Sunday, March 21, 2010

Canvas of the Month - Bonnie's Buddha Cat

This month's canvas of the month is a Brenda Stofft design called Buddha Cat. This is a 6x10 inch design on 18 count canvas.

Bonnie's Buddha Cat Ideas:

This month with the cat canvas, I would start with the cat. I think its time to so some turkey tufting with a strandable wool/wool blend fiber following the shading on the canvas. The center of the ears would be a tent stitch in a cotton floss to make it distinct from the fur. The paw pads would be a padded satin stitch in floss to raise them up a bit to match the fur. The eyes would be silk, done in tent stitches and with a stem stitch outline – maybe add a little metallic for the sparkle in the middle of the eye. The nose is a padded satin in silk and the mouth a stem stitch in the floss.
Next I would move to the robe. All of the shaded folds make it tough to come up with a stitch that would work. Ideally a stitch that would make a wave pattern would be perfect, but it is such small areas. I started thinking maybe just lay horizontal satin stitches in a strandable silk breaking the stitches at the dark lines and the breaks would create the folds, but the idea of a horizontal stitch on a robe that lays vertically seems off to me. So I would maybe try some vertical satin stitches over three or so instead, maybe in groups of two staggered so that you end up with a diagonal feel, but not too strong of one. So I would do two over 3 vertical satin stitches, then drop down one hole and do another pair and then drop down one hole, and so on. I would make sure I compensate at the dark lines so the idea of a fold stays. Each side would form a diagonal down towards the center so would mirror each other. The middle which isn't angled could just be down in staggered pairs of just a row of satin stitches depending on how tall it really is. After the robe is all stitched, if the folds aren't prominent enough, I would go back in and stem stitch them in a slightly darker color or maybe even the same color with maybe just one strand so there, but not bold. There are a couple of dark areas that appear to be the lining of the robe. Those I would simply tent stitch in silk. That leaves just the bracelets and the belt buckle on the cat which I would simply bead.

The pillow is next. I envision the part the cat is sitting on in a rich velvet, so I would do satin stitches in very velvet making sure it lays smoothly. Then I would take silk and lay it in long straight stitches toward the middle of each petal for the pale green parts – this would mean changing the direction of the stitches as you go to match the direction of the petals. So it would be vertical at the top and bottom, horizontal on the sides and angled to fill the spaces in the middle. I might even pad under the stitches to give the petals a more raised look on the edges. The middle of the top petals would be a version of the sheltered diamonds pattern from Brenda Hart’s Favorite Stitches 2 – you'd have to compensate to make it fit, but the middle would be a metallic and the edges a silk. The smaller leaves at the bottom would just be the silk part of the stitch without the middles. Lastly I would take a metallic braid or cord and couch it all around the petals and leaves to get that nice smooth rounded look.
Now what is that behind the cat? A sun or what? For lack of a better guess on my part, I am going to go with the sun. So I would find a nice fiber with some shine – maybe a metallic, or maybe something like Flair which would just catch the light or maybe something like Neon Rays since it has a nice sheen to it. I think to get more of the light play, I would go with something like vertical and horizontal pavilions which is essentially one row of vertical diamond patterns followed by one row of horizontal diamonds. Now if you tell me that is something else, I may change my mind entirely!
The letter to the right I would tent stitch in silk or they might be fun to couch some really thick metallic for them depending on their actual size. And that leaves the background. Since it is black and stitching on black is tough, I may be just tempted to leave it unstitched. If I was going to stitch it, I would pick a #12 perle cotton for some texture, but no shine. Something like the crazy rain stitch or even the gobelin wave II stitch from Brenda Hart’s Favorite Stitches 2 book would be fun. Neither fills up all of the canvas holes but with the perle cotton would provide some texture to the background.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow  Blogging at
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Canvas of the Month - Jane's Buddha Cat

This month's canvas of the month is a Brenda Stofft design called Buddha Cat. This is a 6x10 inch design on 18 count canvas.

Jane's Buddha Cat Ideas:

Canvases with large areas of black are always tricky for me.  Not only it is hard to see black threads on black canvases, any fancy stitch you do will often not show up very well so all that work is wasted.  It is tempting to just tent stitch the black background behind the Buddha but I'm going another route--I'm going to recommend working a gold border in satin stitches over padding around the outside edge of the design, then work a light coverage stitch using a thinner gold thread right on top of the black.  After all, there is no rule saying you have to use the same color on top of a painted area of canvas!  I would use something along the line of Brenda Hart's Blackwork Vertical Hexagons (without the central motifs) from p. 87 of her Favorite Stitches Two.  Stitch it all over the black area including the gold Chinese characters, then go back with more of your gold threads and using packed stem stitch, cover the Chinese characters right over the background blackwork stitch.

The final background area that will use gold threads is the golden halo around the Cat Buddha's head.  I think I would couch this in concentric circles, using a brighter gold than the gold in the Chinese characters, the blackwork background or the border.  Obviously you will need a variety of sizes of gold threads for these areas, working from a heavier cord like Kreinik's #16 or #32 braid for the border that is covered with something like Treasure Braid ribbon, to a thin metallic like Accentuate or blending filament or even Petite Treasure Braid for the blackwork pattern over the black area to a more substantial #4 or #8 braid for the Chinese characters.  You can couch the padding heavier braid with the very thin blackwork thread on the halo or you can go so far as to totally bead the halo.  I think I would use a shinier gold like Coronet Braid for the halo and couch it myself.  

Once the gold areas of the background and border are stitched, I would work on the stylized lotus petal cushion the Buddha meditates on.  For the blue centers of the lotus petals, use Beetle Stitch (page 18 of Brenda Hart's Favorite Stitches One).  You'll have to compensate for the end petals.  Tent stitch the green shading below the blue petals, then use long slanting and upright stitches for the petal outlines.  Top off that stitching with couched gold outlines.  The blue cushion itself that you can barely see should be tent stitched in a thread that is soft and not shiny (Petite Very Velvet?  A wool-silk blend like Impressions?), but I'd do the petals themselves in a shiny thread.  

Ignore the gold bracelets on the cat's feet and the gold belt buckle until the end.  I'd cover those areas with tiny (size 14) gold beads but that needs to wait until the cat and the pink sari are stitched.

For the cat's paws and chest and face, use a soft wooly thread and use a combination of tent and brick stitches.  The tent is for tiny areas like the inner ears, the nose and mouth lines, while the brick stitch (over two threads) is for the rest.  The eyes should be done in silks and tent stitched, with either a clear or white bead attached as the pupil highlight.  If you think a bead too prominent, use a white or silver metallic and do a cross stitch for the highlight in both eyes.

The pink robe should be stitched all in tent with something like Vineyard Silk or Planet Earth's silk strand thread except for the sleeve and lapels which can be done in long packed stem stitches.  Layer more packed stem stitch on top to raise this area slightly. 

Once you finish the stitching, attach the beads for the belt buckle and bracelets, then scatter a few sparkling hex gold beads around the canvas at random, on top of the design.  (If you beaded the halo, you might want to omit this step.)  Frame or make into a flat finish stand up as a meditation aid for a dear friend who does yogi or put this piece somewhere you see it each morning to remember to breath deeply and calmly in times of stress.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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More Needlepoint Resources

As I wrote my article yesterday on the weird and wonderful stitching things you can find on the Internet, I left out a lot of links that were more educational in nature.  I saved them for today's posting.  Want to talk a stroll down Memory Lane?  Then look at this site which quotes an article about Berlin woolwork straight from Beeton's Book of Needlework, published in 1870.  There are lots of illustrated stitches, too.

This online magazine is not really about needlepoint, but the stumpwork is spectacular and you may also enjoy turning the pages and seeing contemporary needle artists and their work.

Did you notice that the last issue of Needlepoint Now magazine referred to online videos that illustrate their articles?  Now if you don't learn how to do a stitch well from a diagram, you can see it being done on the Internet.

TNNA, the trade group that puts on the shows our shop owners go to, has started putting photos of new items on their website.  Here is the Needlepoint area, called World of Needlepoint.  You can see slide shows of the latest things arranged by date.  The current slide show is from January 2010 but earlier shows from 2009 have a link at the bottom of this page.

Finally, I have a new DVD from Claire Halden at Old World Designs titled "All About Hair, Beards & Fur."  Claire has already done a beginner's DVD and a stitch guide on DVD.  I haven't seen any of these, so I can't really review them but it's a new resource for stitchers who like stitching people and animals realistically.

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