Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Directions for a Turkey

Nancy's Turkey Canvas
After reading Nancy's latest message about her turkey canvas, I started thinking about the two main ways I see this canvas can be stitched.  I'm talking about the turkey body itself now, not the background or the border, not the head or the tail or wing feathers.

Nancy's busy looking for stitches that look like feathers.  That means ray stitches, leaf stitches, triangular shaped stitches, wedges, and fan shapes.  But this isn't the only way to go and it probably isn't the way I personally would stitch this bird.   I think I would needlepaint him.

Needlepainting goes by many names.  It uses stitches like stem stitch, long and short stitch, satin stitches and even Gobelin and split stitches.  I think in essence needlepainting uses a variety of straight stitches to mimic realistic animals and plants.  Because the direction of the stitches is so important, folks working on the grid of needlepoint canvas probably will want to use a sharp needle so that they can control stitch placement in either holes or through threads.

If you would like to see needlepainting in action, you should read Mary Corbet's article on the art below.  There are links to the Chinese site that sells needlepainted pieces which are amazing when it comes to interpreting animals with threads.

Remember that any painted canvas can be stitched multiple ways.  There really aren't any wrong decisions if you achieve what you wanted when you started stitching.  I'm just pointing out another path for those who would not use more stylized stitches to create the body of this bird.

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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sins, Signs and a Newsletter and Trunk Show

Ridgewood is having a Kathy Schenkel (KS Designs) trunk show. On today's blog entry they show off standup designs meant to be topped by a stuffed animal. I've seen the little mini stockings that come with a stuffed animal to insert into the stocking but I didn't know that KS Designs had standups that were topped by such things. Neat idea!  If you want to click on the header of this blog, there's another photo of some of the trunk show canvases on display in the shop, or you can browse the designer website (second link) to see more of what Kathy Schenkel has to offer.  The last page of the What's New section on the designer website has one word canvases, which are becoming very popular.

By coincidence yesterday Janet Perry posted about the free charted designs for the Seven Deadly sins while...

...Pocket Full of Stitches shows off many of the And More one word pillow designs.  These have been very very popular and are now morphing into two word pillows with various short slogans.  This article has a link to the And More website where you can see all the new designs.

Have you seen what Ruth Schmuff and Amy Bunger do with these?

Want to see some of the new Maggie designs from the January TNNA show?  The theme seems to be animal portraits, flowers, and  wonderful Art Deco restaurant and advertising posters.

If you prefer charted designs, enjoy Linda Reinmiller's newest piece which you can watch develop here.  It's a new one for her Walk series.

Finally, Chandail has their latest newsletter up on their website.  If you are a monthly club fan, you'll want to see the models for their ribbon candy designs and for the bell shaped Santas.

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

Behind the Scenes: Backgrounds with Barbara Elmore

You might have seen one of Barbara Elmore's large chandelier canvases.  There are several versions of these, ranging from a shoe chandelier to a Halloween-themed one to the latest which is the Mad Hatter's Chandelier, full of teapots and tea cups and fun. These all seem to be two feet square and painted on 18 count canvas.

Ever wonder how these large canvases are painted?  Barbara talks about her experiments on painting backgrounds for these big canvases.  The next time I complain about stitching an endless background, I'll remember someone had to paint all those inches first!

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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Turkey Reappears

Mary Lake Thompson Turkey Canvas and Potential Threads 
Nancy has been busy with other things so I've left her alone a while before giving her more work to do on her turkey. We're starting to talk about the turkey himself now. Here's Nancy herself, with a few comments from me in blue:

"Hi, Jane. I remain in awe of the effort you are investing in guiding me with this canvas. Your last e-mail alone would be a huge assistance to me, and it's just one of many!! 

I have not had time for test stitching on feathers/body yet. But I did spend time last night with more stitch books. I found that I could find more reasons why a stitch wouldn't work, than I could find ways that it could work. That's why your vision has been so helpful. Anyway, here's my report so far:

About your thinking on the foot, claws, leg, head, beak and wattle: I like all of your ideas; some were new to me. I'd never thought of putting a ply of floss with a metallic! But it makes sense! About your idea for the head with random tent stitches in metallic: Are you saying, turn the canvas 1/4 turn? Or 1/2 turn? In other words, do the added metallic stitches go on top of the tent stitch or do they make a cross stitch? I am confused there. But I think the look will be great.

Nancy, I meant for you to tent stitch the turkey's head and neck and then turn the canvas 1/4 turn so that the head is now on the right or left side. That will make either his breast or upraised tail feathers the top of the canvas. When you scatter random tent stitches in metallic on top of the previously stitched layer, then turn the canvas right side up again, you'll find that the metallic stitches will have made the top \ of a cross stitch on some of the regular tent stitches you did first. Of course you can just leave the canvas upright as usual and do the \ stitches randomly but I prefer to turn the canvas and do tent stitches with the canvas turned. These make the X when the canvas is back upright. Adding that top "leg" of metallic here and there adds a touch of shine here and there, which is perfect for turkey feathers. Cluster the cross stitches in areas where you want highlights if you like, as on the highlight on the waddle over his beak. Make sense?

One more question on the head: where the red butts against the blue, would you needle blend a bit so it's not a solid dividing line?

I think this is up to you, Nancy. Is the canvas painted so that there is a clear dividing line? If not, then needle blending will work if you use the flosses instead of your Silk N Ivory threads for these areas. I don't think there is much shading between these areas but I'm looking at photos, not the real canvas.

Your idea about the bead for the eye is one I will pursue with a trip to a bead shop.

What follows are some ideas on stitches from my time with stitch books yesterday. The books I used are:

The Canvaswork Encyclopedia by Jane Zimmerman
SuZy's Small Stitches by SuZy Murphy
Favorite Stitches Book 2 by Brenda Hart
Stitches for the Millenium by Brenda Hart

I don't have the Zimmerman book, but perhaps someone visiting Blog does and can comment. I pulled out the other books, though.

For the feathers on the body:
Tie-Down Stitch 489 - Zimmerman p137
Scallop Stitch - Hart's Millenium p90
Plaited Stitch- Small Stitches p103, Zimmerman p111
Small Grounding Stitch - Zimmerman p110
Ray Stitch - Murphy pp145, 146, 147

Looking at the Plaited Stitch, I think it might be too busy for your turkey feathers. The turkey is painted with a great many shades. That makes it busy-looking. I'd go for a calmer stitch myself.

The Scallop Stitch resembles the painted canvas the most of all the stitches you turned up. It also can be turned to face the side ) or turned to resemble a smile. If you use only 2-3 plies of a floss-type thread, the painted canvas will show some, adding depth to the feathery look.

I like the Ray Stitch but it doesn't really look like your feathers. What do you think about top stitching Ray Stitches on the turkey's head and neck in metallic? You'd just put a few ray stitches here and there instead of the random tent stitches with metallic, thus adding a feathery look on top of the tent stitches that are on his smooth head, neck and the very top of his breast before the canvas turns cream colored.

For the upright tail feathers:
Leaf Stitch - Murphy - pp155, 156
- Hart's Millenium p118
- Zimmerman p149 #'s 541, 542
Tie-Down stitch - Zimmerman p140 #522

Tail Feathers in Close Up
I prefer Leaf Stitch for the tail feathers, making it longer than diagrammed to fit the shape of each feather. However, first I would deal with the brown triangle shapes at the base by tent stitching them in a thread that is a different texture than the thread used for the tail feathers. For example, if you use silk floss for the feathers, use Silk N Ivory or wool or a synthetic that looks like wool such as Burmilana or Rainbow Linen for the brown areas on the tail. Once the triangles are stitched, then tent stitch the light tan areas at the top of the tail feathers (again with a thread that contrasts with your feather threads but make sure it is dark enough that it will contrast with the color of your background stitches). Finally, try using long stitches in the same dark brown as the triangles for the tops of the tail feathers. I think you can do the long stitches slanted or vertical as the shapes move across the top and down the right side.

You may find that when you use leaf stitch for the tail feathers that you will use more plies there than on the body of the turkey. Obviously some practice stitching is in order! Sorry.

I can't comment on Zimmerman's Tie Down Stitch since I don't have this book but I noticed you considered it for both the tail feathers and the body feathers. Try some test stitches and see what you think. It would be nice to be able to use various sizes of the same stitch in both places.

I'm thinking I may try to incorporate a bit more of the sage green than is painted so that all the green in the border doesn't come off as a random addition.

Do you have a sage green metallic you can add here and there?

I will try to get some test stitching done soon so I can see what these stitches look like. I will get photos to you when I have something to catch on camera.
I think that's all for now."

This is plenty for you to cope with for now. You don't have to plan out the entire turkey at once, you know. I think I'd stitch the head and tail feathers first to give myself an idea of what they look like. That will make choosing body feather stitches a little easier. After all, this is needlepoint Adventure, so a little uncertainty is expected. That's normal!

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

Under the Deep Blue Sea

Needle Works of Austin has posted a photo of their newest monthly club which will start in June.  It's called Under the Deep Blue Sea and features canvases of fish, a seahorse and a mermaid, all from Labors of Love.  Details here.

By the way NWKS is putting new things from their TNNA January market order up on their website almost daily. You'll want to see the latest here.

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

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Old Fashioned Stitcher has their latest newsletter online now.  In it you'll find details about their latest retreat, which is based on classic gingerbread houses.

More details here.

If you are interested in historical costume, you'll love seeing Colonial Williamsburg's new online exhibit.  More is planned.

If you like plain eye candy, check out the slide show on Ridgewood Needlepoint's home page.

If you like stitching belts but are running out of people to wear them.  check out this new use for belt canvases.

All these things are traditional for us old fashioned folks but needlepoint brings them into the 21st Century.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Off Topic: Snow!

Last night we got our biggest snowfall of the year.   Some of us really like snow.  It is fun to plow with our nose.

Some of us like to lay in snow, preferably after sliding down the steps on top of the snow.

Some of us pose for photographs in snow.

Some of us don't like being on a leash in the snow.

Some of us come inside and participate in a vigorous round of Canine Olympic Trials in Mouth Wrestling with the big dog.

Some of us love snow.  This does not include me, you understand.  All this activity means I am too tired to stitch!

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

Eighteen Pages and Ten Million Beads

Those interested in monthly clubs will want to visit Needlenook of La Jolla's home page to see more of their monthly stocking club finished.  These A Collection of Designs pieces are being stitched by Julia Snyder.  Click on any of the three finished models to see the bare canvases these are based on.  By the way, there are photos of some of David McCaskill's custom eBook reader covers right under the stockings in case you would like a custom cover created just by you.

While we are visiting NN of LJ, check out the coming attractions.  There's a retreat, a cyberclass with videos, what seems to be a question and answer video series, and a new monthly club featuring the Halloween bats that Kelly Clark just released.  My thanks to Becky who noticed this and has emailed to get more information about the classes and videos from David McCaskill.

Barbara demonstrated an unusual and effective way of using overdyed threads as a dividing band on her stocking.

Susan, who loves couture clothing as much as I do, takes a careful look at the beaded and embroidered Chanel collection for the spring.  I love Karl Lagerfeld's work but the petal pink (my favorite color), embroidery and beads make this a collection to delight in.

Speaking of beads, Peggy shows off a new magnet with a sticky top, made to hold beads.  These are new from the TNNA market so expect to see them turning up in your local shop over the next couple of months.

If you are interested in historical textiles or are planning a trip to London that will include a visit to the V&A, then you'll want to read about the closure of the textiles rooms in order to move them to a more easily viewable location.  Tricia has all the story here on her Thistles Blog.

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Twister, Wild Hearts, and A Knitter Runs Amuck

Something must be in the air because I found two different versions of Twister on the World Wide Web today.  Here is the red and gray one, still underway...

...and here is the finished pink and ecru one.  Love it!

Twister is a charted design from the late Patricia Spencer.  If you are interested in seeing other charted pieces, you should look at what Scarlet Thread just added to their online shop.

If you are a painted canvas fiend, you'll enjoy Squiggee's Wild Hearts.  They come in zebra, cheetah, and more.

Nimble Needle is showing off the new Birds of a Feather canvases they have in stock.  There's going to be a trunk show from the same designer there soon, too.  If you are sick of the gray winter outside, this is a good antidote.

Since we are visiting Nimble Needle, romantics will want to check out the two colorways of the new William and Kate royal marriage canvas from Designers Forum.  Their wedding is the end of April, which seems very close these days.

The final link is for those who need a laugh.  Knitters apparently suffer from the same problem needlepointers do when it comes to starting new things instead of finishing old ones.

Maybe I shouldn't call myself the Master Enabler.  Maybe I am a virus in disguise, spreading needlepoint far and wide?

Jane, off to think it over here in Chilly Hollow

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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More New Canvases

The Needlepointer is starting to update their website with the new things they bought at the January trade show.  The designs are listed by their description.  There are many styles and designers to enjoy here, so take a browse and see what catches your eye.  Not everything is brand new but everything is choice.

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Odds and Ends

Need some cheap scissors for teaching kids to stitch or for that trip you are planning?  Check out the new items on the Needlepoint Tool Time site.

Are you puzzled by how to use overdyed threads?  Janet Perry mentions a XS site article with basic tips on the ways to use overdyes.

Wondering if your shop is going to be able to get in the colors of Paternayan wool you need?  Needle in a Haystack updates us on the situation.

The great English needlepointer Anna Pearson has posted an article about the differences between continental, half cross and basketweave on her blog.  If you ever wondered why basketweave was harder wearing, this article is for you.

Just want to look at eye candy?  Are you interested in Halloween?

Do you prefer Christmas?

Are you a fan of Laurel Burch's art?

Or do all things kimono set your heart pounding?

I hope you find something in all the links above that interests you.

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

Kelly's Tassel Club

If you were paying attention yesterday, Kelly Clark posted a comment on Blog about her new tassel club.  Remember the pear club that lots of shops offered last year?  This year Kelly's doing another club.  The painted canvases are on her website but not the finished photos. More canvases are on the next page so don't forget to push Next.

Ruth Schmuff has a photo of the finished models on her shop blog.  You can see the back side of one tassel in the photo and there's a note that the club itself will start next June.

In her comment, Kelly promised her website would be updated soon with photos of the tassels and offered to send me photos to post here.  I can't wait to see more!

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nancy Starts Thinking Turkey Feathers

Turkey with Border Tests (Nancy will use left border)
Nancy and I are starting to talk about the turkey proper since she has her background and border stitches chosen.  I wrote her:

I'm glad you agree that the background stitch should run from the upper right to the lower left corners (see example above). I didn't realize that would make it easier to stitch--I was thinking about the background flowing the same way the turkey will walk--but of course it does. Me, I always choose the easy option. That just makes sense.

As you browse your stitch books, don't think feathers, think oval or rectangular shapes. Feathers themselves are roughly ovals but longer feathers could fit into a rectangle if it were long and thin. After all, Tony Minieri choose a rectangular stitch done over a line of metallic for the owl we are watching Madonna stitch.

 This sort of thinking will help you broaden your choices of stitches for feathers.

Personally, I would stick to tent stitches for the foot, claws and leg as well as the head, beak and wattle. I'd use different types of threads there to get the effects I wanted instead of stitches because the areas are small and detailed. I know we talked about using a metallic for the foot and leg just to get a realistic effect. Consider mixing two colors of metallic in your needle for that foot. You can even do a #8 Kreinik paired with a skinny Accentuate in a slightly different color to add depth. Or you can mix in one ply of a dull floss to tone down the metallic if it seems the right shade but too shiny to you. There are lots of tricks to making a thread do what you want and one of them is mixing colors or textures to stitch an area.

Which leads me to the red head. I think I might mix a lighter red metallic with my chosen thread for the wattle's highlight. Then I'd stitch the red shading of the head down the neck onto the red breast in tent stitches. Once that is done you can add metallic highlights at random using a very thin red metallic by just turning the canvas on its side so that the head points right. Do random tent stitches here and there right on top of the first layer of stitches with your metallic to mimic the iridescence of a real turkey's feathers. I've done this with a Santa's coat to add just a touch of sparkle to a Santa ornament. It looks good and is easy to do. Just take your black and white photocopy of the turkey and mark areas where you think you want metallic highlights, then turn the canvas and the drawing and put stitches where you marked. (This works nicely for adding sparkle other places on the turkey although you probably will be using other stitches besides tent on those parts.)

You have both flosses and twisted perl- or tapestry-looking threads available for stitching the bird which means more test stitching but you also might be able to use a reddish floss one place and the same or a very similar shade of silk/wool in another place to give a different texture with the same stitch. That's just something to keep in mind.

Consider a big bead for the eye but one that is oriented so that the hole shows instead of the bead being turned on its side so that the hole is parallel to the canvas. If you use one ply of cotton or silk floss, you can go through the hole 2-3 times to get it at just the right angle that the hole becomes the eye pupil. You can also use a colored floss that contrasts with the bead so that you have a black bead and a very dark green thread (or something similar). This gives depth and more character to the eye although you will have to try various threads and stitch positions to get an effect that pleases you. It'll be more work than just plopping a bead there, in other words, but these little touches turn a canvas into a masterpiece. Of course the eye is going to be a later addition to the head but I wanted you to start looking for a suitable bead.

Since you've already marked out leaf stitches as one you want to try, how about a little test stitching to see if that stitch just works for the upright tail feathers or if you can position them elsewhere. Remember, you can adjust the size of the leaf stitches to fit your area, making them taller and wider (or shorter and narrower) as the canvas changes shape. They don't have to completely cover the painted canvas, either. You might like an open stitch effect in certain areas.

Look for fan shaped stitches in your books as the breast feathers look like little fan stitches to me. You could also use buttonhole stitch done in a fan shape for there although it makes a ridge. You might have to use floss for a button hole "fan" to minimize the ridge.

Have fun rummaging around and trying stitches. Once you have a few you like we can talk about how to make them work together.

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

Stars: Gregory Peck Finished (with a Treat)

Gregory Peck Block Finished
Yesterday's scan of Stars made me realize that I needed to add a few more beads to the center star, this time at the sides where the star touched the terracotta lozenges.  Photographs and scans are really useful when it comes to pointing out problems that your eye just doesn't see.  For example, there is a white hair stuck to the top leg of the star in the photo above, courtesy of Watson (looking guilty below.)  I didn't see it until I looked at the scan.

The culprit
I used black beads this time.  In order to keep the bead sizes the same whether I was using black or violet beads, I used Mill Hill's Magnifica beads.  These are faceted beads, roughly size 11 (or 11/0, depending on how the size is written).  Using the same brand and type helped me keep the bead sizes the same.  Sometimes you will want to do this, sometimes different sized beads will look better.

Gregory Peck's on the right, middle row
Once the beads were added, I finished the sashing that surrounds Gregory Peck.  I'll put Stars away now until I finish Temple of 1000 Cranes and its stitch guide, then I'll move on to the Ava Gardner block on Stars after I work on Luna a little.

Progress to Date
Here's my progress on the total design to date.  As a special treat, I have a photo of another finished Stars.

Arlene's Pink and Blue Baby Stars
This photo was contributed by Arlene.   It is notable because this is the only pastel Stars I've seen.  Arlene stitched this as a baby gift for a close friend so she used pink and blue as the main colors and alternated pink and blue as the highlights in each square.  It was exhibited at Woodlawn a couple of years ago where I saw it.  Note the variation on the border which squares it off and makes it easier to frame.  This piece and my experiences while stitching my version of Stars make me want to see it done in ecru and beige with red and gold accents or all in grays or white and silver.

Thank you for sharing this with us, Arlene.  It's beautiful.

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

More New Things from TNNA

Ridgewood Needlepoint has posted more photos of new things they picked up for their shop at the January TNNA market.  Look at the postings dated Friday, January 21 for more wonderful eye candy, particularly the Shelly Tribbey canvas of a woman with flowers.

(By the way, for those of you in the business, TNNA has decided to move the January market to the month of April.  They may hold it in Phoenix instead of holding it in California as has been the case in the past.  I'm not sure exactly what is happening but there's been an uproar since April is the cash and carry show in Dallas already and shops like to place orders in January for the entire year.  This upsets all their plans.)

Fans of classic design or cardinals will love Squiggee's tree skirt. 

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gregory Peck Beaded

Gregory Peck Block Finished Except for Border Sashing
Last night I finished the corners on my current Stars block and added two violet beads to each corner of the central star.  I thought black beads would work but since I have copper, terracotta and violet beads also, I tried all four colors.  I'm glad I did.  The violet beads were the hands down winners when it came to enhancing Gregory Peck!  (And covering the unsightly holes of the bare canvas that show because the threads I used were slightly thinner than Tony's.)

The last step before I put Stars away again is to complete the sashing around this square.  I hope to do that tonight.

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

The New, The Old and The Fabulous

This morning's eye candy includes ten pages of new painted canvases from Julia's Needleworks (fans of Peter Ashe, Marcy and others will find plenty to enjoy here),

a trip to Art by Dede to see dede Odgen's fabulous designs,

a side trip to Canvases Be Gone to see older dede pieces for sale at a very good price,

and a visit to Zoshide which bills itself as "Zoshide, A Connoisseur's Needlework."  This is a place to view and purchase unique finished needlepoint, pieces that have been stitched but not made up, and a few special edition unstitched canvases.

The above photo is called "My Toys."  This is a painted canvas by Marcy/Julia's Needleworks.  I thought it was charming.

I hope you enjoy the beautiful pieces, new and old, available for us needlepoint connoisseurs.

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

Almost Done With Gregory

As you can see, the Gregory Peck block is almost done.  Though I struggled with the star and the flanking lozenges, once I got through them the rest went very quickly.  I still have to couch down the long threads in the corners.  Tony tells his students to couch a line at a time but I'm going to try laying all the underlying threads and then doing the couching pattern as I know juggling two needles and threads is going to make my thread tension uneven.

I plan to couch down the corners with copper, then I will add beads (black?) down the middle of the black star arms to hide the gaps where the canvas shows through.  After that, I'll need to stitch the two pieces of sashing that are to the right and bottom of the square.  Wish me luck!

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

Books and Projects and TNNA Reports

Remember the review of the Royal School of Needlework's crewel book?  Here's another review, this time on their blackwork volume.

Speaking of crewel (which we really weren't), I found a place that sells miniature crewel kits. You can read about them and find the link to the seller's website here.

And speaking of book reviews (which we were),  Sandy Higgins' finishing book is out in a new edition.  Here is a review.

It's not often I see unusual uses of needlepoint but Rittenhouse is showing off clock faces in NP which are amazing.  The designs are by Zecca and Rittenhouse is going to do a class on them.

Anyone on the fence about signing up for Fabulous Firs club at Pocket Full of Stitches will want to see the models all finished as standups.

DMC has posted about TNNA on their blog.

Needle Works has posted their TNNA newsletter on their website.  It's all photos of their favorite painted canvases and threads.

Finally, the new gal at Needle Works reports on her first TNNA show.  I love seeing what fresh eyes to the NP world see and especially how dede Odgen's new seahorse canvas's illusion was done.

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

Who's On Facebook?

Let's see who has a Facebook page:
Needlepoint Now
Melissa Shirley
Robin King
SharonG (look for Sharon Berish Garmize)
Needlenook of La Jolla
Aristeia Needlepoint
Peacock Alley Needlepoint
Waste Knot Needlepoint
Sara Leigh Merrey
Vicky De Angelis
Ada Haydon
Doug Kreinik
Julia Snyder
Raymond M. Crawford
Colleen Church
Janet Burnett
Jody Williamson-Valentine
Summer Truswell
DeElda Erbe Wittmack
Beth Robertson
Terry Dryden
Brenda Stofft
PFOS Lubbock
American Needlepoint Guild (ANG)
Michele Roberts
Caela Tyler
Judee Karchmer
Chaparral Needlework
Chandail Needlework
Needlepoint Guide
Pat Delp
Cathe Ray
Painted Pony Designs
Sue Dulle
Linda Reinmiller
Cindy Valentine
John Waddell
Barbara Bergsten
Gail C. Hendrix
Evan Burroughs
Berlin Embroidery Designs
Amy Bunger
Amy's Golden Strand
The French Knot

Just log into your FB account and search for them.  If you know of other needlepoint companies, shops and designers with accounts, please add them to the Comments or email me at chilly hollow at hot maildot com and I'll add them for you.

By the way, I don't do FB any more except to keep up with my family.  I have too much on my plate already!

I will update the above list as I find more NPrs on FB, but I can't say how often any of the above update their "wall" or how interesting to fellow stitchers the information will be.

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Busy Busy

I'm continuing to work on Stars, but there have so many messages posted on other things this week, I have neglected to update you on my progress.

But before I do that, here's more news--Kreinik has a new thread out called Easter Grass which looks like cellophane.  I expect it'll work for glass, candy wrappers, anything transparent.  Judging from the photographs, it looks a lot like dede Odgen's clear Prisms if you are familiar with that thread.   I'm indebted to Peacock Alley Needlepoint for this information--many thanks!

I also wanted to alert fans of Ehrman's needlepoint kits that some of them are on sale at a good price. This link takes you to the "choose your country" page where you have to pick one before you go on to the sale.  Sorry.  That's how the site is set up.

If you are looking for eye candy, I have some great finishes for you.  Jan has framed her latest two stitches and they are magnificent!  Jan is better known for her original designs based on rugs, especially Moroccan rugs, but when she does other people's work, she does a terrific job.

Pocket Full of Stitches just took delivery of three new pillows from their finisher and posted photos of the great results.  You'll have to double click on the photos to see the details like the Happy Catoween buttons on the Brenda Stofft Halloween pillow.

They've also posted photos of the new shaded Petite Very Velvet.  Need a subtle shaded red Santa coat?  This is the thread! Note the photo of the cover of SuZy Murphy's new small summary book.

If you are curious about the shaded Very Velvet, Janet Perry has done a nice review of how it stitches up.  Note that Very Velvet is sized for 13 count canvas and Petite Very Velvet is sized for 18 count.  Don't buy the wrong size by accident!

Finally, I wanted to let my counted canvaswork friends know that Lizart is finalizing a new design.  The white and silver model is stitched, so now Liz must finish charting this lovely bargello pattern and try to keep her head above water from all the emails of folks asking to be notified when the chart's ready.

Now, back to Stars!  This photo at the top of this Blog entry shows the little woven lozenge shapes that surround the central star.  They are supposed to be in my copper metallic but I decided to use my terracotta instead. The next two steps use black and violet, so I thought terracotta would look better than my metallic copper which already dominates the latticework and doesn't show off the intricate stitches in the lozenges well.  In this photo you see one of the black half crescents that fill the space between the terracotta lozenges underway.  You are supposed to do one half of the shape, then the other, but I messed that up so many times that I am trying to build both sides as I go.  The final step will be a few violet straight stitches slanting up either side of the black crescents.  But I am having so much trouble with this it might be a while before I get to those.

Of course stitching after another hectic day means the instructions don't make sense and counting holes accurately is impossible. Fortunately, a good night's sleep will fix the problem.  (I hope.)

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yesterday I...

...updated the last posting on Nancy's turkey canvas with photos.  She was able to fix the problem with her camera.  The photos add a lot to Nancy's explanation of what she has figured out for her canvas.  I'm especially impressed with the way she has her border widen/narrow slightly to make a sort of arrowhead shape in the corners.  Since folks who read Blog through their RSS feeds or readers won't know that article was updated, I'm posting about it here.  This is the direct link to the updated Blog article.

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Lots and Lots Of Things

Lots is happening on the Internet this week.  First of all, I've updated the Chilly Hollow Stitch Guides blog with an article about Brenda Hart and her guides.

Nordic Needle has put their yearly catalog online in PDF format!

Needle in a Haystack is adding the new Rainbow Gallery colors to their website.  Expect photos soon.  Some photos of the new things are on the RG website (second link).

Kreinik has written about their new Hot Wire thread--wired metallic!  Make sure you read Sue Jenning's tip on using this thread.

Finally, here are two book reviews.  Mary Corbet talks about the new book on crewel embroidery from the Royal School of Needlework and...

...Janet Perry reviews Summer Truswell's new book which is in the Kindle format.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is Needlepoint? 2010 Version

ANG has updated the What is Needlepoint? page on their site with information from the 2010 exhibit.  You can see and read about award winning stitching there.  I'm including the link to all the series in case you haven't seen them.  Choose the year you are interested and click.

I am hoping 2009 will be posted one day but it sounds like that is not going to happen.  However, I am very glad the ugly ANG logo isn't plastered all over these photos.  I found it very distracting in previous years where it always seemed to cover an area I wanted to look at.

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Jelly Beans and Men at Work UPDATED

Jelly Bean Stock's Delightful Devil
Ridgewood Needlepoint has a little more TNNA to share with us:  photos of Dale (DJ Designs) and Raymond (Raymond Crawford) chatting when the mad rush of the trade show is over.  I love seeing our favorite designers in person!

My spies have alerted me to a new NP company that was at the trade show--Jelly Bean Stock.  Here is their website.  You'll love the old fashioned movie poster-like Halloween designs, the devil masks among the Venetian Masks (see above photo), and the peacocks and the Let It Snow sign in chilly blues and icy whites.  They have some other nice things, too, but those are the ones that caught my eye.  What's your favorite? Is it like the flavors of jelly beans, you have too many favorites to decide on just one?

Thanks for the tip, Pat, and the extra photos, Elaine!

UPDATE:  Pat came through again with the Jelly Bean Stock artist's blog which has many nice photos of the original art designed for NP canvas.

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Back to the Turkey's Borders UPDATED

Original Borders for Mary Lake Thompson Turkey
Nancy's been working on the borders that surround her turkey canvas.  Here is what she's testing, UPDATED with photos:

"This is a followup to my last e-mail about my test stitching on the borders.  Since that work I have refined and adjusted what I'd done to that point.  I know this is all hard to picture without a photo, but my camera is still not playing nice with my computer.  I hope to have some help with that tomorrow.  Cross your fingers.  Here's the latest border thought, from the inside to the outside:

Nancy's Expanded Border
1) As before and as painted, a single row of tent stitches, but in a slightly lighter brown.  The very dark brown as painted seemed pretty stark.
2)  As before and as painted, a single row of tent stitches in the sage green.
3)  As before a four thread wide border of the Overture in satin stitch.
4)  A two thread wide border of the medium brown, changing to three threads wide at the corners, also in satin stitch.  [Note:  Nancy has added this to the outside of the design.]
5)  A four thread wide border, satin stitch, of the rust Impressions, which downshifts to three threads at the corners to compensate for the wider brown at the corners.  [Note:  Nancy has added this to the outside of the design.]
6)  A twelve thread wide satin stitch border of the sage green with open squares at the corners in which I hope to put the Chilly Hollow stitch.  [Note:  Nancy has added this to the outside of the design.]

Nancy's Test Stitching, Including Two Test Borders

All the threads are Silk and Ivory except for the Overture and the rust Impressions.  I sample stitched the Chilly Hollow stitch tonight - what a great stitch it is.  I've heard about it off and on for quite a while - now I've done one!  I tried the Rhodes, but think I will prefer the Chilly Hollow.  I'm not sure I understand how to put bullions in the center.  Maybe that's because I made the center smaller since this square is just 12 threads square, not 16.

I've used the satin stitch instead of the Gobelin because it covers better on the white canvas."

Nancy's Background Stitch with Random Metallic Row
This all sounds marvelous, Nancy. I like the way you are keeping the border widths consistent and gradually increasing them. This makes a simple border more complex without making it so fancy it competes with the bird.

Filling a Chilly Hollow stitch's center with bullions is easy. You just stick them inside going any which way to cover so that no canvas shows. But if you are making your CH stitch smaller, you might want to consider using beads instead of bullions. That would give a touch of glitz to the corners that should echo the turkey feathers gleam.  For those who are unfamiliar with the CH stitch, here is a diagram.

Are you using the same sage green thread for the CH stitches as are in the last outside border?  You can also use French knots to fill the center, although I have heard of folks putting a shisha mirror in the center of a CH stitch variation.  Another way to go is to add a big Smyrna cross in metallic thread in the center.  You may want to wait until later to decide what to put in the center of the corner stitches, however.  

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Stars and New Canvases

Last night I finished the first step of the trellis pattern that fits between the legs of the central star, and got three-quarters of the way through step two, which adds small tent, reverse tent and large cross stitches on top of the purple trellis.  In the photo only the right side quadrant lacks the black touches.  A third step goes on top of the first two. I hope to finish step two and complete step three today.

In other news, Needlenook of La Jolla has started to add photographs of new canvases from the January 2011 TNNA show to their website. Click on anything that was updated this month, then look at the canvas titles to see the 1/11 new additions.  In most cases there are only 1-2 new designs but hey!  We'll take what eye candy we can get!

Speaking of eye candy, I've had a request to see Lani's new Halloween collage piece but it's not on her updated website.  Anyone know where we can see a photograph on a shop website?  For those who are not familiar with Lani's collages, here is her website.  The newest ones are on the home page and older canvases can be seen by clicking Needlepoint and then Collage, but the Halloween one isn't shown either place.  If you know where this can be seen, please let me know.

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Barbara's Chandelier and the Masks

More new things are turning up all over as designers and shops get back home from the TNNA show and get unpacked.  Whimsy and Grace has new sleep masks in their line.  Click on the small photo of their booth at the show to see even more of their classic designs, from gingerbread men to a double bee pattern and flower canvases that are lovely.

Barbara Elmore is back from California and showing off the latest of her fantasy chandeliers.  This one features teapots, lace, teacups and fancy little cookies.  Reading what Barbara says about using open stitches and unstitched areas on her canvases is inspiring.  (And there is another glimpse of her amazing slippers!)

Lani has updated her website with lovely finished examples of her designs.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jane Stitches To Everyone's Surprise

Stars with the Gregory Peck Block Underway
The photo shows my progress on Gregory Peck.  After finishing the center shapes that make the star, I started the trellis pattern that fits between each center triangle and flanks the little "wings."  The trellis pattern I found easier to follow by referring to the master chart.  I simply was unable to figure out where things fitted without its help.

There are two more layers of color on top of the purple trellis shapes, but first I have to get each trellis base stitched before I can add the additional layers.

This is quite pretty so far.  I am glad I changed to my overdye for the star shape, however.  The pale terracotta/peach color called for in the instructions would have been less dramatic.

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French Country Style in Counted Thread

Needle in a Haystack has a trunk show (with accessories) from JBW Designs that will run through the end of this month (January 2011).  This is for my counted canvaswork friends who love French Country!

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New Blog Feature

I've been thinking for a while I should add a list of online needlepoint stitch diagram sites to Blog and yesterday I finally sat down and did so.  You'll find the list of sites at the bottom of Blog, below the last post on the front page but above the Archive list of articles.

I've tested all the links but I can't make Mary Corbet's site link to the page of her videos.  It defaults to her home page, probably because her site is set up that way.  You'll have to find Videos at the top of the home page and click there to continue on to the videos.  I did replace Needlepoint for Fun's page about the various forms of tent stitches with Needlepoint Now's because NP for Fun also defaulted to the home page, but Mary's site is the only one with videos demonstrating various embroidery stitches, so we'll just have to put up with its quirks.

If you know of any other good online sources of stitch diagrams, please let me know.  Either comment below this article or email me at chilly hollow athotmail dot com.  Thanks.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Put the Kettle On

Last night I finally picked up Stars and started the center of the newest block.  It is supposed to be done in color C2, which for me happens to be three plies of a pale peach DMC floss.  You can see that it didn't quite work out that way.  I decided that I would substitute one of the overdyes I'm using on this piece for my pale peach color.  (Yes, I'm using two separate overdyes plus tossing in some solids to fake an overdye since the colors I am using are not available in an overdyed thread).  So the center stitches you see I've started are done with Silk N Colors (from Threadgatherer) in Caledonan Road #209.

As a reminder my colors are violet (A), black (B), terracotta (C) and copper metallic (D).  The photo above shows my limited progress.  When I started stitching last night, I realized just how warped and uneven the sides of the canvas were. There were several waves where the canvas arched up between the staples holding it to the stretcher bars.

The canvas is slightly distorted despite being on Evertites.  (I loosened the Evertites before I put Stars away to reduce strain on the canvas, by the way.)  I have never had a canvas do this before but have never worked on such a large piece over such a long period of time. Before I do any more stitching, I need to rip out what I've done above, deal with the wavy canvas, and reattach the canvas to my stretcher bars.

This calls for a tea kettle!

The first thing I did was fill my tea kettle half full of water and put it on the stove on high.  Then I took the staples out and removed Stars from the stretcher bars.  Then I made sure the dogs were secured in another room.  You do not want any distractions while steaming wrinkles out of your canvas before putting back on stretcher bars.  Steam can give you a bad burn!

By the time Stars was free of its Evertites, the kettle was beginning to boil and steam was coming from the spout.  I held Stars above the steam pouring out of the canvas, moving the top edge back and forth in the steam, keeping my hands well away the steam.  This took about 5-8 seconds with the canvas in motion so that the steam didn't hit any one spot too long and wasn't too near the threads already stitched.  Then I put Stars down on the clean counter and turned the heat down under the kettle.  After all, the canvas is now hot where the steam hit it and it needs to cool for 1-2 seconds before I handled it.

I gently pulled the canvas top until it was straight and attached it to the stretcher bars in the middle top with a staple.  Then I carefully arranged the canvas (which the steam has made temporarily pliable) along the top and attached it in two more places closer to the corners.  (Remember, with Evertites you DO NOT attach your canvas at the corners because the Evertites move apart at each corner.  If you use regular stretcher bars, you would attach the top side at the middle and then close to each corner.)  Then the kettle was turned up again until the steam flowed freely again.

I steamed the top again, turning the canvas over so the steam mostly hit the canvas, not the stretcher bars.  Then the canvas was turned upright again and I carefully pulled and stretched the top again at a few more spots.  Now it was time to attach the bottom.  I repeated the above steps and got the top in position.  Once I had the bottom reattached to the stretcher bars in a few spots, it was time to work on each side.  Repeating all the above, the sides were reattached to the Evertites.  Then I worked my way around the sides, alternating top and bottom, then side and side, adding more staples as I carefully steamed and then positioned the canvas so it was attached tightly (but not drum tight!) to the Evertites.

Occasionally I had to remove a staple and redo an area that wasn't as straight as I thought or which was moved out of position as I attached other areas.  But that's ok.  This is a slow, careful process.  I didn't want to burn myself with the steam, or get the canvas too soft in the steam or get steam on my threads more than absolutely necessary.

In the end I spent about 45 minutes putting Stars back on my Evertites.  The photo above has it straight and securely attached but not tightened on the Evertites.  I will let the canvas sit all day, then see if I need to tighten the Evertites and will remove the first stitches in Gary Cooper and redo them.   Stitching on a crooked canvas isn't a good idea.

If you attempt to do this blocking technique, be very careful.  Steam and hot water are dangerous to pets, small children, and of course to stitchers everywhere!

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A Newsletter and (Surprise!) More TNNA News

Squiggee has excitedly posted a photo of her distributor at their TNNA booth.  It's always fun to see folks what folks we've known online actually look like, although really the photo isn't good enough to tell much more than Margaret is a brunette.

Ridgewood more than makes up for that tiny photo with a whole series of photos of 3-D canvases from various companies.  If you've ever wanted to do a stuffed animal, this is the place to browse.

There's a photo of a beautiful Colors of Praise geisha, too!

My final treat this morning is Chandail's Winter 2011 newsletter which announces their Texas-themed monthly club for the new year from A Collection of Designs.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Working My Way Back

I am inundated with chores here in Chilly Hollow, leaving me too tired to stitch at night.  This has gone on for nearly two weeks, but the end is in sight.  Last night I pulled out my Stars book and the threads for the next block and read through the instructions, thinking about what went where and if I wanted to change the threads Tony used for this section.  I also realized that the next block is not Marilyn Monroe as I thought (that was the first block!) but is actually Gregory Peck.  Boy, was I wrong!   But that is what happens when you are too busy to stitch.  You make mistakes.  I should be back on track tonight.  (I hope.)

However, I have taken time to post a new article on the Chilly Hollow Stitch Guides blog--Patty Paints has stitch guides for some of their charming and light-hearted canvases.  You can read about them here.

I'm also getting ready to talk about Nancy's turkey again.  So stay tuned.  Things are starting to return to normal here, or at least as "normal" as they ever get!

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

More New Designs

Waterweave has some fun animal canvases done in a PDF format. I loved Sneaky Monster but you may prefer some of the dogs, cats or birds.

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More New Things UPDATED

Princess and Me features their latest ornaments on their home page. Remember, these little canvases always come with a stitch guide.  The new winter sports (skating, sledding) ornaments are particularly appealing in the cold weather we've been having in CH.

UPDATE:  Great Minds Think Alike (LOL)  - PFOS just posted a number of the brand new Princess and Me canvases in close up on their blog.  Come to think about it, I have some pink bunny slippers just like those on the Santa ornament they like....  (eerie music starts to play in the background)

If you are a fan of Mindy's work (and who isn't?), you will want to browse her new Bright Flowers patterns.  There are new cupcakes and some gorgeous new "Japanese quilt" patterns.  Asian in Bronze is a particular favorite of mine.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Temple of 1000 Cranes and Other Delights

Ridgewood showcases Jude Designs.  Pepper Fest looks like a great little canvas.

Kelly Clark has updated her website with the 2011 canvases, including the Ark and all Noah's animals.

I've finally managed to get more photos of Temple of 1000 Cranes on the CH Stitch Guides blog.  Enjoy!

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A Bit More TNNA (with Apology)

Elizabeth, the editor of Needlepoint Now, is back from Market and promises her experiences there will pay off in later copies of the magazine.  There's a photo of the NP Now booth, too.

Little Shoppe Canvas Company's 2011 designs are featured on the PFOS blog this morning.  They specialize in 3-D canvases although that's not all they offer.  I love the colorful dinosaurs and some of the signs are very funny.

Janet Perry finishes her TNNA report with a description of the wide range of canvases she particularly liked.

I'm sorry I haven't posted more photos of Temple of 1000 Cranes.  Yesterday my mother moved from rehab (hurrah) into an assisted living apartment she loves (double HURRAH) so I have been preoccupied with things other than needlepoint.  I'll try to get photos of my latest stitching up later today.

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