Saturday, May 1, 2010

This and That

Since the lion stitching is pretty slow going right now, I thought I'd post a general message about this and that rather than boring you with a photo of the Stuart Plaid Lion that isn't too much different from what I posted yesterday. One doesn't eat a watermelon in a minute, you know!  Besides, there is lots of interesting stuff in the stitching Blog-o-Sphere you might like to know about.

First of all, Ruth Schmuff has put her first CD of stitches on the iPhone!  Cell phones don't work well in Chilly Hollow or I would be trying to figure out how to afford a smart phone, all the wonderful apps, and a monthly cell phone bill that would keep me in needlepoint threads forever very nicely, thank you.  I hope more folks than Ruth and SuZy Murphy take advantage of smart phone technology so we have more stitch information on the go.  These smart phone apps are terrific for the Big City Stitcher on the go.

Anyone who has followed the story of the 18th Century reproduction embroidered jacket will want to pick up the newest issue of Victoria magazine next week.  It has a feature article about the creation of the jacket.  If you are interested in a behind-the-scenes peek at what it takes to have a magazine publish articles on needlework, you will want to browse Tricia's blog to read how much work was involved to get this published.

Remember Elmer, the candy cane dog canvas I just finished stitching?  (photo above)  He's one of the animal canvases from Kirk and Hamilton, an English painted canvas design team. is having a trunk show of their canvases and says that they create the Elizabeth Bradley designs.  Interesting tip about a great new company!  Here's the blog entry with more photos of Kirk and Hamilton's more classic designs.  If you go to the home page of their website and look at What's New, the very last 8-10 canvases are new Kirk and Hamilton designs with their signature mix of humorous Christmas pieces and traditional designs.

In other gossip, remember Hope Hanley and her books about needlepoint?  Her daughter stitches for The Point of It All in D.C. and the shop blog features some of her current work, including a huge dog rug her mother designed.

Lovers of all things Asian like me will be enthralled with Jane Smith's new Japanese Embroidery project.  With the help of her JE teacher, Jane has simplified a wood block design of a Japanese woman playing with a yo-yo and transferred it onto silk.  She is starting to stitch it in the JE style.  You can see the first stages here and start to imagine all the work she is going to do.

Watching her work is tempting me to start an original design myself, but that will have to wait.  I have too many things to accomplish already this year.

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

Layer One: Mane (Eating the Watermelon)

Yesterday, I finished stem stitching the lion's legs and also covered his body with stitches.  In the photo above, his lower tummy is done in split stitch instead of the stem stitches I used elsewhere on the body to make a smaller and smoother first layer of stitches.  Stomaches often have shorter and smoother fur than areas like the shaggy mane or even the legs.  Remember, this is just the first layer.  I'll go back and add stem stitches using just one ply of my silk or cotton floss on top to add definition and shading to the fur.

Once I finished the first layer of stitches on all four legs and the body of the lion, it was time to stitch the mane around his face.  The mane is heavily padded with two layers of thread, so I can't see the canvas colors here.  They are hidden by the thread layers.  This is why I made a color copy of my canvas before I stitched anything on it.  It is a reference for me to stitch areas like the mane.

Looking at my photo, I added stem stitches  in my brown DMC floss to help me follow the flow of the mane.  These dark stitches are guidelines to help me place other colors.  They also divide the mane up into manageable areas that will be easier to stitch.  Small sections help you keep the flow of the mane going in the right direction.  Just like eating a watermelon-- one slices a watermelon into small segments before eating it.  Stitching a needle painted animal means the critter has to be cut into smaller segments.  You don't "eat" it all at once!

By the way, I switched to a sharp beading needle when I started stitching this padded area.  A crewel needle or a milliner's needle work also.  You just need a sharp tipped needle to both go through the padding layers and to pierce a needlepoint canvas thread in case you want to put a stitch down where there isn't a hole.

After putting in the guidelines for the mane, I stitched the ear using three slanted stitches in my brown DMC floss which I went over several times to make it stand out a bit.  After that, I switched to my beading needle and one ply of the various colors to start adding areas around the face.  In the photo above I've filled in around the top of his head, under his jaw and near the ear.  There's a long way to go but it is just carefully adding stem stitches following how the mane flows.  This isn't hard, it just takes a while because you aren't eating the watermelon as a whole, just segments.

The canvas is starting to take its final form now. At least you can see what the lion will look like on top of the heavily patterned plaid background.

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