Friday, February 4, 2011

Specialty Fabrics Available

Needle in a Haystack has various types of specialty dyed fabrics in stock.  You can see a description on their Sale page.  These range from Aida to linen to NP canvas in mind-blowing colors.  These are limited in stock and may be one of a kind.  If you want something really special for your next design, check these out.  Please note that although NIAH's customer service is impeccable, they only mail out orders once a week so your treats may not arrive right away.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Water for the Chermor Gold Fish

Carol's Lillian Chermor Gold Fish Canvas
Yesterday I wrote Carol about the background for her canvas, “My first thought is to use a rippling stitch that looks a little like the seaweed that hands in front of the Gold Fish’s body. Something that is a vertical stitch with movement. I’ll check my stitch books and see what I can come up with.”  Keep in mind that we need a suitable background stitch to completely cover the bare brown canvas.  Carol's deciding on a color while I look for possible stitches.

The traditional water stitch looks something like the background of this canvas from the Sundance Designs Photo Album.  (Many thanks to Sundance for permission to link to these photographs!)  Personally I think this very horizontal stitch would look odd intersecting with the vertical seaweed on Carol's canvas.  What do you think, Carol?

I prefer something like this gray sky background--a vertical wavy stitch. Doesn't have to be this one but I'm thinking a stitch that is roughly shaped like the seaweed bits dangling around the Gold Fish.

However, a more jagged edged vertical wavy stitch would work also.  Do you like the sharper edges of this sky stitch, Carol?

Another way to go is to use a darning pattern in the background, using small fish shapes in one thread surrounded by tent stitches in another thread in a slightly different color or texture.  Look at the base of this Easter canvas to see what I mean.  The fish shapes could be in rows, scattered at random, or be done on the diagonal facing \ the way the fish is swimming.  The fish shapes could be beaded or stitched in a metallic thread (either a totally metallic thread or one with metallic woven in like Silk Lame Braid) in a similar color to the tent stitches surrounding them.

A fourth choice is to use an all over pattern like the green sky here done in Criss-Cross Hungarian in an overdyed thread to suggest water.  This stitch doesn't have a direction but the changes in color suggest water movement.

Carol, do you love or hate any of these ideas?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Carol Tackles Lillian Chermor’s Gold Fish

Lillian Chermor's Gold Fish
The last of the volunteer canvases I’m going to talk about before returning to stitching Luna is the Gold Fish design by Lillian Chermor that Carol volunteered.

Click on Collections, then click on Flora and Fauna and Friends. It’s #324 in the middle row, right. This is a 9 inch square design on 18 count. Carol writes she isn’t sure how she will finish it but she is thinking it will likely end up as a picture or a pillow. She tells me she hasn’t given any thought to this design so she doesn’t have any preliminary ideas about it.

Carol also said, “I have a good selection of these bold colors in my stash, but mostly in cottons and rayons, and a few silks. Not much in perle cotton. I also have some nice monochrome overdyed threads that would work. Of course, I'm not adverse to buying new threads, either.”

Good. Personally I think a month isn’t complete without buying new threads so we’ll explore some of the fun new threads available. Carol can pick and choose from new threads and stash threads.

We are going to really go to town on this piece, but as always we need to think about the background first. Lillian Chermor pieces are unusual in that they are always done on tan canvas, not the more typical white. I don't mean the ecru mono canvas, either.  Lillian uses a canvas that reminds me of penelope canvas in color.  This means we probably will need a background stitch that totally covers the underlying NP canvas. Look at the photograph and you’ll see the brown background color. I think that needs to be hidden. Unless the Gold Fish is swimming the muddy Mississippi, the background needs to look more like water.

My first thought is to use a rippling stitch that looks a little like the seaweed bands in front of the Gold Fish’s body. Something that is a vertical stitch with movement, in other words. I’ll check my stitch books and see what I can come up with.

Meanwhile we need to think about color. Water is traditionally blue but a blue-green might be better. The fish itself is orange, yellow, and coral red with touches of brown and purple. Using a blue thread for the background might make the blue bubbles harder to see and I think a greenish touch to the blue might help the red/yellow/orange colors of the fish stand out even more.

Why don’t I look for potential background stitches while you look at the threads in your stash, Carol? Try to find a blue, a green, or a blue-green that looks good lying on the background next to the fish. Doesn’t matter what kind of thread it is. Once we have a color that makes that fish look like a million bucks, we can decide on a stitch and a thread that will look good in that stitch.

If you don’t find the right color right away, expand into lime greens, pale pinks and corals, pale yellow, or even look at black. Although I personally would like a background in a water color, other colors might work for a fantasy fish. Black threads and fancy stitches don’t always work together but I think I know a way around that....

Stay tuned. We’ll be back shortly after Carol and I do some work narrowing down the background color and stitch.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at