When Rebecca Wood's mini banner Winter was posted on Needlepoint Nation Stash Exchange some time ago, it was love at first sight for me. Everything about it appealed: the serenity of the scene, the warmth exuded from the lighted windows of the house, and the delicious blue-green with which it was painted. Because of its size--half of it mounted on stretcher bars and the rest rolled up with clips--it became my traveling companion. But I also had other canvases to stitch, so it's taken longer than normal to reach a TADA moment.
I decided to stitch all the background (except for the sky, done in basketweave) in an encroaching Gobelin stitch, with other design elements worked in a variety of decorative stitches to make them pop. Why encroaching Gobelin? It's a smooth stitch that's ideal for blending one shade into another and which supports the theme of serenity.
Some folks give encroaching Gobelin a bad rap. I had one person email me, saying she wanted to stitch a canvas I'd featured in a "Making It Simple" column in Needlepoint Now, but was looking for an alternative to encroaching Gobelin. "It's a nasty stitch--I hate it and will never, ever do it," she added. Wow--strong stuff! I've found this stitch works up more easily if done on the diagonal--it makes it simpler for me, anyway, to see where the needle should nestle the thread inside the previous stitch. Every time I do this stitch, I think back to when, as a kid, my mother served a dinner of fish. When I complained that there were bones in the fish, my exasperated mother--a terrific cook--retorted, "That's why God gave you a tongue!" Well, when it comes to the encroaching Gobelin stitch, that's why needle manufacturers give their product a pointed end.
The lovely blue-greens were provided by three values of Impressions and all the snow by Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 032. The house was worked in a diagonal oblong cross stitch with #8 pearl cotton and the sled in more pearl cotton. The red cardinals were stitched in basketweave with red Trio, with their wings added in a padded satin stitch. The snowman's body was worked in a diagonal mosaic stitch, with a scarf created by red Trio and dark green Impressions in a slanted Gobelin stitch.
The finished canvas just makes me smile, and I hope my daughter-in-law, decorator extraordinaire, will like it, too!