Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween is Coming

Two Monsters from Renaissance Designs
It's October 5 and Halloween is on the way!  I've read recently somewhere that Halloween painted canvases are more popular than any other theme.  I have trouble believing this since there are so many Christmas canvases for us to enjoy, but since I've seen a huge influx of Halloween canvases showing up at Woodlawn and online, certainly a lot of Halloween stitching is going on.  I've even stitched two Halloween designs myself.  The first was Two Monsters, above.  It turned out so well that I have it still, put away in my stitching drawer each year to wait until October rolls around.

Pirate Cat Himself

Of course I just finished Patt and Lee Designs' Pirate Cat. He was quite a lot of fun to do, wasn't he?  Now I think I want to do another Halloween design, but something a bit more sophisticated.  But you'll have to wait and see what I choose....

Two Monsters, Giggling and Teasing You
Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

And the Winner Is....

The Prize
This is it! I counted 19 people who entered in the drawing for the Mile High Princess Beach Angel kit, which comes with everything you need to stitch her except scissors, and also includes Ruth Dilt's Needlepoint 202 to help you figure out the next painted canvas.

The entrants range from an 11-year-old who wants to learn whose grandmother entered for her to a very experienced stitcher who collects painted canvases but is afraid to try them.  I wish I could give a kit to everyone.  I had no idea there were so many painted canvas novices lurking in my computer!

I went to random.org and used the true random number generator box on the right side of the page, asking for a number between 1 and 19.  The result was eight, so I went to my list of entrants and counted up from the bottom (the first person who entered) and found that SueStitch was the winner.

HURRAH!  Congratulations to Sue Stitch!

Please email me the mailing address and I'll get the package in the mail to you either today or tomorrow, depending on how quickly you get back to me.  I'm at chilly hollow athotmail dot com.

Many thanks to Dale at Canvases Be Gone for donating the kit, thanks to Mimi for donating the Dilts book, and thanks to Becky for letting me use photos of her finished Beach Angel to entice you guys into entering.  You guys are The Best!

For the rest of you, the only difference between you and me when it comes to painted canvases is that I am fearless.  I don't mind ripping out and trying again.  I don't mind looking like an idiot in public here in Blog.  I am fearless when it comes to stitching.

I don't climb mountains, I don't race motorcycles, I don't do marathons, I don't do deep sea diving.  My adventure is needlepoint.  Come join me.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Stars: Is Deborah Kerr Done?

Deborah Kerr - Is she done or not?
Last night I did the sashing borders around Deborah Kerr and am almost ready to pronounce her Done.  Don't you think that black center needs a few beads?

I've been rummaging in my stash for black and purple and copper baeds, just to see what they look like scattered on top of this square.  It was too overcast and dark yesterday to make up my mind.  It's supposed to be partly sunny this morning so I'll try again later this morning.  Tony's instructions don't call for beads but I think they might add depth to this block.  My colors are violet (A), black (B), terracotta (C), and copper (D), and I've found that using black means you don't have a lot of color variation in the blocks.  I can do texture variation but that is subtle and doesn't show in the photos.

Which means my next project is going to be a REAL challenge!  [Jane drops a hint and exits....]

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

Thread Review: High Cotton UPDATED

Hyla Hurley's High Cotton
Thanks to friends who went to the St. Charles trade show, I have samples of several new threads introduced there for you to see.  The first is a new five ply cotton called High Cotton, from Hyla Hurley of Point of It All Designs.  I am told there are 74 colors now and will be 125 by January's TNNA trade show.  Vicky DeAngelis told us the periwinkles and aquas were especially gorgeous.  I haven't been able to find photographs online for you.  I am told that A Thread Garden in Ventura, CA and...

...Waste Knot in Arlington, VA have both ordered this new thread.  You'll be able to get it from them fairly soon and probably from more places as interest grows.

I'm sure you are like me and wondered why do we need more cotton floss in our stitching toolboxes?  That was before I opened the skein, removed an 18 inch length, and started stitching with it.

High Cotton (named for the very Southern phrase "being in high cotton" which means to be rich or to have things going very well) has five plies which when separated, are thicker than individual plies of the six ply DMC cotton floss.  High Cotton plies are more tightly twisted than DMC or Anchor floss.  There's a lot of shine in this thread, particularly when you strip the plies and recombine them to stitch.

The thread feels soft, but substantial.  It's not going to fray going through needlepoint canvas holes as you work unless you use a very long length.

I worked samples on 18 count canvas with all five plies.  In the photo on the left you can see that I did some basketweave, then moved down and did two rows of long couched stitches.  The messy, bumpy look is because 5 plies are too many on 18 count.  When I switched to 2 plies in the tiny cluster of mosaic stitches at the top, it looked great.  I also did a tiny vertical row of continental stitches with two plies and repeated the long couched stitches at the bottom with two plies.  This thread needs plenty of room to spread out.  When you give it that room, it is FABULOUS.  The shine is as nice as twisted silks and the thread behaves well, although you'll need a laying tool to keep long stitches flat.  The tight twist that makes each ply means each ply has a mind of its own and will turn when you want it to lay flat.  I don't see as much shine with short stitches as with long ones but using a laying tool with long stitches really brings sheen to the stitches.

Beautiful High Cotton Stitches
You probably can't tell from the photo above but in person these stitches, particularly when oriented horizontally, look like two different colors because of the light reflection. You would have thought it was a checkerboard looking at it in person.  I love this thread!

I have no idea what the retail costs will be but if you want a high sheen on a project, High Cotton will be perfect.  I hope to be able to find more colors so I can use this thread.  It looks like it will be especially good for light coverage stitches because of the shine and the fact that only 2 plies cover very well on 18 count.

Remember, the number of plies you need will vary according to the stitch and color of the thread you are stitching with, but High Cotton seems to cover well with fewer plies.

If you are interested in more information, my spies gave me Hyla Hurley's email address.  Email me privately at chillyhollow AT hotmail DOT com and I'll share it with you.  I've also been told that M's Canvashouse has High Cotton in stock at the Columbus ANG Seminar shop.  If you are in Columbus for ANG, check it out.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Hyla Hurley, I have another photo of High Cotton skeins to help show off the range of colors.

The colors are, from left to right, Raspberry 901, Cosmopolitan 902, Pacific 524, Sky 519, Adams 2 513, Lemon Drop 704, Custard 604, Creamsicle 610, Rhubarb 807, Arielle 431, and Robin's Egg 433.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow