Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gators, gators everywhere--where's Captain Hook?

Of course, the University of Florida mascot is the Gator, so everyone in Florida is familiar with the reptile.  However, golfers in Florida are also familiar with the reptile as almost every course has at least one resident "gator".  In fact, the spring seems to be mating season, so there are warnings in the newspapers to be vigilant because alligators move deceptively swiftly and are on the roam.  Thank goodness the housing development where I live doesn't have any alligators in the water retention ponds.  At a future date, I'll tell you about the ducks--fair warning!

Anyway, Hyla Hurley at The Point of It All wholesale needlepoint has a beginner canvas of an alligator.  It's on 10 mesh and is a snap to stitch.  (She also has a larger version that can be made up as a standing stuff or doorstop.) 

Because this is on 10 mesh, I stitched it in Balger #16 (though you could use Trio). Notice the #16 covered on 10 mesh even though I usually use it on 13 mesh.  I was careful to keep my stitches slightly looser than usual.  I did the dark spots as Smyrna crosses to add some bumpy texture.  Then I drew an outline around the canvas and did the background in a pale aqua Paternayan yarn in the diagonal mosaic stitch so it could be finished as a "carve" Christmas ornament. 

In January, Kathy Schenkel added a tiny alligator to her needlepoint line.  He's darling, partly because he is so petite. 

I stitched this one totally in DMC perle 5.  Again, I drew an outline so it could be finished as a "carve" Christmas ornament.  I'll be sending it to the finisher this week--can't wait to see the finished product!

Now, I need to think of names for the little guys since they're now members of the Needle Nicely family.  Any suggestions?


  1. Al E. Gator for one, anyway. Would you please tell us how you determine the outline for the "carve," in case others might want to do it for their free-floating characters?

  2. Thanks, Anne, for the question. I've done it so often that I take the process for granted. Mainly you want to draw a smooth outline so that the finishing process is easier. Finishers don't like sharp indentations, even though they assemble most ornaments by hand. The color used in stitching the outside doesn't matter since it will fade into the background. In the case of these alligators I used a pale aqua to give the appearance of water. I debated whether to leave the "hook" in the tail of the second canvas, but decided that my finisher could handle it. That is always a consideration. The care and feeding of finishers is especially essential in achieving the most from your needlework projects.
    Mary Agnes