Saturday, November 30, 2013

Starting a sixth year

Yesterday's 5th blog birthday totally slipped by me.  I could have sworn it was Nov. 30 but when I checked my own archives, realized I was off a day.  My, how time flies when you're having fun!

So Pierre the French chef penguin is here with a birthday cake to celebrate.  My thanks to everyone for stopping by, lurking or leaving comments!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hemming, not hawing, for Thanksgiving

At this point, you may well be thinking, "Is this crazy lady still French knotting?"  Yup--and a sea of French knots is now tickling the tummy of Mr. Penguin!

With the hem of Santa's robe done, so is my stash of Vineyard Silk Classic "Bright White" for the trim, with one sleeve still to go.  A trip to my LNS is in the near future, but until then, I'll need to move on to another area.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  And a Happy Thanksgivukkah to all my Jewish friends!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

In the nick of time

Another deadline met!  The finished Baby block went to my LNS yesterday afternoon, right after having its picture taken.

The threads, all from my stash, included DMC cotton floss Blanc, #666 and #704, with letters worked in Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #003 and #015.  The background for the letters was worked in a diagonal mosaic stitch, framed in slanted Gobelin and Scotch stitches.

The little recipient was actually born shortly after I last posted, so the top block was finished with HIS initials!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Necessity is the mother of invention

A time out from the Santa canvas--I need a baby gift!  A dear friend's daughter is expecting her first child, and I've been mulling over just what to stitch for some time now.  I've made baby gifts before--a "First Noel" mini-sock,  "Rainbow Juggling Clown" and  "Humpty Dumpty" stand-ups, and most recently a Penguin mini-sock for the expected baby's cousin.

I really wasn't excited by the idea of stitching something a second time. I wanted a new design that would be a quick stitch but hold my interest--and here it is!  A 2-1/2 inch block that will be finished as a 3-D ornament, it's being stitched in contemporary shades of Christmas red and green because no one knows--parents included--what the gender of the baby is.

The center of the top square has been deliberately left blank--depending on when the child arrives, it will either include the first letter of the family's last name or the baby's initials.  I've set a deadline of this Saturday to get the stitched piece to my LNS in time for Christmas finishing.  The baby was due last Friday, so the race is on to see if the new mother or I deliver a finished product first!

Monday, November 18, 2013

More trimming

Still in French knot mode!  For the trim on the teddy bear's sweater, I chose Trio "Natural."  It contrasts well with Santa's hair adjacent to it.

For the trim on the first sleeve, I used more Vineyard Silk Classic "Bright White" just like the trim on Santa's hat.  The top right side of the canvas is now completed!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Raising some eyebrows

With all the relatively "flat" stitching done on the Santa canvas, it was time to move back up to his head.  First off, the wisps of hair peeking out from under his hat needed to be reinserted.  I'd stitched over them while working the face, but I used the photo of the original painted canvas to determine the correct placement.

The eyebrows were next, worked in long-short/split stitches with two strands of white "vintage" DMC Medici wool.  Santa's hair was stitched the same way.

There are many different "whites" produced by thread manufacturers--some are creamy, some have a gray cast, and others are pretty bright.  A white thread stitched by itself may appear bright, but take on a different look when combined with other colors--Felicity's Garden "Snow," for example, really isn't that white when used next to gray and black thread as it was for Mr. Penguin in my previous post.  To distinguish the trim on Santa's hat from his hair, I changed both thread and stitch, using Vineyard Silk Classic "Bright White" in French knots.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One plump penguin

Mr. Penguin is finished!  While the beak was worked in a few tent and slanted Gobelin stitches, the rest of his body was formed with encroaching Gobelin stitches--a lot of them.  Three shades of Felicity's Garden, a 50/50 silk/wool blend, were used--Cast-Iron Black, Baby Squirrel and Snow.

His eye was formed with tent stitches using Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #005 and #032.

Two strands of white Burmilana created the stripes on his scarf.  I used two strands of Impressions #7030 to fill in between the stripes in a satin stitch to provide a higher profile against the red Petite Very Velvet background.  One strand of Impressions stitched on top of the background supplied the fringe.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Details, details

With the last of the stars and twinkles completed on the left side of Santa's robe, I decided it was time to give him a belt.  This was worked in a diagonal oblong cross stitch using Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.  Nice and sparkly!

Then it was on to the trunk of the Christmas tree, where no one single thread in my stash seemed to be the right color.  Time to needle-blend!  I picked two Burmilana threads, one solid and one tweed, and combined a single strand of each in a packed stem stitch worked diagonally with the canvas turned 90 degrees.

Now it's really getting interesting--I made my way down to the penguin!  His hat was worked in a diagonal mosaic stitch with one strand of Trio "Shamrock"--the same shade of green as his gloves but with a different texture.  The band on the hat was added in basketweave with Petite Very Velvet V604 and the top was filled in with DMC cotton floss in a satin stitch.  Mr. Penguin's body is going to take a while to stitch, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tassels, gifts and gloves

More Santa progress!  The tassels were worked in Vineyard Silk Classic and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.  The cords were formed with stem stitches using "Gothic Grape," and the knobs were a combination of cross, Scotch and satin stitches using "Cherry Tree" and "Ceramic."  The tassels themselves were stitched in encroaching Gobelin with "Lavender," "Deep Wisteria" and "Gothic Grape."

Since Vineyard Silk Classic creates a nice profile against the Petite Very Velvet background, I used more of it on the gifts to the left of the tassels.  The bottom box was worked in stem stitches with "Ceramic," the middle box in stem and slanted Gobelin stitches with "Deep Wisteria," and the top box in basketweave with "Cherry Tree."  I stitched the center ribbon in slanted Gobelin stitches with the Kreinik metallic but will wait until later to add the bow.

Still more Vineyard Silk Classic was used for the gloves with "Cactus" and "Black Forest" for the shading.  I debated over the stitch for the gloves, finally deciding to use basketweave since the areas around them would be worked in decorative stitches.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Now where was I?

Poor Santa took a back seat for a while as I stitched another piece to make a deadline, but he's back on track now!

Progress to date includes a finished Nobuko background and all the red Petite Very Velvet on the robe completed.  The stars and "twinkles" are done on the right side of the robe as well.  Down the center of the robe, I added "buttons" of Smyrna crosses using the Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

For a change in color, I think I'll work on the tassels next!