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.

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


  1. Hi, Jane. I have never worked a painted canvas piece because I didn't know how to go about choosing stitches. I know that there are several good books out there, but the choice is rather overwhelming. I would like to enter this giveaway and begin to learn about working with painted canvases. Thanks. Sandi Hersh

  2. Jane, this is a wonderful opportunity. Thanks to all who are making it possible. Becky Myers is a wonderful stitcher and a fabulous baker, too.

  3. May I just say to the new don't have to do all the fancy stitches on your first piece. Learn your regular tent (basket weave) as a basic then go from there. Believe me, it took Jane , up there in her hollow a long time to be the master she is.

    Love the cat, Jane. What a terrific background.

  4. Hi Jane, I don't want to be entered in the canvas drawing but I wanted to comment. This is very nice of all of you to have this drawing. I hope someone gets this canvas that will really enjoy it. I still find painted canvas difficult without a stitch guide but eventually, I am confident I will be ok on my own. I am even finding myself changing my stitch guides. Sometimes it is a mistake but other times I just don't care for the stitch suggested or the thread is not available. Thanks for sharing your pirate cat too! He was fun to watch.

  5. You know, Kelly, I think changing a stitch guide to suit what you like and the materials you have available is half way to being able to come up with all the ideas on your own.

    I've been embellishing painted canvases for about 20 years and doing needlepoint for almost 30 years. But I know plenty of folks who pick it up right away. I might be a slow learner. LOL

    Whatever you do, beginner or not, having fun is the main thing. If you want to try something new and adventuresome, that's icing on the cake.

  6. I think this canvas with all the needed supplies would give me the confidence to attempt new stitches. I have had to teach myself how to read a stitch guide and I then have trouble understanding how to construct the stitches. I need a local Needlepoint Shop. I enjoy your website, you are very creative!

  7. Charlotte, all you need is a little confidence and supplies to practice the stitches. It helps to see a stitch done in person but if you can't, then a scrap of canvas helps. I use 10 count plastic canvas and wool or ribbon floss to practice a stitch I don't understand myself. It helps since I don't have a local shop, either! MORE NP STORES PLEASE!

  8. I'm generally a cross stitcher and have recently tried counted canvas. I have been enjoying it very much but would like ot try a painted canvas. I just don't knwo where to begin! I'd love a chance in your drawing. it would be the perfect way to try one.I have a feeling I see another obsession, ummm, hobby starting! Nancy D. in NY

  9. Well Jane this would be a first for me as I have not done a painted canvas in needlepoint. I tend to try counted canvas like the stars you are stitching. I am enjoying seeing it come alive - maybe I will make it a project of mine!! LOL


  10. Hi Jane--I would LOVE to win this giveaway. Despite being an accomplished stitcher in a number of other techniques, AND despite having a closet full of painted canvasses, I've never been brave enough to start them. I buy them with really cool ideas spinning around in my head, but don't have the courage to actually stitch. I fear the real thing won't turn out to be the same as what I imagine. I love embellishing other kinds of needlework; I can't figure out why this is any different to me...

    Thanks to you and all the other donors for offering a great giveaway. I hope whomever wins it does terrific things with it!

    Carol S.

  11. Carol, pull out one of those canvases and try some of those ideas. You really can't ruin a canvas. All you need is to take that first step. Every time you make a mistake, you learn something. Every time something turns out great, you gain confidence. Try it. It'll be fun, I promise.

  12. I have done some canvaswork before, but it has been counted and I have never worked a painted canvas. It would certainly stretch my comfort zone, which is probably a good thing! Thanks for the opportunity to try and win this canvas, which looks a lot like my eldest grand daughter.
    Penny B

  13. Am I too late?

    I'd love to win this. The needlepoint I've done in the past has been merely the Penelope kits where everything is in tent stitch. Having followed your workings for the Pirate Cat, I'd love to try a project using lots of different stitches but as a beginner having a stitch guide would be great.

    Thanks for offering such a lovely give away.

  14. Am I too late to squeeze in? I've never ever tried canvas, although I am curious I've always been a bit intimidated.

    I'd love to try it out! Thanks for the opportunity.

  15. Well, I am not a needlepoint beginner, but this is such a cute design that I couldn't stop myself from entering.

  16. I hope I'm not too late! I really, really want to try stitching on canvas. It is one of my big to dos!

  17. Not to worry, late enterers. I checked all my messages this morning to make sure I got everyone.