Saturday, May 18, 2013

Studying The Arctic Circle

Janet Moyer's Arctic Circle

I have a special treat this morning.  Dr. Janet Moyer just finished a canvas and sent me photographs and a description of how she stitched it. The canvas is Charley Harper's Arctic Circle.  Here is the bare canvas (link below).  Pretty plain, isn't it?  Not to Dr. Moyer!

Janet was raised in Alaska and was greatly influenced by the land, the indigenous cultures and the people who live in the 50th state. She is also very fond of musk oxen and since she knows they protect their young by standing close together in a circle with the calves in the middle, she thought Charley Harper got it right and she had to stitch this.  However, she looked at the piece for months before she picked up a needle.  She understood that this Arctic landscape with wolves, ice floes, musk oxen, glaciers and lots of snow, blue skies and open water would require different different shades of white and blue metallics due to the glint of sunlight on ice and snow so a lot of planning was needed.

Musk Oxen and Iceberg Closeups

Janet started with the Musk Oxen, trying a variety of threads to get their color exactly right.  She wanted to convey their power and how grounded in they are in a place and time foreign to us  (they are very old creatures compared to most around us now).  Janet used almost all metallics on this piece except for the musk oxen which were stitched with DMC and Splendor, but even their horns have gold metallic on top of the Petite Very Velvet that makes up the horns.  Unless you have lived in a place with a lot of snow and know just what bright sun does to snow and ice, all this metallic thread will seem an odd choice.   It also makes it hard to photograph this piece since cameras don't see sparkle and shine.  Even Janet, who is an award winning photographer, had trouble.

The large ice berg just to the right of the row of musk oxen is done with Kreinik's #16 braid in color 032 in the first step of Double Stitch, with Sundance crystal hex beads inserted at random among the empty spaces left by omitting the second part of Double Stitch.  Janet says about Double Stitch with beads:  "I wanted a little more sparkle so decided on random hex beads. I knew if I put hex beads in all the spaces they would not only take over the ice bergs but also the entire piece. Since most of the stitching was done with small stitches I had to find a balance between large and small."

Wolves, Blue Snow and Musk Oxen Hooves

The wolves are done in white Fuzzy Stuff, stitched in random long stitches done in layers and then stroked with a fingernail to enhance the fuzzy look.  The blue snow under the Musk Oxen's Petite Very Velvet hooves is Kreinik #12 braid (color 094) half laid horizontally, every other space.  Then Janet came back and filled in vertically.

Water, Clouds, Sky and Ice Floes

The sky is done with High Cotton blended with Accentuate in a running stitch over 3 and then over 5 alternating. The puffy clouds are shirred Frosty Rays Plus Janet held the inner metallic thread while sliding the outer thread to the puffiness she wanted. Then the cloud thread was couched down here and there with the inner metallic thread.

The dark blue water is T stitch using a Kreinik metallic that is darker than the painted blue water. The small ice floes in the water are stitched in brick stitch using the same 032 Kreinik as the large ice bergs and with Neon Rays Plus. The brick stitch changes direction on different floes to add tension to the design.

The piece is double matted with a non-shiny aluminum frame with light random etching on it. This photo gives you some idea of the sparkles when the light hits it. This is a perfect love letter to Janet’s native State. It now hangs in her “Alaska room” with various Eskimo masks and other Alaskan artwork.

Charley Harper's work is distributed by Treglown Designs, which is authorized by his estate to reproduce his designs on needlepoint canvas. Many, many thanks to Janet for sharing this amazing tribute to Alaska with us!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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@ Copyright 2013 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Little EMbellishments UPDATED

Laura Perin mentioned the bottle cap magnets she got on Etsy from Little EMbellishments. I thought I'd hunt down the shop and mention it here to make it easier to find.   Click on "Magnets" on the left hand side to see only the bottle cap magnet sets.  They are sold in groups of four.  There is a pink and black Paris set, several sets of colorful owls and a charming set of monkeys.  There are sayings like the Keep Calm set, graphic patterns and striped flowers or boat anchors. Something for everyone!  I can't say how strong the magnets are but Laura P. likes her set enough to mention them on her blog. Have fun browsing!

UPDATE:  Laura posts more about the magnets from Little EMbellishments.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
@ Copyright 2013 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.