Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The fruits of a washed-out weekend

The long Memorial Day weekend proved to be chilly and rainy here on the Cape, definitely not conducive to weeding my perennial garden or planting window boxes.  So I staged my own stitch-in, working like a crazy lady on the Toyland Rocking Horse canvas.

The body of the horse is finished, worked in Petite Very Velvet, and the background under the horse has been completely stitched with Vineyard Silk Classic "Tea."  I'm really happy with the shade of green--it blends in well with the Wildflowers "Evergreen" holly behind the toys and looks great against the tan of the horse.  It will also show off the white mane well when I get to that section, but I'm still waiting on the arrival of the rest of the background thread.

So, until my order comes in, I'll have to work on a bit of this-and-that to keep the ball rolling!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Half a horse, plus

I've been working diligently on the rocking horse, using Petite Very Velvet V604 in basketweave, and am happy to report that the horse's body is half-done!  Some of you may have trouble, like I do, guestimating how much PVV is needed for a project.  So here's a tip:  the leg below the garland and over to the right of the stirrup required one card and one 18-inch length of thread into the second card.

My choice for the background on this canvas is finally made:  Vineyard Silk Classic "Tea" in the Nobuko stitch.  The color is a perfect foil for the color of the horse's body and will blend well with the other greens I'm using.  The silk thread provides a nice contrast in texture, and the Nobuko stitch works up quickly--an important factor since there's a LOT of background on this piece.

I bought enough VSC at my LNS to work the area below the horse and above the toys but had to order more for the outside background, as I wanted to be sure the additional thread was from the same dye lot.  As you can see, I've started on the background around the toy soldier, and will continue to fill in this area as I complete the other side of the horse.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Filling in some blanks

Picking up the Toyland Rocking Horse canvas again, I did some work on the packages to the right of the Jack-in-the-Box.  One received a pink Petite Very Velvet bow, while the background for the other was worked in Vineyard Silk Classic "Deep Wisteria" in basketweave.  The purple box will get its bow later, and I'm still trying to decide what stitch to use for the silver box.

The toy soldier now has a white Petite Very Velvet sash.  His pants were worked in an encroaching gobelin stitch with Impressions, with a stripe of Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.  His shoes were stitched in basketweave with black Petite Very Velvet and DMC floss #3799 shading.

To keep the holly behind the toys in the background, as well as to introduce an overdyed thread that would contrast with all the solid colors used so far, I chose Wildflowers "Evergreen" in basketweave.  I'll finish the holly on the left after the doll is stitched.  Now that I have the threads in hand, it's time to get cracking on the horse again!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

From start to finish

On a trip to my LNS the other day, I picked up the threads I'd ordered to work on the horse in the Toyland Rocking Horse canvas.  I also picked up some finishing:  the mini-socks for the little boy and his newborn sister that I'd stitched on the blog a few months ago.

The designs for these socks were the same (if you don't count the fact that the little girl's penguin has eyelashes) but worked in different colors and different stitches.  Andrew's sock was backed with dark green velveteen, while Emma's was backed with pink velveteen.  They each have pockets for inserting a little present and a hanging cord for either the mantel or the Christmas tree.

Nice to know I'm way ahead of myself for this year's gift-giving!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Strumming on the guitar

Slowing down a little on the Toyland Rocking Horse canvas, as I've also been working on a canvas for an upcoming Needlepoint Now column.  But I've finished the guitar and the package behind it.

I'd considered laying metallic thread for the guitar strings and tacking them down, but finally decided against it because of the "snag" factor.  This canvas will ultimately be made into a pillow, and I was afraid those strings would be pulled somewhere down the road.  So, in the end, I worked the entire guitar in basketweave and tent stitches, using DMC floss and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

As you can see, there are two silver packages on either side of the Jack-in-the-Box.  I wanted them to look different, so worked the one on the left with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #4004 in a diagonal mosaic stitch.  I'll fill in the other package with a different silver thread.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Santa Bear

Taking a break from playing with the toys at the bottom of the rocking horse, I decided to tackle Santa Bear.  First I needed to work some of the rocking horse around him, and succeeded in exhausting my stash of Petite Very Velvet V604, stitched in basketweave.  Never fear--more is on order!

Santa's suit was worked in basketweave with Petite Very Velvet V632, with a belt of DMC #5 perle cotton in a slanted gobelin stitch.  Stitching the white trim on his hat and suit will need to wait until some of the background has been worked.

His body was worked in basketweave with Felicity's Garden "Brown Racoon," with the inside of his ear, muzzle and pad of his paw stitched with brown Burmilana.  His eyes were formed with Smyrna cross stitches using Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #005.  His nose was padded with DMC floss #310 for a higher profile.

The saddle was worked with DMC #5 perle cotton #991 in a horizontal diagonal cashmere stitch.  The strap around his belly used the same thread in alternating vertical rows of tent stitch and slanted gobelin stitch.  I'll wait to stitch the saddle blanket after the rest of the horse's belly is done.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The doll house

Did you ever have a doll house when you were a kid?  I did--it was a favorite toy--so I was eager to stitch this one.

I began with the white area, using DMC floss in basketweave, then added windows in a Scotch stitch variation with DMC floss #414.  The green shutters and red window boxes were worked with DMC #5 perle cotton in a slanted gobelin stitch.  The door was outlined with more perle cotton and filled in with DMC floss.

To add some subtle variation to the "shingles" of the roof, I used Weeks Dye Works "Molasses," a #5 perle cotton, in a slanted gobelin stitch.  With the canvas turned 90 degrees, I worked oblong cross stitches with Sheep's Silk "Rust Brown" to create the chimney bricks.

With the doll house completed, I finished the boat using DMC floss #817 in a slanted gobelin stitch for the bottom and a satin stitch for the flag.  The mast was worked in a stem stitch with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Jack-in-the-Box

Before tackling the Jack-in-the-Box section, I worked the sail of the boat in mosaic stitch with white DMC floss.  Then I started in on Jack's suit, using royal purple Petite Very Velvet in basketweave.  His face, hands, collar and cuffs also used DMC floss, with Leviathan stitches for his buttons.

I must be an incredible pack-rat--the DMC Medici wool I used for his hair was originally used to stitch the wig of the Rainbow Juggling Clown I designed in 1996.  Now that's some vintage thread!

The outside of Jack's box was worked in a slanted gobelin stitch with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002V and the inside in Scotch stitches with DMC floss #825.

The duck pull-toy used Vineyard Silk Classic "Citron" and "Dandelion" in basketweave, with a beak of DMC floss and a base of DMC #5 perle cotton.  I'm still debating how to finish the wheels, so will leave them for later.  The same goes for the pompom on Jack's hat, which I'll stitch after the background is finished in that area.

The candy cane box below the duck was worked in alternating vertical slanted gobelin stitches and tent stitches with white DMC #5 perle cotton and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #003HL.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beginning with Baby Bear

I'll never forget the day my son, then in fifth grade, came home with a look on his face reminiscent of a deer in headlights.  He'd been given a long-term history assignment on the Boston Tea Party, which required research, notecards, bibliography, outline and final report.  Totally overwhelmed by the scope of the project, he turned to me for help.

Think of the project in terms of how you eat a hamburger, I suggested.  Take big bites, and chances are good you'll wind up choking.  Take little bites, and it's likely everything will go down just fine.  So I'm approaching the Toyland Rocking Horse canvas as I would a hamburger, one little bite at a time.

I started with the little teddy bear at the bottom, using three different shades of brown Burmilana in basketweave and tent stitches for his body.  Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #005 in Smyrna crosses formed his eyes.  His nose was padded with DMC cotton floss #310 to give it a slightly higher profile.  His festive bow was stitched with Petite Very Velvet V632, with shadows provided by DMC floss #498 in tent and satin stitches.

A good start--I think I'll take a slightly larger bite next!