Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stars: Improved Deborah Kerr

Last night I removed the left side of this Stars block and restitched it in what I hope is the correct position.  Then I surrounded the black star center with triangles of purple.  I was supposed to work a trellis stitch framework around the black centers first but I thought it would be easier to do the purple triangles, then work in the trellis stitch.  I hope that was ok.  As you can see, I stopped the first step of the trellis stitch that goes in the corners because the count was off somehow.

The purple lines are supposed to go in at the end but I couldn't resist seeing how they looked on top of the purple star.  Actual Stars stitchers will note I used more purple lines than the instructions called for but I like the effect.  More purple lines go on top of other areas once they are stitched, so if adding extra is too much, they will be easy to remove.

Cross your fingers that I was just too tired last night to count the trellis stitch properly, not that the center is all wrong!  I'll look carefully at the instructions again and try to decide where I went wrong.  If I can't, I'll fudge it.  I am NOT doing that black star again.

This is very pretty, wrong or not.

Almost forgot--I updated the Chilly Hollow Stitch Guides blog last night with an article about Pocket Full of Stitches.  Their monthly clubs aren't exactly stitch guides but since you can buy all the older clubs still, I thought it appropriate to add them to this stitch guide resource.  Besides, the PFOS blog mentions stitch guides being created for some of the canvases they stock.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stars: Deborah Kerr

Last night I started working on the third row of Stars for the New Millennium. This block is called Deborah Kerr and it starts out with oblique woven stitches that alternate slant direction to make an 8 pointed star. Then you work patterns around the center to fill out towards the edges of the block. I discovered when I took this photo that the left side is off by one stitch, so I will be pulling that out and restitching it. Sadly, stitching at night with black doesn't mean you are always precise.

This is a pretty block so far, even if I am frustrated right now!

If you are new to painted canvases and want to try one, remember to comment (or email me at chillyhollow athotmaildotcom) on last Monday's blog entry to enter the drawing for the Mile High Princess canvas with a stitch guide and all the threads.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A St. Charles Report

I've heard from Vicky DeAnglis who was at the St. Charles market and emailed me a report to post for everyone.  Here's what Vicky has to say:

"There is a new publication just released called Spool that was introduced at the St Charles market. It is covering counted cross stitch, knitting, crochet, needlepoint, crewel and assorted sundry needlearts. It is about 40 pages of wonderful articles, cross stitch charts, embroidery, punch needle, knitting, crochet and even needlepoint! Their website is

I have some copies that I will be bringing with me to ANG seminar in Columbus!

By now you have seen the Ladies of the Night from Leigh. I just love them all and it would be hard to decide which one to stitch! Of course the one with the black cat would be my favorite, but then there is the one where she is sewing her web with a needle that could be fun to do! I love what ThreadworX has done with stitching the first one and that is available with a stitch guide and threads. 
[Note:  ThreadworX stitched Remilia whom you can see at this link.]

What they did with her hair is very clever! The canvas that they are painted on has been hand dyed with some undertones of greys and speckled black spots that makes it so very unusual.

Melissa Shirley debuted her Debbie Mumm collection and very soon will be seen on her website. There is the 12 days of Christmas, these darling owls that I just wanted to pick up and start stitching now! A large selection of Halloween designs, which really makes the decision tough enough to say, I will just do them all! I think that in total there were over 3 dozen new designs soon to be in your favorite needlepoint store.

There is a new cotton floss out with some of the best periwinkles and aquas that makes you want to just start stitching with it! It is a 5 ply cotton called High Cotton, available now in 74 colors and soon to be growing to 125 by January. Hyla Hurley of Point of It All Designs is the creator of this great new thread.

Brown Paper Packages of Silk and Ivory fame has a new thread called Stardust, which is a silk and merino wool blend with an additional strand of sparkle in it. The colors now of this new thread is Really Red, White, Pewter and Toast. I am anxious to try the white on some Holiday Ornaments."

Vicky promises more information once she has time to unpack and catch her breath.  Thank you, Vicky!

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Moving Right Along

Mindy's Fall Pumpkin
I've been promised a report from St. Charles from an eyewitness of all the fun, but that will have to wait until my spy gets home, unpacks and rests up a little.  I have heard from one of my spies that the Elaine Magnin store in San Francisco is getting ready to reopen in the same location under another name.  Keep your fingers crossed!

I've updated the CH Stitch Guides blog with a short article on Eye Candy and Painted Pony Designs, both of whom have stitch guides available for some of their canvases.

Mindy has posted new photos on her website.  There's a slide show on the home page but I prefer these images.  The Fall Pumpkin photo above is Mindy's, by the way.

I've been browsing various designer websites, looking for new things.  Here are some selections I've found. I don't recognize the designs so I hope they are truly new and not just new to me.  The sites below are (in no particular order) Associated Talents, Maggie and Labors of Love.

Now I'm going to settle down and work on another Stars section.

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SuZy Murphy Books: A Review

Three of SuZy Murphy's Books
Until recently I had never seen any of SuZy Murphy's books.  Living in the Back of Beyond as I do, bookstores that carry stitching books for me to browse are few and far between.  It's been at least 10-12 years since I found a stitching book in Borders Books or Books a Million.  The trend now is self-publishing books that are not released in regular bookstores and I simply don't visit a needlepoint shop often enough to see these books, much less have time to study them.  Fortunately, this last week I bought the latest in her series (Mini Stitches) and a friend sent me two of her SuZy Murphy books since she doesn't use them much now that she is more of a knitter than a needlepointer.

A Peek Inside
I spent the weekend studying the books.  They are all stitch dictionaries and the format for all three books are the same.  Stitches are organized into categories:  straight stitches, cross stitches, diagonal stitches, small stitches, etc.  Each chapter covers one of these categories.   There is a diagram for each stitch, a few notes about how to stitch it, a list of things this stitch is good for (such as Water, Clouds, Walks)  and a black and white photograph of each stitch done on NP canvas.  The diagrams are small but usually there are 1-2 drawings in each diagram so you can see the numbered sequence of one full stitch, then see a group of them so you can do rows.  In the back of the book there is a series of colored plates of each stitch and opposite each plate, each stitch from that group labeled.    See the photo above for more information.  Mini Stitches and SurpriZe Stitches has a stitch index (a list of all the stitches so you can look one up if you remember the name) and an effects index (where you can find all the stitches in the book that are appropriate for hair, etc.).  Small Stitches doesn't have the effects index, just the stitch index.

I was surprised to find that stitches don't repeat between books.  It is easy for authors to forget they already put a stitch in an earlier book, but SuZy Murphy is very organized.  Small Stitches and Mini Stitches explicitly say that many of the stitches described (but not all) are good for small areas.  It's nice to have a place to see stitches that cover small areas but I have to say just because a stitch doesn't take up much space doesn't mean that it is good for a small area.  Some stitches, such as Serendipity, have to have room for many repeats before the beauty of the stitch will reveal itself.  What I'm trying to say is don't count on each and every stitch in these books being appropriate for a tiny area.

My own opinion is that SurpriZe Stitches and Mini Stitches have more unusual stitches in them than Small Stitches does, but Small Stitches takes common stitches and diagrams variations of them which are unusual and useful.  An example is the Tent Stitches chapter in this book which starts out with basketweave and skip tent and Alicia's lace, then diagrams all sorts of variations on these stitches for the stitcher who likes to use them but is looking for something different this time.  Almost every stitch in Small Stitches has a variation listed, which is quite interesting and useful.

I recommend these books for the intermediate and beyond stitcher.  A beginner might find the small diagrams a little confusing, especially since only one stitch unit is numbered, but someone who is experienced or very adventuresome will find plenty of ideas in SuZy's books. Remember that Portable Stitches combines Small Stitches and SurpriZe Stitches into one book.  Portable Stitches is also available as a digital download for smart phones. Here is a complete list of the SuZy Murphy titles.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

The Pirate Cat: For Beginners

Becky Myers' Beach Angel
I hope folks who have never tried stitching needlepoint canvases with the design already on them are tempted to try after watching me stitch Pirate Cat.  This stuff is not rocket science or brain surgery. Of course, having a good shop nearby helps when you are learning to embellish canvases.  They can answer your questions or help you when you are stuck for ideas.  A good guild functions in the same way.  Your fellow stitchers are a terrific resource.

But what if you don't have a shop or guild anywhere near you?  What if you don't even know another needlepointer in real life?  How on earth do you teach yourself to embellish canvases when there is no one to help answer questions?  In those situations, you cheat by working projects with stitch guides.

Becky's Easel Finishing Looks Great
You may be following project instructions in a copy of Needle Pointers or Needlepoint Now, the two magazines about needlepoint, or you may be working a free project from one of the thread companies' websites.  Or you may work a canvas that has a stitch guide.

The Giveaway

Stitch a couple of projects where everything is laid out for you and get your stitching legs, then try tackling something small on your own.  To help you to do this, Canvases Be Gone has contributed a canvas called Beach Angel by Mile High Princess that comes with a stitch guide by SHEAR Creations (that's the Stitches for Effects ladies) and all the threads you will need.  I'm going to give this canvas, the stitch guide, and the threads away to someone who wants to try embellishing canvases.  Canvases Be Gone is a website that sells folks' excess stash run by Dale Miller, a fabulous stitcher from Arizona who noticed many of her friends had canvases they'd never get around to stitching.  Dale and I are eager to give someone new to canvas embellishment a chance to try it for themselves.

Becky Myers sent me the photos of her finished Beach Angel which she had finished as an easel so you can see how great this looks when worked up.  Canvases Be Gone has contributed everything you need to stitch Beach Angel, even needles, and she is already on stretcher bars, too.  Becky sends her moral support!  You can do this.  To help you, Mimi is donating a copy of Ruth Dilts' Needlepoint 202, which is intended to help folks understand how to embellish painted canvases by watching what Ruth does.

All you have to do is be a beginner at embellishing canvases and promise to stitch this to the best of your ability, then post a Comment below (or email me at chillyhollow at hotmaildotcom if commenting doesn't work for you).  I'm going pick a random commenter next Monday (October 4) to send the kit to.  Dale, Becky, Mimi and I think if you try a project where everything is laid out for you, you'll relax and have fun, and also feel more confident that you can do this totally on your own next time.

Many thanks to Dale of Canvases Be Gone and Becky and Mimi for their assistance and the donation of supplies!

By the way, when you have time, browse Becky's Internet pages to enjoy more of her fabulous stitching.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Introducing The Ladies of the Night

The Ladies of the Night are revealed!

They are seductive vampires all, very slinky with their blood red lips and fingernails and long hair and gowns.  Each has a special touch--a frilly apron worn while stirring a bubbling cauldron, carving a pumpkin with a sharp dagger, petting an evil cat companion, looking at a fancy candelabra or wearing a beautiful Russian shawl, bats or blackbirds as pets, a haunted mansion or a cemetery in the background.  There is a Lady of the Night for every taste, so have fun exploring the latest from Leigh Designs.

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More News from St. Charles

The news keeps showing up on the Internet:  Scarlet Thread has an interview with Debbie Rowley of DebBee's Designs on their shop blog that has photos of her newest designs to be released at the St. Charles market this weekend.  Counted canvas fans, this is for you!

Squiggee is tempting me with her Eyebrow Halloween Pumpkin.  The spider in her web ornament is traditional, but that pumpkin!  I bet he has a French accent!

There are no photos but Shakespeare's Peddler writes about her experience at St. Charles.  I can just feel her excitement!

There's more to come.

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The Pirate Cat Adds Thread

Swarkovski Crystals Before
After narrowly averting disaster yesterday when using a hot fix tool to attach pre-glued Swarkovski crystals to the background of the Pirate Cat--I didn't burn myself or glue crystals to my hair-- I moved onto embellishing the embellishment (so to speak).

But before I do, here's a video that shows how the crystals are attached.  There are several brands of tools, but they all seem to work with the flat-backed crystals in pretty much the same way.  It isn't quite as easy as it looks (the crystals tend to get stuck to the tool so have an old small needle ready to pry them out or move them quickly around if they aren't quite in the right place) but it isn't hard, either.  Just remember that the tool gets quite hot, the liquid glue is hot and the crystals themselves are hot, too.  I plan to talk about this in detail in the Pirate Cat stitch guide for Patt and Lee Designs.

Being Embellished
The crystals looked plainer than I expected once they were in place so I framed them with L shaped lines of gold metallic.  Then I added the same green and gold metallic that makes up the cat's eyes in another L.  The close-up shows three crystals, one with two Ls framing it, one with the second L underway, and with with the first gold L in position only.

Once I made the Swarkovski crystals more confetti-like, I decided the canvas is done.

Swarkovski Crystals After
I hope you enjoyed watching.  The trick or treating Pirate Cat is certainly not my usual choice of canvas but it was great fun to come up with a suitable background, figure out how to make a wonderful pirate's hat, and to play around with detached buttonhole lace on his coat collar.  I also found brick stitch makes very good animal fur when you want a delicate instead of furry look.

Many thanks to Patt and Lee Designs for making this possible!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

No St. Charles Report--Yet

Lupe, from Tapestry Fair

So far I haven't found seen any online updates about new goodies from the St. Charles needlework show. So you'll have to make due with information about the next historical needlework class from Tricia Nguyen which she is teaching at Williamsburg this winter.  Start reading about the new threads and the project at the September 21st entry, then come forward and stare at the new threads created for this project.  Wonderful!

Ridgewood Needlepoint has a great photo of the new large Lee leather bag with small round canvas, suitable for a monogram.

The Point of It All has banker clips to hold a rolled canvas in position in case you prefer stitching "in hand" instead of putting your canvas on stretcher bars.

If you love threadwinders, you'll want to see what Monica has in her online store--little silvery ornate winders that look like a cross between snowflakes and Celtic crosses.

Tapestry Fair has posted photos of their two new Day of the Dead canvases on their website.  These are licensed designs from the New Mexico artist Manual Salas.  I just love Rosa but perhaps you prefer the floral patterns on Lupe (shown above)?  Mexican culture is a mystery to me but I have a soft spot for their cheerful skeletons that celebrate Death and the love of life that lingers after we are gone.

Stay tuned for the latest as soon as my spies report in!

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Done! Or is it?

The Pirate Cat is done!  His head scarf is redone to make it smoother and remove the empty stitches that were just visible under his hat.

So is he finished?  Well, no.    I'd always had A Plan for spicing up the bland background behind the kitten and now's the time to see if the plan will work.

Step One:  Jane grabs her purse and car keys, and heads to the local crafts emporium.  She hunts high and low, then squeaks with joy when she finds Just the Thing.  ON SALE!  [Yes, like the Spinster Stitcher I'm probably going to have to wait until this blows over and the cashiers forget me before setting foot in that crafts emporium again.]

Jane comes home and takes the Pirate Cat off the stretcher bars, then finds her color copy of the canvas, breaks out the goodies from the crafts emporium and this is what she ends up with.

Finished NOW?
But I'm still not done, so the Pirate Cat goes back on the stretcher bars....

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Friday, September 24, 2010

The St. Charles Report

Things are starting to trickle out of St. Charles, MO (where all the shops and designers and thread makers and so forth are having a party about us--excuse me while I weep).  First up, Gail has taken pity on me and posted another photo of a new ornament, a gingerbread cookie version of the Statue of Liberty.

If you have your September/October 2010 Needlepoint Now, you probably have seen some of the newest things in the ads.  I highly recommend you read the ads.  They are wonderful fun!  By the way, that Pat Mazu mini sock looks like another type of fun and I can't wait to study the next stitch diagrams for the Marnie Ritter sampler.  Excuse me while I go weep over my copy's not having arrived yet.  Looking at it on their website is not the same!

Since I am already unhappy about the fun I missed, this is the perfect time to show the class Susan just attended.  Color me VERY jealous!  And a bit intimidated by the stitching.  It is amazing.

Oh, well, I just updated the Chilly Hollow Stitch Guide site with a photo of O'jishi, an article on Tapestry Fair's new quilt series with stitch guides that includes photos, and a note about June McKnight's creative consultations.

Anyone got a hanky?  I need to blow my nose after all that weeping.

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The Pirate Coat's Lace Collar

Is the Pirate Cat done?
The final step in dressing our kitten is the trim on his coat collar.  I wanted something fancy so I thought of doing this in detached buttonhole so that there would be a touch of lace around the edge.  I choose #4 Kreinik to do the job and it worked beautifully.  (However, a couched line of gold metallic would be much easier if detached buttonhole intimidates you and will look almost as good to my eyes.  You know me--I can't resist a challenge, even if there is an easier way that works almost as well.)

Failed Inspection!
The last step with any finished canvas is Final Inspection, particularly if you stitch mostly at night like I do.  I have to check everything closely in the daylight to make sure I didn't miss a stitch, that there are no mistakes, etc.  Sadly, the Pirate Cat failed inspection.  If you click on this closeup, you will see two smudged areas where bare thread intersections show at the edge of the pirate's hat, one on each side.  I need to add a navy blue stitch on the right and a black stitch on the left.  I also am not happy with the left side of the kerchief around the kitten's head.  The stitches are too long in places and broken up in other places.

So tonight I will remove the long blue stitches on the left side, cover the two misses intersections, and then restitch the kerchief.

Hopefully by tomorrow everything will be stitched and I can post progress.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The St. Charles Gossip

Barbara Bergsten Won't Tell!
The St. Charles Gossip would be me--I have tidbits to share about what designers are going to bring to the St. Charles wholesale market. This is what is known as a Cash and Carry show.  Shops can buy what the designers bring and cart it home with them.  No waiting for things to ship later.  When your shop owner gets back from St. Charles and recovers enough from all the excitement to show up at your LNS, they will have the latest items for you to enjoy.

Barbara Bergsten will be at St. Charles.  She's not telling what she is bringing except for the No Peaking canvas above.  LOL

I've heard that Melissa Shirley is introducing a new artist but there hasn't been even a whisper what the designs will be like.  We'll have to wait and see what she posts on her website this weekend.

Leigh Designs' new series is called Ladies of the Night.  Photos will be revealed on their site Sunday.  I guessed what Leigh was doing so I've seen photos of the series.  It truly isn't like any other painted canvas I've ever seen.  All I'll say is it's on custom canvas....

I know that Needle Works isn't going to the St. Charles show but they ordered new designs sight unseen from their favorite designers and promise to post photos on their blog next week as the shipments arrive. So this is going to be a good site to watch.  The Sept. 1 blog entry already shows off Brenda Stofft's newest Halloween designs.

Speaking of Halloween, Squiggee (Gail Hendrix) has some wonderful new pieces for St. Charles.  There's a witch with a green complexion, and a scardy cat!  And there is a wonderful witch's house, too.

Finally, for the counted canvas folks, here are new items from Shakespeare's Peddler.

As things are revealed, I'll post links here as I find out about them.  Until then, how about reading Janet Perry's review of the self-finishing Timeless Tote clutch purses?

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Remember O'jishi?


Remember the Japanese Noh Theatre mask of the stylized lion I stitched as a model for Leigh Designs last winter?  He's going to St. Charles as a pillow for the Leigh cash and carry show there.  Our wonderful shop owners can visit him there.

O'jishi in Final Form

Of course us regular stitchers won't be there as it is a wholesale show, so Leigh said I could show him off here.  The magnificent finishing is by Marlene's in San Francisco.

I am very proud of how this light coverage piece turned out.  Hope you enjoy seeing the finished version and that you get to see him in person at St. Charles.  Everyone travel there and back safely!

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Pirate Coat and Collar

Coat is stitched.
First, here is a photo of the finished pirate coat.  My second thread choice was Just Right, making ripping out a pleasure, not a pain.  I do love it when things come together!  The next step is stitching the collar and collar trim.

Collar is stitched.
As usual, I considered the collar's shape when picking a stitch.  Doesn't that curve of the right collar look like bargello?  I went with simple straight satin stitches that make up a sort of vertical Bargello Wave pattern to make the right side collar stand out against the Dotted Swiss shirt and the Long Upright Cross Stitch coat.  I can use more or fewer plies to make the collar heavy enough to look good with (not dominated by) the shirt and coat.  I used the same silk thread on the collar as on the coat.

Unstitched Pirate Cat Canvas
Compare this photo of the unstitched Pirate Cat to the stitched coat photo above.  See how I stretched out the long silk stitches to cover more of the gold trim area?  There's a reason for that--I plan to use detached buttonhole for the trim.  Because of the way detached buttonhole is done, I don't want as much gold paint showing.

The final step before starting detached buttonhole is to stitch the collar on the left side.  For the left side collar, I used tent stitches and also covered all but one row of gold stitches.   Now all that is left is the collar trim.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Right Stitch, Wrong Thread

What's Wrong With This Picture?
Anyone new to stitching painted canvases will occasionally make a mistake and have to rip out.  You'll choose the wrong stitch, the wrong thread, the wrong color, etc.  Not to worry.  This is normal and good.  Being able to recognize a mistake and fix it is a skill any good stitcher wants to cultivate!

Actually, anyone--new to painted canvases or not--will make mistakes and have to fix them.  Since I'm writing this with folks new to stitching needlepoint canvases without help in mind--and I made a mistake I've ripped out--I thought I'd talk about mistakes in detail today.

The photo above shows my first attempt at working the Pirate Cat's coat.  I wanted to use a textured stitch in red because the coat is painted red and because the Dotted Swiss stitch I used for the brown shirt is textured.  I didn't think that a smooth coat next to the raised stitches of the shirt would look good.  The texture of the coat and shirt need to be similar.  Of course I could use the same stitch both places, but what's the challenge in that!?!

When choosing clothing stitches, I find it helpful to think about what I believe the clothing would look like in real life.  Since I think of a pirate's coat as being rough, perhaps made of wool, I rummaged in my stash for red threads with some wool or wool-like texture.  I came up with a nice bright red Vineyards Silk.  Then I went through my stitch dictionaries, looking for something that was both textured and slightly vertical in feel.  I was thinking of a corduroy coat, you see, and corduroy is made of vertical lines.  I found Long Upright Cross Stitch and it turned out to have the perfect texture, not too rough or prominent, but able to stand up to Dotted Swiss and look enough like a corduroy coat to make me happy.  (If you are curious about Long Upright Cross Stitch, it is roughly like the top diagram on this page except the vertical stitches are over four threads, not two.)

I'm happy with the stitch but if you look at the photo above, you can see the red Vineyards Silk thread I choose is too orange in tint and the thread itself looks too heavy to me.  I had planned to top stitch the orange and blue fold lines in the coat but I don't think that'll look good on such a heavy thread.  So it's back to the drawing board.  Out came the Vineyard Silk thread and I rummaged in my stash some more, only to find a nice dark garnet Soie de Alger which turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

The Right Thread and Stitch
Ripping out is a good thing.  That's how you get just the effect you want!

Tomorrow I'll show off the finished coat and talk about stitching the collar.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lots of Monthly Club News

Chandail Circus Club

In the last month a great many shops have posted news about their new monthly clubs, or updated already revealed clubs with photos of stitched models.  I've collected all this information for your viewing pleasure (in no particular order) since I know these clubs are wildly popular.

If you are a fan of Kelly Clark's designs or just like Christmas, this Heritage Ornament club is just the thing for you.

Needle Works has posted photos of all the stitched purse ornaments in their club.  Very cute!  I just wish the photos would enlarge.

There are photos of the Kelly Clark pears club, too.

The Circus has come to town at Chandail Needlework with a series of ornaments from Kirk & Hamilton.  Click on "Larger Size" under each photo and prepare to be amazed and amused.

Ruth Schmuff is offering an Atomic Christmas ornament club for the retro 60s fans among us. These Eye Candy canvases are totally fun and totally unlike anything else.

If you prefer setting up your own club and using threads from your stash, And More has a cute selection of hearts of the month.

Along the same line, Artists Collection has angels of the month canvases.

Pocket Full of Stitches has glimpses of their Christmas tree club canvases on their blog, and...

...they have updated their website page for their Haunted Night Letters club  finished stitched models, AND...

...there are photos of their cupcake club canvases that look good enough to eat.

Finally, Pocket Full of Stitches is going to do something fun in conjunction with the seasonal tree stitch guides from Eye Candy that Needlepoint Now is going to publish starting with the September/October 2010 issue that is just now being mailed--they are kitting up each tree as the guide comes out in the magazine.  If you are stitching these trees and want PFOS to pull together thread kits for you, here are the details.

Here's a bit more about this issue from the editor of NP Now's blog.

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Pirate Cat Bandana and Belt

Dressing the Pirate Cat
Our Pirate Cat has his shoulder belt finished, the belt buckle restitched with reverse tent \ on top of the original tent / stitches because the Very Velvet was hiding the silver metallic with fuzz, and the neck scarf and head bandana are stitched.  Interestingly, the bandana looks smooth in real life but the photo emphasizes areas where the longer stitches aren't 100% smooth.  I'll go over them with my laying tool again and see if I can make that better.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

You Have Until October 10

Geisha with Tea Pot by Unknown Designer take advantage of a fabulous sale at SF Stitch in San Francisco.  Canvases are 65% off.  There are some great buys available on the Sale and Consignment pages, too, but the wonderful silk gauze kits are not on sale.  I wonder if the canvas above is by Juell?

Tapestry Fair's Peacock Feathers
I like to credit designers when I can but the above canvas I didn't recognize when I used it as the Canvas of the Day.  Fortunately, Peggi of Tapestry Fair recognized it as one of her designs from about 1977.  Thanks, Peggi.  (It's on sale as are all of CanvasBeGone's Floral Category canvases until the end of September, by the way.)

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Return to EGA Seminar

Thanks to Deb who took photos at Merchandise Night and Laura Perin who participated in it and blogged about the experience, I have one more trip to EGA's San Francisco Seminar for you.  The first link is to Deb's photo album.  She did ask permission to take the photos and send them to me to post here on Blog, which was very considerate of her!

The second link is Lara Perin's photo essay about selling at Merchandise Night and seeing all the happy stitchers.

Thanks to these nice folks, it's almost like being there!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

The Pirate Cat Has a Sweet Face and Brocade Shirt

A Face and A Shirt
Last night I had a little more time to stitch than has been normal recently, so I finished the Dotted Swiss stitch on the kitten's shirt by doing tent stitches with Shimmer Vineyard Silk in a darker brown shade than the Classic Vineyard Silk.  If your shop doesn't carry the Vineyard Silk line, let me just say you can buy four types of this silk tapestry style thread:  Classic is a solid color thread that looks like a soft silk/wool tapestry thread although it is 100% silk.  It's soft and stitches on either 13 or 18 count beautifully.  Shimmer is Classic with a metallic thread woven in so it is slightly stiffer.   Tone on Tone is Classic dyed in various shades of the same color and Merino Wool s a wool thread I haven't seen personally yet.  Here is more about the brand.

Anyway, using Shimmer Vineyard Silks for my tent stitches added just a hint of sparkle. I was hoping that it would make the shirt look like heavy brocade.  In person it is a nice effect, although I doubt you can tell in the photo above.

After my success with the shirt, I decided to finish the cat's face.  I'd already stitched the eyes and pink nose/mouth in tent stitches using perle type threads.  I wanted to use brick stitch for the rest of the face, just like I'd used it for the paw.  I think it turned out quite nicely.

Close up: Would you trust that face?
One of the things you have to consider when using more than one stitch on a painted canvas is what will happen in the area where two different stitches meet.  Will you have to compensate?  Will that look good?  Tent stitches slant /// and brick stitches are upright lines ||| so you can see there might be gaps.  In a few places I squeezed in another tent stitch if a straight stitch didn't look like it would cover but mostly the brick stitches laid up against the tent stitches nicely.  Mixing tent and brick stitches probably worked well here because I was using size 8 perle cotton and Trebizond silk which is the same diameter and will spread out a bit on 18 count to cover well.

With the pirate hat, shirt and face stitched, I can now work on the bandanas around the kitten's head and neck.  I wanted all those areas finished before I laid in long padded stitches for the kerchief areas.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September Canvas of the Month: Jane's Imagine Canvas

The September Canvas of the Month is from Lani Enterprises. It's a "gift tag" that reads Imagine. This canvas is 18 count and is four inches wide by seven and a half inches tall.

Jane's Version:

Since the theme of this canvas is imagination, let's run wild with this one. As always, my first step would be to make two color copies of the design. Then I'd stitch the gold bracket around the hole and the one around the word Imagine, using my favorite Vintage Gold from Kreinik in tent stitches. Also stitch the background behind Imagine with a pretty tan Silk Lame Braid and the red lines in the bracket around Imagine, all in more tent stitches. I think a nice cherry red metallic would look good here. The Silk Lame Braid has gold woven in, so let's tent stitch the letters of Imagine in the new Kreinik black holographic thread (size 8). That will give the whole central part of the canvas a lot of shine and emphasis.

The teal blue background underneath the flower can be tent stitched also. I think I'd choose a silk that matched the teal color. Moving up to the green and purple striped backgrounds, let's find Silk Lame Braids in those colors and use a slanted stitch that leans to the right for the green / and a slanted stitch that leans left for the purple \. Work the slants all the way across each stripe. Once the stripes are done, shape and then couch DMC's memory thread down over the black curliques. You probably will need 2-3 rows to completely cover. I'd use Kreinik's black holographic thread in blending filament size as the couching thread and work one piece of memory thread at a time. This will be tedious but very dimensional and will add a lot to the top of the design.

The purple and blue floral background is next. Using the same gold thread you used for the word bracket and the hole surround, use a padded row of satin stitch as the top edge of the floral background. Tent stitch the purple part, using a rather matte thread like silk/wool or wool or cotton floss. Then bead all the blue dots and the flowers. Try to match the blue color with your beads and beading thread. Again, it'll take a while but this is an over-the-top canvas that needs over the top colors, dimension and sparkle.

I left the flower to last deliberately. First step, tent stitch the coral petals in a matching thread. Cotton floss would be best but matching the color is more important than the thread type. Now make a visit to the craft store and buy feathers in as close a match to the coral as you can find. Sew the shaft of the feathers down in the center of the "flower" individually as you add each "petal." If you like, put a dab of fabric glue (I use Aileen's Tacky Glue because it dries clear) in the middle of each petal before you put the feather on. This will hold it in place as you stitch it down. When the feathers are in place, cut the spotted flower shape out of one of your color copies. You don't have to cut a red hole in the center, just cut the outside petal shapes. Use the cut flower shape to cut out a piece of Ultrasuede to match. Then glue it down on top of the feather petals, using the intact color copy to position it properly. (That's why I made two copies of the bare canvas at first, one to cut as a pattern and the other to refer to.) Once the Ultrasuede is in place and dry, you can put a few tiny stitches here and there along the outside edge just to make sure nothing moves. The next step is to use the hot fix Swarkowski crystals for the spots on the flower. Use the intact color copy to position the crystals and let them sit a bit for the glue to cool.

The very last step before finishing is to place a button right on top of the flower center. Look for shankless ones so there isn't a bump on the back. You can even use two buttons for the center, one smaller than the other, and glue one on top of the other. If you align the buttonholes, you can even take a few stitches through the buttons, the Ultrasuede and the canvas to secure it. Use more of your Kreinik holographic blending filament in black to add just a little more sparkle. Or attach beads through the holes, using the same beads you used in the floral background.

The sky's the limit for your imagination and for this canvas.
Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

September Canvas of the Month: Bonnie's Imagine Canvas

The September Canvas of the Month is from Lani Enterprises. It's a "gift tag" that reads Imagine. This canvas is on 18 count and is four inches wide by seven and a half inches tall.

Bonnie's Version:

This month’s canvas to me says fun so the plan would be to make it glitzy with lots of raised elements!

I would start with the wallpaper background.  Since this is the background I would chose a #12 perle cotton (or flower thread, if you still have some in your stash) and use a simple horizontal satin stitch on the stripes.  It would be light coverage so the wallpaper would  fade into the background.  Next up are the swirls.  I would look for a silk perle and then couch it using a single strand of matching strandable silk.  It will probably take multiple rows of couching to cover.

Next up is the imagine tag.  I would start with the background behind the lettering in a skip tent.  Again, this is a background element, so make it light.  I would couch a Kreinik metallic braid with matching Accentuate for the lettering.  I think couching gives you the best looking curved letters like the ‘G’.  The border would be cross stitched rather than tent stitched to raise it up a bit in probably a #8 braid.  I would test this out and adjust the weight as needed, but I would want it to be raised, not flat.  The rest of the frame could be tented in silk or a silk lame for some sparkle.  Finally on the tag are the circles – I would try a Smyrna cross or an eyelet whichever fills the space the best in the same metallic used for the raised red border. Another idea might be to attach a sequin with a clear bead in the middle.

Now we move to the pink/purple area to the right of the flower.  Here’s where a color copy of your canvas would come in handy.  I would do a Nabuko stitch in a strandable silk completely covering the dot pattern.  Then using your color copy as a guide, attach either beads or sequins over some of the tent stitches of the Nabuko stitch.  (Although if you use the beaded suggestion later for the flower you may just want to use French knots done in silk so you don't have too many beads!)  No need to cover all of the small stitches, just some. Looking at your color copy will give you an idea of where to start and once you get going just fill until you get something you like.  The top edge of this area would just be a padded satin stitch done with the same strandable silk you already used.  Then move over to the turquoise area and simply tent stitch that area in strandable silk.  It’s a small area, so the stitch needs to be simple, but I would want the weight of it to balance with the pink/purple area.   You could even put in a few beads if you wanted or French knots in a matching color to give you texture.

The last remaining large piece is the flower.  I was looking at the River Silk web site for some ideas on this.  I see a couple of possibilities there in their gallery.   Either method I would be ignoring the dotted petals and just picking ribbons I liked.  One possibility is to try the punch needle flower.   The middle could be either all in French knots in a silk that would match or beaded.    Or another possibility I might try is the gardenia flower that is ribbon and beads.  There is even a project sheet on the site you could follow for this choice.  Either would look great and make the flower pop.

The very last piece of the piece is the flower at the top hole.  To be honest this has me stumped.  I would leave it to the end and see if something pops out as an idea.  I would think about looking for a button that would do the trick to attach, maybe more silk ribbon, or maybe even just a padded satin stitch for the petals in a silk changing the stitch direction as I go to make a fan shape that would mimic the petal shape.

That is it!  A fun piece that will make your imagination soar!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pirate Shirt

Last night I discovered I was running low on the black perle I'm using for the Pirate Cat himself, so I concentrated on his little shirt after I finished his little baby paw and put in a few pink stitches for his nose and mouth.  (I think of the Pirate Cat as a kitten, you see.  Having personality in mind helps one come up with stitches and threads since you would naturally use silks on a geisha figure while a clown would call for bright colors such as in a cotton overdye.)

The shirt and the cuff are pretty small areas, which can be difficult to find stitches for besides tent stitches.  You will remember I used brown Vineyard Silk in tent stitches for the tiny bit of the signpost that shows.  The cuff and shirt are larger, irregular areas, which means they are perfect for a small stitch that is a favorite of mine--Dotted Swiss.  What you see in the photo above is Step One--do cross stitches on every other stitch intersection.  For the next row, offset the stitches so that each cross stitch is under an empty space on the row above.  Before you know it, you have little bumps in a regular pattern everywhere.

Step Two is to stitch the unstitched areas with tent stitches.  Very easy stitch and I like the texture.

I could stop after Step One and let the gray paint interact with the Vineyard Silk to make the shirt pattern but I have something else in mind.  You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what it is....

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Pirate's Hat and Cat's Paw

Last night I finished the gold trim around the edge of the Pirate Cat's fabulous hat, then turned my attention to the cat's face.  I want a delicate look since this is a kitten dressed up in clothes too big for him, so I decided I would try using perle cotton in brick stitches for the little paw to see how things would look.  If they look the way I want, I can go on to work the face.  If not, it is easy to change.

In the photo above I have worked the white part of the paw that holds the signpost and also stitched the signpost itself with a few tent stitches in some medium light brown Vineyards Silk I had.  I think I might work the gray shirt and sleeve in dark brown instead of gray so I was careful to choose a brown for the sign's handle that would work with the thread I pulled for the shirt.

Here's a closeup of the paw.  I think I like how it looks, so I'll work the black area of the paw in the same manner and then start the cat's face.

Before I forget, Marianne now has the Patt and Lee Designs Pirate Cat canvases in stock if you want to buy one and stitch along.  There's no affiliation except I like shop owners to do well.  The better they do, the easier it is for us stitchers to find supplies, and I do love Marianne's used book descriptions.  Your shop can also order the Pirate Cat canvas from Patt and Lee Designs but as far as I know, only Marianne's shop has this canvas in stock for direct order.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Every Pirate Needs a Fancy Hat

As this image of the actor Johnny Depp in one of the Pirates of the Carribbean movies shows, every pirate needs a fancy hat.  (If you haven't seen the first movie, rent it.  Depp's acting is even more amazing than his hat.)

Unstitched Hat
Patt and Lee's Pirate Cat is no exception. This is what the hat looked like unstitched.  It has a skull on the front and fancy trims around the edge of the brim.  I decided that the red and gold trim should be separated by a white line that recedes, so my first step was to stitch the white area in tent stitches.  I used #8 perle cotton.

Remember how my first step in stitching this canvas, even before I put it on stretcher bars, was to make copies of it in black and white and also in color?  I pulled out one of the black and white copies and carefully cut out the shape of the hat without the lines of brim trim. (I used my paper cutting scissors for this, not my good embroidery scissors.)  I then laid the paper pattern on top of the painted canvas hat area and made sure it was correct.  Then I used the paper pattern to cut out a piece of navy blue Ultrasuede.

White Trim and Navy Ultrasuede
Laying the Ultrasuede on top of the painted canvas, I did a little trimming (with my best embroidery scissors this time) to make the Ultrasuede the exact size to fit without covering up any of the trim. Using a sharp beading needle and DMC cotton floss in the same shade of navy, I stitched the Ultrasuede to the canvas.  In the photo above you can see a few of the stitches but not many. The color match between the Ultrasuede and the DMC cotton was almost perfect, which is what you want so that the stitches don't show.

Then I pulled out the colored copy of my canvas and looked at the skull.  Because Patt and Lee canvases are as close to stitch painted as a printed design can be, it was easy for me to count the four stitches at the top of the skull.  Four stitches equals a row of four beads.  I strung them on my navy cotton floss and attached the row in approximately the correct place on the Ultrasuede.  Back at the copy of the canvas, I counted a row of six stitches under the top row of the skull area.  So I added six beads below the first row.  Etcetera!

Beaded Skull and Red Trim
This is what I ended up with.  In this photo you can see where I used outline stitch to add the red trim to the edge of the hat brim,  There's just a glimpse of the gold trim at the right side of the photo. I ran out of time last night (the electricity was out for three hours yesterday) and didn't quite finish trimming the hat.

I'll work on the cat face next.  I want it in place before I stitch the blue bandanas.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Letters on the Pirate Cat's Sign

The lettering on the pirate cat's sign is done!  Like all beading, it seemed to take forever, but I think it looks great.   The turquoise blue shade of the beads stands out very well against the pumpkin orange background, and is able to compete with the sparkly orange because the beads are dark and faceted.  I have some small round navy beads that looked ok, but the faceted turquoise beads looked great.  I always go for Great over Ok, don't you?

Black beads would work just fine here as well, but I went with the turquoise blue beads because they are a slightly darker shade than the thread I choose to stitch the bandanas around the cat's neck and head.  Just like when you add accessories to match your outfit, picking colors for various parts of your canvas that harmonize almost always is the right thing to do.

In stitching news, Needle House in Houston has posted their Autumn Newsletter on their website.  There is lots of good information, from a book review to a diagrammed fancy stitch, plus a great stitching tip.  You'll find the newsletter link on the right side of their home page.

I happened across great photos of the diachroic glass needle minders on The World in Stitches' blog. I bought one in shades of pink and gold at my last visit to Waste Knot and just love it.  Click on the tiny photos to see more shapes and sizes.  If you fall in love, just the contact information in the second link to order from the shop.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pirate Cat's Sign Revised

The original sign the pirate cat holds was painted to have navy lettering on a medium orange background with the edge of the sign in dark reddish-orange.  Since I wanted to use Gold Rush 14 in a darker orange metallic, I couldn't find a reddish-orange in my stash that would stand out, so I switched the edge trim to one of my favorite Kreinik colors, #5007 Brocade.  This is a newer color that mixes purple with orange I first saw used on Michele's blog when she stitched Tapestry Tent's Halloween March.  It is perfect for the sign.  However, it left me with a dilemma--what to do with the lettering.

I had purple beads only a slightly lighter shade than the purple Kreinik, so I attached two of them and then looked at the effect.  They are too light in shade and the orange Gold Rush background overwhelmed them.  Then I tried green beads, which you see in the photo above.  They also are too light.  A viewer just can't pick out the letters easily if they are green.

So I'm going to have to rummage around in my stash and look for navy or black.

This color delimma shows up a lot on painted canvases when you try to change colors.  If the original color is very dark, you will need a very dark shade of another color for the whole thing to still work.  The problem with my purple beads is they were medium in color while the letters were painted a dark shade of navy.  The green beads are light in shade.  I really need a dark colored bead to stand up against the the medium orange metallic behind them.

I did manage to stitch the cat's eyes before taking out the beads.  I mixed green Kreinik with white and black cotton perle and tent stitched the entire area.  The dark squiggle you see between the eyes is the loose end of my black thread visible through the unstitched areas of the canvas.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Pirate Cat's Sign

Deciding what part of your canvas to do next depends on a lot of things:  if one area has to be finished before you can do the next part, your own personal preferences, if you have a lot of white you need to do before stitching a darker area next door so you don't get fuzz from the dark area stitched into the white one, etc.  Sometimes folks like to start in the center of a design, sometimes if a piece is all in basketweave, it makes sense to start in a corner.  This is why folks find painted or printed canvases confusing--there is not a rule that works for each design in every situation.  You just have to think about what makes sense for the current piece you are stitching.  I personally like to stitch my background first, then I like to do faces, but for this canvas, I wanted to do something easy before I started on the cat's face so I decided to stitch the sign next.

It is done in tent stitches using Gold Rush 14, which is really too fat for an 18 count canvas, but I used short lengths to make it work without unraveling too much because this sparkly pumpkin color is just perfect for the background of the sign.  Gold Rush 14 was the only size I had since I don't think Orange comes in Gold Rush 18.  I like Gold Rush a lot.  It comes in lovely colors and the chainette type thread is easy to stitch with.  The cut ends ravel in the needle's eye eventually, but you just cut that off if you don't want to dab the cut end in your needle with Fray Check.  Gold Rush comes in a huge range of sizes for various canvas mesh holes, even Gold Rush XS for congress cloth. Here are some of the lush colors.

The edge of the sign is a darker red-orange and the lettering is navy but I am going to change those areas a bit. You'll have to stay tuned to see what I come up with there.  I ran out of time!

By the way, I'm starting to see pirate themes show up everywhere online as Halloween approaches.  Gail Hendrix has a great pirate hat and sweater ornament set just added to her Squiggee line for the St. Charles show.  By coincidence she has a great feather for her pirate hat but I'm not using one for my Patt and Lee canvas (which has been christened Cat Tin Hook, by the way).

WaterWeave has a great pirate cat canvas of their own (top row middle and right end for a finished version).

Whether you "get" Halloween or cats, or would ever stitch such whimsical canvases, they are fun to look at.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at