Monday, March 17, 2014

More Russian Santas--Birdland Santa

I have a special treat this morning, courtesy of Carolyn Taggart who has been stitching another of the Russian Santa series from Leigh Designs.

Carolyn's Birdland Santa

Let me introduce Carolyn Taggart's Birdland Santa!  Luckily, Carolyn was happy to outline exactly what she did for us.  Please note Carolyn has one of the first runs of Birdland Santa.  Leigh has edited the design slightly so you may have a slight variation on the original compared to Carolyn's canvas.  Here is her description--

"Most of the threads came out of my "stash" so if I don't have a number, I will try to add a describe the color
Upper Background - 3 cards Silk Lame Braid for 18 count - SL17 - Double Hungarian stitch -Turn canvas on its side and work horizontal rows--when you return canvas to its upright position the pattern will be vertical.

Lower Background - 1 pkg Shimmer Ribbon Floss #148-37 Mint Green - This is a flat Stitch that Susan McPherson used on her Blue Russian Santa and she shared the count in the Blue Russian Group.   [ Note from Jane:  The background stitch was created by Brian Shaw of The Needlepointer for Kirstin Thompson who shared it with Susan who shared with Carolyn.  I will have a charted version for you shortly, courtesy of Brian Himself.]  There are 9 rows of stitches below the Santa, then I angled the pattern around the Santa to "ground" him on the grass.

Gold Robe - #8 Kreinik Gold-002J, Au Ver A Soie (AVAS) Silk Floss (from Soie de Alger) #2235 and Size 14 Sundance Beads #465--Double Trellis foundation, first horizontally --leave 2 canvas threads between each horizontal line and then vertically (leave 2 canvas threads between each line) in #8 002J. Then I tied down the foundation with 4 strands AVAS #2235 work 4-Way Continental over the intersections. I placed the gold bead in the opening using the "brick" method, sewing each bead twice to secure it.

Red & Gold Sash - AVAS 2532 & 3815 (but you could use the rest of 2235) plus #16 Kreinik 203 and 061. I made a Xerox copy of area.  Then using Main color AVAS 2532 Basketweave entire sash using AVAS 3815 or 2235 for darker areas--covering up red using 4 strands of silk. Then I couched the bright red areas with #16 Kreinik Braid 203 and used #16-061 to make the design over the darker silk areas. I strung Size 14 Sundance gold Beads at base of the sash--my fringe is long, but I note that the current canvas shows a shorter fringe or you could use your silk and make fringe using a Half-hitch knot for the silk fringe. I also had some Michelle Roberts' Red-Gold I Cording (by Benton and Johnson) which I placed above the beads."
[Note from Jane:  The tiny stiff metal twisted braid suitable for couching that Carolyn used is often referred to as British coloured twist.  You can see a sample in the link below.]

"Red and Black Undergarment - I used a Tomato Red Silk (AVAS) I had (no number) plus Splendor 801 (Black). The entire area is stitched with 4 strands in Basketweave. My canvas did not have any gold or green bead in the curlicue.  The current edition of the Birdland Santa canvas does.

Hat- Used same Tomato Red Silk used on undergarment for Hat--Used black Splendor #801 for design--Worked Basketweave. Placed 4 size 11 Sundance Gold #465 beads on top of hat, then added one size 11 Sundance Red Bead #11 on top and in the middle of these 4 gold beads for ornamentation on hat.

Blue Bird and  Cardinal - 2 shades blue silk for bluebird. red and black silk for Cardinal. I had some orange Flair which I used for the beaks. I placed a size 14 Black Bead on each bird for eye. Birds were stitched in Basketweave with 4 strands of thread.

Owl - Two Size 11 Black Beads, Yellow Accentuate, Dark Brown Silk--darker than silk you will stitch Santa'a fur trim in. I placed the eyes on first. stitching the bead in both directions. Then with 2 strands of Yellow Accentuate doubled through the needle, I stitched a small Jessica around the bead. I used the Dark Brown Silk (4 strands) and worked Encroaching Gobelin over 2 slanted TO THE LEFT. My owl had no black separating bird from fur--use your black Splendor 801 for this area.

Crozier - I used a softer color of gold here size #12 Kreinik 003. I padded the staff portion and then work Slanted Gobelin over 2 vertically. Using same Kreinik, I worked Buttonhole Stitch around the Face of the Crozier. The Landscape pattern was worked in Accentuate--2 strands double thru needle--all areas stitched in Basketweave. The top pointed area (where the Blue bird is sitting) I stitched with #8 002J in Four-Way Continental over one canvas thread.

Fur Areas - 2 cards Splendor 1104 and Wisper W-117
Hat- using 4 strands I did 2 rows of Basketweave at lower edge so that the Turkey Tufting would not cover up Santa's eyebrows. Then I made small loops using the "Jump thru the Loop" Turkey Work. Again, I used 4 strands of Silk. IF you want it to have a more "whispy" look, reduce silk to 3 strands and add I strand of Rainbow Gallery Wisper 117. I strongly suggest you wait to stitch this area until Upper Background has been completed. Cut, trim and brush fur.
Cuffs - I used 4 strands of Splendor 1104 and worked French Knots over each cuff area. Then I added an extra strand of Silk and used a #22 needle and scattered a second layer of French Knots over the cuff area to give area more depth and more definition.
Fur on lower part of Robe - I used one strand of Silk and one strand of Wisper W-117 and worked Stem Stitch, then I carefully brushed it to raise the nape to give it a more furry look.

Beard - Burmilana #3600 - 2 strands - Stem/Outline Stitch. I am not happy with Mustache. I am going to try to remove it and use 1 strand of 3600 and 1 strand of pale gray Burmilana, without destroying the beard--if that is not possible, it will stay as is and the rest of the Santas will have mustaches that are not as prominent.
Shoes - Splendor black #801 - pad vertically and horizontally, then work Vertical Satin Stitch using four strands.

Mittens - Splendor #801 - Read Jane Wood's section of the Russian Blue Santa dealing with the mittens so that you will understand how to make the mitten on the Crozier surrounds the area and make a thumb--these mittens are also padded numerous times before final satin stitch completes each mitten."

Thank you for sharing this fabulous Santa, Carolyn, and for writing a stitch guide for those who would love a Birdland Santa just like yours!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright March 12, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Blue Russian: Finishing Up

I've been stitching background on Blue Russian this week, trying to get that finished so I can get him off to the finisher.  The final touch will be to stitch one row of tent stitches all around the outside edge to aid in finishing. You may or may not want to do this as different finishers and different styles of finishing have different requirements.  Always ask the finisher before you send off your masterpiece what their requirements are.

I started adding my tent stitch outline at the bottom under the border with a row of silver tent stitches.  It looked so nice and added so much to the border, that I decided to add that to the stitch guide.  I put in a second row of silver for finishing so that the first row will show a bit and add to the look of the border.  So if you are adding the snowflake border, make sure you add a row of silver tent stitches at the bottom.

The row of tent stitches finishes my Blue Russian stitching except for the background I must still complete.  I always look back when I finish a piece, trying to think what I would do differently or better.  I would really have liked to have had silver star sequins to scatter on the canvas (see photo below for my test of this idea) but I couldn't find the right size in the right color.  I could have created snowflakes out of beads but there are a lot of beads on the background already, which makes that much harder.  I abandoned this idea.

Testing Sequins

If I had it to stitch all over again, I might try stitching a flame outline in the lantern before covering the area with Water N Ice.  I also had the idea to create eyes with small Swarovski blue crystal sequins but I couldn't make that work with the Water N Ice I stitched his face with.  However, it might work nicely for another Santa with a silk tent stitched face.  Padding the top of his staff a lot might have made the ermine stitching easier but since I was blog-stitching this piece, I couldn't go back and change what I had done.   Otherwise I am pretty satisfied with how Blue Russian turned out.

I like doing unusual things on pieces, particularly since I am stitching this in public. (Yes, I'm a showoff!)  So using Water N Ice for the face, Or Nue' for the snowflake robe and glow-in-the-dark white Petite Silk Lame Braid in many parts of the design made me happy.  I have to credit 3 Kittens for the idea of a bottom border. I have not seen theirs yet but I thought it was a very nice touch when I heard they planned one.   Once I worked out how to space the snowflakes in an irregularly spaced area, I was very happy with the bottom border.  I probably would use 1/16 inch Kreinik silver ribbon for the silver parts of the bottom border next time.  The size 4 fine braid is a little too thin.

By the way, Vicky DeAngelis is working away on her Holly Hills Santa.  Keep an eye on her blog for more stitching fun with Russian Santas!

Now I need to continue stitching background and outlining it with tent stitches.  See you next week when I should have a finished photo!

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 14, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

A Glimpse of Catherine's Works at Woodlawn

Catherine Jordan has posted a group photo of the pieces she entered at Woodlawn. Each piece won a ribbon: two first places, two second places and a third!

You can see which won what on Catherine's website.  Some of us may be lucky enough to take classes from Catherine and learn how to make this magic!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright March 6, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.