Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Events for Needlepointers

Shops are starting to get creative with special events for their customers.  For example, Old World Designs is following up their road trip to see Melissa Shirley's studio with a visit on June 30th to Maggie/Ewe and Eye.  If you are in the Menlo Park, CA area on this date, call the shop to register.

Needlepoint.com is having a Pischke Pocket Party.  At The BEACH!  A Pischke tote bag is included for ocean-side stitching and a good time for all is guaranteed.

They are also having a Julie Pischke trunk show with 20% off.  You don't have to be present to get the discount, Internet shoppers.  Details here-

(Don't forget their gingerbread retreat next November.  That one is in Ashville, North Carolina.)

Finally, they are holding a Background class June 8.  Learn how to transform that little ornament into a WOW! piece by creative backgrounding.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com

Background Stitch for Cat Topiary Garden

dede Odgen's Cat Topiary Garden
I'm sure folks wondered why my photo of my cat topiary garden canvas yesterday was in black and white.  The reason is that when you pick a background stitch, you have to decide just where the background is!  In many canvases this is easy, but the background of the cat topiary garden is all trees--some of them are closer to the foreground than others.  I have to decide which are which.  Using a black and white xerox of the canvas I could see which trees were darker better.  The darker the tree, the closer to the viewer.  The closer to the viewer, that tree isn't background and is stitched with a different stitch.

Using my scissors and my xerox copy, I cut out the area that I think is background and lifted it above the rest of the canvas.  Except for the brick paving border, all of the top section will be stitched in the background stitch.  The lower part of the canvas is closer to the viewer and all those trees and other bits will be stitched differently.

UPDATE:  I decided I needed to extend the background stitch on the right down between the mouse and cat topiary bushes  and between the spaces in the arched latticework.  I didn't cut that area out but when stitching, I decided the stitch needed to extend down into there.  Leave this until last as you have to compensate quite a bit since there is not room for a complete stitch element.

Now that I am certain what is background and what isn't, I can choose a stitch.  As is usual for me, I look for stitches that echo the shape that I am stitching.  All the trees are ovals with a sharp point at the top so I looked for a similar stitch and found it in Woven Diamonds, a stitch diagrammed in Brenda Hart's Favorite Stitches, page 33.
Brenda Hart's Woven Diamonds
Here is what Woven Diamonds looks like if you don't have a copy of Favorite Stitches.  Working from left to right to create one diamond you do this--one straight vertical stitch over four threads, two straight vertical stitches --one above and one below-- each over three threads, two straight vertical stitches --one above and one below-- each over five threads, two straight vertical stitches --one above and one below-- over three threads again, and finally one straight vertical stitch over four threads to end the diamond.  You skip two threads (or one channel, however you think of it) and do the stitch again.  Remember to skip over before starting the next stitch.  The rows above and below notch into that skipped space.  If you forget to skip a space, your stitch count is off and it can take you two stitching sessions to figure out the mistake.  (Ask me how I know, she said as she banged her head against the desk, hoping to shake up some dormant brain cells.  Sigh)

Brenda's version of Woven Diamonds has a straight horizontal stitch covering the empty middle of each diamond but I am not deciding whether I will put a thread there or not until the entire background is stitched and I can test adding a thin metallic to this spot.  Since I choose to use the silk floss Splendor S870 in one ply, I will have plenty of shine and may not want metallic touches.

Those of you stitching on 13 count might want to go up to two plies of floss.  You will need to do a little test stitching to see what looks good to you.  (SharonG's rule says if it looks good to you, it is.  Remember that!)   In the photo above you can see the Locking L stitch where I ended a thread, just below the fish's nose next to the dark red brick. (We talked about Locking L stitches to start/end threads yesterday.)  I will cover that area with more Woven Diamonds and those tiny stitches will be hidden.

By the way, the photo is upside down because I turned it that way to stitch the background.  I can reach the background easier without reaching all the way across the bottom of the canvas.

This photo also shows how the color of the thread seems to change as I stitch my rows across the canvas.  The thread's the same but it looks different because the paint shows and fools the eye into thinking I am switching thread colors.  Again, I used one ply of my silk floss on 18 count.  This is the effect you are aiming for, although you may want to use two plies instead of one.  This is a personal choice.

I haven't finished my background yet despite working on it all week so I will be back next Monday with the next step to give everyone time to get as much background done as possible.  Anyone got any questions?  Doesn't matter whether you are stitching this canvas or just following along.  You can post a comment below or email me directly at chilly hollow at hotmaildotcom and I'll be happy to clarify things.  Communication is hard, especially via the Internet!

Before I forget, one last cat topiary garden canvas (on 14 count) is still available at Canvases Be Gone.  The design is a discontinued one, so this is your last chance to snag a bargain and stitch along with me.  Click on the photo of the canvas on the left to go straight to the sale.  I have no affiliation with the site, by the way, although Dale is a friend, and I don't receive any monetary compensation from any purchase you might make.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com