Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Choose a Painted Canvas: Elmer The Candy Cane Dog Stocking

The first and most important thing to do when you are choosing a painted canvas to stitch is to fall in love.  If you don't really like a design, the first time you run into a snag you will put it away into the Someday Pile, from which it will likely never emerge again.

I fell in love with Elmer here.

If you are going to do anything except tent stitch the design, it is easier to work with a simple canvas.  The beautifully drawn, realistic canvases with gorgeous shading are what I love but they are harder for a beginner at painted canvases to deal with.  Luckily I adore the Candy Cane Dog stocking from Kirk & Hamilton which I've named Elmer.  The dog isn't all that detailed and the background is very simple.  Plus if you look at the snowflakes, you can see that the painted area of each flake is carefully centered on each stitch intersection.  There is not going to be any question as to what is a snowflake stitch and what is a background stitch.

If you are a beginner at painted canvases, this is exactly the sort of canvas you should work with first.  It is simple and well painted but something I really like so I will enjoy stitching it.

After you fall in love and bring your canvas home, make a color copy.  I use copies as a template for finishing a design by cutting out the paper shape, then using it as a pattern for cutting the backing material and lining.  A color copy comes in handy if you need help figuring out where something belongs that you stitched over, too.  I sometimes also make a black and white copy to mark up with notes.

Now put the canvas and your copies away where you can't see them.  Once they are out of view, pull out some scratch paper and sketch what you remember of the canvas.  Tomorrow I'll tell you what I do with these scribbles.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Introducing the Candy Cane Dog

This canvas is one I discovered at The Scarlet Thread during their closing sale last summer.  I didn't even know this counted thread shop carried painted canvases until almost The End, but luckily, the owner had this one on display at the checkout counter and it came home with me.

It took me a while to identify the designer as the English firm Kirk & Hamilton.  They have a nice website and I've also found some images of their painted canvases plus a few silk screened canvases on a British online site.

As you can see, there are similar cat themed canvases now available but they aren't on the website yet.

Here are the details about my Candy Cane Dog canvas, which is about 5 1/2 inches high and almost 3 1/2 inches wide at the base.  It is on 18 count canvas.  I didn't realize he was a beagle, but I am pleased that the designers intended the candy cane dog to be a beagle as my husband had a beagle when he was small.  Stories about Elmer and his antics have enlivened family gatherings since we married.

By the way, Old World Designs has a Kirk & Hamilton trunk show starting Monday, March 1st, if you want to pick up one of their canvases and stitch along with me.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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