Friday, June 19, 2015

Pattern Darning in the 21st Century

Finger Step Design's Latest Book

Thanks to Judie at Thistle Needleworks, I learned that the newest Finger Step Designs book is out. It's darning stitches! The full title is Side By Side:  Pattern Darning in the 21st Century.  Judie says the little 86 page book has 264 "charted and illustrated motifs."  The photo above is the cover.  The book distributor is Custom House.   The book, like all the Finger Step Design books has the diagrammed stitches and also has several projects based on the stitches if you like doing counted stitch samplers.  So you can use the book as a reference or you can use the project charts to make something fun.

The book is available at the Alex Paras website (and there are links to stitched projects from the book available there).

I didn't find the book anywhere else yet as it is brand new, but your local shop can get you copies from Custom House if you'd rather buy local.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright June 8, 2015 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

No Flying Monkeys: Ruby Slippers

Once the martini glass was finished, the next item I wanted to stitch was the ruby slippers. Doing them next meant I wouldn't drag thread or my arm over the wall background stitches and possibly snag them.

The shoes are the main focal point of this canvas so I wanted something special.  I rummaged in my stash looking for red beads and crystals and sequins that would look good with the two shades of red High Cotton floss I had pulled already.  It's actually harder than you would expect to find red bling that stands out when placed on top of red stitches.  But I had some amazing red sequins from The Collection that looked to be perfect for the shoe uppers.  I attached them in overlapping rows on one shoe using my medium red High Cotton (one ply).

Sequined Ruby Slippers
Alas, although the red and the shine were perfect, the mass of sequins didn't look the way I wanted.  Sigh.  Back to the drawing board.  (Luckily sequins are easy to remove.  Snip the couching thread and they fall right off.)

Then I remembered my little Sundance booklet called Sundance Beads For Needlepoint How To and Why Knot!  Time to consult the experts!

This is a great little book.  It talks about the types of beads available, how to attach them and finishes up with twenty-five diagrams of great stitches to use with beads.  I looked carefully through the book, admiring all the diagrams, then found The One--Serendipity Stitch!

I worked the boxes first (black lines on the diagram) using my medium red High Cotton (two plies as this is a 13 count canvas).  Then I used the same red Entice as I used for the olives in the martini glass (one strand which is perfect for 13 count) for the red parallel lines.  I finished up with using small 3 mm red bugle beads between the pairs of parallel lines.  I attached those with one ply of my medium red High Cotton.  Happiness!

Of course this isn't the end of the Ruby Slippers.  I still had the darker red soles and the shadow lines along the insides of each shoe to stitch.  I used Diagonal Mosaic for the soles, slanting the stitch from upper left to lower right for the left shoe and then using the opposite slang (upper right to lower left) for the right shoe.

I used tent stitches for the darker shadow lines.  The right shoe used regular tent stitch (two plies of the darker red High Cotton) and the left needed reverse tent stitch.  Success!

That left only the buckles.  I beaded those, using size 11/0 round galvanized yellow gold beads from Miyuki.  They were tent stitched in vertical rows (the same way you do half cross stitch) using a strand of my medium red High Cotton.  Once I finished a row, I went through the entire row again with a long straight stitch through each bead, using that long second stitch to pull all the beads into as straight and even a row as I could manage.

Serendipity Stitch Ruby Slippers

Finally, I added two Swarovski marguerites to the center of the buckles. Marguerites are flower-shaped crystals.  I choose two 4mm foil-backed pale yellow-green marguerites.  The foil backing keeps the color of the red shoes from showing through and overwhelming the actual color of the marguerite.  I discovered too late that the bugle beads in the centers of the buckles made the marguerites a little tipsy but I managed to get them to be pretty flat anyway.

The Finished Ruby Slippers

Next I need to tackle all the "wall" background.  Stay tuned!

Remember, I am collecting the links as I blog stitch this Point of It All Designs piece and posting them in a tab on the CH Stitch Guides blog. You can catch up on what you missed by going there--just click on the flying carpet photo to magically be transported to my other blog and then back again.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright May 11, 2015 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.