Monday, November 29, 2010

ABS Designs the Nutcracker

For many of us, the Christmas season isn't complete until we see The Nutcracker ballet in performance.  If you live where there is no local ballet company nearby, you can still enjoy it via Anne Stradal of ABS Designs who is designing a series of ornaments based on Tchaikovsky's music for the ballet.  The series starts here with Herr Drosselmeyer.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page past the Comments, then click on "Newer Post" to see the second and third ornaments.  Delightful!

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

Washington, D.C. Metro Map, Part Four

Barbara writes:  This morning I went through my stash and pulled threads to see what might work and I am going to take the plunge!  Here are my thoughts on what I am going to try:

I want to bead the Capital - I have some black petite beads and will try solid beading - if I do not like how that looks I will go for every other thread intersection, maybe with black Kreinik as the in between stitch.

Behind the Capital I want to try the Japanese lattice  but don't want to bother with flat silk. [Note:  Barbara is expert in Japanese Embroidery and will lay silk, then put a lattice pattern on top as is done in JE.]  I have some Splendor in the gold color that matches the canvas so will lay satin stitch and then do the diagonal lattice over that and tie down the overlaps (I will do this before the beading - If it does not work I will go with criss cross Hungarian and gold beads). I have a couple different purple beads and think I will use those for the the purple border if I go with solid beading. If the solid beading does not work for me I will find something - maybe a Kreinik metallic and couch around the circle.

The same gold that I use for the back ground I will use behind the letters for Washington but I am not sure about what stitch to use there. 

Personally I think tent stitches are going to work best here, Barbara, but you are wise to wait and see before you make up your mind.

I think I will bead the letters of Washington - definitely the white, not sure about the purple shadow but I think that will be beads too. I found some nice gold and green Kreinik which I think I will couch for the compass rose.  The lines there are mostly one canvas thread wide so not much more that that will work.  I like the idea of padding the center.

The subway lines are four canvas threads wide and I really like the idea of arrows but then there are the areas with lots of stops and turns so I may just go with diagonal satin - I will experiment.

It is possible you can use diagonals and arrows both.  You are going to have to test it and see what looks good to you.  Having both may look messy or it may look great.

 I am back to looking at the Luminescence that I bought to use because the colors are just so yummy and while it is very thin I could use multiple strands and lay them - again I will try and see how they work. I found some #4 kreinik for the Jessicas in blues and silvers which I will try and see how they work.

Blue and silver Jessicas for the subway stops sound wonderful.  I hope you can use the lovely Gloriana Luminescence silk perle. I just love the colors from Gloriana.

UPDATE:  Barbara says, "Just a quick note - I started experimenting on the jessicas and after a couple of attempts I found a blue that I like for the small ones and decided that black worked best for the large ones.  Once those are in I will see what works for the subway lines."

I like the idea of burden stitch for the Washington Monument and have Splendor in those colors.  


I was thinking of something like nobuko for the water and upright cross for the parks.  

Good ideas. Both have texture but not a high texture.  There is so much going on here in both color and pattern that you will have to be careful how many different stitches you use.

I am undecided about the background - I think I will tent stitch the background but can't decide if the Shimmer will be too much - I think it will be so will probably go for the flat black - a place to rest the eye since there is so much else going on in this piece.

I agree.  I am thinking a black velvet background with the jewels of the subway lines and the compass, Washington Monument and the Capital as accents.

All that is left are the the boundary lines which I think should just be couched Kreinik, and  finally there are the stripes at the top and bottom which I am still unsure about. At the top there is a 4 thread wide purple, 2 thread wide gold, and 4 thread wide green. At the bottom is 4 thread wide dark purple and 2 thread wide light purple. and on the left there is a 6 thread wide very dark purple.

I would just use satin stitches there done on a slant but you might want to use long cross stitches (fat short ones that are two-three threads wide but only one high) on the 2 thread wide gold and light purple areas or maybe beads again.  I think a simple stitch is best here.  You might even reuse the same stitches you end up using for the subway lines or try burden stitches in the wider borders if you want something more decorative.  I am not certain burden stitch won't look too busy but once you have more of the center done, you can see what you think about these ideas.

I now have a plan, a scan, and a bag of threads! I am going to mount the canvas and see what happens. Thank you for choosing my canvas and helping me get started. I will keep you posted on my progress!

Good luck.  We can't wait to hear how this goes!

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