Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chilly Hollow Stitch Guides: Artists Collection

I've added a new entry to the CH Stitch Guides blog.  This time I'm writing about Artists Collection*, which represents three separate designers, all of whom offer stitch guides for some, many or all of their canvases.  You can visit my other blog by clicking here--

*Sorry, I mistakenly wrote A Collection of Designs. Palma caught it, so thank you very very much!

If you haven't voted on which Patt & Lee canvas I should stitch (see yesterday's entry for the choices), please either use the poll above or email your choice to me at chillyhollow at hotmaildotcom before you leave. Thanks!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Charting a Mystery, Melissa Shirley, and Threads

Ruth Schmuff's Harvest Mystery

Thistle Needleworks is having a Melissa Shirley trunk show for two weeks.  You can see the canvases in the show (on sale at 20% off the normal price) on their online store here, or if you are in Connecticut, check out directions to the shop on the shop website (second link below).


ThreadworX is looking for photos of pieces stitched with their threads.  Want to be in their winter Journal issue?  Details here.

My final tidbit of news is that Ruth Schmuff has charted her last mystery class so that fans of charted work can stitch it on plain instead of painted canvases.   The photo above is the pink-orange-brown original version of Harvest Mystery. Her blog shows what a little blue can do!  Ruth says she plans to offer charted versions of several of the canvases in her line now, so if you love counted canvaswork, keep an eye on Ruth's blog.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Monday, August 30, 2010

Help Me Choose A Patt & Lee Design

As you know, needlepointers work from charts, on painted or printed canvases, or work an outlined project. So-called painted canvases come in many flavors: there are hand painted canvases that are done by human beings, there are “stitch painted” canvases where special trouble is taken to make sure that the design is painted on so that there is never any question as to what color goes where, and there are printed designs put on by machine. The printed designs used to be either silk screened or stamped but there are digital printing processes available these days that put the old silk screened canvases to shame.

Because printed canvases are done by machine, they are usually cheaper than a painted canvas done by a person due to the labor savings. These designs have a bad reputation because in the past the quality was poor. Many of the printed designs I saw twenty years ago were askew and on poor quality canvas. There was nothing to tempt a stitcher to spend his or her precious free time working these things. More recently eBay sellers began to offer iron transferred designs on interlock canvas but often didn’t understand which designs will stitch well. Buyers ended up with a lovely canvas that it is impossible to stitch.

Of course times change and so does the equipment that transfers a design onto needlepoint canvas. Designers like In Good Company use something called giclee painting to produce canvases that are excellent quality at a good price.

I’ve been talking back and forth with Patt of Patt and Lee Designs about painted canvases, the image problem giclee painted canvases have, her company, and the technical difficulties of printing a design on needlepoint canvas which is not always straight.

Patt tells me she started out designing her own work because the kits she bought drove her crazy with their registration problems. She switched to working from charts, then bought a software program that would create her own designs in needlepoint and cross stitch. She wondered if her designs would sell and started doing iron transfers of her designs onto interlock canvas. They sold and she built up a following of repeat customers. However, the iron transfer canvases weren’t really up to her quality standards, so she kept looking and discovered giclee painted designs. A local shop bought some of Patt’s work, and well, the rest is history!

Patt and Lee Designs offers both beautiful giclee' painted as well as hand painted designs. Her line of hand painted designs are stitch painted. I will be focusing and blogging about one of her giclee' painted designs.  But which one?

Patt graciously offered to send a canvas for me to stitch publicly to show off the high standard giclee painted designs today. When I was charmed by several, she laughed and sent both of them to me. You, Blog readers, are going to choose which I stitch. Here are the candidates.

Asian Inspiration
Asian Inspiration Sampler - The number of this canvas is Ai-16 and it is one of Patt’s earlier designs. It is on 18 count Zweigart mono canvas and is 6 1/4 inches long by 5 inches high. I love the Asian feel of this design, especially the lovely variety of borders and the iris variety I know as "purple flag." The kanji symbol stands for love. Pat says the iris bring a message of friendship and appreciation, making this a perfect present for someone you treasure.

Pirate Cat
Pirate Cat Wants Candy - This is one of Patt’s most recent designs which debuted at the TNNA trade show last June.  The official name is Hi-55.   Patt has a wonderful series of dressed up cat canvases which have a slightly old-fashioned feel lightened by their humor. This is just one of a group of Halloween cats she's done, many of which have their own stitch guides.  I wouldn’t dare not hand out the fish-flavored treats if this cat showed up on my doorstep next Halloween! Pirate Cat is on 18 count Zweigart mono canvas. He’s 6 inches long and 3 3/4 inches high.

The colors on both canvases are strong and true and I can’t see any areas where the painted lines don’t match up to the canvas threads. Neither design has fine lines or curves that will be impossible to translate into NP stitches. So now we choose!  Or rather, you choose.

I’ve posted a poll above where Blog readers can vote for Pirate Cat or Asian Inspiration Sampler. Whichever canvas gets the most votes, that’s the canvas I will stitch! So think it over. Do you want to see flowers and koi and fancy borders? Or do you want to watch me dress the Pirate Cat in all his fancy duds?

Note that the poll will stay up for several days at least. I want to give Blog readers who only show up every 3-4 days a chance to make their preference known. Vote early but not often! LOL

May the most popular canvas win.

By the way, if you can't vote in the poll, just email me your choice at chilly hollow at hotmail dotcom and I'll add your vote to the poll.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My List

My list of things to tell you is getting way too long again.  While I futz around with Stars, I need to tell you about items on the list so I can cross things off and start adding to the list again.

First of all, Busy Needle in Tucson is having a 25% off sale on in stock Halloween items (kits, canvases and charts) through the end of August.  Better get busy browsing!

I just noticed that ANG's next cyberclass features Ultrasuede appliques.  Registration for this Orna Willis class starts September 1 and the class itself starts after the month-long registration period.

If you want to explore this technique on your own, you need to check out Orna Willis' blog.  She uses shaped Ultrasuede on several of her projects and has posted two videos about how she does it there.  If you are late reading this, look for the August 24, 2010 postings.

Remember the Canvas Candy glass ornament/needlepoint canvas sets I mentioned already this week?  Ruth Schmuff has posted photographs of all the pairs on her store website.  There are over 40 of them.
Doghouse in Winter
Pick the ones you are interested in, click for details, then click the little thumbnail to see them all.  (Of course, if you happen to be in the Baltimore area, you can see them in person.)

Finally, Carolyn Hedge Baird has released her next book. It's called Needlepointing in Your Nest.  I have no idea what it is about, but since it premiered at Chaparral last week and she teaches there often, I bet they can tell us all about it.

Ok, that's everything on my stitching list except for "finish Cary Grant block on Stars."  I'd better get busy on that.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Skulls Cell Phone Case Finished

As you can see, the cell phone case is finished. I sewed the snaps inside the lining so a phone can be secured inside, then whipstitched the lining to the NP outer case.  The final touch was adding narrow trim to hide the join.  I deliberately let a bit of the lining show above the trim to add to the interest.

I'm happy with how it turned out.  The video doesn't show the sparkle well (it is almost blinding in the full sun) but you can see the color changes from the beads in the above.

Do you think the new owner will like it?  LOL

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jane and Joy (and Liz)

Last night when I moved to the second corner on Cary Grant, I discovered I'd made a mistake in the copper metallic areas in the remaining three corners.  I decided I'd just cover up the mistake with my black triangle but that is easier said than done so I don't have any progress photos for you today. The moral is don't stitch when you are tired and don't try to compensate for mistakes when you are tired!  Its very tempting to use stitching to relax but complicated things are not what you need to be stitching when you need to relax.  Remind me of that occasionally, will you?

Since I don't have any progress to show you today, how about we head over and explore a few fabulous websites?

Joy Juarez has added some new things to her site.  I love the new pre-stitched Christmas ornaments in the "Stitched Ornaments" section!  For $25 things like a tent stitched baby unicorn in a basket can decorate your tree.  Naturally her Oriental canvases are stunningly beautiful but every section has something beautiful to see.  The photo above is White Egrets with Orchids from the Birds section. These can be purchased directly from Joy and they will be a joy to stitch and treasure.

Once you have browsed the eye candy and are ready to move on, let's go visit Jane Aurich, Joy's sister.  They both do wonderfully detailed designs you can buy straight from their studios, but they have different art styles.  This is gorgeous stuff, perfect for the traditional stitcher who wants a piece of art in their lives.  The photo above is of her new piece, Moon Iris.  It is beyond beautiful! Cooling Bath is almost as wonderful in my eyes.   There is a lot to admire and enjoy here.

And for you counted canvaswork folks, it is part of my Evil Plan to toss out counted projects occasionally to keep you coming back here until you can't resist trying painted canvases.  You'll be happy to hear Liz Morrow has added two new bargello charts to her website.  The photo above is her 12 Days of Christmas.  It's an unusual Christmas piece that is full of fun for your holiday season.  Many of us like to decorate for the holidays but don't really want things too traditional.  This is exactly that.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Mysteries, Candy and More

Ann Strite-Kurz

I'm getting a backlog of things to tell Blog readers about, so let me list them now before I forget or they become outdated:

We have a mystery to solve.  Do any counted canvasworkers detectives recognize the top design at the link below?  The Needleart Nut is trying to identify it so she can get the directions and finish it.  The bottom piece is Crown of Hearts by Jean Hilton and Pat's already got the chart to complete that.  But the top piece is still unidentified.

Needlepoint.com has a great profile (with many photos) up on their blog about Canvas Candy, the JL Canvas Company series of both a painted canvas and an identical glass ornament.  Have fun seeing more sets at their website in the second link.


A new shop is about to open in the Richmond, VA area.   Here's a bit about it.  If you are there on September 1, tell them hi!

How long has it been since you visited Needle Artworks?  This is the best place to pick up Genny Morrow, Marion Scoular, or Ann Strite-Kurz designs, plus they offer a gateway to the always popular Carole Lake notebook classes.  There's a lot more to find (like the beautiful Luan Callery stumpwork kits) and the revamping of the site shows it all off beautifully.  The design above is Ann S-K's lovely Red Japanese Lantern, by the way.

Have fun browsing.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Year of Thread Stash Credits 2010 (293)

Last August 25 I started keeping track of just how many threads I used.  Since today is August 26, 2010, the first year is over.  Just how many thread credits did I accumulate?  Two hundred and ninety-three!  In the last year I've worked on thirteen projects:

South Seas Fiji Dynasty Ornament
Rabbit Geisha
Cameo Ornament
Stars for the New Millennium
Surfin' Santa
Camouflage Bra and Tap Pants Set
Candy Cane Dog Stocking
Tardis Ornament
Stuart Plaid Lion
Blue Bow Gift Tag
Nordic Snowman Stocking
Brazil Cha-Cha
Skulls Cell Phone Case

That's a lot of thread and a lot of projects, but remember, many of the projects were small and I am a threadaholic. There is no reason that you shouldn't stick to one type of thread or brand if that's what makes you happy.

To bring everyone up to speed, every time I use a new thread on a project, I give myself one point.  If I use up all the thread in a skein (or on a card or spool), I give myself five points.  If I buy a new thread, I subtract one point from the total I've accumulated so far.  I didn't count beads in the total above or I certainly would have broken 300, but I did count silk ribbons.

I had fun with this.  I think I'm going to restart the counter now and keep track of anything new I use on Stars plus count the threads I use on future projects.

Hope you enjoyed watching the numbers move as much as I did.  Wonder if I can break 300 this year?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Stars: Cary's Corner

Cary Grant has a completed corner now!

I think the corner is particularly beautiful.  Actually, I spent so much time admiring it, that I didn't progress beyond Step One in stitching the other corners.  Yesterday was hectic, anyway.  I am lucky that I didn't find an error this morning that had to come out.

This photo shows the seams where triangles meet between the black legs. This is covered by long stitches as the last step before finishing Cary Grant by putting a line of black sashing below the block.

I hope to do the rest of the corners tonight but it's another hectic day so I won't promise.  I want to finish Stars by the weekend so I can do my Skulls cell phone case finishing over Saturday and Sunday and be ready to start my new project on Sunday night.  Wish me luck.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stars: Cary Grant Grows

Yesterday was hectic so I didn't get as much done on the Cary Grant block as I had planned but you can see how the corner square develops from the above.  The copper areas are supposed to be C (terracotta) instead of D (copper metallic) but I wanted to add more of this very strong color on the opposite end of the row so I switched what I used.  The next step is to weave my purple threads over the center area, then fill in the last open areas with laid threads.  Then I'll do the other corners like this one.  After that, the final touch is to lay long contrasting colored threads over many of the areas of this block where they touch other areas.

I picked up snaps yesterday.  Once I finish Cary Grant and his piece of sashing, I'll be able to continue assembling the skulls cell phone case.  I don't want to stop now since I'm on a roll with Stars.  At least that's my excuse for not immediately picking up the finishing again!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stars: Cary Grant Appears

Frustrated by the lack of snaps or sewing items in general at the local hardware, drug store, grocery or Dollar Store, I turned to Stars for solace last night.   The next block is called Cary Grant.  This is the 6th block and the final one on the second row.   Of course I have decided to not do the outside borders until all the blocks are done in order to protect the borders from my arm resting on them during stitching the centers, but still, I am getting close to being half finished, which is nice.

As a reminder for those stitching Stars themselves, my colors are A violet, B black, C terracotta and D copper.

Cary Grant looks most like a quilt block star to me of all the blocks so far.  In the photo above, the star-on-a-diamond center is finished and I have worked five more steps around the center, leaving just the complex corners to finish.  There are four steps to the corners and I also have to do the sashing underneath the block before I can put Stars away and pull out my next painted canvas.   I have another night or two of stitching on this, in other words.

Cary Grant doesn't introduce any new threads but the black legs you see above were quite interesting to work. I used Neon Rays in black to do the lower layer.  This is a ribbon-like thread that didn't quite cover the canvas.  I could see little specs of canvas "dandruff" beside the stitches.  I was thinking I might have to pull the Neon Rays out and try another black thread to get better coverage but I discovered that when I added the little copper lines on top of the Neon Rays that the specs disappeared.  Now they look like part of the metallic that crosses the vertical stitches of Neon Rays.  Interesting effect!

I also switched threads around on the pairs of triangles that flank the overdyed triangle between the black legs.  I used Trebizond silk in pale peach for my C thread and then outlined the stitches with one ply of violet Splendor as my A thread.  This is not the thread type Tony used but I wanted a slighted raised stitch that was shadowed by the outlines so I changed things a bit and am happy with the result.  I did stick with his color scheme, just switched thread types some.

In other Stars news, Theresa wonders if Genny Morrow's Twelve Patch Sampler influenced Tony's Stars. It wouldn't surprise me, but the general outline with the offset corners and the sashing around each block, plus the use of star motifs is a common quilting pattern.

Donna's been working on her Stars.  The first link has a photo but she's been too busy to photograph her progress in the second, more recent link.


Sara Leigh is working on her Stars also.  I just love her happy colors!

There are other Stars stitchers in cyberspace.  If you know of any more, let me know.  Half the charm of this project is watching the colors develop on each block so it is a great deal of fun comparing each version of Cary Grant to see how it looks in various colorways.

I should have snaps today as I have to run an errand in the next town to the east not very far from Ben Franklin's, my preferred crafts emporium, and they carry sewing supplies.  Oddly, not every crafts store does.  What on earth are they thinking?!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Monday, August 23, 2010

Finishing the Cell Phone Case: Part One

Yesterday I worked on the cell phone case. The first step is to put your needlepoint face down on top of your fabric (with the fabric's front side touching your needlepoint front) and cut out a piece of fabric the same size.  In the photo my lining is a little bigger so you can see there is fabric under the NP.

Next I turned under the margin along the top of the needlepoint and the top of the lining fabric...

...and pinned these down.

The next step is to fold the NP into a pouch form, right sides together.  Sew around the bottom and side, but leave the top open.  The top is where you turned the margin down and pinned it.  Note that by now the raw NP edges are fraying a bit. This is why you leave a big margin of bare canvas. Once everything is secure you can trim it a bit, but I think wider margins are better to start with.

Repeat this step with the lining, right sides together.   Sew around the bottom and side again but remember to leave the hemmed top open.

Trim around the side and bottom raw edges nearer the stitching for both the NP pouch and the lining pouch.  I trimmed everything to about 1/2 inch away from the sewing.  As you can see, there's just a little free room around the cell phone case I borrowed to test but there will be more without the plastic ribbed cover, so I'm ok here.

Turn the NP pouch right side out.  This takes a bit of gentle pushing with your fingers until you can't reach to push any more, then use the eraser end of a pencil to push more.

Use the eraser end especially at the bottom corners.  Remember, you are only turning the NP pouch right side out.  Leave the lining pouch as is with the wrong side out.  After all, your phone will slide inside and you want the right side to touch the phone.

Now I attached the jump rings to the lining.  These rings are where the detachable chain handle will go.  Below is a close up so you can see the left ring being attached and how the detachable shoulder strap slips over the jump ring.

I didn't go any further with the finishing because I realized that the snaps I have here are the wrong kind.  I can't stitch them to the lining to close the pouch.  The finishing will have to wait until I get the correct type of snaps.

The sharp-eyed will realize that I didn't follow much of Summer Truswell's finishing after all.   I realized when I got started that her mini sock finishing technique will work better for a cell phone case that has two separate sides instead of being in one piece.

Hopefully I'll be able to pick up snaps today.  If not, I'll work on Stars until I can get the proper hardware to complete the finishing.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thinking About Finishing (Among Other Things)

I didn't get far on making up the cell phone case yesterday. Too many chores to do! I was pretty tired after moving and stacking firewood, so last night I daydreamed in front of the tv, thinking about my next painted canvas.  Today's supposed to be rainy so I hope to settle down and get it assembled so that Monday I can get back to Stars, which is whispering my name. Who would have thought a charted project would be that interesting?  I am beginning to understand the folks who do counted canvaswork exclusively now.  The pain of missed counts will never go away for me but I can understand the fascinating of seeing how combinations of stitches make up a whole.

While I'm getting my act together, I thought you might like to browse some wonderful finishing over at Cheryl's website.  The link is to her Featured pieces so you can see a range of items, then pick the category you are most curious about.  I highly recommend "Pillow Options" to familiarize yourself with the terms sewers use to describe various pillow parts.  If you don't know what ruched means, or the difference between a boxed or knife edge is a mystery to you, please visit to find out.

If finishing bores you, how about a visit to Colour Lovers, a site bursting with color combinations.  Pick one at random for your next charted geometric project!

If you are in the mood to browse great stitching, visit Tanja Berlin's slide show of her work. Tanja is a distinguished graduation of the Royal School of Embroidery. She teaches and also sells wonderful kits so that those who can't be in class with her can still benefit from her knowledge at home.  She does it all, but I personally am awe-struck by her needle-painted birds and animals.  You can browse her berlinembroidery.com website once you recover from the slide show.

This is going to keep you guys busy a while, so let me just wish Dr. Donn Hunter a very happy 85th birthday today before we all head out to start the day.  Donn is a fabulous stitcher and a great guy.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to Skulls

I hope everyone found Deborah's question about how I stitched Japanese hair on my geishas interesting, particularly since I reposted old information about how my canvases were worked.  My original blog is no longer easily available, so reposting was the best option to help Deborah.  My apologies to long time Blog readers to whom this was old hat and to those who aren't really that interested in stitching hair.

As you can see, I've been busy finishing side two of the cell phone case.  This has been rather relaxing after Cha which involved trying new techniques and coming up with stitches to interpret the lovely design.  I am about to start assembling this into a pouch.  I have Ultrasuede cloth (very thin version of Ultrasuede) in purple for the lining and a long chain for the handle.  The background above is the lining fabric but I forgot to include the chain in the photo.  Sorry.

Once everything is put together I'll add beads to the side seam where they were omitted when I stitched this.  I doubt I'll put trim on the edges as it will be carried a lot, so I'll have to be very careful to make a neat seam.  I'm going to adopt these mini stocking instructions to make it up.

Wish me luck!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Eight

To make a long story short, I ended up omitting a red ribbon in the Mother of the Bride's hair.  Here is what she looked like when finished.  The other geishas' hairstyles were done basically the same way.  I would sketch out each one, decide where to put the padding, and then how the long laid stitches should slant over the padding on my sketch.  In some cases I left room for the hair ornaments and in other cases I stitched right over them and added them later (or omitted them entirely).

Here are photos of each of the other geishas' hairstyles in the wedding party.  Each geisha's hair was done in Soy Luster but only the mother of the bride and the geisha in purple had Shadow Soy Luster hair in black-charcoal-gray.   I decided the other geishas were younger so their hair was black Solid Soy Luster.

Working from the left to right, here is the green bamboo geisha.  I thought of her as the Bride's spoiled rich girl friend.

Next is the blue Tomboy geisha.

Here is the Bride, all in pink.  She has the most elaborate headdress because she is the Bride!

The next geisha is the yellow Fan geisha, the Bride's closest friend.

The final geisha is the purple one.  This geisha I thought of as the Mother of the Bride's closest friend from when they were maiko (trainees) together.  The purple geisha has gone on to be famous while the Mother retired and started a family.

Here's another random photo of hairstyles-- to give you a sense of how they looked against the finished background.

Deborah, I hope this helps!  The two canvases sold for $650 at the ANG Auction and went home with a stitcher from Houston.  Lucky lady!

Jane, waving to all from CH where I have to get back to that cell phone case.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Seven

Reposting of April 29, 2006 article:

Attached is my scan of potential bows for the geisha's hair. Pretty horrible, aren't they? There's a row of red sequins that I found when hunting yet again for red ribbon (top), plus the red ribbon floss (middle) and red Flair (bottom) I dug out of The Stash. I also found a spool of DMC metallic (remember the Or Clair?) in cherry red which I used to gather the Flair. The ribbon floss refused to be gathered. It wickedly widened itself like a pair of running panty hose and glared at me. The Flair looks ok as it bunches up nicely but it is all wrong for the geisha, the wrong color, the wrong shape, etc. The ribbon floss has the beading needle piercing it and you can barely see the red DMC metallic which has no French name. It is merely Art. 270. Sad not to have a name, isn't it? Especially when your light gold sibling is Or Clair!

I did come back fromThe Stash with some tomato paste red Felicity's Garden. That's a tapestry wool/silk blend, very nice thread. Not much shine but it is wonderfully soft. I think spilled tomato paste is the perfect color for the background of Two Monsters, don't you? Check the picture--you know the drill--it's over there on the right. Wear sunglasses.   [This is a canvas I was about to start stitching.  Photo here.  I wasn't kidding about the sunglasses.]

I am considering a diamond shaped stitch for the background of Two Monsters. I like using stitches that echo shapes and those monsters are looking out from a diamond shape. 

Susan Portra has kindly diagrammed the stitch on her website [now defunct so no photos, sorry] which she calls Bargello Diamonds. I think I'm going to try it after I finish the geisha's outlining. That means a busy morning for me. Finish geisha outlining, check her in sunlight for missed stitches, take her picture for Blog posting tomorrow, put monsters on stretcher bars, test the Bargello Diamonds in the margins with the tomato red Felicity's Garden. That'll keep me busy for a while!

But first, more coffee.

Jane, slurping it down here in Chilly Hollow

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Friday, August 20, 2010

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Six

Reposting of April 28, 2006 article:

I have just about finished outlining the geisha with my single ply of DMC metallic Or clair. As I worked, I referred several times to the picture of the original canvas to see exactly where I should be stitching the obi's flaring shape. After all, most of the kimono is solid black so looking at the picture is the only way to tell where the outlines should go.

While doing this I realized I'd forgotten that the single geisha has a ribbon in her hair. At least, I guess what that is. Most of the geishas have some sort of bow or flared ribbon in their hair. I need to decide whether to leave the geisha's hair as is or add a ribbon in some way.

Originally I thought I'd use a real piece of ribbon, gather one side of it, and tack it down on top of her hair. That's why I stitched all her hair except for the area where the horizontal hair sticks went and the circle around her bun I covered with couched coloured twist. Some of the geishas have bows that need to be stitched but not this one. But I don't have any real ribbon that is the right width. Scale is important on a canvas like this. It's not totally realistic but having a bow that is too big will make the rest of her head look odd. It is possible that I can use a length of red ribbon floss. Maybe. Ribbon floss will come apart when you accidentally put your needle through it. Perhaps red Flair will do better?

Time to experiment! Back in a minute...

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Five

Reposting of April 28, 2006 article:

The geisha's hair ornaments are in place. The long chopstick-like sticks stuck in her hair bun are Jaceron #5 stitched down using one ply of a strand of DMC metallic thread Or Clair (or light gold). The dangling beads are also Jaceron stitched down by the Or Clair.

DMC has several colors of metallic thread (I think there is a darker shade of gold as well as the gold Or Clair I used here, and a silver) which comes on spools like sewing thread. One spool will last a long time. It's a useful thread with one strand made up of three plies which you can untwist and use as I did. The full strand has a tendency to unwind as you stitch with in, so use short lengths and give your needle a twist after each couple of stitches. If you unwind the strand into its three parts, you still should use short lengths as it will abrade and come apart as you stitch with it.

The hair sticks I just added at 1 o'clock and at 10 o'clock are couched down lengths of Jaceron #5 which looks a lot like little gold, silver, or copper toy springs, or a Slinky if you are my age. Jaceron comes in various sizes. I have #8 also but it seemed a little large. Interestingly , the bugle beads hanging down from the horizontal hair sticks are also Jaceron which I strung on like a bead. I am not sure of their size (probably they are Very Fine) but until I used the magnifer, I thought they were bugle beads. SharonG calls Jaceron a "flexible custom bead" and that describes it very well. It comes in a long coil and you cut off what size you want. Here's a picture. Jaceron is the French name. British embroiders call the little springs "pearl purl." I'm sticking with Jaceron because my #5 was labeled that way. By the way, both Jacerons came to me courtesy of Caroline S. Thanks, Caroline! I appreciate your generosity more than I can say.

I couched the larger Jaceron and strung the Very Fine Jaceron like a bugle bead with my #16 beading needle. To couch, hold the Jaceron in place with one finger while couching over it with the other hand. As you pull the couching thread tight, it'll slip between the coils until the Jaceron is held snugly against the ground fabric. Interestingly, the Jaceron #5 was too small for my beading needle eye to go through but it went right through the center of the Very Fine Jaceron. I beaded the Very Fine Jaceron with my one ply of untwisted DMC metallic, using a long length. Once I had the "bead" where I wanted it, I went through it a second time to hold it in position along the longer length of DMC metallic.

I urge you to take any metal thread classes you can. These are very interesting threads and quite different than most we stitch with. You can achieve all sorts of fascinating and beautiful effects with them.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Four

Reposting of April 10, 2006 article:

Tonight the geisha's white neck became pink and she gained some hair ornaments. I stitched the horizontal L shaped hair sticks with 1/32 inch and #8 braid in Krienik's gold #002, then couched my beautiful gold and red colored twist around her bun twice. The smaller sticks will need to wait until I finish the background as they need to be on top of the background and her hair. I also have some lovely gold cylinder beads to use in her hair but beads are the last things to put on a canvas normally. I forgot about the purple ribbon frill in her hair under the twist (see original single geisha canvas on the right side links for the painting). I had thought I might use ribbon here but I'll have to see what colors I have or can get. Perhaps ribbon floss will work as well.

Now I need to finish stitching the right arm and work again on the background. I'm making progress.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Three

Reposting of April 8, 2006 article:

Half an hour later I have my Soy Luster untangled and on little paper cards. I scanned a picture of Witching Hour so you could see how beautiful and perfect for the geisha it is. All that grey looks just like jet black hair going grey. I also scanned a sketch of how I have started stitching her hair. It's proof I'm no artist but visual aids always help, even rough ones. See the center circle? With one strand of the Soy Luster I've stitched / lines starting at the bottom and going clockwise around the circle twice. I know there's a name for this stitch or something similar but I'm on a roll here. No time to look it up. Gotta post when I'm inspired and have computer access!

[This is a round Rhodes stitch. I looked it up!]

Next, still with one strand in the needle, I've stitched some lines across her hair for padding, ignoring where the hair sticks and that purple ribbon stuff are. I plan to stitch long stitches across and perpendicular to the padding to make her hair. I think I'll leave a space where the fat gold horizontal hair sticks are since those will sink a bit into the hair but otherwise, I'll just cover everything up and then add them back in on top of the stitched hair. I have plenty of pictures in Blog showing where these were painted for reference.

I will put a closeup of her hair as the main picture but you really can't see much, just that I've covered one side of the purple ribbon. But take my word for it, in person this is looking good!  [Note the photo mentioned isn't available but I found one that shows the Round Rhodes and the lower area's padding covered.]

Off to stitch now. Thanks for all the voodoo you've been doing. Witching Hour is behaving itself very nicely.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Break for the Beauty Shop, Part Two

Reposting of April 8, 2006 article:

This week a new thread arrived in the mail, courtesy of a friend on the West Coast who visited Needle in a Haystack and picked some up for me. It's called Soy Luster and it's a fine perle type thread made from soy byproducts. I had hoped when I heard of Soy Luster that it would be a good substitute for silk floss since some people avoid using silk because the silkworms are killed during processing of the coccoons. However, although it has a nice sheen, it is not going to stand in for silk.

Instead, I'm going to use it for my geisha's hair. I have #497, Witching Hour.

Soy Luster comes in two versions--Solids and Shadows. Solids are one color while Shadows are shades of one color. As you can see from the link, Witching Hour is black shading into charcoal and then into very, very dark grey. It is Shadow Soy Luster.

It also is very, very well named. The stuff is bewitched! I carefully unwound the skein and cut the knot holding it together in the middle and it immediately, I'm talking 3 seconds or less here, tangled itself into a big wad. I'd claim it sprang at me like a jack-in-the-box but I'm pretty sure you'd think I was exaggerating.

Imagine a witch with tangled greying hair, going everywhich way like knotted snakes. You have a very good idea of what I have in my lap right now. I think the problem is that the skein is tied together with multiple knots and I only found and cut one before trying to unwind enough to start stitching.

Why do I bother with this mess instead of rapidly consigning it to the trash can? It is going to be perfect for my mother of the bride. The color is absolutely right and I need a black thread with a different texture than the black Impressions that I am using for the kimono. I need a black with texture and a tad grey showing. So I will patiently unwind my tangles and cut my knots and dream of my geisha's hairstyle as I work.

Needlework teaches you patience. And new swear words.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Break for the Beauty Shop, Part One

The Geisha Wedding
Yesterday Deborah left a comment that I decided to answer here instead of posting a reply comment. She said:

"It works." Oh, indeed it does. What a handsome parrot, and how well it fits into its joyful surroundings. I don't usually enjoy ribbon embroidery, though it's very popular here in South Africa, but I'll make an exception for a feathery tail any time! Thanks so much for sharing, and for talking us through it.

So you're still not going Asian? Hmm .. the year is yet young! Is there a live link anywhere to your Japanese wedding group? I can't raise it, and since my daughter would like me to do her a Japanese picture, it would be really interesting to see what you did with the hair. Call me amnesiac, but I just don't recall. And though we have a very settled Chinese population here in South Africa, who even run the sushi bars(!), Japanese culture for practical purposes doesn't happen, so I can't consult local experts or even peer intently at local Japanese hair!

All the best from South Africa in early spring."

Since I'm just working on side two of the iPhone case and you already know basically what that looks like, how about we talk about hair?  The canvas that Deborah asks about is actually two line drawn canvases by the late Anne Jerlow.  I stitched both for the ANG Auction in Baltimore in 2007.  The photo above is my best attempt back then to take a photo of both canvases when they were finished.  This isn't exactly much help to Deborah, but my original Yahoo Blog is archived and not easily accessible, even to me.  The canvases are mostly line drawn but the hair and hair ornaments on the geishas were painted.  You can see the original canvases on the Tapestry Fair website which distributes Anne's work.


Having the hair painted black was quite helpful since black thread probably won't cover white mono canvas without a bit of "dandruff" showing.  If the canvas Deborah chooses doesn't have black hair, I suggest she color it as black as possible before she starts stitching.

The next few messages are going to be repostings of my original April 2006 ones about the hair of one of the geishas--the one in black on the far left.  I call her the Mother of the Bride.  (The bride is the central figure in pink.)    I hope this helps, Deborah, but remember, you are going to have to adopt this technique to whatever canvas you choose and it may not be the best way to stitch the Japanese themed canvas your daughter wants!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

That Skull Winked at Me!

Since Cha is finished and on the way to Leigh Designs to be a model, I am settling down to finish up the iPhone case.  Side one is finished and I've completed the skull and crossbones border across the top of side two.  I stitched the skulls on the second side, thinking that I would put them in a different place, just to be more interesting, before I started the background grid.  As you can see, one of the eyes in the left skull is very different from the rest.  I ran out of black thread when working on that eye and as I reached for the card to cut another length to finish, I looked down at the skull and saw what a neat pattern I'd get by not finishing the eye hole all in black.  I did a square of holographic purple Kreinik first, then finished the eye with the same light purple JL Walsh silk/wool thread that is used for step one of the background stitch.  It's a touch of whimsy that I hope will help remind the owner of the iPhone case that the little open pocket inside in the lining is on this side of the case.

Before I forget, Elizabeth saw another of Leigh's Brazil Series (Mambo?) in the 60% off bin while she was traveling last week.  She thinks she saw it on sale at this Spartanburg, SC shop.  If you have a hankering to stitch something like Cha, you should follow up on this sale.

Here is the full set of Brazil if you want to check out what Cha's sisters look like.  They are all 12 inches square on 18 count pink mono canvas, so 60% off is a good deal.  I think you could stitch all of them using the ideas I came up with for Cha with only a little modification.

Sorry it took so long to get this posted.  My ISP is having problems this morning.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cha's Final Touches

Parrot Head with Beads and Embroidery

Yesterday I put the final touches on Cha-Cha from Leigh's Brazil Series.  I added a few extra silk ribbons to the end of the pink tail feather, I added a few violet beads to the parrot's head (mostly around the neckline where the Ultrasuede ended), and checked everything for missed or loose stitches.

The Bird
It all looks ok.

The Flowers, Leaves and Fruit
I think Cha is done.  It certainly isn't typical of my usual stitching, which is good.  My New Year's Resolution for 2010 was to not stitch my usual Asian-themed painted canvases this year.  I wanted to try new things and I've stuck to my resolution so far. (But it is only August!  Don't hold your breath I'll make it through all of 2010 Oriental-free.)

The River Silks ribbons didn't work the way I thought they would.  I had planned something more whimsical for the parrot but it turns out silk ribbons make fantastic, fairly realistic feathers and wings.  The extra embellishment I originally planned would detract from the effect.

Attaching the Ultrasuede parrot head, then adding embroidery and beads on top was pretty easy to do--much easier than I expected.  I like how it looks.  I also like the overdyed pink thread in the background, although the faded and splotchy look is not to everyone's taste.

In fact, this over-the-top style is certainly not going to be something every stitcher will want to mimic.  I just have to get out of my stitching rut occasionally and try something new.  I've been talking with a friend about light coverage stitches and integrating various sections of a painted canvas into a coherent whole.  You'll remember that the flowers and leaves are light coverage stitches. The background is all tent stitches to make it a muted background.  Contrasting those two areas with the solid parts of the fruit cluster (particularly the beaded grapes and the long fruit pod) I think helped it all look ok when I added the very solid and flashy parrot with its moving wings.  The image I had in my head the whole time I was stitching Cha was this Escher drawing.

Cha-Cha Finished
I tried to make Cha-Cha look like a piece of old faded fabric, from which the vibrant bird was coming to life into a 3-D existence from a flat two dimensional world.  I succeeded somewhat, I think.

The new challenge will be Cha's finishing but that is up to Leigh Designs.  Cha is on her way to live with Leigh as a model.  Which reminds me, if you are going to the St. Charles trade show in September, my O'jishi will make his debut as a finished piece of art in the Leigh Designs booth.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cha's Tail Feathers Done UPDATED

Cha's Tail Feathers Completed

Cha's tail feathers are done!  [loud cheering]

The important thing to notice here is how the different feathers slant differently to match the orientation of the tail feathers as they were painted.  I had to figure out just how to position the slants but once I had that, all I had to do is cut a long length of ribbon and get to work.  I did have to fill in the tip of the pink feather where my first stitching didn't completely cover but otherwise, this was pretty smooth sailing.

Notice that I left the middle of the long pink and red tail feathers unstitched where there is a dark purple vein.  I decided that looked better than couching a thread or doing a line of stem stitch down the middle.  The feathers turned out to be much more realistic in silk ribbon than I thought they would.  River Silks ribbon does a fantastic job of creating realistic feathers!

UPDATE:  I almost forgot to say that I decided my original plan of tent stitching the dark purple tail feather with JL Walsh silk/wool didn't work as well as I had hoped. The fact that one feather was not in silk ribbon seemed distracting so I just added ribbon stitches on top of the tent stitches and now the purple tail feather is like its neighbors.  When you stitch something it is hard to know if your plans will work out as expected so you have to be flexible and ready to abandon ideas that don't work.  Fortunately, one can often just stitch right over a plan that didn't work out!

I have a few little touches to add before Cha is actually finished, but I need to wait for good natural light to decide whether the things I plan are a good idea or not.  I also need to check for missed stitches, which I do by holding my pieces up to the sun to look for empty spots.

In other news, yesterday I accidentally posted the wrong link to Summer Truswell's auction.  Sorry!  Here is where you can go to look at the items she is selling and read about where the money will go.  It's a good way to pick up some lovely finished needlework either for your collection or to give as a present in the upcoming holiday season.

I'm going to work on the skulls iPhone case for a bit until the weather clears.  I hope to finish that this week so I can get back to Stars!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SF Stitch Sale

Got an email from Debbie last night that announced SF Stitch in San Francisco is having a 70% off sale on all their in-stock canvases!

There is also a sale section of their site and a consignment section.  I imagine that those prices are not discounted any further, but I don't know for sure.

There are some real bargains on the website.  I bet it is even better in person.   Ten enabling points for Debbie!

The photo above is probably a Nan Hempel design from the Christmas stocking section.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Sunday Morning News

Lots of things have been happening here and there.  This week I updated the Chilly Hollow Stitch Guides blog with articles about Rosalie Peters and Lucinda Gregory Rice, both of whom have some stitch guides available for their pieces. I am not certain, but I think in both cases the guides come with the canvases instead of costing extra.

The photo above is from the Santas o'Round the World club that Squiggee (Gail Hendrix) is doing for What's the Point?  It happens to be one of my favorites, China!  You can see the rest of the series (some are stitched and some aren't) up at the What's the Point? website.

More information about this and other clubs here.

Summer Truswell is having an auction of finished pieces to raise money for the swimmer in her life. If you need a stitched present but don't have time to do the work yourself, this is the place!

Speaking of Summer, Elaine asked in the Comments if Summer's finishing book had instructions on making a tote bag similar to the Rabbit Geisha one she made for my mother.  I've shot off an email to Summer asking and will post her reply here when I hear back.  It's the weekend, after all, and Summer is a mom with a few other things to deal with besides my message!

If you just want a nice site to browse over your morning cuppa, you need to spend a little time browsing the National Academy of Needlearts' exhibit winners.  The Exemplary has stunning stitching to enjoy and best of all, some of the pieces will probably turn up as teaching pieces in future years.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Delayed Posting (Beaded Skulls)

Saturday morning my Internet service was down so I didn't get to post this image of the work I've done on the iPhone case.  I decided to skip step four in SharonG's brocade variation and finish up with step 5, which is beading.  As you can see, I put beads in all the rows except for the ones on the left and right side.  I'll wait until finishing to decide whether beads are needed on the right side and will wait until the other side of the case is stitched to add beads to the left side.  I don't want anything close to that area where I can snag threads.  After all, if a thread can snag on anything, it will!

In the above photo I have outlined the bottom skull with black silk. If you compare it to the upper skull which I have not touched, you can see why I wanted to backstitch lines around the area to set it off from the background.

Hopefully I will be able to post this Sunday morning along with progress on Cha.  (Cross your fingers!)

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow