Monday, May 31, 2010

Before And After Border

To recap, here are before and after photos of the Melissa Shirley mermaid.  You can see that adding a border frames this little design.  If I were doing the entire series of her little seaside ornaments, I wouldn't do a border, but since I am only stitching one and it is to cover the pocket on a purse, a border helps fill the empty space and gives me a place for the initials of the Birthday Girl.

In this photo the fish has been stitched except for the pink dots and red smile.  I paired my peach Silk Lame Braid with a similar color in Impressions so that the fish is sparkling some places but not others.  I plan to add pink beads to the pink dots but not until later on.

Note that I stitched the area around the monogram in tent stitches using just the pink Impressions from the wave bargello border.  I thought about using the sparkly pink Silk Lame Braid in the right areas but decided that might be too distracting behind the letters.

I've also started the bra in this photo, using a few surface lines of the red silk perle Elegance.  I'm also testing hair stitches, doing a chain stitch in Kreinik's holographic gold.  I don't much like how it looks, though.  The sky behind the mermaid is all regular Kreinik.  I see that using two shiny threads don't allow the hair to stand out against the sky.  I'll be pulling out the gold holographic hair and digging around in my stash for another thread for the hair.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Putting a Small Canvas Into a Larger Space

Whenever I have a canvas that is too small for the place where it should go, I automatically think about adding a border -- or three!

This was the case with the little mermaid who needs to fill a larger space on the purse pocket.  I simply took the wave pattern from the painted blue-green sea behind her, turned it into a bargello wave pattern, and stitched the waves  beyond the sea into the empty space I needed to fill, except in a different color.  Presto! A border!

The bargello wave is very simple.  It is four threads high with a pattern of three stitches in a row, following by a stitch that goes up a thread, a stitch that goes up another thread, then a stitch that drops down a thread.  Repeat these two groups endlessly across the line.

My bargello wave is done in a beautiful Gloriana silk called Deep Blue Sea.  Because it is an upright stitch, I had to use six plies of my overdyed silk.  The highlighted waves (which don't match precisely the highlights Ms. Shirley painted but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do) are in Silk Lame Braid #SL14.  I used the same blue Silk Lame Braid for the letter H in the monogram I put in the upper left corner of the border.

Once the sea waves were done, I did the border waves in solid pink Impressions #2075 (2 strands) alternating with Sparkle Rays in SR31.  Sparkle Rays is a flat ribbon-like thread with iridescent green and gold sparkles woven in with the flat pink thread color.  It is perfect for this piece even though it isn't the same pink as the Impressions because both pinks are in the mermaid's skin and features.  If you are adding a border, pick colors that already occur in the central part of the design and the border will look like it was created by the original designer, not you the stitcher.

I did some random rows in the pink Sparkle Rays to add bling and to help insure I had enough Impressions to do the entire background.  I had a little less than a full skein in my stash and I have to double it in my needle so I have to be cautious with the amount of Impressions I use or I'll run out.

The other two letters in the monogram are in threads I plan to use on the mermaid and her little goldfish but haven't stitched with yet. The green is Sparkle! Braid SK25, which is a thin, strong metallic about the size of #12 perle (I had to double it and do a cross stitch creating the letter R so it would look as thick as the other letters).  The peach and gold is Silk Lame Braid #SL29.  I'll use that on the goldfish later.

I need to finish the pink border next, bringing up my bargello waves to the letters, then doing basketweave around them.  After that I'll probably do the sky behind the mermaid all in tent stitches with a sparkling metallic blue if I have one in the right pale shade in my stash.  I want a lot of Bling in this piece but I think doing a sky in bargello wave as I originally planned is going to be a bit much, so basketweave it is.

Wish me luck finding the right blue in The Stash!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Whimsey Mermaid

As I said yesterday, the Cape Cod Dogs purse turned out great.  My husband likes it so much that he wants a purse done for the granddaughter's birthday....which is in a month.  [a brief pause while Jane runs around her living room, screaming and pulling her hair]

So I picked up a purse from the local crafts emporium yesterday.  There's a pocket on the front, about the right size for a cell phone, that I will adorn with a NP canvas.

This canvas, in fact.  This is a mermaid from the Seaside Whimsey series by Melissa Shirley.  Luckily I had it in my stash already.  Here is the rest of the series.

The pocket on the purse is around four and a half to four and three-quarter inches square and the little mermaid herself is about three and a half inches square.  So I marked out the area I need to stitch beyond the mermaid to completely cover the pocket. That is the blue corner markings you see above.  Last night I stitched her skin and features except for her eyes.  I think I'll work on the background next.  After all, I only have about two weeks to complete this and get it on the purse and pop it in the mail.  [More screaming from CH, and a few swear words, too!]

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Friday, May 28, 2010

Remember the Cape Cod Dogs?

While finishing up the Nordic Snowman, I also have been busy attaching this Elizabeth Mumford reproduction canvas to the front of a  corduroy bag I picked up at Target on sale last summer.  Remember Cape Cod Dogs?

My husband likes it so much that he wants me to stitch one for the granddaughter's birthday.  Which is in less than a month!!!!!


Here is the finished canvas before it was whipstitched into position.  You can re-read my stitching adventure with this piece, complete with swearing at the dog's ear, by using the search box at the top left. Just enter "Cape Cod Dogs" or "Elizabeth Mumford" and my blog entries about this should come right up, last on top.

The silver starfish are from the local crafts emporium's jewelry-making section.  I must have spent $16-17 on the purse and the starfish charms but it does look like a million bucks.

I splurged yesterday on a $12 canvas purse for the granddaughter and instead of working on Stars, I will start stitching a small canvas from my stash to attach to it.  Details tomorrow.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Nordic Snowman Is Done

The Nordic Snowman is done!  Hurrah!  My next step will be to assemble him into a stocking.  Stockings are not difficult although turning small stockings right side out (they are often assembled with the wrong side facing out) can be painful.  I have some nice red velvet for the back side and some pretty blue silk moire for the lining.  I'll pick up trim today as all the trim I have is a bit too fat for this small stocking.

When I finish a piece, I always thinks about what I learned, what went particularly well and what I wish I'd done better.  I certainly learned about how to mix various white threads in a piece in this one!  I also was very careful about the threads on the back side since I didn't want any of the ends on the back side causing shadows behind the white areas.  I stitched most of the whites first and was careful to not put starting knots or weave ending threads in bright colors too close to white areas.  This seems to have worked out well.  I am particularly happy with the fur trim on his stocking although I don't like the fur ball at the base of his stocking as well.  It is a little too prominent.  Next time I might try using a thinner thread than Faux Fur for French knots fur.  I also am very happy with the red bow around the stocking.  There I mixed Kreinik's red holographic thread with a regular dark red Kreinik metallic for shading and it looks very nice.  The new Kreinik holographic thread is very shiny and in the right place, it looks terrific.  It also holds up well with other metallic threads so you can use it for jewels in a gold crown and not have the jewels be overwhelmed by the gold setting.  Holographic Fyreworks from Rainbow Gallery is a similar thread but it only comes in one width so I would choose Kreinik holographic when I could, just because it has the flexibility of a stitcher being able to choose thread sizes.

Hope you have enjoyed watching the Nordic snowman evolve.  After I tackle finishing the stocking and doing some other finishing that I've let pile up, I'll be back working on the next quilt block in Stars for a New Millennium.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Bada Bling (or The Sopranos' Needlepoint Magnets)

Yesterday I was surprised by a set of magnets a friend sent me.  I knew they were coming but not what they looked like.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the magnets were half inch rhinestones!  They are called Bada Bling and are available from Dreamhouse Ventuers. Sadly, they aren't on their website.

The magnets come in a set of two, probably assorted colors like mine.  The back sides are very strong.  I almost tore the packages trying to separate the two sets from each other!  Once I got them apart, the rhinestones serve as a great place to park my needles.  They are not strong enough on the front to hold my scissors securely but on the back they are.  If you don't mind parking scissors under your canvas, the Bada Bling magnets will do a good job.  Just think of it as hiding your sharp, pointy things out of sight, ready to whip them out and use them when threatened. LOL

Here are what the magnets look like in their packages.  The top image shows me using all four to hold Cape Cod Dogs in position as I appliqued it to the front of a tote bag.  Worked like a charm, especially since the magnets are quite strong.  I prefer this to pinning the needlepoint in place in this case since both the stitched canvas and the bag itself are thick and not suitable for holding with regular straight pins.

If you love using stitching magnets like I do, these are definitely worth searching out.  And if you want something more subtle, yet cheerful, check out the Zecca magnets that PFOS have at their shop.

 Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Faux Fur and Fake Stars

Last night I finished the bits of violet on the Snowman's clothes and the packages on the ground, then decided to tackle the two remaining areas--the fur trim on his stocking cap and the stars in the sky.

Above you see my materials--Rainbow Gallery's Faux Fur and some metal bits I got at the bead store.  I think the decorative metal bits are prefect for a little boy's stocking.  If this stocking had been intended for a girl, I probably would have used tiny glass pearls or perhaps blue crystals, but this stocking is for a rowdy boy.  Metal studs seemed to be something he'd like better.  They make good snowflakes or stars, whichever you think the white dots on the blue sky are.

I attached them with the same Burmilana I used for the background of diagonal mosaic stitches, coming up in the center and going back down around the outside edge.  Hopefully the edges don't abrade the thread and they all fall off before the kid graduates from high school!

If you want to look for similar metal bits online, I believe these are bead caps, intended to be used as the top/bottom of a large bead in jewelry.  They may be spacers instead, which are metal bits that go between beads in jewelry.  They were fifteen cents each, not too bad for bead stuff.

The Faux Fur is from my stash.  It is 85% acrylic and 15% wool.  It's a rather thick thread compared to many of the fake fur ones available.  I'd say it is around the diameter of #8 perle or perhaps as fat as a full strand of DMC cotton floss.  I used it to fill the center of the stocking cap brim with French knots, then along the edge where the original design had tendrils of white sticking up, I came up close to a French knot, rotated the thread and needle until I had a tightly twisted thread that started to double on itself, then went down at the tip of a tendril.  This gives a twisted single stitch that looks similar to the French knots but is not round.  In the photo above you can see the finished brim and how I started the furry ball at the top of the stocking cap with French knots clustered in the middle. I'll probably do more twisted tendrils around the edge of the ball than I did on the brim.  But I am not sure about that yet.

Once the ball is done, I think this piece is finished. I'll need to carefully check it for missed stitches, then pull out my stocking finishing instructions and see if I can make this up into a real Christmas stocking.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Nose and A Name

I've been busy working on the reds on this design, which got me started on the red top of the stocking.  I decided to put the recipient's name there using red holographic Kreinik and stitch the background around the name with my bright red Trio.  In this case I want the name to be rather subtle, not stand out.  Since Christmas items often are seen in artificial light, I think the shine of the holographic Kreinik will show the name off in the small stocking's natural setting, which is on a Christmas tree among many other ornaments and lights.

The first thing I need is an alphabet, so I started browsing Carrie Pieniozek's site where she has many free charted alphabets.

The red top is 5 threads high, so I need a small alphabet.  I can add to the top of the stocking but since I don't want to make the name a focus of the stocking so I don't want to add much height.  That means I'm looking for letters that are 5-7 stitches tall.  After a little browsing, I settled on alphabet #33.

That's it stitched in the photo at the top of this article. You'll notice that it is up over the red area quite a bit.  That's my test stitching.  I count things out carefully to place the letters but I've discovered that letters often don't look exactly right even if they are, because the letters give the illusion of space around them.    The E and the N are the same width but the E looks wider because of its horizontal orientation and the fact that the base is longer than the top.  You have to adjust for those things and eventually I did.  By the way, it is in two shades of red as I was using up leftover plies of Trio and since this is a test, it doesn't matter what colors I use.

As I transferred each letter to the red band at the stocking's top, I made the A one stitch longer on the left side to make everything look right.  Alphabet #33 is 6 stitches high, so I increased the height of the red area from five threads to eight so there is a red row above and below the six rows of lettering.  As I work the real letters, I pull the letters above that are my pattern out to make room.

As you can see, I've also stitched in the snowman's carrot nose.  It is simply orange Medici wool.  I stitched two horizontal long stitches down the length of the nose, then did a row of straight vertical stitches across the orange area.  Then I did a slightly slanted vertical row.  Finally I ended this with another row of straight vertical stitches.  I could have done a fancier nose but I think this looks exactly the way I want it to.

Here's a photo of my progress to date.  I have to finish stitching the name and the violet areas, put brown stems on the apples, then tackle the stars in the sky and the fur trim on the stocking cap to finish.  Since I'm so close to getting this done, I need to rummage in the stash to see if I have red velvet for finishing.

Jane, sighing at the thought of finishing, then waving to KM as I exit

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Monday, May 24, 2010


Right now the landscape in Chilly Hollow is lush and green after a record-breaking year of rain- and snowfall.  If you are tempted to stitch something like the above (which is the edge of the my woods with wild raspberries and self-seeded foxgloves), you need to visit the Julie Mar trunk show at Nimble Needle.  Julie works in Asheville, NC which is at the other end of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Chilly Hollow.  Many of her landscapes are of similar scenes.  Of course she does beaches, too!

Julie's website is at this second link, just in case you can't get enough of her signature Appalachian mountain landscapes (although she does terrific small florals and great little bracelet cuffs).

By the way, the same shop blog is showcasing a great many wooden boxes with needlework inserts.  It's a good place to view the large variety of sizes, woods, and prices for such items.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Bell, Bird and Fringe

So far I've stitched the bell, the toy bird and the fringe and buttons along the edge of Santa's jacket and scarf.  I've also done two of the three greens on the leaves and jacket and scarf.  It seems to make sense to pick groups of colors (I'll do the yellows next) and finish all the bits of that color in each stitching session.

Because I'm varying the thread texture, not the stitches, I'm trying to draw attention to certain areas by the threads used there.  For instance, the bell is stitched with Silk Lame Braid, which is a twisted silk that has a thread of metallic mixed in.

I used bright yellow for the bell, then used orange and lime for the bell decoration across the middle.   The lime doesn't scream LIME on the design because it is similar in intensity to the yellow.  Both are medium shades, which means they are difficult for the eye to pick out and separate.  The dark orange stands out nicely against the other two colors, however.  The same orange Silk Lame Braid is used on the two packages at the snowman's feet on the left.  But the yellow is different.  I used a wool-silk blend there (I think it is Felicity's Garden but there is no label so I can't be sure).  This means the packages aren't as shiny as the bell since only one thread there has metallic in it.

For the bird, the buttons along the edge of the jacket, and the long fringe at the bottom of the scarf, I switched to Kreinik's new holographic threads.  These threads scream Look At Me! so they are perfect for areas I want to draw the eye to, like the toy bird and the long fringe and the buttons.  Actually, I planned where I wanted to use this thread carefully, distributing areas of holographic metallic around the canvas.  The largest concentration is at the bird, but I also plan to stitch the red bow on the package the snowman carries in this thread.  My only problem is that Kreinik holographic only comes in one shade of red (And there is no holographic pink--What were you guys thinking?!!?) so I'll have to do the dark red in another red metallic or use the purple holographic thread.  If you look at the buttons along the hem of the jacket, a few are purple, not red.  This is how the canvas is painted and I do like the effect.  I just have to decide whether this looks like a shadow or whether I have to use dark red instead.  Decisions, decisions!

The greens in the leaves are all J. L. Walsh's silk/wool blend.  This is a luxurious thread that divides into five plies.  It is no longer being made, sadly, but it is gorgeous.  Some of my skeins are solid colors, some are subtle overdyes.  I used three shades of green for the leaves.  The dark green blocks of color on the jacket and scarf are all JL Walsh, too.  But the lime green is Impressions. I happened to have the perfect shades of lime in that thread.  Impressions is also half silk and half wool but it is a bit thicker in dimension than one ply of the JL Walsh silk/wool.  I love Impressions and use it often.  The thread looks more like wool than silk but a wool that has the sheen of silk. I plan to do as much of the snowman's jacket and scarf as I can in Impressions with some help from JL Walsh's silk/wool blend to fill in with colors.  I may use some Felicity's Garden also.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Juell's Needlepoint Dolls

Nimble Needle's blog mentioned the Juell needlepoint dolls this week, so I just had to share them with you along with some additional resources.  Here's what the shop said, with photos of the finished Japanese doll.  Isn't she beautiful?

Juell canvases are distributed by Red Thread Designs.  They have all the doll canvases on their website.  Click Next to see them all page by page.  You'll see that the Japanese geisha doll is the most elaborate.  The cat Lionel, for example, is just two pieces. while the mermaids have two shells each and a tail.

Needle Nook of La Jolla also has the canvases on their site, along with photos of another two finished.

DMC's new memory thread would be perfect for these!  Toss in some beads, charms and feathers and you will have quite a show-stopper.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'll Stitch Background While You Head Over There

I finally finished the blue sky behind the snowman yesterday.  I like how it looks, with the open stitch adding depth and texture behind the snowman.  I will add the white snowflakes later on.  I think I will wait until more of the piece is stitched before I decide between beads or metallic threads for the flakes floating down around the snowman and his Christmas presents.  I think he's walking across the snow to deliver presents to his friends, don't you?

Since nothing is more boring than looking at background, I should point out that the length of his stocking cap is stitched.  The white stripes are done with Impressions and the gray highlights are Medici wool.  These two threads are similar in diameter and both are fuzzy so they look good together.  The red stripes are done with two shades of Trio.  I separated the Trio into three strands and stitched with just one of them.  I wanted something close to the diameter of Impressions and Medici if possible.  Trio is a little fatter but I pulled my tent stitches taut which helped them look similar to the white stripes.

While I debate which section to work on next, I have some goodies for you to see.  TNNA has changed their World of Needlepoint site.  Now it has profiles of various designers and shops, and also a series of photos of finished pieces to admire.  Here are the photos of finished projects.  See the little Info rectangle below the photo at the left?  Click on that for more information, usually the designer and sometimes the stitcher and finisher.  Click on Featured Artist or Featured Shop to read all about the folks who cater to our needle needs.

Jan Sprague has added tips to her Stitchlady's Adventures blog.   I've never heard of keeping a sharp needle handy for tying off.  How clever!

Finally, if you are from Michigan, you have to go look at Peacock Alley's Michigan Memories club.  Each canvas is shaped like the state of Michigan but within its borders are fun activities that you can do there.  It is an unusual monthly club but one that is sure to be a big hit for Michigan stitchers.  If you can't decide, visit the second link for more Michigan-themed canvases.  Those are not part of the series but they celebrate Michigan also.  Pat, this is for you!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Bohos: New Beads from Sundance

The Sundance beads in the photo above were a gift from a friend who was at the last stitching trade show in Dallas.  They are the newest bead style from Sundance.  My friend called them Boho Beads although the package just has the color names and numbers.  They are--from left to right--Lemonade #BDS-FP300, Black Cherry #BDS-FP102, Persian Green #BDS-FP401 and Rain Gray #BDS-FP103.

The beads are all faceted beads.  They are the shape of bicone beads from Swarkovski. If this diagram is to scale, the Boho beads are about 4mm in size.

However, they are lighter weight than Swarkovski crystals.  Plus one or more of the faceted sides is covered with a colored shiny or iridescent finish.  For example, Lemonade beads are light lemon-lime in color but one side of each bead is iridescent pink.  The Black Cherry beads are black with either a purple or a green faceted side.  Persian Green beads are a turquoise with both a purple and a gold facet.  Rain Gray beads are gray with faceted sides in gold, purple or a yellow-green.

I've never seen anything quite like these since the bulk of the bead is one color but 1-2 sides are a different color.  Makes them quite unusual looking!  I emailed Sundance Designs, asking for details, and here is what Nandra said in reply:

Nandra's Gypsy Flower Using Boho Beads

"The beads are Fire-Polished Bohemian glass beads. We call them Boho for short. We have 28 colors. The beads are faceted and then placed in a furnace. The intense heat fires the flashes of color onto the faceted sides. These beads contain no lead like many of the crystals. I have been doing a little stitching with them and they are very nice to work with. I especially like the large hole so I don’t have to fool with the old beading needle. I stitched up a little “Gypsy Flower” using a bargello variation."

Nandra kindly sent me a photo of the Gypsy Flower she described so you could see the Boho beads in action.  She says that Pocket Full of Stitches is putting these flowers (from Sundance) on their tote bags but Nandra herself wears them as pins.  There is a May 4 article about them on their blog but it refuses to let me do a direct link so go here first, then click on Older Posts at the bottom of the page and find May 4 to see the Sundance flower kits.

If you want something a little different, these beads are worth searching out.  I plan to use these on the next painted canvas in my schedule (they are the wrong colors for the snowman stocking) so stay tuned for more information on how they stitch up.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Snowman's Face and Background

Nordic Snowman's Face and Background
This close-up shows the snowman's face pretty well.  It is stitched entirely in tent stitches using either white Flair or blue overdyed Kreinik.  See his pink cheeks?  That is white Flair also.  It allows the painted canvas to show.  Flair does lovely faces because it is transparent or semi-transparent.  I've used the ecru Flair for the face of Aladdin in the past which gave him a tanned skin but still showed his features well.  Once I finished stitching the snowman's face with the Flair, I bought up the thread like I was going to stitch his eye with it, took the Flair out of the needle, used the tip of my embroidery scissors to open the Flair a little (it is a woven tube like Barbie doll hose), picked up a black bead with the tip of my tapestry needle, and dropped the bead inside the Flair. I worked the bead down the tube to the canvas, then threaded up the Flair again and took the thread to the back side where I secured it.  I may also use Flair to attach beads for snowflakes in the sky. I haven't decided that yet.

Speaking of the background, you can see I've started working it in a textured stitch made up of a diagonal mosaic variation.  Here's how you stitch regular mosaic stitch.

If you look at the stitch in the margin of my canvas, you can see that one does a 5 stitch length of diagonal mosaic in a row, then does another length slanting the other way for the second row.  A cluster of these stitches looks like a snowflake to me.  I am using Burmilana in the beautiful blue #3873 which matches the sky color.  This is an open stitch.  When I come to the white dot of a snowflake, I skip over it although to date all the snowflakes have fallen in open spots where there is no diagonal mosaic stitch.

I like the texture, especially since most of the snowman is in plain smooth tent stitches.  It makes a nice contrast.  You can also see in the photo that I am adding one tent stitch all around the canvas as I stitch it to help in finishing.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Halloween Screams

Before I forget, the Chaparral monthly Halloween basket club has photos up on their website.  These are a scream!

The French Knot has posted photos of stitched candy corn canvases (in my opinion, the best part of Halloween).  I don't think this is a monthly club but I am not sure.  The stitching looks like a lot of fun, so maybe they'll kit up these for you if you ask.

Halloween in May.  Sounds like a great idea!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Five Whites for a Snowman

Yesterday I talked about all the white areas on the various parts of this little stocking.  I've picked five brands of white threads from my stash to use on the stocking.  The somewhat disarranged skein on the left is DMC cotton floss #Blanc.  (It had an unfortunate encounter with Tommy the Cat who grabbed it off the table and attacked it yesterday evening.)  The top row left is Flair #F502 and the top right is Burmilana #3891.  The bottom row left is DMC Blanc #8 perle cotton and the bottom row right is Impressions #0057. All are stark whites, although as Judy pointed out yesterday in the Comments, I really don't have to worry about the shade of white too much as different stitches and textures reflect the light differently.

I started stitching the snowman's body with Flair and the snow on the ground using the DMC #8 perle.  The Flair sparkles while the cotton perle is more matte in texture so the snowman stands out a little at the base against the snowy ground.  I'm not sure how well you can tell the difference between the snowman and the ground as this is something obvious in person but not in photographs.  The photo shows also the white dots and lines on the scarf which I stitched with my Burmilana. Burmilana is an acrylic/wool blend so it looks fuzzy.  That's appropriate for a knit winter scarf.

Although it is not white, I should mention that the blue shadows in the snow and along the snowman's body are stitched with ThreadworX's overdyed Kreinik #91018 which is a beautiful pale blue.  It is perfect to add a bit of shadow and sparkle to this canvas. Many thanks to Beth at ThreadworX for sending this thread for me to try.  I do love the look of icy blue shadows that it gives the design.

By the way, all the white stitches are tent stitches except for the Burmilana areas on the scarf.  The dots there are cross stitches and the long lines of white are elongated cross stitches.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the snowman's face and the blue sky in the background.

By the way, yesterday's Canvas of the Day has been identified as to designer.  This is Dancing Lion by Melissa Shirley.

Credit to whom credit is due! Thanks for letting us know, Melissa.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Exactly How Many Whites Are There?

Remember how I said yesterday this piece was going to be challenging because of all the color and pattern in it?  I've actually found another challenge is going to be all the white in it.  Take a good look at the photo of the plain canvas above and start counting the white areas.

The snowman's body and face are white, as are the furry rim, half the stripes and the ball at the end of his stocking cap.  He stands in white snow.

There are white dots on his scarf, the toy bird and the package he holds in his mittens.  There are also white snowflakes falling in the sky behind him.

I'm going to have to either use the same thread in all these places or find the same shade of white in a variety of threads to use for fuzzy fur, icy snowflakes, raised polka dots, knitted scarves, and snowmen and snow on the ground.  Looking at the large variety of white items, all of which should be different textures, I think I need to use a variety of threads for the various white areas.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Introducing the Nordic Snowman Canvas

Nordic Snowman by Melissa Shirley

Several years ago I stitched a small Christmas stocking with a snowman design for a small child.  Now that the owner of this stocking has a younger sibling, I want to stitch another snowman stocking so that each child has their own.  For the second snowman stocking I choose a Melissa Shirley design called Nordic Snowman.  This canvas is on 18 count canvas.  The design itself is 5 1/2 inches high and 4 1/2 inches wide at the foot.

There are several versions of the Nordic Snowman in the Melissa Shirley line as well as other designs with a Danish, Swedish or Norwegian flavor.

There are also snowmen with the same side profile and different clothes.  Six of the first seven snowman at this site (working from the top down) are all relatives of my Nordic Snowman.  The seventh is my design exactly.

This design is going to be a real challenge as it has so much color and pattern.  The snowman is wearing a long stocking cap with a bell and perhaps a bow tied around the fur ball at the end.  He has mittens and a colorful scarf with long beaded fringe. He wears a patchwork coat that has a beaded bottom hem.  He carries a package with a bow and what appears to be a colorful wooden bird toy.  There are wrapped Christmas packages and apples and holly leaves scattered in the snow at his feet.

You can emphasize three elements in a stitched design:  the color, the texture, or the stitches. If you emphasize more than two of them in one design, you run the risk of making a mess that is so busy it is unattractive.  This design already has so much color and pattern going on, I am going to have to restrict how many different stitches and thread varieties I use.  I think I will probably vary textures some but be restrained in how many stitches I use.

As always, my first step was to make a color copy of this canvas.  I almost certainly will cover the tiny white dots in the sky with stitches and then go back and add white beads or a metallic thread to indicate they are snowflakes.  The color copy will help me figure out just where they go.

Many thanks to Melissa Shirley for giving permission for me to post photos of her design here and stitch-blog it publicly.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow 
Blogging at 
Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stars: Marlon Brando Is Finished

The Marlon Brando block is finished and surrounded by the black sashing and one of the three borders.  Hurrah!  The photo shows as much of the entire piece as I can squeeze onto the scanner bed for a good look.  Pretty soon I'm going to have to use the digital camera to give you an overview of this piece as it develops.  It is going faster than I thought it would but the quilt blocks themselves are addicting as I can't wait to see how each one looks in my colors and threads.

Sara Leigh's version of Stars (it is the Peacock colorway from the various recommendations in the Stars book) keeps getting more beautiful.  Her's is bright and cheerful while mine is more muted.

Now it's time to start a new painted canvas.  Hurrah again!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 2010 Chilly Hollow Newsletter

This month I have a great number of fabulous Internet resources to help with all types of stitching.  First of all, have you heard of DMC's new memory thread?  It is a thin copper wire wrapped with thread that comes in many colors.  Want some tips how to use it?  Judy has a good tutorial showing how she used memory thread to make coral on an original underwater design.

Ever wanted to try goldwork?  Tanja Berlin has a marvelous tuturoal on her website.  She also sells the supplies you need and has good photos of all the different types of metal threads used in goldwork.

Need good diagrams to help attach beads to needlepoint canvas?  These two sites have great information about various ways one can attach beads.

Speaking of beading, there is a wonderful video about tambour beading on YouTube.

Want to see something inspirational?  How about this embroidery taken from old fashion plates.

Need help choosing colors? This design site is set up to help folks choose color combinations.

I hope you find all these resources helpful with your stitching and fun besides!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Friday, May 14, 2010

Need a Kit? Or a Magazine?

There are some fabulous kits (canvas, threads and stitch guide) available these days.  Remember the Floozies from Leigh Designs?  ThreadworX has done stitch guides that come with a thread pack for the first of the series and plans to stitch them all. Here's Alehouse Annie.  I want to go out partying with her!

Terry Dryden has many of her teaching kits for sale. I've seen Whirlygig in person and it is fabulous!  Please note that Terry adds new kits to this page periodically so bookmark it to revisit occasionally.

Stitchery Square has several Barbara Elmore kits for sale at 10 percent off.  I don't know if the prices on this page include the 10 percent or not.  You'll have to ask.

Jody Adams has quite a few copies of old Needlepoint Now magazines for sale at her Etsy store.  Most are $7 each (plus shipping and NYS tax if you live there), which is more than they usually go for on eBay but you may want an issue you haven't been able to find there.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Stars: Marlon Brando Block Done

How do you like Marlon?  I finished the block itself last night.  The rice stitch borders proved unexpectedly easy once I realized that each  corner and the two flanking triangles were stitched as a unit.  I'd tell anyone about to stitch Marlon to remember to turn your canvas so that each corner is in the same position as the chart in the book before you stitch, however.  It is really easy to get the positioning wrong if your canvas isn't oriented the same way as the diagram.

The colors gave me fits, though.  Tony asks folks to lay down the foundation, then tie the corners of the rice stitch crosses with four shades of crewel wool in color B. (He used Appleton crewel.)  My color B is black so getting four shades of black wasn't easy!

The first thing I did was change 2 strands of A4 (A is violet for me) into one strand of terracotta C5 (Impressions 3064). You may remember that in the last step, the little violet wings around the center square that I stitched were supposed to be terracotta.  I simply switched the colors so that my bottom layer was terracotta instead of violet.

I am not at all hesitant to change colors and threads on this piece since I choose my own colors and will have to deviate from the instructions to make this all work well together.  I would encourage anyone working this piece to take a similar approach.  If something isn't working the way you'd like, change it.

Then I worked with my black threads that tie down the underlying terracotta layer to try and make them get darker on the outside and lighter on the outside.  I did this with texture.

B3 makes up the inner tie downs.  Mine is Burmilana 3641 (a doubled strand) which is charcoal and slightly fuzzy.  B4 is the next set.  I used Gumnet's Tulips fine crewel wool in 999.  It is a darker black and fuzzier than the Burmilana.  Instead of using my B5 thread, I choose B7 for the next step.  This is my Trebizond silk perle in color 111, which is a glossy black that is smooth.  It's darker than the first two threads.  I ended the series with B2 instead of the B6 I'm supposed to use.  My B2 is Gold Rush 18 (color G031C) which is a lovely chainette thread in sparkling black.

I'm sure you can't tell much from the photos but in person this is a little darkening of the blacks in the corners.  That's the price I pay for choosing black as one of my colors.  Other folks will have a very pretty shading in their Marlon Brando corners.

The last step before I put this away for a while is to do the sashing below and to the right of Marlon and extend the outer black border a bit on the left side of this block.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Designs and Products UPDATED

The Internet is full of new products and news from the online world of needlepoint this week.  Lots of folks have photos of new designs or new products that have arrived at their shops.  Working more or less alphabetically, let's start with Patt and Lee's new dog canvas (shown above).  They are known for their cats so this is a welcome addition to their design portfolio.

Squiggee is showing off her button faces that are paired with some of her new canvases.  It is a new and different way to embellish a painted canvas that I think will be very popular.

Nimble Needle has some neat new items in their shop.  I've never seen a pocket flask with a needlepoint panel before.  It would look great with a monograph on a plaid background!  They also have great photos of some of the watch band kits from L'Esprit de France.

UPDATE:  Here's a second version of the pocket flask for your viewing pleasure.

Pocket Full of Stitches has posted many photos of new designs and new products in the last 3-4 entries of their blog.  Don't miss the needle tins, the new Elizabeth Bradley kits, photos of the threads that come with the Kelly Clark monthly pear club, and of course a sneak peak at the Ruth Schmuff hearts canvas that will be featured in the May Needlepoint Now magazine.  The Needle Index Book is just plain useful, too.

Finally, Ridgewood has posted photos of the Stitch n Zip Kindle covers. I've been dying to see these!

Truly, we are lucky to have such a huge number of needlepoint treats available to us.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Stars: Marlon's Wings

The four little pairs of triangles around the center are the next to last step for this quilt block.  They don't look like much, but they were a struggle for me because the thread choices Tony wanted used in this step didn't work for me.

The wings are made up of five horizontal lines covered by a series of short vertical lines arranged in a stitch one/skip one pattern.  You are supposed to use C8 (which is Flair for me) as your horizontal lines and top them with C5 (which is Impressions). C in my color scheme is terracotta.  You'll notice that my wings are violet instead and they are all in my A10 color of Wildflowers 6042.  I decided I wanted to tone down the Frosty Rays bow tie shapes which are very raised in my version of Stars by using another color than their terracotta.  My wings are textured and match the center light violet arrowhead shapes.

The last step is rice stitches around the perimeter of the design but the threads and color pattern seems to be different according to the shape the rice stitches fill (either little triangles or the corner squares). I expect to conquer most of this tonight and then work on finishing the two sashing sections underneath and to the right of Marlon Brando.  I probably will not work the outside black border until after the sashing is finished.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stars: Marlon's Center

I managed to overcome my counting problem with the copper mirror image of the purple petal shapes yesterday.  The next step is to put bow tie shapes between the petals and mirror image of them and tie them down with another thread.  Then you fill the corners with a latticework tied down with cross stitches.

Now to the threads used--my colors are violet (A), black (B), terracotta (C) and copper metallic (D).  The bow ties are done in C6 which is a pale terracotta Frosty Rays #Y332 for me and tied down with B9 which is my black Neon Rays N01.  Tony has you bring up the tie down thread in the hole between the two mirror imaged petal areas, then put in the bow tie.  To end you sink the tie down thread in the same hole it came up it.  It's a neat way of helping you find the hole under the bow tie's middle.

The corner latticework is where I went off the rails, deviating from Tony's recommended threads of B10 and A1.  I wanted to use a thinner base thread so some of the bare canvas terracotta color shows, so I switched to B2 (Gold Rush 18 color #BD31C) for the framework underneath and tied it down with the A1 I am supposed to use (which is Impressions 6043, a darker violet than the center violet).

So far the Marlon block is more raised than the top layer of stitches, but Mr. Brando was a Big Boy, wasn't he?  I included as much of the top row as I could squeeze in so you see how the whole design looks so far.  There are two more steps to go but they both involve layers of stitches so I expect I will be working on this for 2-3 more days.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Books: Windows Into the Past--and Future

I don't know if you are a book collector like I am, but if you are, I have discovered a wonderful place to explore needlepoint books you once owned but have forgotten, to see books you never knew existed, and to read fascinating reviews.

Come with me to New Needlepoint and start to explore.

The Featured Items on the home page always include several books, but the bulk of the books for sale are listed on the left navigation column by category, each with a color photo and an interesting review.  Marianne specializes in Bargello books but she has all kinds, recent and vintage.  The way she lists each book gives you a good glimpse into what it is like from the comfort of your own home.

Marianne talks further about many of the books she gets in to sell on her blog, including today's walk into 1970s needlepoint style.  Want to see a mini skirt in its natural habitat?  LOL

I know one reader emailed Marianne to thank her for pointing out a good book which the reader bought very cheaply elsewhere.  Remember, you might get a cheaper copy elsewhere, but Marianne's books are guaranteed to be in good condition.  She won't sell a book that isn't in good shape.  Besides, if we don't buy from book lovers like Marianne, they will stop selling and we'll lose the great reviews about books from the past we never heard of that will help us become better stitchers in the future.

Or at least remind us not to have photos taken in mini skirts.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Stars: Marlon Brando

After I managed to finish the SharonG blue bow name tag without gluing myself to the dining room table, I picked up Stars and started on the next quilt block.  This block is named Marlon Brando and it is the first block on the left in the second row.   The center is several steps, the first of which is rather tricky if you don't pay attention to the diagram.  Not that I would *ever* do that, but I did have to pull it out twice before I got the count right....

As a reminder, my Stars colors are violet (A), black (B), terracotta (C) and copper metallic (D).  For the center the first step is black B9, Neon Rays N01, immediately covered by a woven sort of arrowhead shape using  violet A4, Impressions 6043.  The center has a partial copper Smyrna Cross (D3 Treasure Braid TR67) surrounded by lazy daisy stitches in the same thread that slip through the Smyrna Cross legs.  Then the rest of the Smyrna Cross is worked in the same D3 thread.  The middle of the lazy daisy stitches is just a long length of violet A1 Impressions 6042, which is slightly darker than the arrowhead shape's Impressions.  You end up with a raised cross that is quite striking.

The next step is to surround the center with what look like petals to me.  This is done in violet A8 (the nylon perle Patina PA267).  Then you do a mirror image of the petals using copper D3 (Treasure Braid TR67 again).  That's where I was in the photo above, just starting the mirror image of the inner purple petals in my copper thread.  I realized I was getting tired as the first copper petal didn't line up with the second so I started ripping out.  I'll try again when I am not so tired.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finishing the Blue Bow

Yesterday I finished the last of the background stitches on my little Blue Bow canvas.  I forgot to tell you that the center of the bow was done in skip tent stitches so that I could add size 11 crystal hex beads (Sundance's color H250 ) attached with a doubled strand of my blue silk to the center.  This makes it a little jewel-like.  As I've said before, I think this design would be gorgeous completely covered in beads and then made up into a pin to wear but since I want it to be a name tag for a special present, I wanted a little less glitz.  Skip tent with beads is the perfect way to add just a little gleam to a piece.  Here's a close up of yesterday's photo so you can see the beads in the knot.  Again, these are clear beads.   The color comes form the thread that attached them to the canvas and from the painted canvas under the clear bead.

To finish the piece, I carefully cut the design out, leaving one bare thread all the way around.  In the photo at the top of the page, you see the cut out canvas lying on the blue Ultrasuede that will back the piece.  Yesterday I put Joann's Tacky Glue all the way around the outside on top of the bare canvas thread, then put a length of Kreinik #12 braid (color 3228 gold) on top.  The Kreinik has a loop already tied in one end to hang the tag with.  This dried overnight while I embroidered my mother's name on the Ultrasuede to make it a real name tag.

I glued the Ultrasuede to the back side of the needlepoint canvas, right sides facing out and left it to dry with a weight on top.  Once it was secure, using my sharpest embroidery scissors I cut the glued  name tag away from the main piece of Ultrasuede.

I think it turned out very well.  Mom can hang it on a perfume bottle on her dresser, use it as an ornament next Christmas, or just use it as the zipper pull on one of her tote bags.  SharonG suggested I put a pin on the back so she could wear it but I finally decided with the loop it wouldn't look right.  So I didn't.

I am very pleased with this quick little projcct.  It makes an outstanding gift tag!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Canvas of the Month: Jane's Wisteria Fan

This month's Canvas of the Month is from Lee and it was chosen by Bonnie (we take turns picking a design for this Blog feature). It's one of Lee's fan canvases, the Wisteria Fan F743. We don't know the size of this canvas or what count it's on, but I will assume it is an 18 count piece for the purposes of choosing threads and stitches.

There is a matching wisteria kimono canvas, which Ruth Dilts has done an amazing job stitching. You can buy the kimono canvas and Ruth's stitch guide (written with Joan Lohr) via your shop. Here's a photo of the matching kimono canvas.

Jane's Wisteria Fan:

I decided I wanted to stitch this beautiful piece without using Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  That's going to be hard as SRE is the natural choice for such a lovely piece, but Blog is all about exploring painted canvases, so I decided to try to come up with something totally different.  I hope I succeeded.

This canvas has four distinct areas:  the wistera flowers, the stems and leaves, the background, the black stick and the brown handle at the base of the fan.  Starting at the bottom with the brown handle, I think I would use a thin wool thread like Burmilana, Appleton crewel or Gloriana's Lorikeet (or J. L. Walsh's silk/wool blend if you can get it at your local shop) to work Baby Blanket stitches in the brown handle triangles.  

Baby Blanket can be found on page 23 of Julia Key H. Snyder's book, Backgrounds and Such.  It is just a row of long diagonal stitches tied down at each thread intersection with a tent stitch followed by a diagonal row of reverse tent stitch.  Fill the entire area with these two diagonal rows, alternating them.  You can use more plies of the thin wools for the long stitches and fewer plies to tie them down.  You'll get texture in this area which is appropriate for something that is likely to be rougher than the paper fan itself.  Skip the gold lines until the brown stitches are in, then couch a line of antique gold colored metallic (I would use Kreinik's #16 braid in Vintage Gold 002V couched down with #4 braid in the same color).  Use the same thread to stitch the gold brads on the black stick once you have it stitched.  

For the shiny black lacquered stick, we need a shiny thread.  I think I'd choose Sparkle Rays in black and stitch the stick with tent stitches, then add the gold brads on top with the Kreinik used for the fan handle lines.  I am not sure what shape the brads are from the photo, but they need to be raised a bit, so perhaps a Smyrna Cross would work.

For the background I would carefully choose three shades of lime green in silk or cotton floss to match the canvas and tent stitch the whole thing, making a careful transition in colors.  If you use 4 plies for your tent stitches, you could work from 4 plies of the dark lime to 3 plies of dark lime plus one ply of medium lime, to 2 plies of dark lime plus 2 of medium lime, etc. to introduce beautiful gradual shading to this piece.  

Once the background is finished, I'd choose Mandarin Floss in darker greens and browns for the stems, curly vine and the leaves of the wisteria. (Don't forget to stitch the stems of the flower clusters.)  I love the natural looking greens and browns in the Mandarin Floss line. Packed stem stitch would make lovely bark, then you could use slanted stitches for the leaves and couch a line of black or very dark green perle cotton for the tiny twining vines.  

Only the wisteria blossoms themselves are left to be stitched.  These come in lovely shades of blue, of pink and white, and of purple.  This is the perfect place to use a silk or a silk/wool blend.  Stitch the small buds at the bottom of the flower sprays in all tent stitch.  To create dimension in the larger flowers, I think I would stitch the bigger back petals in brick stitch (over two threads) and the front smaller areas in tent.  

Then I'd go back and put a lazy daisy stitch around the perimeter of the larger petal areas to make them stand out.  Position the base of the lazy daisy at the base of the petal and the tie down stitch at the tip to make a sharp point.  Shape your lazy daisy stitches to fit the shape of each petal.   Use the same thread whether you are doing a tent stitch, a brick stitch or a lazy daisy stitch.  Or you can go fancy and use a metallic thread like Silk Lame Braid for the lazy daisys to add a bit of gleam to the canvas.  It's a fancy fan, after all!

Hope you enjoyed this lovely Lee design.  It's a classic!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Canvas of the Month: Bonnie's Wisteria Fan

This month's Canvas of the Month is from Lee and it was chosen by Bonnie (we take turns picking a design for this Blog feature). It's one of Lee's fan canvases, the Wisteria Fan F743. We don't know the size of this canvas or what count it's on, but I will assume it is an 18 count piece for the purposes of choosing threads and stitches.

There is a matching wisteria kimono canvas, which Ruth Dilts has done an amazing job stitching. You can buy the kimono canvas and Ruth's stitch guide (written with Joan Lohr) via your shop. Here's a photo of the matching kimono canvas.

Bonnie's Wisteria Fan:

I have a small collection of fans – most which are paper fans that I purchased when I was young. I have always been drawn to them, thus the ‘call’ of this canvas to me.

I would start with the wisteria. I have seen a couple of wisteria pieces that were all beaded for the flowers – they were gorgeous. So that is a great idea, but I would try another direction. I think a strandable silk like Splendor would provide a great sheen for the flowers. Long and short stitches would work and allow the rounded edges to not be a headache. Make sure the stitches all angle towards to base of the flowers. An overdyed thread would be great to make the flowers more realistic if you can find the right color combinations otherwise just make your own shading as you go with the long and short stitch. If using overdyes I would reverse the strands in the needle so you don’t get striping, but blended colors.

Leaves would be done in a cotton overdye to give them a little depth in color, but the cotton would make them recede behind the flowers. A feather stitch would work great for the leaves or a leaf stitch if you didn’t want the center vein of the leaf. The stems would work great in a stem stitch with the same fiber. For the tendrils I see a couple of choices. A perle cotton couched with a single strand of floss would allow the couching to disappear and the twist of the perle cotton would emphasize the twist of the tendril. A whipped backstitch with a floss would also make a wonderful twist.

Lastly for the wisteria part of the canvas you have the branches. My first thought was to do a padded stem stitch band with wool, but I am concerned that would make the branches too prominent compared to the flowers. So I would try the same stitch with no padding or maybe switch to filling the branches with stem stitches. The thread with some wool provides the third texture in the wisteria – the flowers, leaves and trunk are all different!

Next I would tackle the background. This part was tough to come up with a stitch that would work. I originally wanted to do a darning pattern, but stitch direction is an issue. So I needed to find something that didn’t have a strong direction look to it when done. I think I would try a single strand of the light green color floss or a very subtle shaded overydye, so most of the wonderful shaded color would come from the painted canvas not the thread and stitching. For a stitch I would try a four way continental, a little wavy stitch or maybe a reverse basketweave would give a nice fabric look.

The bottom part of the fan would look great in a cotton overdye to give it the wood look. I would try a knotted stitch breaking the stitches at each of the divisions. The three sections on the right would be angled one way and the ones on the left in the opposite direction. Remember the sections at the bottom are reversed from the ones at the top!

Lastly we have the black edge. I am thinking a simple tent stitch in black silk. A Smyrna cross with Kreinik metallic would work for the brads. Depending on how you plan on finishing this you may want to complete some of the white area with a darning pattern of some sort with a light coverage thread like floss or #12 perle cotton. That completes this great fan!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pears, Beads, and Backgrounds

Yesterday I got quite a lot finished on the little blue bow canvas from SharonG thanks to a wait in the dentist's office.  I first tent stitched the deep blue bow interiors using 4 plies of cotton floss from Carrie's Creation.  The color is Royal Blue.  Then I outlined the ribbon edge using Kreinik's holographic gold 002L in size 8 braid, again in tent stitches.  Moving on to the rest of the blue ribbon and bow, I used an overdyed silk perle from Gloriana for the darker blues and a cotton perle from House of Embroidery for the lighter blues, manipulating the colors so that the right part of the overdye shades fell in the right areas.  Both perles were roughly size 8.  The Gloriana silk perle was a test dyeing of a blue shading into purple overdye a friend got from the owner of Gloriana for me so it's not something one can buy.  The cotton perle from House of Embroidery was a set of three perle threads (black, the overdyed blues I used here, and a pretty solid sky blue) sent from South Africa that aren't numbered as to color, but Morning Glory looks a lot like the overdyed perle I used on this canvas. 

Once the bow was finished (all in basketweave or half cross stitches), it was time to move to the background.  I originally intended to just add beads here, and using a long doubled strand of gold Accentuate, I added the beads along diagonal rows.  The beads I used are from Sundance and are small, round and very pretty.  They are size 14 and color 465.  I love them! They look just like the round candy nonpareils you can get to sprinkle on cakes.

Once I had most of the beads in, I realized that they didn't look good on bare canvas, so despite how much I like the white iridescent look of the canvas, I started basketweaving the background using Kreinik's 032C, which is the opalescent white in cord.  I will finish the basketweave today and start the finishing of this small piece into a name tag for a special present for my mother.

I'm sure by now you are wondering where the "pears" of the title come in.  Actually, I discovered from the Needlepointer's latest email that Kelly Clark has a pear club page on her website that shows photos of all the canvases in this monthly canvas series she is running, and tells one which shops are participating.  I thought you'd like to see it.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Blue Bow Gift Tag

Instead of working on Stars as I had planned, I pulled out a tiny SharonG canvas from my stash. It's called Blue Bow MB22 and is from the Clasp Act series of tiny 18 count canvases designed to be put on the front of a purse as a magnetic clasp.  You can see photos of a finished purse on the SharonG website on the Clasp Act page with some of the other tiny canvases in this series.

Blue Bow is almost 2 inches high and 3 inches long.  It isn't going to take very long to stitch.  It would be gorgeous stitched entirely in crystal beads (except for the gold dots in the background which should be done in gold beads) but I'm going to go more traditional and tent stitch the blue bow and leave the background mostly unstitched.  You can't see it from the photo, but the background is the white canvas with sparkling iridescent white threads woven in.  I want to leave that bare because it is so lovely.  I put the canvas on 5x6 stretcher bars last night and pulled threads for it.

I plan to finish this as a name tag for a very special present.  Canvases that are meant to be stitched as gift tags or name tags for a Christmas stocking are starting to show up in painted canvas lines.  Here is one from A Collection of Designs.  They call them Sock Tags.

Blue Bow is the tiny cousin of a series of SharonG larger wrapped package canvases.

My friend Pat is stitching the Hearts of Love design.  Seeing how lovely hers is turning out convinced me to stitch my tiny version.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Preparing for More

Today I checked over the Stuart Plaid Lion piece, looking for missed stitches, loose beads, or any furry spot that needs a few more stem stitches.  He will head off to Leigh Designs the end of the week to be made up into an ornament that will be one of the Dynasty ornament models eventually.  If you go to the trade shows, say hello to Leigh and the royal lion for me!

I'm going to start on the next Stars block tonight.  It's called Marlon Brando and is the first block in the second row.  I've also put my next two painted canvas projects on stretcher bars.  I'll start the smaller one of these once Brando is finished.    While I am getting organized, there is plenty of stuff for you to see elsewhere.

Pocket Full of Stitches' blog is full of new products and a new summer project canvas.  Read the May 4 and May 5 entries to catch up what the new owners have been up to and check out Lena the Ballerina.

Needle Works has posted their May newsletter and it is full of new and wonderful canvases.  Don't miss the Floozies.  Sloe Gin Sadie is my favorite but your tastes may run more to champagne or bourbon or ale.

Finally, Amy Bunger is encouraging her students to run wild with glitter glue.   I advise staying inside and hiding under your beds until Peggy puts her pen away!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Touch of Gold at the Finish

Yesterday I took one last look at the Stuart Plaid Lion, trying to figure out if the lion's body and mane was finished or if I needed to add more stem stitches here and there.  I ended up adding a few highlights to the mane using a strand of Accentuate (gold #024) and then laid long stitches with the same thread across the diagonal red skip tent stitch background.   The skip tent stitches run from the NE to the SW and the long gold Accentuate stitches are laid from the NW to the SE.  Using a little Accentuate adds a bit of pizzazz to the canvas.  This is a royal symbol of the Stuart line of English kings and queens, after all!

I think this design is finished but I'll take one last look today before sending it off to Leigh to be made up into a model while I write the stitch guide.

On another topic entirely, Old World Designs' website page about their monthly club of California ornaments has updated to show photos of all the designs in stitched form.  Love that cable car!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at