Saturday, December 24, 2016

Peace on Earth, good will to all

Here is our lighthouse tree for 2016, with 99 lighthouse ornaments and holding!  We were going through some home remodeling in the last eight weeks and have slid into Christmas on the proverbial banana peel.

The Kansas crew is here to help us celebrate, with the Dallas contingent arriving in time to ring in the New Year.  Mama is happy when her chicks come home to roost, and as they say, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season and a lot of needlepoint in the New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Massachusetts postcard -- finale

With all the little details accounted for, the Massachusetts postcard is ready for the finisher!

The turkey combined two shades of Felicity's Garden in an ancroaching Gobelin stitch for the body and three shades of heathery Burmilana in a long/short stitch for the feathers.

The roof and outline for the barn were worked in tent stitch with DMC #5 perle cotton.  The side and door were formed with slanted Gobelin stitches, the front in a diagonal oblong cross stitch, and the window in a Scotch stitch variation--all with DMC cotton floss.

The flowers at the corner of the frame were worked in satin stitches with Vineyard Silk Classic Bright White, with Burmilana leaves and French knot centers using DMC floss.

I particularly like the colors in this postcard for the "colonial" feel they convey!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rounding the bend

The dark green lower frame of the postcard is now finished, using Impressions in a diagonal mosaic stitch.  The date at the bottom was filled in with tent stitches of the same Impressions used to work the Nobuko background of the inner scene.

The cranberries at the top of the center scene were worked in an encroaching Gobelin stitch with Vineyard Silk Classic Claret, Bonfire and Sizzle.  The stems were created with tent stitches of brown DMC #5 perle cotton and the leaves with two strands of Burmilana in a satin stitch.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

What's in a name?

The answer to this blog post's subject line question is simple:  Petite Very Velvet!

PVV has to be one of my most favorite threads.  When stitching with basketweave, and particularly in darker colors, the individual stitches of PVV blend into one another to create a seamless effect that I really like.  And the loft of PVV creates a higher profile against the Vineyard Silk Classic background here  to make this area of the postcard really look like a banner.

The lower part of the center scene has been worked with Impressions in a Nobuko stitch, one of my favorite stitches.  I think of Nobuko as my "Where's Waldo" stitch:  you know I'm going to use it somewhere in a project--it's just a matter of where.

The lower frame of the postcard has been started on the right, using Impressions again but this time in a diagonal mosaic stitch.  This stitch will be easy to compensate around the flowers in the corner and the date at the bottom of the postcard.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Needle-blending, again

Work on this little postcard began with the sky, which has been needle-blended using three values of DMC cotton floss.

With the canvas turned upside down, I began at the horizon , basketweaving four canvas threads high with four strands of DMC floss 3325 and staggering the bottom stitches so as not to create a line.  Subsequent rows of six canvas threads high were worked in the following recipe:

Row 2:  DMC floss 3325 - 3 strands, DMC floss 3841 - 1 strand
Row 3:  DMC floss 3325 - 2 strands, DMC floss 3841 - 2 strands
Row 4:  DMC floss 3325 - 1 strand, DMC floss 3841 - 3 strands
Row 5:  DMC floss 3841 - 4 strands
Row 6:  DMC floss 3841 - 3 strands, DMC floss 775 - 1 strand

The background behind "Massachusetts" was stitched in basketweave with Vineyard Silk Classic Shell.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Next up!

There's nothing like a small project to either while away some time between larger projects or as a diversion from a work-in-progress.  This postcard designed by Denise DeRusha falls in the latter category.

This will make the fifth in the postcard series that I've tackled, joining Connecticut, Texas and Kansas that I blog-stitched here and Nantucket, which I stitched for a Needlepoint Now column a few years ago.

I'll be back when I have something to show for myself!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Little girl bunny--finale

With Thanksgiving festivities intervening, it's taken more than a week but the little girl bunny is finally finished!

The narrow panels of dress peeking out from behind her apron limited the number of decorative stitches that could be used.  I chose a framed mosaic stitch, worked in two shades of pink DMC cotton floss.  The overall effect is a "country" look in keeping with the spirit of the design.

She'll join her little boy bunny companion on a trip to the finisher, who should have plenty of time to turn them into stand-ups before next Easter.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A bonnet and a basket

This little bunny's Easter bonnet is made of straw, so two shades of DMC #5 perle cotton have been used in a woven stitch to create it.

The crown was worked in a satin stitch, as was the ribbon of Impressions and the flower of Burmilana and DMC cotton floss.  I would have preferred French knots for the flower petals, but the flower was too close to the outside edge and I didn't want the future finisher to curse me.

Determined to work exclusively from my stash, I found just the shade of brown I wanted for the basket within a skein of Wildflowers Sunflower Seed.  I cut out all the brown in the otherwise golden strands and worked it in an oblong cross stitch.  DMC cotton floss in a satin stitch supplied the eggs, with Easter grass created with Arctic Rays.

All that remains is the bunny's dress, but since the skirt of the backside goes on forever, this is going to take a while!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Covering up

Little girl bunny now has an apron, worked in Vineyard Silk Classic Bright White and Evening Haze.

Working from the bottom up, the ruffle at the bottom was formed with slanted Gobelin stitches over four canvas threads intersected by vertical rows of tent stitches.  The trim above the ruffle repeats the pattern on the bib:  two rows of framed Scotch stitches.  The main portion of the apron was created with an encroaching Gobelin stitch, which allowed me to include some shading that had been painted.

Then a collar for her dress was stitched in basketweave with white DMC cotton floss, trimmed with aqua Impressions that was used for the stripes on the boy bunny's jacket.  Her brooch was worked in a stem stitch with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V and filled in with an oblong cross stitch with blue Kreinik metallic.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Getting started

Just like the boy bunny canvas, I began stitching on this design with the ears, face and paw.  I'm using the same threads, too:  mostly a medium brown Burmilana and some pink for the ears, combined with cream and dark brown Impressions in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

The bib on her apron is now complete front and back, using Vineyard Silk Classic Bright White in a framed Scotch stitch with VSC Evening Haze for shading.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A little girl bunny

My next project is to stitch a companion for the little boy bunny.  As pink and blue are my favorite colors, I've saved the best for last!

The little girl bunny's pink dress coordinates with the boy bunny's pink bow tie, just as the blue ribbon on her hat and trimming on her dress ties in with the trim and pin stripes of his jacket. 

Just like the boy bunny, I'll be stash-busting to complete this canvas.  I made sure I had enough of the same thread to stitch the faces, ears and paw of each, so that's where I'll start to stitch her.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rogues on the road

This weekend, the Crosby Mansion in Brewster, Massachusetts, has been decorated for the holidays as a fundraiser by the Nauset Garden Club.  In the room with a theme of "A Stitch in Time" is a Christmas tree decorated exclusively with my cylindrical ornaments.

More than 60 of these "little people" grace the tree.  They're in good company with samples of hardanger, blackwork, cross stitch, rug hooking and crewel embroidery displayed throughout the room.

I'm told the cylindrical ornaments have prompted questions including "How long does it take to make one?" and "What's inside them--a toilet paper roll?"  At least I'm doing my small part in making needlepoint more visible to the general public while helping to raise money for a worthy cause!

Friday, November 4, 2016

One down, one to go

The little boy bunny is now fully clothed with a basket of Easter eggs to be delivered!

His bow tie was created with satin and tent stitches using two shades of DMC cotton floss.  More Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 005 was used in a Leviathan stitch variation for his buttons.

The basket was worked in a woven stitch with Silken Straw Whiskey.  Pink and blue DMC floss in a satin stitch created the Easter eggs.

I rarely throw away a thread package. and it's a very good thing!  I remembered a thread given to me by the owner of my LNS back in Connecticut (pre-1998), which had just come out and was supposed to be great for creating Christmas trees.  I frankly wasn't impressed with the tree application, and tucked the card away for a rainy day.  It moved to Texas and finally Massachusetts, where some 18+ years later the card of Arctic Rays made some lovely Easter grass for my little boy bunny!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A little bunny's backside

Not only did I catch up from working the front, I actually finished the backside of the little boy bunny!

His collar is cream Petite Very Velvet, worked in basketweave, and trimmed with Impressions.  The same value of Impressions was used for the hem of his coat and for shading.

The wider stripes of his coat were worked in Vineyard Silk Classic Citron with VSC Dandelion for shading in a slanted Gobelin stitch  .A lighter value of Impressions was used in tent stitch for the pencil stripes.  Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 005 in a Leviathan stitch variation created the buttons.

More Burmilana in an encroaching Gobelin stitch formed his bottom.  For a bushier cotton tail, I switched to Silk & Ivory Sand in French knots.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Two finishes!

This past week, I received a care package from Needle Nicely in Vero Beach, Florida (  This year's Christmas stockings have been beautifully finished, each with coordinating velveteen backing and cording.  Needle Nicely also finished the two stockings that I gifted last year, and I can't recommend its services highly enough!

Last year's and this year's stockings, designed by Liz Goodrick-Dillon, were all stitched within 18 months--quite a marathon since I had other stitching projects going at the same time.  I can't honestly recommend cramming that much stitching into such a short period of time, but sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Hopping along

What a busy week it's been!  But I managed to get some stitching in on Melissa Shirley's boy bunny, finishing the lower part of his body using a combination of Burmilana and Impressions in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

The collar and cuffs of his jacket were added with a cream Petite Very Velvet in basketweave, and his shoes were stitched with black Petite Very Velvet.

Now to play catch-up with his backside!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Quite an earful

The boy bunny's head is now stitched, using a combination of threads from my stash.

The primary brown thread is Burmilana, as is the pink on the inside of his ears.  The darker brown and cream-colored threads are Impressions.  Except for the nose, worked in a padded satin stitch, and the mouth, worked in basketweave/tent, the rest of the head used an encroaching Gobelin stitch.  DMC cotton floss in tent stitches formed the eyes.

White DMC floss in basketweave created his short, with a placket formed by encroaching oblong cross stitches.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stitching out of season

Every other year, the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary sponsors a Holly Berry Bazaar fund-raiser, to be held November 12.  A treasure-trove of painted needlepoint canvases was donated for sale at the bazaar, and one of the auxiliary members asked me to help her price the canvases for sale. What fun it was to see such a variety of designs and designers represented!

 I helped the sale get started by purchasing a pair of darling two-sided Melissa Shirley bunnies circa 1989 and wasted no time getting the little boy bunny mounted on stretcher bars.  Finally I have a non-magazine canvas to work on and show my stitching progress here.  Who cares if I stitch an Easter canvas as we creep closer to Halloween?  Certainly not needlepointers!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Hall, Philadelphia--the birthplace of The United States of America 240 years ago tomorrow with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

I designed and stitched this piece four years ago for the July/August 2016 issue of Needlepoint Now to mark the 40th anniversary of the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG).  ANG's anniversary celebration took place during its annual seminar in Philadelphia. 

The sky behind Independence Hall is definitely the largest area I've ever needle-blended!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ivory Angel - The finale!

Folks who follow this blog will probably be as relieved as I am to see this day arrive:  the Ivory Angel stocking is finished!

The area behind the name was stitched in basketweave with Vineyard Silk Classic Natural, with the name stitched with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V.  On top of the basketweave, another border of slanted Gobelin stitches, braided knitting and slanted Gobelin stitches was added to mirror the border at the edge of the cuff.

When I marked the area for the cuff, I had added three additional rows to give the finisher more flexibility turning the top over.  I checked with Mary Agnes Rhudy Cussen at Needle Nicely in Vero Beach, Florida, to see how those last few rows shoulld be stitched.  She advised a row of tent stitches abutting the last row to maintain the integrity of the outside slanted Gobelin stitches, so that's what I did.

This is my fourth stocking finish in 18 months--not a feat I care to repeat anytime soon!  But to paraphrase Kermit the Frog in the song The Rainbow Connection, "I did just what I set out to do!"

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Ivory Angel - Crawling to the finish line

Creative Avoidance is a term I learned from designer Judy Harper.  As it relates to needlepoint, it involves working on absolutely anything and everything except for the project you're supposed to be stitching.  While I've continued to put in a few stitches a day on Ivory Angel, I've also finished two other canvases--smaller and much more colorful than the stocking.

It's partially my own fault--leaving nothing else to be done but filling in the gold of the vine and working on the ivory cuff.  I'd also been dragging my feet about stitching the angel's hair, one of my least favorite things to do.  But she's now completely coiffed, worked with two strands of Burmilana in long/short and satin stitches.  Some "highlights" were added with one strand of vintage DMC Medici wool on top of the previously stitched areas.

The edge of the cuff has been started with the same Vineyard Silk Classic Natural that had been used for the angel's dress.  A row of slanted Gobelin stitches over three threads abuts the tan Petite Very Velvet, followed by a row of encroaching oblong cross stitches and another row of slanted Gobelin stitches.

I'll finish filling in the vine with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V, then move the canvas on stretcher bars for the final task of working the cuff.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ivory Angel - Still plugging away

Work along the top of the stocking below the cuff has reached the half-way mark.  The vines are filled with Vineyard Silk Classic Bark and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V in tent stitches and basketweave.  The tassel in the center uses the same threads in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

One bird has been stitched so far, using the same white and gray Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct. and in the same encroaching Gobelin stitch used for the angel's wings.  I'll add the bird's eye and beak later when the other bird is finished.

I'll need to get more Kreinik thread to finish this section as well as some thread to work the angel's hair.  Then the canvas will move one more time on the stretcher bars so I can work on the cuff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ivory Angel - So close and yet so far

There hasn't been a lot of time to stitch this stocking lately:  other commitments and yard work seem to be getting in the way.  But the background for the top of the stocking is now completed with Petite Very Velvet V604.

I've started to fill in the vines with Vineyard Silk Classic Bark and Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V, worked all in basketweave so progress is slow.  At this point, I just need to keep chipping away!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ivory Angel - Progress on two fronts

Starting in on the background at the top of the canvas, I turned the stretcher bars upside-down to make it easier to reach.  The treatment here is the same as the toe of the stocking:  Petite Very Velvet V604 in basketweave.  It's the kind of stitching best done in good light, lest all those faint white lines around the birds get accidentally covered.

Going around all those vines can get a little tedious, so when I'd reached the half-way mark, I added the name to the cuff of the stocking.  The chart for this, like the three other stockings before it, was provided by Needle Nicely in Vero Beach, Florida (  I stuck a piece of paper behind the name before taking the photo so you could see the lettering more clearly.

Back to the background and filling in!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ivory Angel - A full set of wings

After moving up the canvas on stretcher bars, I started filling in the little bit of white remaining when I ran out of thread as well as all the gray shaded areas.  The wings are all worked in Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct. in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

I'm really happy with the way the wings turned out.  There's plenty of contrast between the color of the background and the white of the wings, and the encroaching Gobelin stitch gives the wings a higher profile.

Time to move up to the arched area over the angel's head!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ivory Angel - Wings

With the addition of the lower wing section, the bottom of the Ivory Angel canvas is finished!

This section was worked in an encroaching Gobelin stitch with white and gray Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct.  I stitched as closely as I could to the top of the stretcher bars, but now it's time to reposition the canvas.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ivory Angel - Fully dressed

With the addition of her underskirt, the Ivory Angel's costume is complete!

This area was worked in an encroaching Gobelin stitch with off-white and gray Impressions.  The tassel for her dress was then added with ecru and gold Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct., also using an encroaching Gobelin stitch.

While the bottom of the canvas is still on stretcher bars, I'll tackle the wing section on the left before remounting the canvas.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ivory Angel - A robe and dress

It's amazing what can be accomplished after a shopping trip!  My stash was exhausted, and I finally made it over to my LNS for reinforcements.

With the addition of Vineyard Silk Classic Edwardian Gold to the border, the angel's robe is now complete.  Her dress is also finished with two shades of Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct.  The tassel will be added after I've stitched the underskirt.

Working the skirt of this design has sometimes seemed endless, but I'm almost there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ivory Angel - A gilded toe

With the background of the toe finished in Petite Very Velvet, I added all the vines using Vineyard Silk Classic Bark.

The sections of the canvas that had been painted white were then filled in with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V.  I'd used this metallic to fill in the white areas on the angel's chair and liked the effect.  It adds some color and sparkle to the overall design without detracting from the angel herself.

  I'll be using this same approach on the arch above the angel whenever I finish this section of the stocking--I've been a Bottom Dweller for quite some time now!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ivory Angel - 'pointing a toe

The canvas has been moved from the scroll frame to stretcher bars to counteract buckling at the bottom of the stocking.

So while I'm working on the bottom of the canvas, I started stitching the toe.  The background was stitched in basketweave with Petite Very Velvet V604.  The vine motif has been started in tent stitches/basketweave with Vineyard Silk Classic Bark.  This shade of brown ties in with the lighter brown of the angel's chair.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Website Alert: Email Link Not Working

If anyone has tried to reach me through link provided by my website--and hasn't received a reply, my apologies.  Seems for the last 10+ years, this address has been through a Texas server, and--duh--I've lived in Massachusetts ever since.  My ISP sold the service to another, and now this address doesn't work at all.  So PLEASE--email me at until further notice!  Happy to answer any and all questions!  Thanks!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ivory Angel - still skirting the issue

The angel's robe is now finished, with the exception of the trim.  Vineyard Silk Classic Edwardian Gold has been added to my shopping list so I can fill in behind the filigree.

The "onion dome" motif is almost complete on the center panel of the angel's dress.  And the two shades of Silk Lame Braid have been added to the shopping list, too.  So far all the threads used for the stocking have been from my stash.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ivory Angel - Starting the skirt

Stitching Ivory Angel isn't difficult, but determining where one area ends and another begins is sometimes a bit tricky.  To simplify things a little, I started work on the skirt by outlining the trim of the robe with Vineyard Silk Classic Natural and filling in the trim with VSC Edwardian Gold.

The main section of the angel's robe on the right was completed in basketweave with VSC Natural and shaded with Evening Haze.

Moving to the dress under the robe, I used Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct. in Ecru, shaded by another Silk Lame Braid in a value of gold slightly deeper than the VSC Edwardian Gold.

Since the angel's skirt accounts for at least one-third of the stocking's length, this is going to take a while!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ivory Angel--filling in

The top of the angel's robe is finished, using more Vineyard Silk Classic Evening Haze and Steel Gray.  I wanted to maintain the shading but chose lighter values of gray than were painted on the canvas to keep this area from getting too dark.  The inside of her sleeves were filled in with Vineyard Silk Classic Dark Earth. 

I could have couched the strings of the lyre but didn't want to run the risk of the thread getting snagged several years down the road.  So I worked the strings in a stem stitch with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 001, which elevates them above the top of the robe while keeping them securely fastened.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ivory Angel--moving along

The white of the angel's other wing has been worked down to her elbow with Silk Lame Braid in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.  More of this thread has been added to the shopping list!

The sleeves of her robe have been added using Vineyard Silk Classic Natural and Edwardian Gold.  Evening Haze and Steel Gray have been used for shading.  I need to rummage in my stash for a dark brown to fill the inside of her sleeves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ivory Angel -- A little light music

The Ivory Angel is playing a lyre, but it's painted the same as her chair.  I'd always thought of lyres as being gold, but a Google image search revealed there are plenty made entirely of wood as well.  So I've compromised, stitching it the same as I did the chair, using two shades of brown DMC #5 perle cotton and "gilding" it with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V.

The bib of her robe was stitched in basketweave and tent stitch with Vineyard Silk Classic Natural and Edwardian Gold.  Joining the open areas of her sleeves are little silver clips, stitched in Smyrna crosses with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 001.

To give the wing on the right a lighter, "airy" look, while still maintaining the shading, I've decided to use just two shades of thread.  The white was worked in an encroaching Gobelin stitch with Silk Lame Braid for 18 ct.  A single shade of gray will be added as soon as I buy it!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ivory Angel: please be seated!

Moving to the more substantial section of the angel's chair, you can actually see where the front leg ends and the back leg begins!

Once again, the wooden sections were stitched in basketweave with two shades of brown DMC #5 perle cotton and "gilded" with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V.  Tiny sections of background were added in the Nobuko stitch with floss now that there are stitches close by to anchor them.

I'm pleased with the way the chair turned out--looks more like a throne now!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ivory Angel - A milestone

The background is finished!  With this much accomplished, it's pretty much pure play from here on.

All the little design elements that were a bit of a blur--where the wings start and stop and the outline of her robe--are now a lot clearer.  Working down toward the toe of the stocking, I noticed that there are actually three layers to the angel's costume:  the robe, her dress and an underskirt.  I'll need to factor in the weight of the thread used for each of these areas to achieve some depth to her costume.

As a reward, I worked one arm of her chair.  Since it's been painted in brown tones, I decided to make it a wooden chair but changing the lighter elements to a metallic to simulate gilding.  Two brown shades of DMC #5 perle cotton provide a harder appearance and contrast well against the softer background thread and what I plan to use for the robe.  Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V  was used for the gilding.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ivory Angel - 2

The Nobuko background continues to grow, now reaching just below the arm of the angel's chair.  Time to give her a face!

Three shades of DMC floss were used for all the skin tones, with two strands of Burmilana forming the eyelashes.

With mostly white, gray and brown tones used to paint the tan canvas, it's sometimes difficult to decipher where one design element ends and the next one begins.  Working the background helps to delineate the contours of the angel's wings, while stitching her face and arms gives me a better idea of where the lines of her dress fall.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ivory Angel - 1

Like the other stockings I've stitched to date, work on Ivory Angel began with the background.  As the owner of Town-Ho Needleworks, my LNS, so often remarks, if you don't keep up with the background of a piece, the chances are 50-50 that you'll never finish the project.

The thread for the background is DMC floss 712, basically an ivory shade but with a tinge of yellow that will accentuate the gold in the angel's dress.  There will be a lot of basketweave in this piece in order to achieve the shading, so I chose the Nobuko stitch for the background.  It provides some visual interest, compensates well around curved areas, and works up quickly.

My first goal was to stitch the background down to the angel's left elbow.  My reward was to work the angel's halo, using Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V Vintage Gold and #8 fine braid 5760 Marshmallow in basketweave and tent stitches.  So far, so good!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Starting another long-term project

Another Christmas stocking has made its way to my house.  Actually, it's been sitting on the guest room bed for several weeks, as I made daily visits to ponder my plan of attack for stitching it.

Ivory Angel by Liz Goodrick-Dillon is quite different from the other three stockings by Liz that I've stitched to date.  This design is almost monochromatic, compared to the colorful Patchwork Snowman, Nutcracker Christmas and Nutcracker/Packages stockings.  Its lines are very delicate and the shading is extensive, so the choice of threads and stitches becomes critical to maintaining the proper balance in the finished piece.

When its cuff is added, the stocking will measure a little over two feet long--not the type of project to be completed overnight.  And there's other stitching on my plate right now which takes precedence.  So I'll work on the angel a little at a time in hopes of making the finishing deadline for this year's holiday season.  I'll be back with another post when I have something to show for myself!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ready to perform!

The little Mariachi is finished!

His serape was filled in with snippets of Burmilana and Impressions from my stash in Scotch, mosaic, slanted Gobelin and tent stitches.

His mustache and beard were stitched in French knots with DMC Medici wool.  His guitar was created with DMC #5 perle cotton in basketweave.  Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002 provided the strings in tent stitches and the tuning pegs in Smyrna crosses.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

More Mariachi madness

The little Mariachi is warmer now that his shirt is finished.  Using Trio Natural, the body was worked in a framed mosaic stitch and the sleeves in a diagonal mosaic stitch, with wristbands of slanted Gobelin stitches over two canvas threads.

I've started stitching his serape, using a brown Burmilana tweed in an encroaching Gobelin stitch.  Now I can have some fun adding the colored bands!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Snow-day stitching

There's nothing like a snow day to get some stitching accomplished!  The Cape got clobbered with about 10 inches of the white stuff--not that remarkable compared to amounts falling elsewhere recently, but the most accumulation we've seen so far this winter.  We didn't lose power, so life was good and stitching was even better!

The Mariachi now has a face, hair and eyebrows, and I'll add his mustache and beard after doing a little more work around his chin area.

His pants have been worked with Trio Natural in an alternating pattern of vertical slanted Gobelin and tent stitches, with Felicity's Garden Truffle providing the shading.  The bottom of his shirt now has a border of alternating slanted Gobelin and mosaic stitch stripes.  On to the top of the shirt!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A sombrero and sandals

The Mariachi's sombrero has been worked in a woven stitch and tent stitch combination with shades of DMC #5 perle cotton.

Skin tones were added with DMC cotton floss--need to finish the facial features!

His sash was formed with an encroaching oblong cross stitch worked horizontally using Petite Very Velvet.  The same thread was used for his sandals in a slanted Gobelin/tent stitch.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Road trip company

DH and I took a trip to Boston this past week to attend the preview of Disney's newest release, The Finest Hours.  Heaven forbid I should ride in a car for an hour and a half each way without something to stitch, and my current magazine project was too big to take along.  So I unearthed an already-painted canvas of my Mexican Mariachi to keep me company.

The Mariachi is a cylindrical ornament, aka a "roll-up."  The trick in designing these ornaments is to think round while painting on the flat.  When finished, his serape will meet in the back for additional visual interest--no matter how good the finisher, I've never known an ornament that hangs completely straight!

Not enough stitching has been accomplished to take a progress photo--I switched back to the larger piece as soon as I got home--but I'll be back, hopefully soon,.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A buddy for Seamus

Still biding my time between major projects. I pulled out a canvas of Patrick the Penguin to work on.  This cheerful little fellow will keep Seamus the Sheep company.

The sky and rainbow were worked in DMC floss in basketweave and tent stitches.  Petite Very Velvet formed his hat and body, while vintage DMC Medici was used in basketweave and encroaching Gobelin stitches for his face, tummy, beak and feet.

His Aran sweater was worked in Trio Natural in a combination of slanted Gobelin, encroaching oblong cross, Kalem and tent stitches.  Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 002V provided the buckle on his hat and his pot of gold, a combination of horizontal encroaching oblong cross and woven stitches.  The shamrocks were formed with mosaic and tent stitches with Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 008HL.

For the grass, I tried a technique that Sue Dulle calls "puddling."  Using an overdyed thread--in this case Watercolours Jade--you skip around from one area to another to avoid streaking when stitching basketweave.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Seamus the Sheep

With the Nutcracker/Packages stocking completed, I turned to my current Needlepoint Now stitching project.  In record time, it was finished.  My next stocking in the "personal stitching" category still hadn't arrived, and I was getting perturbed.  Hell hath no furry like a stitcher with nothing to stitch!

So I started painting--a lamb design from a series of mini Easter eggs that I had discontinued.  Same lamb, different treatment to make it a St. Patrick's Day memento for my new daughter-in-law.  The newlyweds honeymooned in Ireland, renting a car and touring the countryside.  It seemed that, at every turn of the road, they had to slow down to let a flock of sheep pass by.  A particularly cute little fellow caught their eye and was dubbed "Seamus."

So here he is, framed with Impressions Emerald in a Nobuko stitch with an inner border of Kreinik metallic.  His head was stitched in basketweave with eons old Paternayan and his body in French knots with vintage DMC Medici wool.  Sheep's Silk in a diagonal mosaic stitch created the grass.  All from my stash, and all from my heart.

P.S.  Now waiting on TWO canvases.  Sigh....