Sunday, March 27, 2011

Signs of Spring

Aaaah, the excitement of a first date.  What will it be? Where will we go?  That's how I feel starting our next mystery.  Where will this journey lead us?

This is such a happy canvas designed by Zecca.  There is so much going on.  Great colors, potential for great stitches and texture.  The fun thing is that it's all total fantasy. 

No rules, just play time.

I started with the dirt under the bird.  I always do the parts I am least excited about first.  That gets them out of the way. If I leave them until the end, the question remains, will I finish?

I decided to spice up the dirt with the use of 3 different threads.  The stitch is easy and fun to follow. It has to be if we are stitching on a dark color.  The use of the 3 different threads in a random method gives the dirt more depth.

The bird is an important part of the canvas we want it feathery and fun but at the same time, it is a cartoon bird.  Leaf stitches of 2 varieties did the trick.  The body is a mini leaf pattern worked in the most glorious shade of Thread Gatherer Silk N'Colors accented with the perfect shade of Midnight Kreinik Braid.

The wing is a different leaf stitch giving us some movement and flow.  It's worked in Fuzzy Stuff and then roughed up so that it comes forward more.

A few beady accents and we are done for this week. Who knows where the journey leads next.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Geek Alert

Good Morning

I'm putting all my geeky things here in one post.

First the blog has a few new features.

Look at the top of the blog right under the header.  We now have pages.  Just like a real website.

I've created a special page for Bedecked and Beadazzled's Mystery Classes.  I thought it would be fun to be able to go back and see the progress of a class or all the classes unfold all in one spot.  So, here we are, the archives of the mystery classes.   I will still blog the usual way about them, but if you want to go back and revisit one this is much easier than scrolling through the entire blog history.

In other news, I've set the blog up so that you can actually read it easily from a smart phone.  Not all websites are user friendly on a small screen.  I went to a restaurant website the other night on my iphone and couldn't scroll past breakfast.  Not so helpful.

So, if you are waiting in line, iphone etc in hand, you can easily see if I have posted anything new and noteworthy.  Or at least be distracted by all things stitchy related as our dear friend Miss Coni would say.

Sunday will be my first post about the new Zecca bird in a nest mystery class.  I'm ready.  Are you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spookin in March

It's not Halloween but it's Spookin time.  Just back from the finisher, I wanted to share my stitched and finished version of Leigh's Spookin.  The finishing really does make the piece!

I started this one day, channeling my inner Brenda Hart.  We were in class, Sue was stitching this piece with Brenda and I was just hanging out.  I decided to do a different version of the canvas.

The face is a fun couching pattern that allows all the shading to shine through.  The facial features were a bear to stitch.  Heaven knows I can't see to stitch black.  They are black snow stitched in a semi-open pattern and then filled with hot fix crystals!

The curly vine and stem are simply rows of chain stitches worked using various silk ribbons and Kreinik 1/8" hologram ribbon.  I think I was an embroiderer in another life.  I like the free-form nature of embroidery stitches.

Since I had so much fun with the facial features and black on black I needed something different for the background.  I used a great stitch from one of Brenda's books called Coins.  It makes a great background and it goes fast!  Sparkly silver lamé behind the needlepoint shines through making the piece even more magical.

Sue did finish her's after class and way before I finished mine.  It has a totally different vibe.  If you look close you will see that Brenda had her work a darning pattern of cats in the face of the pumpkin.  Sue's is elegant and refined. 

Stay tuned there may be future sightings where we both stitch the same piece differently. We have very similar taste in canvases.  Thanks for sharing, Sue.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The end of one story, the beginning of another

You know that feeling you get when a good book comes to an end and you really don't want to see it end.  That's the feeling I have with this canvas.  This has been my favorite canvas to stitch of all the mysteries.  Lots of details, lots of color changes, all the things that make me happy in a canvas and make me not want to put it down. Not to mention all the opportunities to add bling!

The outer border is now complete. I love the red crystal berries.  Mine are sewn on with invisible thread;  you could of course use hot fix crystals.  Either will be beautiful. Each of the hearts is embellished with a crescent stitch.  It curls and whirls in the center of the heart.

Finally our birds came to life.  This was the final area of challenge with the black outlines.  At first I thought I should make the outlines go away as they make the birds look cartoony. However, upon trying that I realized I had succeeded in making mud.  The little birdies vanished into the background.  So, out the stitches came and we were back to allowing the black outlines to be exposed.

The birds themselves are so small that fitting a stitch in them wasn't the answer.  They are simply Basketweave in combinations of Petite Peluche and Fuzzy Stuff.  To make them fuzzy they are roughed up with a piece of velcro.  I really like using velcro to disturb stitches.  It's easier to control than a nap brush.  You can bend and fold it to get into all the little corners.

As this canvas comes to an end we have left some black outlines exposed, erased others from view all with the goal of bringing some items forward and letting others recede.  If a canvas is painted with shading, there's probably a reason for it.  It's probably one of the things that drew you to the canvas in the first place.  You liked the curves and form and depth that the shading gave you.  So, while I love different stitches you can't always just plop a stitch on a canvas and expect it to work.  It's going to flatten out the area.  You need to work on ways to keep the shading and the depth in the canvas and then add even more depth with texture.  That's what's going to bring your needlepoint to life.

Until next time;  I'll be plotting and planning the Zecca Bird in a Nest mystery!  We start in 2 weeks!  Happy Spring.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Add a little sunshine on an otherwise gray day

It's trying to be sunny outside, but we aren't quite there.  I need to take photos but I guess I have to wait.

So instead, in my attempt to make all things bright and sunny I present PEACE

PEACE is part of a series of canvases I designed and introduced last June.  These are just simply happy canvases.  No bigger purpose. There is PEACE, LOVE and WOW. They all come in a variety of sizes and canvas meshes.  Finish them as is or use them to embellish a tote or a jacket.

You can see them here and here.

In my world, there's never enough color and today is the perfect gray example of that. (Oh wait, a hint of sun is outside my window. Maybe blogging all this color is helping.)

Wendy Harwood of Aristeia stitched this version of PEACE and wrote a fun stitchguide for it.  Just about all the threads are used as-is on 13ct. How's that for a plus on a large canvas. No plying needed.

I followed her guide.  Made a few modifications, not many, added a little more bling and stitched my version of PEACE.  I'm just delighted with it.  It makes me smile, tons of color and it works in every room of my house.  Or at least it will when I bring it home. 

Vicky DeAngelis stitched LOVE for me in the small size.  You can read about it here. Finished size is only 4 x 8 but it packs plenty of bling

Hope this adds a little sunshine to your day.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

So, what did you do in February?

A group of friends and I spent each Saturday in February taking a fun and informative class. 

Gale Washington is a local teacher who will be teaching this year at the National EGA Seminar in Naples, Florida, September 11-16, 2011.  She has recently returned to the needlework world and teaching after a hiatus.

We were fortunate to pilot her class for Naples!

It's a lovely design featuring a flamingo landing in the water.  Gale is a gracious lady who did an excellent job, not only teaching her design but giving us a brief historical overview of both florentine embroidery and pattern darning. 

My piece is almost finished.  We stitched each Saturday from 10:30 - 5:30 and got a lot done each day.  As soon as I finish mine, I'll post a picture.  Right now, it's a WIP.

If you have the opportunity, Gale's a great teacher and you will enjoy her class.  I know she'll be back teaching for us at Bedecked and Beadazzled, so watch our visiting teachers class page and join us for something a little different.

See you soon.
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