Friday, December 12, 2014

Decorating Santa's tree

It's been way too long since blog readers have seen this jolly fellow:  an Amanda Lawford Santa.  I started stitching him well over a year ago and had made great progress until I came to a screeching halt.  Not for lack of enthusiasm about the project, mind you, but overwhelmed by the size of it.  I had previously finished two very large projects, the Peaceable Kingdom angel and the Toyland Rocking Horse, when I picked up Santa.

All but the tree and the bow on a present was completed when Santa got sidelined in my office/studio.  I just plain ran out of steam!  Feeling incredibly guilty, I picked him up again recently in hopes of finishing him this year.

The bottom photo shows the tree as it was painted.  It's now been worked with four shades of Impressions in a combination of satin and long/short stitches.  Two strands of Impressions were used throughout to let the tree hold its own against Santa's substantial beard.

French knots of Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 032 form the garland.  Hot pink, purple, and royal blue Kreinik braid were worked in Smyrna crosses and a Leviathan variation for the ornaments.  And yes, Virginia, those little sparkles of gold really are beads!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A zooey finale!

It's done!  The last paw prints were added and the lettering worked in DMC floss 321.

The final step was to add a border of slanted Gobelin stitches with DMC #5 perle cotton to make finishing a little easier.  I visualize a red velveteen backing and cording for this piece to accentuate the lettering.

As the owner of my LNS pointed out to me some time ago, I'm a big fan of black and white--there's something really crisp and clean about the combination!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dogs and Cats -- More progress

Guesstimating that about two-thirds of this canvas is now done.

With more of the inside basketweave background completed, you can see more clearly the distinction between it and the T-stitch outer border.  The weight of the threads in each area also comes into play:  I'm using three strands of floss for the basketweave but #5 perle cotton for the outside.  It's a simple yet effective way to create a border.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Dogs and Cats - Part 2

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday--I know I did!  And this morning looks more like White Friday on the Cape, with big, fat snowflakes twirling around.  Any holiday shopping I might do today will be from the comfort of my own home!

Just to give you an idea of where I'm going on the "Zoo" canvas, I've started the outside border background with a T-stitch using DMC #5 perle cotton.  The inside border background is being worked in basketweave with three strands of DMC cotton floss.

The paw prints are being stitched in an interlocking/encroaching Gobelin stitch with Felicity's Garden:  Cast-Iron Black for the dog prints and Baby Squirrel for the cat prints.  So far, so good!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Going to the dogs....and cats

What do you stitch for some young friends, who are fast assembling their own menagerie?  This is what I came up with--a design for a little door hanger.

I needed something to stitch "right this very minute." so didn't bother to do a full paint of the dog and cat prints surrounding the "welcome."  It will be a good project to work on in between cooking and cleaning to get ready for Thanksgiving company!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas Angel - Finale

She's done!  A gazillion French knots later, the Christmas Angel is ready to step out for the holidays.  Remember the final scene in the movies White Christmas and Holiday Inn, when Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen appear onstage in front of a backdrop of falling snow?  That's what I think of every time I look at this angel!

The hardest part of stitching this canvas was adding a few more French knots around the lantern after the charms--in two parts and tacked together with Kreinik metallic thread--had been attached.

It's too late for her to make an appearance this year, but she'll go in the queue for finishing in 2015.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Angel - almost there!

The first change to the original design of the Christmas Angel came when I started working on the sleeve on the left side.  The photo that accompanied the canvas showed the entire sleeve stitched in white, but there was a vertical line painted that didn't quite make sense to me.  I decided to treat the area to the left of the line as a stole, which would make the cuff of the robe more in proportion to the one on the right side.

Rummaging through my stash for a green overdyed thread, which would tie in the gloves and the tiny spot peeking at the hem, I couldn't find just the right blue/green shade.  So I made my own overdye, using one strand each of two Burmilana greens, working the stole in a diagonal oblong cross stitch.

Included with the canvas was a lantern charm that has some cut-out areas, so I stitched the area that will fall behind the charm with yellow DMC floss to let a little flame show through later.  The chain for the lantern was stitched with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

There are a bunch of French knots still to go on the fur trim, but I hope to wrap this project up by the end of the week!