Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stash enhancement!

A few days ago, I visited my LNS to buy more threads for the angel canvas.  First up:  more DMC cotton floss #304 to finish her dress.

I also needed to finish the lower hillside on either side of the angel.  My preference was to continue with the Weeks Dye Works #5 perle cotton "Hunter," and I lucked out!  Two more skeins awaited me at the shop, and this section is now complete as well.  I'm a little more than two-thirds of the way through stitching this canvas--only the lion and its surrounding area remain.

I purchased the threads I'll need for the lion's mane and ordered some threads for its body--hopefully they'll arrive soon!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Angel progress: flowers and fleece

The little wooly lamb is finished!  The center  section was stitched in French knots, using two strands of white Medici.  Each knot was tightly wrapped once, and almost every canvas intersection was stitched, to give the lamb's coat a dense, realistic appearance.

With that much accomplished, it was time to attack the flowers in the garlands in the angel's hair and around the lamb's neck.  More French knots!  This time I used Vineyard Silk Classic Bright White, Peppermint and Berry.  While the same stitch was used for the flowers and the lamb's coat, the choice of thread creates a different look for each.  The sheen of the silk thread gives vibrancy to the flowers, while the Medici wool gives the lamb's coat a matte appearance.

I'm now a little more than half-way done with this canvas.  Everything stitched to date has used threads from my stash, but I'm slowly but surely running out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Heading to the hills

Still working from my stash, I began filling in the areas behind the angel to create a scene in the background.  The most distant hill was stitched with one strand of The Thread Gatherer's Sheep's Silk "Dark Moss," a 50/50 silk/wool blend.  The stitch here is an oblong cross, worked horizontally so the variegated thread would produce some peaks in the area.

The closer hill used Weeks Dye Works #5 perle cotton "Hunter" in a diagonal cashmere stitch, which gives the illusion of movement for "rolling" hills.

I'm still testing threads and stitches for the closest hill, just above the expanse of brown "ground" at the bottom of the canvas.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seeing red

Since my last post, I've been concentrating exclusively on stitching the angel's dress.  Using four plies of DMC cotton floss, I used #304 for the main areas and #815 for the shading of the dress folds.

I've completely exhausted my stash of DMC floss #304--I figure two more skeins will easily wrap up this section.  I was able, however, to finish the fold lines.

My list of threads that I need to pick up at my LNS is growing--time to move on to another section of the canvas that I can stitch!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Angel progress: a head-and-shoulders shot

The angel now  has a hairdo and eyebrows, stitched with one strand of Silk & Ivory "Chocolate."  The hair was worked in a satin stitch in sections, following the painted shading to establish the contours.  I think she looks a little like a young Brooke Shields--not a bad thing at all!  The flowers in the garland will be stitched at a much later date, when I've finished the rest of the top half of the canvas and I can turn it right-side up once and for all.

With that much done, it was executive decision time--what thread to use for the dress.  I'm feeling particularly frugal these days--you would, too, if you had to pay a hefty corporate excise tax at the end of the year for the privilege of doing business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  All the threads I've used so far have been from my stash, so I decided to use DMC cotton floss for the dress. 

What shade of red to choose was another story!  Funny how people can have strong likes and dislikes about color.  Red is a festive color and I like it a lot, but I really dislike combining an orange-red with pink roses.  And being as fond as I am of pink roses, the shade of red with which the dress was painted had to go.  I do like the combination of pink with a cranberry red, however, so the predominant red is being stitched with DMC floss #304.  I also decided to simplify the shading for the folds of the dress, stitching it in one color--DMC floss #815--instead of two as painted, and skipping over some of the fold lines to make the dress look a little less busy.  If you click to enlarge the photo, you'll see the faint shadow of the darker lines showing through the stitched areas, like the "fugitive" paints on an oil canvas.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Angel progress: hitting the ground, stitching

Continuing to work on the background for the angel, I moved to the bottom section where the "scene" in my mind calls for some tall grass.  After several attempts on doodle canvas, I realized that a pattern stitch wouldn't work here--too uniform and artificial-looking.

So I stitched an underlayment of ground in basketweave with DMC floss #433.  Four plies of floss were used here, as I didn't want the profile of this area too high.  The coverage is a little skimpy in spots but that doesn't concern me, as I'll be stitching over it later when I add the grass.

A photo of a "sea of brown," as DH called it, may be a little boring, but sometimes needlepoint is a step-by-step process!  I've also temporarily "clipped" the lion's claws by stitching over the bottom, but the black that still shows will guide me in their placement when I stitch them, too, later on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2013!  The first morning of the New Year dawned cold but sunny here on the Cape, with a bright blue sky overhead.  What a coincidence, since there's a bright blue sky over my angel as well!

Since my last post, I've been up to my ears cooking for a houseful of menfolk--a situation I actually welcomed, since my two sons visiting for the holidays do love Ma's home-cooking!  But I did manage to sneak in some stitching, working on the beginning of a background for the angel.

The fact that the lion isn't centered on the angel did bother me, and I thought long and hard about how to remedy the problem.  I've decided to create a "scene" behind the angel to pull the design together, and my first step was to create a sky.  And, as I'm so fond of doing, I chose to stitch the sky by needle-blending!

Since the canvas is so tall, I turned it upside down to make stitching easier and began at the horizon, working up to the top of the canvas.  I used five consecutive values of blue DMC cotton floss--#775, 3841, 3325, 3755 and 334--to gradually intensify the sky as it naturally appears.  Using four plies of floss, I began at the horizon with DMC floss #775, stitching seven canvas threads deep across the canvas and staggering the bottom stitches of basketweave so a line wouldn't be created.  After stitching straight across the canvas, I subtracted one ply of DMC floss #775 and added one ply of DMC floss #3841 to the mix, repeating the process.

 When I finished stitching the section with four plies of DMC floss #3841, I started adding one ply of the next value--DMC floss #3325.  By the time I reached the top of the canvas, I was using two plies of DMC floss #3755 and two plies of DMC floss #334.  Voila!--a realistic-looking sky!