Monday, January 20, 2014

Blue Russian: Lighting the Lantern and More

Welcome back to my adventure stitching Leigh's Northern Light Santa!   Last time I promised to finish up the mittens and work on the lantern, but I want to wait a bit on the mittens.  I've added a Smyrna cross to the back of each mitten but I am undecided as to the correct thread color.  So I want to hold off on that before I make up my mind. Instead, I have started adding beads to the Staggered Crosses background.   Remember, you are going to need TWO cards of Petite Silk Lame Braid for the background, so pick up a second if you are using Staggered Crosses in that same thread.

In case you have forgotten, here's the link to the article with the diagram for Staggered Crosses.

I used Petite Silk Lame Braid in SP17 for the large crosses in the diagram.  Now I am attaching crystal beads to the spaces where the little cross stitches are in the diagram, using one long doubled ply of Splendor in S855, which is the same color as the Silk Lame Braid but without the metallic.

These are the beads I used in case you want the same thing.

They are cylinder-shaped beads (called Delicas), not faceted, that are clear with an iridescent finish (this finish is usually called AB which is short for Aurora Borealis).  They are size 15 (sometimes written 15/0) which means they are smaller than Mill Hill beads, which are usually about size 11.  Substitute something similar if you like.  You can even use little cross stitches in silver metallic or in the Splendor S855 to add touches of color to your background if you don't like using beads.  Experiment a little and see what works for you.


Now let's take a break.  I have a treat for you!

Kirstin's Blue Russian

Kirstin Thompson has been working her Blue Russian Santa, going her own way.  It looks wonderful and we are lucky that she graciously agreed to allow me to post her progress photo here.  She used a Copic marker to paint the background the color of the metallic filament in the navy Silk Lame Braid she choose so that the bit of canvas that shows gives a little bit of a lighter "glow" through,  She is using Horizontal Double Hungarian (from SuZy Murphy's Portable Stitches) and has added snow under Santa's feet using Snow (in Brian Shaw's Brian's Steppe Stitch).  She also plans to put a winter icy birch tree on the left side of Santa and will probably work the fur in turkey work.  Stay tuned to see what else she comes up with!

Thanks very much for sharing, Kirstin!


Ok, back to my Russian Santa....

Shiny Santa with Gems in His Diadem

As you can also see in the photo, I added Swarovski crystals to Santa's diadem.  I used four navy and five light blue bicones which are roughly 3mm across.  My bead store doesn't label the colors but I think I used Sapphire (navy) and Light Turquoise (light blue). They are a little larger than I'd like but that's what the local bead shop carries so I made do. (Actually, I am not sure that bicones come any smaller than 3mm.) You can substitute size 11 (or smaller beads) if you like.  You can pick up bicones at the link below if you don't have a local source and want to use them.  Play around with placement and use the mix of colors that suits your Russian Santa best.  I attached mine with a doubled length of silver Accentuate and let them lay at different angles to fit inside my curlicues.

To summarize, I am still pondering the snowflakes on the mittens, have started adding beads to the background and have put crystals on the diadem.  Then I worked on the only new item this week--the  lantern.

The Lantern

Using the same clear Water N Ice that I used on Santa's face, I laid long slanting stitches / \ on each side of the glass area of the lantern. Use a laying tool to keep the Water N Ice flat.   I worked each side separately and did not cover any of the black area.  Then I took a black and white copy of the canvas I made on my printer earlier, and cut out the small black triangular base of the lantern from the copy. Using that as a model, I cut the same shape from dark navy Ultrasuede.  Then using DMC navy cotton floss #803 which matches my Ultrasuede color and a sharp beading needle, I carefully stitched it over the base of the lantern. I came up in a hole just outside the fabric and went down just over the edge toward the inside, working my way carefully all around the outside until I had the appliqué firmly in place.

The last step to stitching the lantern uses DMC Color Infusions Memory Thread #6100 Navy and the DMC cotton floss #803 which is the same color are the memory thread.  If you have not used Memory Thread before, it is thin copper wire wrapped with DMC cotton floss. You will need to cut around seven pieces of wire. DO NOT use your good embroidery scissors to cut wire. Use the scissors you use to cut paper. After you make a cut, bend the memory wire with your fingers or tweezers to shape, or use a pencil to make the rounded shape. With the tip of your embroidery scissors, enlarge a hole where you want to insert each end of that piece of wire. Put the wire into the hole, then couch the memory wire into place using one ply of the navy floss. Leave enough on the back side of each cut to wrap the ends together and secure them with your navy floss as you add each section.

Here is the order I worked my lantern edging with the memory wire--Attach a length down the middle of the glass, then add two small pieces on either side of the mitten. Put a loop at the base of the lantern. Cut a piece for the sides and top of the glass of the lantern. Add another piece at the bottom and both sides of the lantern’s metal base. Add a piece over the horizontal line between the glass of the lantern and the Ultreasuede base.

Take careful note of the horizontal bar between the base of the lantern and the glass. On the right side I am one hole short, so I had to take out my couching stitches and move the wire over one hole. To prevent making the mistake I made, look carefully at each section after you lay it in place but before you couch it so you can adjust the position if necessary.  Your lantern will look like this.

Improved Lantern

Here's how Blue Russian looks now.  I have not worked out all the areas yet, so some things you see in the photo below may change. That's the downside of my stitching this as I blog about it.  I change my mind as I go.

Progress as of Jan. 18th

Those with sharp eyes have realized I am playing around with Santa's eyebrows and his beard.  That will be what I work on next time.  I hope to be able to post progress photos next Monday, January. 27.

Questions? Email me at and I'll get back to you within a day or so.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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@ Copyright 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.


Cindy said...

Jane, he's looking wonderful. I've yet to use the Memory Wire, but certainly will when the right application comes along. Thanks to your explanation, I have a pretty good understanding of what to do with it on the front, but securing it on the back escapes me. If convenient sometime, would you be so kind as to show a closeup of just what you do?

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Cindy, it's actually pretty simple. Make sure you have two-three inches more than what you need on the front. Enlarge one hole, insert wire end, enlarge another hole insert other end of wire. Couch wire down. Turn the canvas over and twist the two loose ends together and tack down. Alternatively, you can bend a hook into each end and tack them down separately. Sometimes the two ends of the wire aren't close together so this is the better way. Very easy!

Cindy said...

Aha! That makes sense. (I was thinking shorter ends, like 1/2" or so, to avoid extra stuff on the back.). Thanks for clarifying.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

It all depends on how you are finishing the piece and how far apart the two raw ends are. A half inch end could be formed into a tiny crook to aid in stitching it to the back.

Silverfox said...

Jane, it is sooooo fabulous to se you back to posting your stitch progress on a project!!! I have really missed that wealth of technique and talent you always shared with your explanations for why you do something - that adds the meaning to the projects and is the true educational element. thank you so much!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

You are welcome, Fox. I just don't have the time to do much blog stitching any more but I do it when I can. This Santa is courtesy of Leigh Designs, who talked me into it.

Anonymous said...

You mention "Brian Shaw's Brian's Steppe Stitch" on Kirstin Thompson's Blue Santa. I have not been able to find a diagram for this stitch. Can you point me in the right direction. Thanks, for all your work. This is a FUN project.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I'm glad you are having fun with the Blue Russian. As far as I know, there is no diagram for Brian's Steppe Stitch anywhere. Brian Shaw created this in one of his classes at The Needlepointer I think. Why not ask the shop if he would be willing to share?