I used the darker brown for the long horizontal cross stitches and replaced the beads with small upright crosses in light brown. I thought about stitching an open topped-basket with a wire rim, but thought again of wanting a stocking that a child wouldn’t have to use with care.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I have one doll’s eye to add (didn’t like the first blue), I would like to beef up the reindeer antlers (3 tries, 3 failures), the reindeer needs lips (but I don’t think the green they are painted is too appealing), and I found a missed stitch on a package bow (and brought the wrong thread to the store). After these little items are cleared up, I’ll add a quick two rows to the outside edges so that I don’t lose any of the painted area and it will go off to the finisher.
The sky was also basketweave in Silk & Ivory to give a quiet place for the eyes to rest. (to be continued...)
Sunday, March 7, 2010
My criteria: I wanted 13 mesh, a design that would use a lot from my stash and would lend itself to decorative stitches. I also wanted to get away from the monster-sized stockings that have become the norm. These two will fit with the knitted or sewn stockings the kids’ parents have.
This canvas from the Susan Roberts trunk show fit the bill. It is going to be fun and won’t take years and a lot of ground tooth enamel.
The tip… I love Silk Lame’ Braid and I ordered all the colors for 18 count canvas. I found the perfect color for my quilted coat lining and I wasn’t willing to wait for an order for 13 count thread. I first tried doubling the braid using the mosaic stitch, but it was way too fat. I finger-laid one strand and it covered beautifully.
Now it’s time to channel one of my favorite stitchers, Miss Y, and get this stitched in record time.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Here are a few of my favorite things:
- Weeks Dye Works overdyed cotton floss in two different colors for the greenery. I used the satin stitch for both, although the style varied.
- Size 11 beads for the holly berries. There’s no real rule about what size beads to use; I’ve used Little Charmers beads on some projects. They are a sort of “bead soup” with beads in various sizes, shapes and finishes in a single color way—lots of fun.
- Coronet Braid 8 and the fly stitch for the epaulets.
- Combining Petite Very Velvet and red Snow for the coat.
- My very favorite thing—Santa’s shoes. I used Patent Leather following the Slanted Stitch Pattern from “A Background Stitch Reference Book” by the Golden Gate Canvas Workers Chapter of the ANG. The trick was to stitch every other stitch to allow the Patent Leather to lie flat. Voila! Gucci loafers for Santa.
Tip: I stitched the red velvet first, then stitched the fur trim in French knots using white Petite Very Velvet. The result was a pink-tinged fur trim—the white velvet picked up red lint as I stitched. Next time I will stitch the white first and then the colored velvet, using a soft toothbrush to remove the white lint. I’ve decided to leave the pink in—this Santa is very self-confidant and can carry off a little pink. (Besides, nestled in the tree branches, I’m the only one besides all of you who will know.)
Monday, January 4, 2010
Happy New Year and have FUN stitching!