Monday, December 24, 2012

Just in time for Christmas

My angel has earned her wings!  It took the better part of a cone--the equivalent of five spools--of Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #032 to finish filling in the layers of wings with the Nobuko stitch.

To celebrate, I worked the leaves in the garland around her hair in a satin stitch with two different shades of green Impressions.  I won't be stitching the flowers until much later so they don't get in my way.

Moving on to the lion, I stitched his ears and nose with pink Petite Very Velvet. More white Medici was used in basketweave for the center of his ears and in an encroaching gobelin stitch for his muzzle.  I finished off his mouth in tent stitches with DMC floss #310.

Wishing all of my readers much peace in their kingdoms, wherever they may be!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Angel progress: winging it

Time and time again, people have asked me the question: "Where do I begin stitching on a painted canvas?"  Pretty much anywhere you want to, with a few exceptions, is my answer.  And this canvas presents one of those few exceptions.

The general rule of thumb in needlepoint is to stitch white and light-colored threads first, to avoid having pesky darker threads traveling to the front of the canvas and rearing their ugly heads to mar your masterpiece.  This angel has such a large expanse of wing area that I really do need to stitch as much of it as I can before moving on.  I've made good progress working the Nobuko stitch in the wing layers with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #032.

 When I was ready for a break, I moved on to the lamb, which also needs to be stitched before I can touch even a smidgen of the angel's dress.  The lamb's head and legs were stitched in basketweave with white Medici from my stash, with gray Medici in tent stitches providing the shading.  Black Petite Very Velvet provided the hooves.

The center portion of the lamb will have to wait for the dress around it to be stitched--very carefully!--since it will be worked in French knots, which I always do after the areas around them are completed.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Angel progress 1

The first step in working this angel was to determine the outline for the stand-up.  The proximity of the angel's left wing to the outside border dictated that the top be more of an arc than an arch. After working out the curve on the computer and printing it out, I slipped the paper under the canvas and traced it using a Fabricmate permanent marker.

Now to stitch the face!  Whenever possible, I like to stitch faces first so I'll have someone pretty peeking out at me while I'm working on the rest of the canvas.  I wanted to tone down the angel's "makeup" a little--I've never used eyeliner in my life.  I used DMC cotton floss #950 for the skin tone and DMC floss #3733 for the shadowing, substituting the latter for the black around the eyes to make it look more like the edge of her eyelids.

 DMC floss #224 and #223 were used for her cheeks and mouth and #898 for her eyes.  I'll add her eyebrows later when I decide which shade of brown to use for her hair.

Next up:  the wings, and there's a lot of stitching to be done.  I opted to simplify these areas by dividing them into layers separated by tent stitches using Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.  I then started filling in the layers with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #032 in a Nobuko stitch, a thread just light enough that the gray painted shading still shows through.   As you can see, I'll be winging it for awhile!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The lighthouse tree

Each year, we put up a tree between our family room and kitchen.  While in the previous two years it's been decked with cylindrical ornaments, this year we're back to lighthouses!

I designed the first lighthouse ornament in 1997 to surprise our youngest son who had a collection of lighthouse models.  Fifteen years later, there are 99 on the tree, representing every state in the U.S. that has a lighthouse, plus representatives from four Canadian provinces, Australia and Argentina.

Hopefully I'll be able to reach 100 U.S. lighthouses in 2013!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A very long-term project

I'll be the first to admit it--I'm a frugal New Englander.  When I first saw this canvas on eBay some 10 years ago or so, I couldn't resist.  We were living in Texas at the time, and the canvas made the trip to the Cape still untouched in my stash.  Looking for something else the other day, I came upon it and decided that its time had arrived--nothing like a long-term project to keep a stitcher out of trouble!

The design is "Peaceable Kingdom" by Joan Thomasson, spotlighting an angel for all seasons.  She stands approximately 15 inches high with an overall width of 11 inches on 18 ct. canvas.  One of the reasons I hadn't worked this canvas yet was because I wasn't sure how to finish it, but I've decided to stitch it as a stand-up.

 The first order of business will be to create an outline for the scene.  I have a few ideas already about the threads and stitches I'd like to use, stash-busting as much as possible.  But with the holidays fast approaching, my time for a trip to my LNS to see first-hand the colors and textures I'd be using is limited.  So I'll work on this canvas a little at a time, using what threads I already have.  No way will I have her finished this year, but next year is another story!  I'll post from time to time on my progress when I'm not decorating mantels and baking cookies.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A double finale

It's nice to know I have a leg up on next year's gift-giving--I've finished the mini-socks for the new baby and her 2-year-old brother!

Presents for the sock on the left were worked in a 5 x 5 Scotch stitch (DMC floss #699) and a framed mosaic stitch (DMC floss #321), trimmed with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

Using the same Vineyard Silk Classic "Holiday" that I'd used for the earmuffs, I worked his scarf in a slanted gobelin stitch over four threads and added looped turkey work "fringe" on the tails.

For the presents on the baby's sock, I used Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #5760 in a 5 x 5 Scotch stitch, trimmed with DMC floss #962, and DMC floss #3716 in a diagonal mosaic stitch trimmed with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #031.  The scarf was stitched in braided knitting with Vineyard Silk Classic "Cherry Tree" with more looped turkey work.

The only difference between the original design for both socks is the way I depict the penguins--girl penguins have a pointy beak and "eyelashes."  Changing the colors and stitches to personalize each sock for its recipient makes a world of difference, as you see here!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Heel, toe, one-two-three-four

Moving right along! 

I worked the heel and toe of the little boy's sock in a skip-tent stitch with Vineyard Silk Classic "Holly" and "Holiday."  The penguin's earmuffs were added in tent stitch and French knots with "Holiday."  Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002 in tent stitches formed the name and date.

The heel and toe for the baby girl's sock used the same pink Petite Very Velvet as was used on the cuff.  The name and date were added with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #092.  The girl penguin's earmuffs were worked the same as the boy's, using Vineyard Silk Classic "Cherry Tree."

Only the scarves and presents remain to be stitched--I'm almost there!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yikes, stripes!

The background of Big Brother's stocking is finished with the addition of candy cane stripes in Vineyard Silk Classic "Holly" and "Holiday."

I worked the background of the cuff with "Holly" in a diagonal mosaic stitch, which is easy to compensate around the letters of the name.

Like the other penguin, this one has the white sections stitched with two strands of Medici.  I added eyes in Smyrna crosses with DMC #5 perle cotton #310.  Using Silk & Ivory "Pumpkin," I worked the beak in an upright gobelin stitch and the flippers in a satin stitch.  Now I have a little penguin face peering at me as I stitch the rest of the mini-sock!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A background for Baby

The checkerboard pattern behind the little girl penguin is finished!  The diagonal rows of Scotch stitch in Vineyard Silk Classic "Bright White" and "Blossom" created the soft, quilted look I was aiming for.

I moved on to the inside white sections of the penguin's body, using two strands of white Medici from my stash in basketweave for the face and tummy and a slanted gobelin stitch under the wings.

With two mini-sock projects underway at the same time, I think I'm actually working a little faster than I normally would on a single canvas.  Time to finish the background on the other sock and make decisions about the toes and heels of each!