Friday, December 12, 2014

Decorating Santa's tree

It's been way too long since blog readers have seen this jolly fellow:  an Amanda Lawford Santa.  I started stitching him well over a year ago and had made great progress until I came to a screeching halt.  Not for lack of enthusiasm about the project, mind you, but overwhelmed by the size of it.  I had previously finished two very large projects, the Peaceable Kingdom angel and the Toyland Rocking Horse, when I picked up Santa.

All but the tree and the bow on a present was completed when Santa got sidelined in my office/studio.  I just plain ran out of steam!  Feeling incredibly guilty, I picked him up again recently in hopes of finishing him this year.

The bottom photo shows the tree as it was painted.  It's now been worked with four shades of Impressions in a combination of satin and long/short stitches.  Two strands of Impressions were used throughout to let the tree hold its own against Santa's substantial beard.

French knots of Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 032 form the garland.  Hot pink, purple, and royal blue Kreinik braid were worked in Smyrna crosses and a Leviathan variation for the ornaments.  And yes, Virginia, those little sparkles of gold really are beads!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A zooey finale!

It's done!  The last paw prints were added and the lettering worked in DMC floss 321.

The final step was to add a border of slanted Gobelin stitches with DMC #5 perle cotton to make finishing a little easier.  I visualize a red velveteen backing and cording for this piece to accentuate the lettering.

As the owner of my LNS pointed out to me some time ago, I'm a big fan of black and white--there's something really crisp and clean about the combination!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dogs and Cats -- More progress

Guesstimating that about two-thirds of this canvas is now done.

With more of the inside basketweave background completed, you can see more clearly the distinction between it and the T-stitch outer border.  The weight of the threads in each area also comes into play:  I'm using three strands of floss for the basketweave but #5 perle cotton for the outside.  It's a simple yet effective way to create a border.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Dogs and Cats - Part 2

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday--I know I did!  And this morning looks more like White Friday on the Cape, with big, fat snowflakes twirling around.  Any holiday shopping I might do today will be from the comfort of my own home!

Just to give you an idea of where I'm going on the "Zoo" canvas, I've started the outside border background with a T-stitch using DMC #5 perle cotton.  The inside border background is being worked in basketweave with three strands of DMC cotton floss.

The paw prints are being stitched in an interlocking/encroaching Gobelin stitch with Felicity's Garden:  Cast-Iron Black for the dog prints and Baby Squirrel for the cat prints.  So far, so good!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Going to the dogs....and cats

What do you stitch for some young friends, who are fast assembling their own menagerie?  This is what I came up with--a design for a little door hanger.

I needed something to stitch "right this very minute." so didn't bother to do a full paint of the dog and cat prints surrounding the "welcome."  It will be a good project to work on in between cooking and cleaning to get ready for Thanksgiving company!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas Angel - Finale

She's done!  A gazillion French knots later, the Christmas Angel is ready to step out for the holidays.  Remember the final scene in the movies White Christmas and Holiday Inn, when Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen appear onstage in front of a backdrop of falling snow?  That's what I think of every time I look at this angel!

The hardest part of stitching this canvas was adding a few more French knots around the lantern after the charms--in two parts and tacked together with Kreinik metallic thread--had been attached.

It's too late for her to make an appearance this year, but she'll go in the queue for finishing in 2015.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Angel - almost there!

The first change to the original design of the Christmas Angel came when I started working on the sleeve on the left side.  The photo that accompanied the canvas showed the entire sleeve stitched in white, but there was a vertical line painted that didn't quite make sense to me.  I decided to treat the area to the left of the line as a stole, which would make the cuff of the robe more in proportion to the one on the right side.

Rummaging through my stash for a green overdyed thread, which would tie in the gloves and the tiny spot peeking at the hem, I couldn't find just the right blue/green shade.  So I made my own overdye, using one strand each of two Burmilana greens, working the stole in a diagonal oblong cross stitch.

Included with the canvas was a lantern charm that has some cut-out areas, so I stitched the area that will fall behind the charm with yellow DMC floss to let a little flame show through later.  The chain for the lantern was stitched with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

There are a bunch of French knots still to go on the fur trim, but I hope to wrap this project up by the end of the week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas Angel - Part 4

The angel's robe is now complete, stitched in basketweave with red Petite Very Velvet and DMC floss #498.  Very lush and festive!

In my last post, I forgot to mention that I'd worked a row of tent stitches with Vineyard Silk Classic Evening Haze over the lines in the fur trim where the robe closes in the front and at the hem.  French knots here would have been overkill--I wanted to show just a hint of the break.

The trim on the angel's torso and one sleeve is done and part of the hem begun, all areas where I don't have more stitching to do.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas Angel - Part 3

With the angel's wings completed, it was time to begin some of the fur trim.  For this I'm using Vineyard Silk Classic Bright White in French knots.  White is a tricky shade when it comes to picking threads. There's just enough difference between the white DMC floss of the wings and the white Vineyard Silk.  There's also a big difference between the smooth surface of encroaching Gobelin stitches in the wings and the French knot trim to provide the contrast I was looking for.

Back now to stitching the bottom of her robe with red Petite Very Velvet!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The rest of the story

Those of you who have already received the November/December issue of Needlepoint Now may recognize this canvas.  Let It Snow is a design by Machelle Somerville, general manager of Peacock Alley Needlepoint in Ada, Michigan, which I had the pleasure of stitching for my "Making It Simple" column.

Since the deadline for this column was August 15, my local finisher had plenty of time to transform the canvas into a pillow insert.  It's surrounded and backed in slate blue velveteen and edged simply in self-welting.  I love how the velveteen adds another level of texture to the silk, silk/wool, cotton and Kreinik metallic threads used to stitch the canvas.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Adding some color

With more of the second wing stitched, I took a break from the white and started in on the red areas.  The tip of the angel's hood, her torso and sleeves were stitched with red Petite Very Velvet, with shadows provided by DMC floss #498.

Her mittens and the tiny speck of her dress peeking out from the hem were stitched in basketweave with dark green Impressions.

When I finish the second wing, it will be time to tackle some of the fur trim so I don't leave all those French knots for last!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An in-between project

Stuck between waiting for some embellishments to finish one canvas and the arrival of another canvas, I raided my stash to find something I could work on in the evenings.  This is Joan Thomasson's 1999 Christmas angel, which I've had tucked away for ages.  My fingers were so itchy the other night that I started working on her before even taking a photo!

I first worked her face in basketweave with DMC cotton floss, adding individual cross stitches for the eyes and mouth.  The hair was worked with two strands of DMC Medici wool in satin and long stitches.

Since I plan to stitch all the fur trim on her costume with French knots, I stitched a background behind her head and under the hem of her dress in basketweave with some blue floss to make the finisher's job easier at the end of the project.

The individual segments of her wing were first outlined with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #032 in tent stitch, then filled in with white DMC floss in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.  One wing done, one to go!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Jack and I just wanted to wish everyone a boo-tiful day!  Jack is a door hanger--the first Halloween design I created--worked in DMC cotton floss, Kreinik metallics, and black Petite Very Velvet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A quick stitch

Earlier this year, our youngest son completed his graduate studies, a not-so-easy feat since he'd been holding down a full time job while attending school.  This proud Mama wanted to commemorate the event with an ornament, just as I'd done for both sons when they received their bachelor's degrees.

This time I decided to wing it and create a one-of-a-kind ornament.  Scouring the university website for the school logo and colors, I then sat down with graph paper and charted this design.

It's stitched with DMC #5 perle cotton 311 and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 032 from my stash.  The whole process from graph paper to finished ornament took only a few days--a very good thing!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fleece Fairy finale

A gazillion French knots later, the lamb--and Fleece Fairy--are finished!  Here are the "before" and "after" photos, so you can see more clearly what I changed from the original design.  Nothing substantial was altered--just a little tweaking here and there.  The major addition was the background behind the lamb to make the finisher's job easier, and I'm really glad I did that because I think it adds some dimension to the canvas and makes the lamb more prominent.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A hairdo and a hem

Fleece Fairy finally has hair, worked in a satin stitch with two strands of vintage DMC Medici wool.  To minimize the original flowers, I extended the hair down the side of her face and at shoulder level.  One strand of Medici wool formed her eyebrows with eyes worked in cross stitches with DMC floss.

The flowers in her hair and at the hem were stitched in French knots with two shades of pink DMC floss, with tent stitch leaves of Impressions.  At this point, she reminds me of Marie Antoinette pretending to be a shepherdess!

Now to begin a French knot marathon to finish the lamb and the project itself!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Problem solved!

When you start stitching a painted canvas, how the piece will be finished is always foremost in your mind--it affects your choice of stitches and how much stitching you'll actually be doing.  Fleece Fairy was no exception:  the legs of the lamb, not to mention its wooly coat, would create a nightmare for a finisher trying to contour the outline for an ornament.

While I really wanted this piece to be an ornament, I considered other alternatives.  Sue Dulle ( had suggested stitching a background for the figure and finishing it as a stand-up or as an easel, but the narrow margins around the design area made those alternatives prohibitive.  There are only eight canvas threads from the tail of the lamb to the tape on the right edge of the canvas and even less at the top above the fairy's wings.

While working away at the rest of the canvas, I finally arrived at a solution:  stitch a small area of background behind the lamb so the finisher wouldn't need to wrestle with its legs or the French knots that will create most of its body.  I carefully outlined the area, extending it on the left side as well to balance the design, and stitched it in basketweave with Watercolours "Emerald," a thread just heavy enough to cover unpainted canvas.  The background stitching will also make the finisher's job easier at the uneven edge of the hem on the fairy's dress, which I had worked in DMC cotton floss.  The head and legs of the lamb were stitched with vintage DMC Medici wool and the hooves with black Petite Very Velvet.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

More fairy progress

Continuing with Fleece Fairy's clothing, I added a closure for her bolero with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002 in a braided knitting stitch.  Tent stitches in this metallic edge her belt, worked in slanted Gobelin stitches with DMC cotton floss, and above the ruffled hem of her dress.

On to her shawl, worked in a diagonal oblong cross stitch with light blue Impressions.  I didn't have a darker blue Impressions for the shadows, so I substituted Felicity's Garden "Blueberry," which is essentially the same weight as Impressions.

Her staff was worked in an interlocking/encroaching Gobelin stitch using two strands each of DMC floss #433 and 434 blended together.

With stitching on a canvas for my next Needlepoint Now column almost complete, I hope to have more time to work on Fleece Fairy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Skirting the issue

Fleece Fairy now has a face--or part of one, anyway, worked in basketweave with DMC floss.  I'll add eyes and eyebrows when I've decided what color her hair will be.

She also has a dress, again worked in basketweave with DMC floss #225 and shadows of DMC floss #224.  The white cuffs of her sleeves were worked in a satin stitch.  I added a single row of tent stitches at the neckline with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid to distinguish between her neck and her dress.

Her bolero was added with antique blue Petite Very Velvet, extending the right side a bit to cover some of the rose at her shoulder.

Love the combination of pink and blue!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fairy wings

Fleece Fairy has wings!  Starting at the outside with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002, I outlined the wings in basketweave.  The inside four sections were worked in a woven stitch with white DMC cotton floss.

You'll notice that I haven't finished the inside of the top right part of the wing.  I'm not crazy about the flowers adorning her hair--they seem way too large when compared to the size of the fairy's face.  I'll finish work on this area when I've decided how to scale down the flowers a little.

In my last post, I mentioned that the margins around the design area are narrow.  The white lines you see at the top and right of the photo are the edges of the tape on the canvas, which is mounted on mini stretcher bars.  Not a lot of wiggle room if I add some kind of background around the lamb to make the finisher's job easier!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A fairy tale

Here's the next canvas I plan to stitch for this year's gift-giving--Fleece Fairy by Joan Thomasson.  It's yet another canvas included in the box of treasures bequeathed to me by a friend who can no longer stitch.

The only difference I can see between an angel and a fairy is the wings:  fairy wings appear to be injected with steroids.  I love the little lamb included in the design, and see a bunch of French knots in my future!

Thinking practically, I wonder how the finisher could work around those little lamb legs.  But the canvas margins are too narrow to put any kind of background around the entire fairy.  I'll have to give this more thought as I start in on the fairy herself.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sock it to me!

One little present is finished for holiday giving--Christmas, that is, not Halloween, despite the colors!

All the lettering on this sock was stitched in basketweave with three different Kreinik metallic braids.  Although it wasn't painted on the canvas, I added a ribbed cuff in Kalem stitch with some vintage DMC Medici wool from my stash.

I hope to squeak in a few more ornaments to give as gifts this year, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A change of pace

A family friend graduated last December from Oklahoma State University, so I decided to commemorate the occasion with a Christmas ornament for this coming holiday.  The design is by Kathy Schenkel, but I plan on adding a couple of little touches to make this mini-sock one-of-a-kind.

I've jump-started this project by stitching the background in basketweave with black Trio so as not to bore blog readers to tears.  But you'll notice that I painted in a date in an open space in the top right-hand corner.

Time to fill in the lettering and footballs!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Another angel finished

This little angel is ready to make the trip to the finisher with her friend Elizabeth!

Her robe was finished in basketweave with DMC floss #3753 and the folds with DMC floss #3752.

I wanted to work the border at the hem differently, but that was not to be since the stylized flowers painted on the canvas refused to be covered with the lighter blue thread.  So  I stuck with the original design, stitching the flowers with DMC floss #931 to match the Petite Very Velvet of the center panel and adding Smyrna cross centers with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #3221.  Finally, I added more Smyrna crosses on top of the Petite Very velvet in the center panel to tie the design elements together.

My goal in stitching this angel was to make her look different from Elizabeth, and by changing some of the design elements, I think I've succeeded!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Making some changes

This little angel is starting to look different from the original design.  The center panel of medallions has disappeared under antique blue Petite Very Velvet worked in basketweave.  The hem of her outfit now falls straight across the bottom, edged in rows of slanted Gobelin stitches with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #3221.  A row of stem stitches in the same metallic thread edges the center panel.

I finished her sleeves, adding a band of DMC floss #931 to match the Petite Very Velvet.  DMC floss #3752 was used to add folds and outline the sleeves.

Almost there--time to finish the robe!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A little face, a hint of color

After filling in the spokes of her halo with DMC floss #3753, I started giving this angel a face.  This, too, was worked in floss in basketweave, with cross stitches for the eyes and mouth.  Her hairdo was created with two strands of dark brown Burmilana in satin and long stitches.

The sleeves of her robe were also worked in basketweave with DMC floss #3753 and edged with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #3221.  I'll fill in the remaining band on the sleeve and fold lines a little later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adding some shine

Starting out with the design elements calling for metallic thread, I stitched the outline and spokes of the angel's halo in basketweave and tent stitches with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #3221.

The angel's wings had been painted in three sections, like the previously stitched angel, but I was aiming for a different look.  So I used Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #001 in a Nobuko stitch and covered the wings completely.

So far, so good--now to give this angel a face and hairdo!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Seeing double?

When DH was taking this photo of the next angel I'll be working on, he remarked, "That looks like the one you just finished!"  While the colors might be different, the design elements are similar between the two:  the halo and wings, the bell-shaped skirt, and the center panel of medallions with stylized flowers.

The photo that accompanied this angel kit shows a finished canvas worked in lavender and white, while the skeins of floss included in the kit are blue and pink.  There's obviously more than just one way to stitch this canvas!  I plan on using the basic outline but changing some of the design elements to make this angel entirely different from the other.

I've pulled a pile of threads from my stash to plan my attack, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Elizabeth--the finale

Take four different Kreinik braids, add an assortment of DMC floss and a smidgen of Burmilana--all from my stash--and the result is a finished Elizabeth angel!

The center panel medallions were stitched in basketweave with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002V.  The stylized flowers were worked in a satin stitch with a cross stitch of Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #003HL in the center.

The hem of the dress was stitched in basketweave with accents of silver metallic tent stitches and red metallic cross stitches.

There's another angel in the magic box that my stitching friend sent me--another project!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Skirting the issue

Elizabeth's overskirt is now finished, with a background stitched in basketweave with white DMC floss.  The edges on the sides and along the bottom were worked in stem stitches and the swirls in tent stitches with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

The background of the center panel was stitched with the same Petite Very Velvet used for the spokes in her halo.  I've started stitching the medallions in the panel with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002V in basketweave.

Not much more work to do before I wrap up this project!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Making angelic progress

This canvas is moving along nicely!  With the inside light aqua filled in with basketweave and the darker outside worked in encroaching Gobelin stitches, the wings are now completed.

The bodice of the angel's dress was worked in a woven stitch with Kreinik #12 Tapestry braid #001.  You'll have to take my word on this, since the camera picked up on the metallic thread going in two directions and produced a major twinkle!  The darker parts of the sleeves were formed with diagonal oblong crosses and the outside edge worked in basketweave with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002.

And the angel now has a face, too, stitched in basketweave with DMC floss and cross stitches for the eyes and mouth.  The hair was worked in long and satin stitches with two strands of Burmilana #3506, with a single strand of the same thread forming the eyebrows in a straight stitch.

I'll be back when I've made some headway on the angel's overskirt.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Polishing a halo

There are a lot of areas calling for metallic thread in this canvas, so I decided to attack some of them first instead of working the face.  The outside rim of the halo was painted in the same gold used in the wings, and I wanted to distinguish one from the other.  So the gold of the halo was stitched in basketweave with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V, and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002 was used for the wings.  It doesn't show up very well in this photo, but the difference in golds is definitely noticeable .

Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 001 was worked in tent stitches and basketweave for all the silver areas.  Inside the halo are DMC floss #3811 and Petite Very Velvet in a slightly darker shade to define the "spokes."  (Do halos have spokes?  I don't have a halo, so I can't answer that.)

The edging of her sleeves was stitched  with the same DMC floss, and her neckline was worked in the Kreinik braid 002 in slanted Gobelin stitches.  The same metallic braid will be used for the outside edge of her sleeves and the decorative swirls on her overskirt.

Now to work on her wings!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Stitching for myself again--finally!

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last blogged!  This summer has been exceptionally busy:  Hotel Stradal was open for visiting relatives, I've been painting doorways like crazy for my ANG class in September as well as stitching a canvas for the next Needlepoint Now column.  The painting continues, but I now have a little time to squeeze in a small project for myself.

You may recall that some time ago, a stitching friend no longer able to needlepoint bequeathed her entire stash to me.  She, too, has an fondness for angels, and had collected several designs by Joan Thomasson.  This one pictured here is "Elizabeth," and since both the name and the colors appealed to me, I'm going to work on her first.  After all, you can't be too rich, too thin, or have too many angels on an angel tree at holiday time!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Readying for the Fourth/Ducking a Hurricane

Arthur, the first hurricane of the 2014 season, has caused a few changes in plans along the Eastern coastline.  Tonight the Boston Pops will hold its annual Fourth of July concert on the Esplanade a night early, due to heavy rains scheduled for tomorrow.  So I decided to bump my celebration, too, in case heavy winds leave me with no power to blog on The Day.

Flying our flag proudly is The Hermitage in Nashville, TN, a design from the Doorways to the Past series.  It was the home of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States.  Friends of ours from Texas--native-born Canadians, no less--took a family vacation there several years ago over July 4 and brought me back a great photo, which I adapted to needlepoint.

 The only unclear detail in the photo was the doorway itself--was it painted or stained,  and what did the door handles look like?  I got my answers when I called The Hermitage and talked to a lovely lady at the reception desk!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Remodeling completed

Ten years after stitching a model for Holiday Home from the Doorways to the Past series, I've finished a new version to be taught to the Cape Cod Chapter of ANG in September.  So what have I changed here from the original?

The glow from the lantern and door side lights was originally provided by a pale yellow DMC cotton floss.  The new version was worked with Water 'N Ice WT-1 Transparent Ice, which gives a glassy appearance to the areas of the canvas painted yellow.

The stone porch, originally worked in a slanted Gobelin stitch with Needle Necessities overdyed floss, was replaced by Wildflowers Granite in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

The door itself probably sports the biggest change.  At the request of ANG chapter members, I didn't paint the door its original black.  I decided to make this version with a stained and varnished look, achieved by needle-blending two golden brown shades of DMC floss.

Now I need to catch up on some painting!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Getting ready for class

The Cape Cod Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) has once again asked me to teach a class in September featuring two designs from my Doorways to the Past series:  Cape Cod Summer and Holiday Home (pictured here).  It's hard to believe that Holiday Home was designed and stitched 10 years ago!  A lot has changed since then, not only in terms of the threads available but also in my repertoire of stitches.  Time to update this canvas, so I can write an up-to-date stitch guide for use by class members.

One of the changes requested by the chapter was that I not paint the door black--a lot of folks have difficulty stitching black on black and some members may wish to personalize the canvas by matching their thread to the color of their own front door.  While I thankfully can still work black areas without difficulty, I'll probably change the color of the door myself just for variety.

The porch steps were originally stitched in Needle Necessities overdyed floss, which is no longer available, so I'll be looking for a substitute for that area.  The lantern and side windows will also be stitched a little differently.  I honestly don't remember what thread I used for the garland, wreath, trees and bushes--Impressions, I think--so I'll need to scour my stash for a close match.  The same holds true for the thread I used to stitch the brick path.

This canvas won't be blog-stitched, since it's not fair to chapter members who've paid for the information to give it to others for free.  I'm also not anxious to see images of the project appear in Social Media.  I've been "pinned" too many times by folks, some of whom I don't even know, who "lifted" photos from my blog without asking permission.  I will show a photo of the finished piece, however, in case some of you are interested in the changes I've made.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Finally--a finish!

Give me a new canvas to stitch and I'm like a puppy with a bone!  For some time, I've been working on a canvas for an upcoming Needlepoint Now column and poor Herald Angel has been languishing on the sidelines.  Feeling sufficiently remorseful, I finally finished her.

Her hair was worked with two strands of Burmilana #3506 in long-short stitches for the crown, ending in a cascade of French knot curls tumbling down her back.

Now it's decision time:  what do I work on next?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Swirling ribbons

The ribbons encircling Herald Angel were painted in muted tones--dusty rose probably best describes the overall look.  I chose to brighten the ribbons a bit to coordinate with her turquoise dress.

Using three strands of DMC floss #600, 602 and 604, the ribbons were worked in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.  The angel's lips were added in tent stitch with DMC floss #602.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Winging it again

The only thing I wasn't crazy about in the Herald Angel design was the yellow with which the wings were painted.  The yellow paint wasn't an intense hue, so covering it up wasn't a big problem.

The individual segments of the wing were first outlined with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002 in tent stitch.  Each segment was then filled in with a satin stitch using four strands of white DMC cotton floss.

The white wings show up nicely against the navy Petite Very Velvet sky and will fit in much better with our decor.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Herald Angel - Part Three

A quick trip to my LNS took care of the gap in navy Petite Very Velvet under Herald Angel's outstretched arm!

Her dress is now finished, using the three shades of aqua Impressions in basketweave.  I used the Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002 from her dress to work the body of the horn, with #2122 for the ring at the bottom.

Time to move on to the wings!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Herald Angel - Part Two

Stash raiding again!--this time for the threads to create the Herald Angel's dress.  Scouring your stash to find old threads for a new project is a little like traveling down Memory Lane.  In this case, the last time I used them was for Mindy's Winter canvas, stitched for my Needlepoint Now column a couple of years ago.

The outline for the hem and accents on the dress were provided with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002 in tent stitch.  The body of the dress is being stitched in basketweave with Impressions #8112, 8114, and 8116 (darkest to lightest).  The hem was filled in with slanted Gobelin stitches.  Working my way from right to left, I've reached the tails of the ribbon, a little more than half-way through the dress.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Herald Angel - Part One

The form of the Herald Angel has already been outlined on the canvas, so I decided to tackle the background first.

 The idea of posing the angel against a night sky appealed to me, and using a dark color here would make the colors of the angel "pop."  My choice of thread was navy Petite Very Velvet, which has a matte finish that would make all the metallic areas twinkle even more.

Two cards of PVV covered all but the small section under the angel's outstretched arm--I'll need another card but dye lot won't be an issue since this area doesn't touch previously stitched sections.  I've started outlining the hem of the angel's dress with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #002--there will be a lot of this thread in Herald Angel's costume!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Heralding a new project

You've probably heard the phrase "passing it forward," when a person who's benefited from a good deed repays it with another to someone else.  Well, this is a case of "pointing it forward."

A cyber-friend recently decided that she was unable to continue stitching due to arthritis in her hands and was looking for a good home for her stash.  She asked me if I would like a canvas--Herald Angel designed by Judy Harper--and I responded with an immediate and resounding "Yes"!

I recall Judy showing this canvas on her blog as an example of one of the angel designs she had created for Texas First Lady Anita Perry to grace the Christmas tree in the Governor's Mansion.  This angel was one of the last canvases that Judy painted as her health declined.  I'll be blog-stitching it so it can join the rest of my angel collection next Christmas, hopefully finished as a stand-up mounted on a dowel in weather vane fashion.  If anyone knows of a finisher who could do this, just email me or leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jane Seymour: Finale

There really wasn't much left to do to finish off the Jane Seymour canvas--it was just a matter of finding the time to do it!

Instead of adding beads to her double-stranded necklace, I opted to stitch it with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #127, one of the threads I'd used on the Anne of Cleves canvas.  Petite gold beads were used to decorate her English gabled hood.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Anne of Cleves: Finale

To give Anne of Cleves a gauzy-looking veil, I used Silk Lame Braid in a T-stitch.  You may need to click to enlarge the photo to see her tassel--the gold beads I added at the bottom of the diamond ray and Smyrna cross show up in person, less so in the photo.

The last step was to give her a necklace of petite gold beads.  This little gal definitely isn't going to get lost on a Christmas tree!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Anne of Cleves: Back on track

The thread snafu is over, thank goodness, and Anne of Cleves' gown is now completed.  Sometimes "reverse stitching" can be a learning experience!  With the red velvet done, I added the trim at the hem of the dress, again using Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #3221 to outline the area and filling in with DMC floss #729 and Smyrna crosses of Kreinik braid #127.

Next on the to-do list is the veil of Anne's headdress, which is decorated with an elaborate tassel.  I've added the top of the tassel, a single diamond ray stitch and Smyrna cross, so I can stitch the veil around it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

One step forward, two steps backward

It wasn't bad enough that I've only been able to stitch at night, due to painting commitments.  And working under less-than-stellar lighting conditions probably wasn't such a good idea.  Fact of the matter is, Anne of Cleves has suffered a wardrobe malfunction.

I was happily basketweaving away when I noticed a strange diagonal streak on the canvas.  I stopped work, thinking to check again in morning light to see if the streak were still there.  Yup, it was--obviously an irregularity in the way the thread had taken the dye.  So I started frogging, determined to find the spot where the streak began.

To lessen my frustration, I decided to finish the trim on her gown.  The bands over three threads were filled in with tent stitches using three strands of DMC floss #729.  For the bands over four threads, I alternated tent stitches in floss with Smyrna crosses of Kreinik #12 tapestry braid #127.  I'll fill in the trim at the bottom when I've finished with the red velvet.