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!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas Angel - Part 4


The angel's robe is now complete, stitched in basketweave with red Petite Very Velvet and DMC floss #498.  Very lush and festive!

In my last post, I forgot to mention that I'd worked a row of tent stitches with Vineyard Silk Classic Evening Haze over the lines in the fur trim where the robe closes in the front and at the hem.  French knots here would have been overkill--I wanted to show just a hint of the break.

The trim on the angel's torso and one sleeve is done and part of the hem begun, all areas where I don't have more stitching to do.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas Angel - Part 3


With the angel's wings completed, it was time to begin some of the fur trim.  For this I'm using Vineyard Silk Classic Bright White in French knots.  White is a tricky shade when it comes to picking threads. There's just enough difference between the white DMC floss of the wings and the white Vineyard Silk.  There's also a big difference between the smooth surface of encroaching Gobelin stitches in the wings and the French knot trim to provide the contrast I was looking for.

Back now to stitching the bottom of her robe with red Petite Very Velvet!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The rest of the story


Those of you who have already received the November/December issue of Needlepoint Now may recognize this canvas.  Let It Snow is a design by Machelle Somerville, general manager of Peacock Alley Needlepoint in Ada, Michigan, which I had the pleasure of stitching for my "Making It Simple" column.

Since the deadline for this column was August 15, my local finisher had plenty of time to transform the canvas into a pillow insert.  It's surrounded and backed in slate blue velveteen and edged simply in self-welting.  I love how the velveteen adds another level of texture to the silk, silk/wool, cotton and Kreinik metallic threads used to stitch the canvas.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Adding some color


With more of the second wing stitched, I took a break from the white and started in on the red areas.  The tip of the angel's hood, her torso and sleeves were stitched with red Petite Very Velvet, with shadows provided by DMC floss #498.

Her mittens and the tiny speck of her dress peeking out from the hem were stitched in basketweave with dark green Impressions.

When I finish the second wing, it will be time to tackle some of the fur trim so I don't leave all those French knots for last!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An in-between project

Stuck between waiting for some embellishments to finish one canvas and the arrival of another canvas, I raided my stash to find something I could work on in the evenings.  This is Joan Thomasson's 1999 Christmas angel, which I've had tucked away for ages.  My fingers were so itchy the other night that I started working on her before even taking a photo!

I first worked her face in basketweave with DMC cotton floss, adding individual cross stitches for the eyes and mouth.  The hair was worked with two strands of DMC Medici wool in satin and long stitches.

Since I plan to stitch all the fur trim on her costume with French knots, I stitched a background behind her head and under the hem of her dress in basketweave with some blue floss to make the finisher's job easier at the end of the project.

The individual segments of her wing were first outlined with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #032 in tent stitch, then filled in with white DMC floss in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.  One wing done, one to go!