Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Hall, Philadelphia--the birthplace of The United States of America 240 years ago tomorrow with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

I designed and stitched this piece four years ago for the July/August 2016 issue of Needlepoint Now to mark the 40th anniversary of the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG).  ANG's anniversary celebration took place during its annual seminar in Philadelphia. 

The sky behind Independence Hall is definitely the largest area I've ever needle-blended!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ivory Angel - The finale!

Folks who follow this blog will probably be as relieved as I am to see this day arrive:  the Ivory Angel stocking is finished!

The area behind the name was stitched in basketweave with Vineyard Silk Classic Natural, with the name stitched with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V.  On top of the basketweave, another border of slanted Gobelin stitches, braided knitting and slanted Gobelin stitches was added to mirror the border at the edge of the cuff.

When I marked the area for the cuff, I had added three additional rows to give the finisher more flexibility turning the top over.  I checked with Mary Agnes Rhudy Cussen at Needle Nicely in Vero Beach, Florida, to see how those last few rows shoulld be stitched.  She advised a row of tent stitches abutting the last row to maintain the integrity of the outside slanted Gobelin stitches, so that's what I did.

This is my fourth stocking finish in 18 months--not a feat I care to repeat anytime soon!  But to paraphrase Kermit the Frog in the song The Rainbow Connection, "I did just what I set out to do!"

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Ivory Angel - Crawling to the finish line

Creative Avoidance is a term I learned from designer Judy Harper.  As it relates to needlepoint, it involves working on absolutely anything and everything except for the project you're supposed to be stitching.  While I've continued to put in a few stitches a day on Ivory Angel, I've also finished two other canvases--smaller and much more colorful than the stocking.

It's partially my own fault--leaving nothing else to be done but filling in the gold of the vine and working on the ivory cuff.  I'd also been dragging my feet about stitching the angel's hair, one of my least favorite things to do.  But she's now completely coiffed, worked with two strands of Burmilana in long/short and satin stitches.  Some "highlights" were added with one strand of vintage DMC Medici wool on top of the previously stitched areas.

The edge of the cuff has been started with the same Vineyard Silk Classic Natural that had been used for the angel's dress.  A row of slanted Gobelin stitches over three threads abuts the tan Petite Very Velvet, followed by a row of encroaching oblong cross stitches and another row of slanted Gobelin stitches.

I'll finish filling in the vine with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V, then move the canvas on stretcher bars for the final task of working the cuff.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ivory Angel - Still plugging away

Work along the top of the stocking below the cuff has reached the half-way mark.  The vines are filled with Vineyard Silk Classic Bark and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V in tent stitches and basketweave.  The tassel in the center uses the same threads in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

One bird has been stitched so far, using the same white and gray Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct. and in the same encroaching Gobelin stitch used for the angel's wings.  I'll add the bird's eye and beak later when the other bird is finished.

I'll need to get more Kreinik thread to finish this section as well as some thread to work the angel's hair.  Then the canvas will move one more time on the stretcher bars so I can work on the cuff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ivory Angel - So close and yet so far

There hasn't been a lot of time to stitch this stocking lately:  other commitments and yard work seem to be getting in the way.  But the background for the top of the stocking is now completed with Petite Very Velvet V604.

I've started to fill in the vines with Vineyard Silk Classic Bark and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V, worked all in basketweave so progress is slow.  At this point, I just need to keep chipping away!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ivory Angel - Progress on two fronts

Starting in on the background at the top of the canvas, I turned the stretcher bars upside-down to make it easier to reach.  The treatment here is the same as the toe of the stocking:  Petite Very Velvet V604 in basketweave.  It's the kind of stitching best done in good light, lest all those faint white lines around the birds get accidentally covered.

Going around all those vines can get a little tedious, so when I'd reached the half-way mark, I added the name to the cuff of the stocking.  The chart for this, like the three other stockings before it, was provided by Needle Nicely in Vero Beach, Florida (  I stuck a piece of paper behind the name before taking the photo so you could see the lettering more clearly.

Back to the background and filling in!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ivory Angel - A full set of wings

After moving up the canvas on stretcher bars, I started filling in the little bit of white remaining when I ran out of thread as well as all the gray shaded areas.  The wings are all worked in Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct. in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

I'm really happy with the way the wings turned out.  There's plenty of contrast between the color of the background and the white of the wings, and the encroaching Gobelin stitch gives the wings a higher profile.

Time to move up to the arched area over the angel's head!