Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two-sided Santa, 2

Originally I tried a fake boullion stitch for half of Santa's mustache.  It looked really weak so I cut it out.  After studying what I had done for his eyebrows, I decided that was a good look for his mustache.  And I think it works.

His cape is the Byzantine mosaic stitch done in a bright red petite very velvet.  His gloves and the front of his robe is done in the mosaic stitch, again using petite very velvet.  The gold accents and trim are Balger metallic in continental stitch. 

I continued doing the trim in French knots using 2-ply kit kin (also called whisper).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

starfish garland, III

After my last post, Anne of The Cape Stitcher (http:www///
asked in a comment about the expense and other considerations relevant to doing a garland with needlepoint items.  I realized this was a great opportunity for an explanatory blog.

When doing a garland, first you need to visualize what you imagine the finished garland will look.
In my mind, my garland will have 4 or 5 or more pieces of needlepoint finished as ornaments that can be attached to a cord to form the garland.  So the variables are:
        1.  how are the ornaments finished
                    a.  soft-stuff with cording
                    b.  carved (like they have 1/2" styrofoam inside and gymp on the edges)
                    c.  glued to cardboard with cording or a commercial gymp on the edge
       2.  what to use as a cord
                   a.  a cord that you make yourself out of custom colors to coordinate
                   b.  a commercial cord that coordinates
                   c.  possibly marine grade rope to add to the seashore theme
        3.  items to use as fillers  depending on the subject of your garland--like dog bones or actual starfish.
                  The possibilities are endless.
       4. Size of needlepoint items.  My starfish are 6" but they easily could be 3, 4 or 5 inches.  Larger than
                 that would, I think, be more like a tree topper.

This is my current starfish stitched in the Byzantine Scotch stitch using silk 'n ivory and sparkle rays.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Starfish garland, II

I started this week stitching a challenge from Anna at It was so satisfying to complete a project in 1 1/2 days.  I'll reveal it in October after the challenge is completed.

Here is midway progress on my starfish canvas:
I was using leftover silk 'n ivory from the shop's stash and you can see what happened in this next photograph.
Yes, that is definitely a different dyelot of shrinking violet.  Sigh!  I've convinced myself to leave it because when the starfish are hanging on the garland, the color difference won't be so obvious.

One stitching tip I want to pass on about stitching with metallic ribbons and braids while the canvas is on a frame.  I constantly run my fingers over the back of the stitches to catch any instances of the fibers knotting on the back.  It doesn't show on the front and I hate constantly flipping my frame to look.  I "let my fingers do the walking".  

I've been thinking more about this idea and have carried it further to include doing dog bone shapes (or dog shapes) for a dog-related garland and fish shapes (or cat shapes) for a cat-related garland.  In fact, that may be what I do for Vero Beach's annual Festival of Trees.  I think I can entice some of my employees to stitch one or two each to assist in the process (she says in a calculating tone).  More about this later.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Two-sided Santa

After Gunther, I decided to do several "small" projects.  This 2-sided Santa from Susan Roberts caught my eye last year.  I prefer to stitch canvases from different designers, but this one is so cute I decided Susan deserved a repeat performance!

 I started wtih Santa's cap.  I wanted to do the diagonal mosaic between the dots, so I ignored the painted dots and did my own with French knots.  I'm doing Santa's robe, cap, and gloves in Petite Very Velvet.  I love to rub it while I'm stitching.
Here you can see where I have drawn an outline outside Santa so the finisher will have something to stitch into and none of Santa's design will be lost in finishing.  I'm doing the outside outline in the basketweave using splendor.  The trim on Santa's outfit is French knots done with one wrap using 2-ply of kit kin.  Santa's face is stitched in tent stitch using perle 5.  His eyebrows are a straight stitch in kit kin.  His hair and beard blend together and are stitched in the long/short split stitch using 2 strands of kit kin.  I tried 3 strands but it was just too fat. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Starfish garland

When the new canvases I had ordered started arriving this February, this beauty from Associated Talents sparked an idea in my brain.  I had seen garlands that some designers had done from needlepoint canvases (Kathy Schenkel is the one I remember most).  I thought this would make a wonderful Florida garland if I enlarged the outline 150% and used a combination of fibers and stitches to produce the design.

But first, I contacted Carol from Associated Talents and asked permission to use their shape.  I probably could have fudged a variation of their shape, but why not give credit to the cause of my idea?  Anyway, Carol said they would be delighted to let me use the shape and thought it was a cute idea.

Rather a rough outline, but it won't matter since I just need the vague outline.
This is the Diagonal Triple Parisian stitched with silk 'n ivory and 1/16 Balger metallic ribbon (something I've had for ages at the shop).  Meredith showed this combination of fibers in the nobuko stitch on the background of I think her flip flop canvas this January (http://www.mer'  And there are other combination stitches that the idea will work with and I'm going to try.

I think I'll do three of these in different colors.  While I'm stitching, I'll have time to think about what other items I'll attach to the garland and also what color(s) my cord will be.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gunther the magnificent is finished! Hooray!

My first post on Gunther was August 22, 2012.  I foolishly thought I would have his stitching finished by Christmas.  Silly Girl! 

But here he is, glorious and beautiful!

This is the view of his right leg with background so you can see that the background did indeed line up when I finished going around the outside.  Even though you know you can count and don't think you've skipped a row, there is still that uncertainty that it will line up.  YES!  

And just for the record, the last 3 stitches I took on him were the 3 French knots on the blue of his tunic.

And now for the great unveil:
I'm going to give him a place of honor at the shop for the next week or so where I can admire him (and so can others) before sending him to the finisher. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

300th blog post and the neverending Gunther

Wow!  When I started blogging, I thought that I'd probably do it once in a while and then my postings would dwindle away.  Instead, I seem to be catching my second wind.

And Gunther seems to be a project that just won't go away, like stickum on my fingers.  Here's my progress:

 I chuckle when I look at this photograph--it looks like Gunther is leaning to the left, rather unsteadily.  I think the culprit is that I held the camera askew because I don't get that feeling when I look at the canvas "in person". 

I included this photo in hopes that the black stitching would be more obvious.  It really is a bear to see to stitch.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Classic hassock

Monday I took the Maggie Co. trunk show to UPS to ship home.  That meant the walls at Needle Nicely were bare.  Tsk!  My teenaged assistant hurt her foot, so her father stepped in again to be the "hanger".  His only request was that I not select belt canvases or Christmas ornaments as he only had a one-hour window.

Here's what I selected and he put up on the walls:

These squares were designed by Trubey of Trubey Designs.  She used to have a rug with 6 squares using some of these botanicals (we have the rug canvas, though I didn't photograph it).  Years ago we stitched one of these squares and had it made into the "classic hassock" of this blog's title.

And the other walls contain these canvases: