Monday, January 13, 2014

Blue Russian: Mittens and Staff

I've done a little more background stitching on my Blue Russian Santa, and I think I'm going to need a second card of the Petite Silk Lame Braid #SP17 to finish the background.  If you are stitching your Northern Light Santa just like me, you need to get a second card.  You probably won't need much of it, so go in with a friend to share it if that's possible.  If you are using another color of the Petite Silk Lame Braid in the background, pick up a second card for that, too.

When you get a chance, continue stitching the background in Staggered Cross.  I have almost all of the right side done.  Once I finish that side I can do a little auditioning of beads, sequins, and threads to see what I will use for the empty spaces between each cross stitch  but more on that next time.  

In other news, Leigh Designs released the second four Russian Santas at the TNNA trade show in San Diego this weekend.  You can see them on Needle Work's blog.  Click on the photo for a larger view. I know some of you were waiting to see all eight Russian Santas before you ordered.  Once Leigh Designs releases larger photos on their website, I'll add that link here as well.

Now that the news is out of the way, I want to talk about what I've done with my Santa in the last week.  First, I stitched his staff.

The “stem” of the silver staff is made of Kreinik’s silver Hot Wire 001W, which is size #16 braid with a wire in the middle so it is bendable.  I cut two pieces, one five inches long and one a little over two inches long.    Enlarge the hole at the base of the staff near Santa's feet with the tip of your embroidery scissors just enough that you can insert one end of the five inch length of Hot Wire. Double back the end on the back side and secure, then enlarge the hole of the stem under the mitten that holds the staff.   Insert the top of the longer piece of Hot Wire into that hole bend it over and secure it on the back. A second 2-3 inch length of Hot Wire comes up above the mitten in an enlarged hole, then goes back down again through an enlarged hole at the bottom of the staff’s leaf-shaped tip. Once you have the Hot Wire in place, couch it with a doubled length of thin sliver metallic (I used Accentuate) every 4-5 holes up the length. The tip of the staff is stitched with Kreinik size 12 in silver 001 with long stitches that run vertically down the leaf shape to the stem. Turn the canvas on its side so that Santa’s head is on the right and lay the stitches carefully so each is flat and even. Turn the canvas upright again and put two horizontal stitches over two and four threads where the leaf meets the stem to hide the enlarged hole where the Hot Wire sits. See the photo.

Stitching the Staff Top

Carefully couch the long stitches at the wider top of the staff here and there with a doubled strand of your thin metallic (Accentuate or Sulky or blending filament, doesn’t matter what you use as long as it is roughly the same sliver color as the Hot Wire and size 12 Kreinik) to keep it lined up straight. I used a beading needle since I planned to add beads and crystals next and attach them with the same doubled thin metallic.  Note that the size 12 Kreinik does not cover the paint underneath but that is ok. It adds dimension to the staff’s top.

Once you have the long stitches covering the staff’s top in position, it is time to add crystal sequins on top of the long stitches. If you look at your color copy of the unstitched canvas, you’ll see the leaf-shaped top of the staff is lighter on the third closest to Santa’s face. The rest is a darker silver. I scattered six 3mm silver Swarovski sequins on top of the staff and attached them with beads, using 3 lighter blue-gray beads on the left side of the staff and 3 darker blue-gray beads on the right side. I also positioned one 5mm blue Swarovski crystal at the base and used one more darker blue-gray bead to hold it.

The sequins are attached with beads by putting the sequin on the needle, sliding it down the doubled length of thread to lay on the canvas, and then putting a bead on top.  Go down through the sequin again and the bead will hold the sequin secure. Because the staff is lighter in color nearer Santa's face,  The supplies I used were Sundance's size 14 beads in color 377E which is a light blue-gray and  Mikuki size 15 beads in Gunmetal #15-9541 which is a dark gray.  I used Swarovski Sew-On Flatback crystal sequins, one 5mm crystal sequin in Sapphire F-2300 and six 3mm crystal sequins in Blk Diamond #F-300.  I put these items on the Materials List but I encourage you to use what you have.  Regular sequins and beads will work just fine.  I like a smaller size 14 or 15 bead (sometimes written 14/0 and 15/0) so they don't cover up the 3mm sequins but really you can use whatever you have available to you.

Staff and Mittens

Above is what my staff looks like finished.  Notice that I've also stitched the mittens.  Like the staff, they take longer to explain than they actually take to stitch.  Using my dark teal Impressions 8121, I tent stitched both thumbs.  I padded the central area of the mittens with this same thread, starting out with 4-5 rows of straight stitches that were perpendicular to how the fingers lay in a mitten.  Make sure you stay in the middle of the mittens.  Leave 2-3 threads all around the perimeter uncovered by the padding satin stitches.  Next, add a second layer of padding that is perpendicular to the first layer. Cover a little more of the mitten this time.  Now, add a third layer,  again perpendicular to the second layer.  Cover a little more of the mitten.  The final layer is the fourth, and it covers the entire mitten and the stitches run the way the fingers lay.  Once you finish, add a layer of satin stitches over the thumbs you tent stitched.  You will have to run them under the staff for the hand that holds the staff.  Just slide your needle under the staff carefully and pull the Impressions through.

There are supposed to be snowflakes on the back of each mitten (this is traditional for Russian Santas) but nothing I've tried works yet.  I will tackle that next week before moving on to the next area--the lantern.  I should be back next week, January 20th--with my latest stitches.

Email me if you have questions (chilly hollow at hotmail dot com) or leave a comment here. If you worked your diadem in a laid trellis pattern, I'd love a photograph to show off here.  I forgot to mention last time that many Faberge eggs had trellis patterns, so if you went this route, you are following in the footsteps of great Russian art.

See you next Monday!
Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
@ Copyright 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Grapes--From Start to Finish

Melita is totally fearless when it comes to her stitching. She is willing to try anything, even designing her own pieces.  In this little article, she talks about a simple design she created, stitched and finishing, all in two days!  I think she's won this week's Smart Cookie Award, don't you?

The next time you have a present to get, think about making one, just like Melita.

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