Monday, January 3, 2011

News and Newsletters

The first of the month means there are shop newsletters to enjoy.  Amy Bunger's is up on her website if you don't subscribe to receive it in your email In Box.  There's a photo of the latest Halloweenies character in Amy's Home Study set and a great tutorial on how to attach a small NP canvas to a tote bag.  And there's more!  Here's the link.

Mary Corbet has redone her video about stem stitches to include instruction for left handed folks and information about shading with stem stitches.  This I am going to watch since I use stem stitch a lot in my pieces.

Pocket Full of Stitches is treating us to canvases and threads in the Color of the Year (as per Pantone which does color trends).  The color is called Honeysuckle. It is the rosy pink that you might find in angel cheeks or the center of a dark pink rose.

In Stitches of Atlanta has their in stock painted canvases on sale at 25% off (and some are 50% off) through January 8.  Sadly, their website doesn't show what's in stock but perhaps you can jet down to Atlanta and check it out.

Ridgewood is busy doing inventory so they know what they need to restock when they head out to the TNNA trade show later this week.  This wouldn't be news (most shops are doing their year-end inventory right now) except they are practicing taking photos so they can update their blog from the show floor with all the goodies available.  Thanks!  We stay-at-home types appreciate being able to see everything right away so we can plan our purchases and shop orders for 2011.

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

More on the Turkey Background

The Mary Lake Thompson/Melissa Shirley Turkey Canvas with Threads
After a short break for Nancy to celebrate Christmas, we are back discussing her turkey canvas.  My comments are in blue while Nancy's are bolded and in black.

Hi, Jane. I'm back and spent time tonight studying your thoughts about the background and visiting the web sites you suggested and wandering through the two Brenda Hart books I have.

Good! I have all Brenda Hart's books so I pulled out the ones you mentioned and looked up the stitches. 

As I've studied the canvas I see many colors and many lines. That leads me to think I'll be happier with a calm background. I love the Laura Perin designs but think that for my taste the scale and busyness would distract from the bird. I like the Brenda Hart Wave stitch that Michele used for her sky (though the diagram has me confused!) 

It is probably time for some test stitching. The wave stitch Michele diagrammed can be hard as the count for each line varies and the stitches move around. Pull out some scrap canvas and try it a line at a time. If you don't like how it looks or you are constantly making errors in the count, then this is NOT the stitch for you. 

Further possibilities I found are:
1) Slanted Brick - page 27 Stitches for the Millenium

This stitch will be lovely in silk floss if you lay the stitches with a laying tool. The turkey is on 13 count, so you'll need 6-8 plies at least, however. Not everyone likes dealing with all those plies or using a laying tool for that much stitching. These things are important when it comes to finding the right stitch, just as important as how the stitch looks! If you hate laying silk, this isn't the right background stitch for the turkey. Of course you can switch to Silk N Ivory and have a more subtle sheen. You'll need to test to see if it covers the background well. I think it will but I'm not sure. Another reason to do test stitching first!

2) Milanese Variation II - page 8 Favorite Stitches II (this one has similarities to the Laura J Perin Wild Geese arrows/feathers you suggested, but a smaller scale. The tent stitches could be in the same color but a different thread.

This would look nice in your mix of sage green Rainbow Linen (tent) and Silk N Ivory (triangles) Again, test to see how the mix looks. You might want a touch of metallic in the tent stitches and the Silk N Ivory may not cover. Or you may prefer the Rainbow Linen for the triangles. I'm beginning to think this might be too busy a stitch for the background, though. What do you think?

3) Slanted Wave - page 14 Favorite Stitches II (this might be better for a border)

I think you are right that this might do for the biggest border. If you do both rows they cover 15 threads. However, I think a plainer border would look better with the complex mix of borders you have going. Plus you have the turkey feet and wings that will extend into this. How easy will it be to compensate and how good will it looks with these items extending into it?

I happened across Twill Variation on page 29 of the same Brenda Hart book while looking for page 14's stitch above. Straight stitches don't cover as well as diagonal ones do but this has the slanted direction that echoes the direction the turkey is walking and the straight stitches will look good with all those plain borders. You can also do each row in a different thread (but the same color) to add texture to the background if you like. However, this may be too busy. Using the same thread for each row might be better as it'll be calmer looking.

4) Herringbone - top of page 129 Stitches for the Millennium

This looks like a good stitch for feathery areas, doesn't it? I also looked at the two leaf pattern stitches on page 118 in this book, thinking they might work for turkey tail feathers. Would it be too much to use the same stitches for the background as for the actual turkey? Of course the background stitch could be made longer and wider.... More test stitching! 

I'd love to know your reactions to any of these. I'm not sure my stitch ideas meet my desire for a calm background, the Milanese and Slanted Wave for example. I'm also wondering if I might prefer a very light tan and save using the green for a border, again to keep the focus on Tom.

You know, I am starting to think a tan background would be better also. You can introduce the sage green or perhaps the orange into the new borders you plan to add around the perimeter. If you are getting the feeling calmer stitches and tan color is the way to go, you are right. These things are often done by feel, after testing stitches and threads and thinking about a design. The conclusions you come to build your confidence as a painted canvas stitcher and insure that the final stitched canvas is uniquely yours as a reflection of your personal taste and style. 
This is such a great experience for me! I'm doing much more planning before stitching than usual.

I like to plan ahead but you will find things change as you work this canvas. The best laid plans, you know! Still, planning and thinking ahead mean that you will do less ripping out. 

I have a few more background stitches for you to consider besides the ones mentioned above. One is the very calm Horizontal Gobelin Variation from Brenda Hart on the ANG website. I think this stitch, turned so it runs vertically instead of horizontally, would look good. It doesn't have any diagonal motion to it but it will not draw attention away from the turkey.

The other is Tony Minieri's Donahue Stitch, also from the ANG website. The gentle oblique line is exactly what I was thinking of when I mentioned a gentle slanted stitch that will echo the way the turkey is walking. Both of these stitches are beautiful in properly laid silk threads. Each will look good in Silk N Ivory as well. I'd like you to look at all the stitch diagrams again and rank them as to which you like best. Then stitch the top 4-5 and see if you still like them as well. If not, stitch the others and then see. I think after all this you will have your background stitch. But if not, not to worry. There is no deadline. We aren't racing against the clock to pick stitches and threads.

We have one more Christmas celebration this weekend with my sister and brother-in-law coming down for the weekend. I hate to see the holiday come to an end, but I do look forward to getting more stitching done!

Holidays are fun but exhausting. It is nice to have all the company gone and the laundry done so you have a little quiet time to stitch and think about what pleases you and what doesn't.

Anyone reading this have any great background ideas for Nancy and I? Speak up now because I have a feeling Nancy is inching closer to a decision on her background.

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