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.

Doorstop Canvases and More

With the advent of air conditioning, fewer of us need door stops to keep the screen door from banging in the wind, but brick covers make great bookends. so I thought you'd like to see the new door stop canvases and more that Needle Nicely has in stock.  After all, how many pillows and pictures does one house need?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright March 14, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Morning Garden Stars

Ridgewood has posted their latest version of Stars for the New Millennium. It is called Morning Garden, although I am not sure if that's the overdyed thread the colors were taken from or whether that is what the stitcher calls it. Very pretty, regardless, especially in the depths of winter.

By the way, Ridgewood did Tony Minieri's Stars as a class three-four years back and some photos of the various finished pieces are still on their website.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright March 4, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.