Monday, March 24, 2014

Blue Russian: The Final Glimpse

Northern Light Santa Finished

This morning I have one final glimpse of my completed Blue Russian Santa for you before he disappears on his journey to the finisher.   In this photograph you can see how much sparkle is involved with his metallics, silks, beads and crystals.  Those of you who are shop owners can visit him in person at the May TNNA show at the Leigh Design booth.  By then he will be a stand up figure, courtesy of West Coast Finishing.

Kirstin's Santa has Snow
This isn't the last of the Russian Santas, though.  You guys may remember that Kirstin is creating her own background for her Blue Russian.  See the snowy ground under Santa's feet above?  That is Brian's Steppe Stitch, given to Kirstin by Brian Shaw, the manager of The Needlepointer in Everett, Washington.  Brian gave the stitch to Kirstin.

Susan's Blue Russian in the Snow
Kirstin passed the stitch along to Susan whose Santa is outside in the snow in daylight.

Carolyn's Santa in Grass

And Susan shared it with Carolyn whose Santa is outside in the spring grass with his bird friends.  Doesn't matter, Brian's Steppe Stitch does good grass, too!

A stitch that everyone finds just perfect is a stitch that deserves to be shared, so I asked Brian for permission to diagram and post Brian's Steppe Stitch here.  Brian gladly gave it because he is a really nice person.  He says to tell you it's a variation of Brick Stitch.

I diagrammed this stitch turned upright in vertical lines.   If you use it for snow or grass, turn your canvas on its side and stitch it that way for a smoother line.  When you turn your canvas back upright, you will have nice long horizontal stitches.  This is a trick I learned from Brenda Hart who says long horizontal stitches lay better if you turn your canvas to stitch them vertically.

Each stitch covers 8 threads except for the black stitches which are compensation stitches.  Each stitch is a back stitch, which means you come up far away from you and go down next to you.*  Work from right to left for the first row, starting with a red stitch.  The second red stitch is three lines up from the first.  The third red stitch is also three lines up above the second stitch, but the fourth stitch (in blue) is TWO LINES above the third stitch.  In other words, you don't always come up three threads higher.  This is a little tricky, but it offsets the row to make a pretty pattern.  Because these stitches are back stitches, Brian's Steppe Stitch will put a lot of thread on the back as well as the front so make sure you have enough thread to cover the area you are using this stitch in.

Once you do the first row and are sure it is counted correctly, then you just add rows of stitches over eight following the pattern, except where you don't have enough room and have to compensate.

Enjoy the diagram and the pictures.  I hope to have photographs of more finished Russian Santas for you as spring dawns and folks start to complete their Santa stitching.

Once again, many thanks to Kirstin, Susan, Carolyn and most especially Brian Shaw!

*If you are not familiar with back stitches, this will help.

Questions? Email me at chillyhollow @ and I'll get back to you by the next day.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright March 20, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.


Oklilodan-mvmg said...

Yeah Brian Shaw!
One of the best needlepoint teachers
Seattle is so lucky, we miss him in NJ!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I am not surprised he has a fan club wherever he goes! He's a really talented guy.

Cindy said...

I''ve enjoyed following Blue Russian's progress, as well as the many how-tos you shared. He looks wonderful! I hope that Kristin & Susan will share their finished versions as well. I like the dark background as an alternative.
Thank you to Brian for sharing his stitch, and to you or graphing it - it's very effective.than so, thanks for sharing the hint to stitch those long stitches vertically - I didn't know that, but
it makes sense.

NCPat said...

Congratulations, Jane! He is wonderful!

Sheena said...

Thanks so much for the stitch Jane, we always love more versatile stitches like this :)

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Sheena, you have to thank Brian who created this and shared it with Blog readers as well as his students. Great guy, that Brian!

Margaret said...

Another !WOW!. You 'da best Jane.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Thanks, Margaret!

Anonymous said...

WOW WOW WOW! Your Blue Russian is perfection. Every element is interesting and contributes so wonderfully to the whole. The glowing lamp is mesmerizing! Thanks, Jane, and thanks too for sharing Brian's Steppe Stitch, can't wait to try it!
Meg van den Berg