Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Evelyn's stocking part 3

Santa’s suit is the largest single design area on the canvas.  I took a lesson learned from a Pat Thode/Heartstrings Santa—use the same thread, but different stitches for each section of clothing.  I used Vineyard Silk Shimmer in Lollipop, with a bit of burgundy Silk Lame’ for the sleeve and pant lines.  The sleeve is stitched in Diagonal Scotch, the main coat in Hungarian and the pants in Corduroy.  The red hat area was stitched in Corduroy, with a change in direction for the end of the hat.

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

Evelyn's stocking part 2

The tall blue package behind the wagon took no time at all and I love the look. The box is wrapped in Reverse Scotch using two shades of Petite Frosty Rays. The ribbon and bow are satin stitched using Sparkle Rays.

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

"Columbus Heart” class with Robin King

As I’ve said before, I started needlepoint as a “full coverage” gal. Every intersection had to be stitched and with lots of thread. I’ve slowly evolved and Sharon G pushed me into the next stage (but that’s another blog) the other day.

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

Friday’s TNNA Class

My teacher was SuZy Murphy (the famous needlepoint author) and she is so much fun! The canvas she used is called “Santa in a Martini Glass” by CBK and the threads were donated by Rainbow Gallery. I would recommend this guide and canvas for an advanced beginner level class.

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

Evelyn's Stocking part 1

I still can’t believe I have stitched (almost) two stockings in such a short time. The process has definitely gotten me going, upping my productivity—and recharging my creative batteries.

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

Grant's stocking is finished!

Grant’s stocking is finished and on its way to Grant. This was great fun to stitch. The simple design lent itself to lots of different stitches and threads.

Evelyn's stocking is off to the finishers next, so stay tuned for that final result.