Sunday, July 29, 2018

Before and after

When Rebecca Wood's mini banner Winter was posted on Needlepoint Nation Stash Exchange some time ago, it was love at first sight for me.  Everything about it appealed:  the serenity of the scene, the warmth exuded from the lighted windows of the house, and the delicious blue-green with which it was painted.  Because of its size--half of it mounted on stretcher bars and the rest rolled up with clips--it became my traveling companion.  But I also had other canvases to stitch, so it's taken longer than normal to reach a TADA moment.

I decided to stitch all the background (except for the sky, done in basketweave) in an encroaching Gobelin stitch, with other design elements worked in a variety of decorative stitches to make them pop.  Why encroaching Gobelin?  It's a smooth stitch that's ideal for blending one shade into another and which supports the theme of serenity. 

Some folks give encroaching Gobelin a bad rap.  I had one person email me, saying she wanted to stitch a canvas I'd featured in a "Making It Simple" column in Needlepoint Now, but was looking for an alternative to encroaching Gobelin.  "It's a nasty stitch--I hate it and will never, ever do it," she added.  Wow--strong stuff!  I've found this stitch works up more easily if done on the diagonal--it makes it simpler for me, anyway, to see where the needle should nestle the thread inside the previous stitch.  Every time I do this stitch, I think back to when, as a kid, my mother served a dinner of fish.  When I complained that there were bones in the fish, my exasperated mother--a terrific cook--retorted, "That's why God gave you a tongue!"  Well, when it comes to the encroaching Gobelin stitch, that's why needle manufacturers give their product a pointed end.

The lovely blue-greens were provided by three values of Impressions and all the snow by Kreinik #12 tapestry braid 032.  The house was worked in a diagonal oblong cross stitch with #8 pearl cotton and the sled in more pearl cotton.  The red cardinals were stitched in basketweave with red Trio, with their wings added in a padded satin stitch.  The snowman's body was worked in a diagonal mosaic stitch, with a scarf created by red Trio and dark green Impressions in a slanted Gobelin stitch.

The finished canvas just makes me smile, and I hope my daughter-in-law, decorator extraordinaire, will like it, too!

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