Monday, June 6, 2011

The Winners of the One Million Page Views Giveaway

The winners have been chosen.  The Tassel Wreath winner is Pat from Illinois and the Haunted House winner is Maryellen Seeley.

Congratulations to you two.  Please email me your addresses so I can get your prizes in the mail to you.  My email address is chilly hollowat hotmaildot com.

Many thanks to all the folks who entered.  It was great fun talking to all of you.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Blame Ruth For This, Too

Since Ruth posted the final photo of her latest mystery class (everyone knows which canvas Ruth has picked but no one--not even Ruth--knows what will be done to it) this morning, I thought you'd like to see what she does when she's not tempting me to play with tulle on canvas.

The next two mystery classes are posted on her shop website.  She sends out mail order lessons the Tuesday after the real class so you can sign up for some long distance mystery solving if you like.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

It's Ruth's Fault We Are Going Shopping

One Side of Cat Topiary Garden
Well, actually it is my fault, too.  Let me explain.

When I finished stitching the background trees of dede's cat topiary garden, I immediately started stitching the next set of trees--the two big spruces on either side of the canvas.  Take a look at the photo above.  This background is all done and I've got  two-thirds of the big spruce on the left stitched.  What's wrong with this picture?

The background stitch is larger than the tiny stitch I choose for the spruce tree.  So the background is coming forward while the tree recedes.  Oops!

Any canvas that has a really light area in the back and a dark area in the front runs into this problem.  Light colors tend to come forward towards the viewer while dark colors recede.  Because the scale of Woven Diamonds in the background is larger than the tiny Double Stitch I am using for the spruce tree, the light area in the back has become even more prominent.  So what do I do?  Well, first of all I ripped out all the spruce tree stitches.   Secondly, I went shopping!

Once you finish stitching the background, grab the spare change from the couch cushions and head to the fabric store, and take your canvas with you.  We need tulle.  We are going to completely cover the needlepoint canvas with a piece of tulle.

For those of you who aren't familiar with bridal gowns, prom dresses, or ballet costumes, tulle is netting with smaller holes.  Occasionally tulle is called illusion, and shortly we'll see why.

Tulle can be used for mosquito nets draped around beds or it can make beautiful bridal veils.  (The one hundred percent nylon type is probably fire resistant but other kinds are pretty flammable. I'm just mentioning this because you don't want to use tulle on a project for a child or that will end up in a kitchen or near a fireplace.)

I took my canvas to Joann's Fabrics to browse their selection.  At Joann's tulle comes in three varieties--a matte finish, a shiny finish and a matte finish with sparkles in it.  I loved the sparkles but they come off so I confined my browsing to the matte and shiny finishes.

I laid a piece of shiny green tulle over the canvas, covering it completely, and looked at my stitched area.  The green was too lime but it did make the background stitches softer and less prominent.  I tried all the shades of blue, the pinks, the purples, even the brown and the gray. Actually, I would encourage you to put all the colors availaable over your needlepoint canvas and see which you like best.  I found aqua, black, gray and brown to look the best--not exactly the colors I would have expected!  (My local Joann's didn't have emerald green for me to try but that might work, too. )  Pink didn't look bad either but I bought aqua since I have black tulle at home in my stash already.  Here's my aqua tulle laying on top of my canvas.

Since cat topiary garden is on 13x15 stretcher bars and the design itself is roughly 13 1/2 inches tall by 11 1/4 inches wide, you need to buy a piece of tulle smaller than the outside dimensions (15x13) but an inch or so larger than the design itself (13 1/2 x 11 1/4). So we need a piece of tulle that is 14 1/2 x 12 1/4, roughly.  However, tulle is sold by the yard or fraction of the yard.  Usually you have to buy half a yard to get what you need off bolts of tulle that are 45 inches wide so there will be lots left over.  But that's ok. I spent 64 cents on my tulle with a coupon and tax.  It's around $1.50-$2 a yard depending on where you buy it and what finish the tulle has.  The shiny stuff with sparkles costs more.

I am sure you are scratching your head at this point, but now that you've picked the tulle that you like seeing your needlepoint canvas through best, I'll explain what the tulle is for.  Remember I said tulle is sometimes called illusion?  Look at this photo and compare it to the one at the top of the page.

Black versus Aqua
What you see in the photograph is a layer of black tulle laid over the left half of the canvas and a layer of aqua tulle laid over the right half.  See the stitches I've done in the top margin using the Splendor I used for the background stitches?  The left square is covered in black tulle, the middle square is uncovered, and the right square is covered in aqua tulle.  The layer of black tulle darkens the background on the left while the layer of aqua tulle softens the background stitches on the right and makes the trees I've stitched look misty, like there is fog.  The tulle adds an illusion to the needlepoint canvas, either of shadow or fog.  I went for the foggy look and will use the aqua tulle.  What you choose is up to you.  You can even omit adding tulle to your canvas altogether and pretend your background stitches are not trying to take over the design.  Or you can rip out all that background (which is not an option for me--I prefer experimenting to see if I can mute the effect) and find another smaller stitch.  Your canvas--your decision.

I hope you go the mad scientist route with me, however.  Overcoming problems in your needlepoint is how you get to be a better stitcher and experiments are fun!

My plan is to rip out the stitches on the spruce tree, put a single layer of aqua tulle on top of my canvas, then stitch the rest of the design right through the tulle.  

This is getting a little long so why don't we break for now?   I'll explain how the tulle is attached tomorrow.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Because Vicky Asked....

Recently Vicky posted this in the comments, "Congratulations on the numbers is right! why don't you tell us all some day how many years you have been Chilly Hollow blog and what inspired you to start blogging, as you started it way before everybody else... "

So I dug out the archives to find my first official blog postings are dated August 14, 2005.  I was curious about the possibilities of blogging and had a little free time to play with the computer here and there that year.   I have to admit, though, that I didn't post again until January 31, 2006 as I was experimenting with various blogging tools and deciding if I really wanted to commit to a blog.  Starting in January of 2006 I posted fairly regularly--usually 4-5 times a week.  And I've kept it up with only a few breaks for vacation, sick days, power outages and the like.

Blog was at Yahoo until mid-2009 when Yahoo essentially closed down their blogging system.  I knew it was coming so I'd started simultaneously posting at Blogger earlier that year and Blog moved exclusively to Google's Blogger in July of 2009.

As to why I started blogging, I've always been a writer but earlier in my life I wrote letters.  When I discovered the ANG email list around 1999 when my husband gave me his castoff work computer, I wrote messages about needlepoint there a lot.  You could say I'm a blabbermouth!  I'm endlessly fascinated with needlepoint and want to use my writing skills to promote it, particularly painted canvases which are my first love.  Being able to do it on a computer (they've always fascinated me) is just a bonus since I am not close to other needlepointers, local guild chapters or even shops.  The Internet is how I connect with folks who are interested in the same things I am.

I continue to explore the social and educational online experience, having played around with Facebook some over the last 6 months or so.  But blogging works best with my personal style, so I doubt I'll do much with Facebook or Twitter.

Hope that answered your questions.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at