Monday, June 28, 2010

Canvas of the Month: Bonnie's Mermaids on the Beach

This month's canvas is a JB Designs piece from Devon.  I don't know the dimensions or the canvas count but I suppose it is a 5x5 piece, probably on 18 count.

It screams summer to me and looks like a very fun and easy stitch. Hope you like it!

Bonnie's Version:

What a fun little piece that would make a great summertime reminder for any age girl!

I would start with the mermaids using lots of silk so there would be a slight shimmer that looked like they just came from the water! Starting with the body and the face, I would use a strandable silk in a simple tent stitch for all including the face features. I would stitch right over the necklace on the one girl and add it back on top later using pearl like beads. I would do the tail in either a diamond ray using strandable silk with Accentuate added or maybe the smaller size silk lame braid (but that might be too thick). Another stitch that would be fun would be the mock buttonhole eyelet stitch from Amy’s Cookbook – Chapter 11. You could add extra sparkle if you did used that stitch by making the wrapped part of the stitch with a Kreinik braid. Lastly, to complete the mermaids, you have the hair. Again I would use a strandable silk probably just in a random long/short stitch. To add curls to one of them you could also do bullion knots.

The rock that the mermaids are sitting on would be next. Personally I hate coming up with stitches for rocks. I have yet to find the perfect stitch or fiber! So on this one since its large, I would try an overdyed cotton floss – something with just subtle color changes and when I separated the plies I would reverse some of the strands so the rock would have slight color variations, but wouldn’t end up striped! Another possibility would be a wool which would look a little more rough. Stitches to try would be a staggered cross (mix of larger and smaller cross stitches in a regular pattern) or a checkered cross. Again both stitches are in Amy’s Cookbook – chapter 21.

The best treatment I have found for sand is to do a skip tent stitch and then fill in the skipped spaces with single wrap French knots. I know that makes a lot of French knots, but the effect is really worth it! I would use either floss or an overdyed floss, again with the strands reversed so you don’t get striped sand.

For the water, I would do a swirl stitch stitched horizontally so it would look like waves in an overdyed cotton floss with Accentuate added in a few rows where the sun would sparkle off the water or maybe just closer to shore. Using the overdyed would allow you to ignore the shading on the canvas and use the shading in the floss instead. If you couldn’t find an overdye with the right colors pick 2-3 solids and use them instead, but don’t break up the stitches in the swirl stitch to get the color changes, switch colors when you can with full stitches. For the sky, a random horizontal satin stitch would work well with two strands or so of a floss. I am thinking a lighter coverage stitch so the sky recedes to the background. I wouldn’t worry about the shading in the sky since the coverage would be light – the subtle color changes will show through.

That leaves the star fish, which are the toughest part I think on this canvas. When I visualize a starfish, I see texture, but remember I have French knots in the sand, so I need another type of texture. I would try a small size perle cotton which would give a different texture and sheen. Then I would try to find a tied stitch or something like an upright cross to fit in the space you have. That would add some additional. This is the area where you would have to experiment a bit based on what you ended up using for the sand and the rocks. It may end up since there is such little room on starfish that you would have to just go with a tent stitch and have the perle cotton provide the texture difference.

That’s it for this little canvas. A fun little piece that just wants to make you smile! Happy summer!

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

Canvas of the Month: Jane's Mermaids on the Beach

This month's canvas is a JB Designs piece from Devon.  I don't know the dimensions or the canvas count but I suppose it is a 5x5 piece, probably on 18 count.

It screams summer to me and looks like a very fun and easy stitch.  Hope you like it!

Jane's Version:

I think the two little mermaids tossing starfish back and forth from the shallows to the shore are great fun.  The canvas is more complicated than you would think just looking at it, however.  There are a lot of parts but because it is small, they shouldn't take long to stitch.  I think I'll start with the sky, stitching it in 2-3 shades of pale blue in skip tent.  The water is a deeper blue with green mixed in, so I would choose three shades of turquoise floss and work it in horizontal random stitches that zigzag down from the upper left corner of the water towards the sandy beach.  Use 2-3 plies, just enough to barely cover the painted canvas.  In a few places where you want highlights, use a white Accentuate to restitch a few long stitches on top of the floss.

The sandy beach should be stitched with 3 shades of sandy brown.  I think I'd use Burmilana in tent stitches and see if any of the heathered colors this thread comes in match roughly the canvas colors. That will give you a mix of colors without having to change threads a lot.  Occasionally skip a tent stitch.  When the sand is all finished, go back and attach beads where you skipped a stitch.  Use either a pale tan or a crystal bead, depending on what you can find locally.  Sand on a beach is smooth but it sparkles, so tent stitches with a few beads will look nice and also will look good in contrast with the busy stitch used for the water and the very faint skip tent stitches in the sky. If you can't find the right color in beads, add a few cross stitches instead, using a sandy colored metallic, preferably a small one so you don't make too raised a stitch in the skipped spots.

For the rocks, choose a rough thread like a thin wool or perhaps a linen thread in two shades of gray.  Work the rock in a rough stitch like Nobuko stitch.

Now it is time to stitch the starfish.  I'd choose something shiny like Flair or one of the nylon threads like Panache in two shades of gold.  Work the perimeter of the starfish in tent stitches.  (You may have to use a reverse tent stitch occasionally to make sure the points of the starfish are true.)  The center can be gold beads (use two shades of gold if you can find them), or tiny French knots (using two or three shades of gold thread).  You can also add a strand of Accentuate to the needle when doing your French knots to give a little something extra to the starfishes' bumpy centers if you aren't using a metallic thread there.  Perhaps you would like to use only a metallic thread like Kreinik (still in two shades of gold) to the starfish the girls are tossing?  It is the focal point of the canvas, after all.  The colors of the French knots and whether they have a touch of metallic or are all metallic is up to you.

The little mermaids' skin, arms, face and bodies should be tent stitched, using silk or cotton floss.  If you are tired of tent stitch, try using a small brick stitch (over two threads) for the skin but tent stitch the features.  Do the left mermaid's necklace in gold metallic using cross stitches.  The hair is easy.  Use stem stitches in brown cotton floss.  Once you add in the stem stitches, go back and add a few more here and there on top in a slightly lighter shade for the mermaid on the left and in a slightly darker shade for the mermaid on the right so that they have similar but not identical hair.  You might also add a few short, straight stitches at the part of the left mermaid's hair or at the side of the right mermaid's face to show stray strands blowing in the sea breeze.

The mermaid tails are the last part of the design.  Use two shades of pink or blue in silk to tent stitch the tails, then use ray stitch on top of the tent stitches, working from the waist down towards the tail.  If you use just 2-3 plies of the silk in the ray stitches, the underlaying stitching will show and add a bit more dimension.  Once you are done, attach a few pink and blue beads (or a clear bead using either pink or blue thread) on top of the ray stitches.  You might also put a few back stitches on top of the tail's tent stitches to show the spines.

This would make a lovely framed piece for a summer cottage or a small girl's room.  It would also look lovely in the top of a wooden box.  Some lucky little girl would love to keep her treasures in such a box!

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