Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cute as a button (or two, or three....)

I'm doing a happy dance--Geoffrey is finally finished!

Smart dresser that he is, Geoffrey is sporting a springy striped tie worked in basketweave and tent stitches with DMC Satin Floss #SB5200 and #S552. His pocket handkerchief was worked in a diagonal mosaic stitch with DMC Satin Floss #S552.

Yesterday, I finally made it to the local fabric store in search of buttons, and hit a bonanza. I'd been dissatisfied with my attempts to stitch buttons for Geoffrey's vest--neither the stitches nor the threads approached the look I was aiming for. Problem solved! I found these wonderful teeny buttons at the fabric store, and actually managed to sew them on straight. His weathered gray coat buttons blend in nicely with the gray of his chalk-striped jacket.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Still plugging along

At long last, Geoffrey's vest is finished. He doesn't have any buttons for the vest yet--I need to do some button shopping for his coat, and want the two styles to be compatible. But at least you can now get the full effect of the houndstooth pattern.

I've also finished his shirt, continuing the tone-on-tone striped pattern from the collar, using three plies of white DMC floss.

I shipped out a trunk show today to Old World Designs in Menlo Park, California (www.oldworlddesigns.com), which will extend from February 4 through February 25. So with not much remaining to be stitched on Geoffrey, I'm hoping to be able to finish him pretty quickly!

Monday, January 23, 2012


I was snowed in yesterday, so spent all morning and much of the afternoon painting canvases. But in between the Patriots-Ravens playoff (yeah!) and the Giants-'49ers game (boo!), I managed to finish Geoffrey's coat.

After working a little more on his vest, it became clear that this gentleman needed a crisp, white shirt! The collar was worked with three plies of white DMC floss in rows of basketweave three threads wide, alternating with a row of stem stitches.

I still have a fair amount of stitching to do, but I think I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A little more progress

Poor Geoffrey--his mother seems to be taking her good, sweet time getting him dressed! I finally squeezed in a little stitching time last night, so I thought I'd post another wardrobe update.

One lapel of his coat is now finished. What I thought would be a satin stitch filler actually turned out to be a vertical diagonal cashmere stitch because of the placement of the stripes. When I started working on the lapel on the right, I turned the canvas 90 degrees and began stitching a horizontal diagonal cashmere stitch.

Just for fun, I also started filling in the houndstooth pattern on his vest, using DMC floss #413 in basketweave. It's a darker thread than the Vineyard Silk Classic "Heron" used on his coat, so it stands out nicely. It's back to painting for me now, but maybe tonight I'll have a chance to rendevous with Geoffrey again!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A little here, a little there

I really have been pretty diligent in working on Geoffrey's wardrobe in the last few days--just not so diligent about taking progress photos!

I've established the pattern for Geoffrey's coat--a chalk stripe--using Vineyard Silk Classic "Heron" in vertical slanted gobelin stitches over three threads, alternating with a vertical row of tent stitches using Vineyard Silk Classic "Bright White." I've stitched the white stripes on one of the lapels, too, but need to decide how to fill in the gray. The stripes on the lapels are oriented on the diagonal since the fabric for this part of the coat is cut on the bias.

Geoffrey's trousers have been stitched, too, with Vineyard Silk Classic "Pewter" in slanted gobelin stitches over two threads alternating with a row of tent stitches.

His outfit may be looking a bit monochromatic at this point, but I'm hoping to add a little "zing" with my treatment of his accessories! And no, I still haven't added the houndstooth pattern to his vest. I wanted to get the larger elements "set in stone" first--grays can be funny, tending either to overtones of blue or brown, and getting part of the coat and trousers finished will make it easier for me to choose just the right secondary shade for the vest.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A vested interest

Each night this week, I've been working a little on Geoffrey, beginning with his houndstooth vest, or waistcoat. This part of his wardrobe is a scaled-down version of his friend Neville's vest (right), worked in mosaic stitches with DMC #5 perle cotton. Because Geoffrey is one-quarter the size of Neville, his houndstooth pattern was reduced to tent stitches.

Like the edging for Neville's vest, Geoffrey's was worked in DMC #5 perle cotton--#415--in diagonal oblong cross stitches over two threads, but the body was stitched in basketweave. Because there are a lot of stops and starts in stitching around the darker areas, I approached this as if I were stitching around letters in a canvas with a name--a stocking cuff, for instance--or with a saying. When I reach an area with darker areas, I simply skip over them to the next lighter thread to be stitched--it makes for a smoother basketweave surface this way. Four plies of DMC floss #415 were used for the background, giving a lighter-weight appearance to Geoffrey's vest while maintaining the look of a "hard" finish.

I need to go back now to fill in the houndstooth pattern itself--stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By request

My "chicks" have come home to roost--for now! Yesterday, the models for my designs based on The Nutcracker ballet arrived from the finisher--Stitchery Square in Camden, Maine.

Many of you had asked that I show them here when they'd been finished, and I was so pleased with the way they turned out, I just had to share. They've been finished exactly per my instructions: slightly raised, with flat backs, and simple cording--I'm not keen on "fussy" ribbons and such, as I think they distract from the design itself.

You'll note that the cording ( the velveteen backing, too) exactly matches the background color of the individual ornament. Over the years, my finisher and I have worked out our own "system" to make her job easier: I mark each canvas with the DMC number used in the background before I send them off. That way she doesn't have to fret over a color match--selecting just the right shade of blues and greens, for instance, can be particularly tricky.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Rogues Gallery

These "little people" have been hanging out at our house since early December, but DH announced yesterday morning that he was taking down the Christmas tree. I wished him luck and headed to my studio to paint. When I finally emerged at lunchtime, this is what I found on the loveseat in the family room--102 cylindrical ornaments, all lined up and waiting for me to put away!

Some will go back in storage, while the lucky ones will be put aside for the trunk show next month at Old World Designs in California. I began stitching these about 18 years ago and, with one exception, are all of my own design. I've never seen them assembled in quite this way before, and couldn't miss the opportunity to snap a photo!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Savile Row: The Spring Line

Where have I been for the past week? Well, painting mostly, in preparation for a trunk show next month at Old World Designs in Menlo Park, California. But I've also been noodling a new design for the Savile Row series--something a little lighter and brighter for spring, but just as dapper as the gents sporting their woolies.

If any of you read the September/October 2011 issue of Needlepoint Now, you may recognize the outfit on the fellow pictured here. I used Neville, an 11-inch-square design, in that issue to illustrate how easy it can be to replicate fabrics and patterns in needlepoint using simple threads and stitches. Geoffrey, the gentleman I'm introducing today, is a scaled-down version of Neville--only 5-1/2 inches square.

Because he's only one-quarter the size of Neville, Geoffrey needed to have the pattern for his houndstooth waistcoat resized, using tent stitches rather than the mosaic stitches worked in the original design. I also hope to use some different threads from the original in order to mimic lighter-weight fabrics.

I suspect progress on Geoffrey will be a bit slow, as I'm back in paint-by-day, stitch-by-night mode, but do come back to visit--I'm hoping Geoffrey will be as sartorially splendid as his friends!