Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

It's was a cold and snowy weekend.... wait, it's still October.  How does that work?

It's true, it was a cold and snowy weekend here in Maryland, but a small group of us met to finish the Halloween tree anyway.

This has been an interesting project to stitch and to teach.  There are lots of small areas which you know I love but there are a lot of them.  All we had to do yesterday to complete our trees was stitch the squiggles behind the tribbles  (Now there's a fun sentence to say), complete a few leaves and stitch just enough background to enable the finisher to work her magic.

The squiggles behind the tribbles are worked as corkscrew stitches.  I love this stitch.  It's the hair on Maggie's watering can lady that we stitched as a mystery class last summer.

 Aren't the squiggles cute?

I used Caron Impressions doubled in my needle.  Here's how its done.  Anchor your thread on the back of your stitching.  Put your stitching in a floor frame or work at a table with a frame weight.  Bring your threaded needle straight up next to a tribble.

Twist the threads (Step 1) - there is no science here, you need to determine the number of twists that makes the right size corkscrew for your taste.  When you are making the twist pay close attention to how you are twisting;  I rolled the needle from the tip of my thumb to the first knuckle.  On me that's roughly one inch.  I found that 8 twists made the perfect size twist. 

Once your thread is twisted, fold it in half, putting it back into the canvas one canvas thread from where you started.  Pull it through about an inch  allowing this section of the thread to relax.  The thread on top of the canvas will twist upon itself. (Step 4)

Gently pull the threaded needle through the canvas until the corkscrew on the front of the canvas is the approximate size and length you want.  If you pull too hard the corkscrew will disappear, so take it slow.

Bring your needle back to the front of the canvas, catching the tip of the corkscrew.  Tack it in position.

I really love this stitch, but if it defies you you could do a fake bullion or even a real bullion and get the same effect.  Once you are comfortable with the corkscrew I think you will love it too as it goes very quickly.

The leaves are instant gratification with long stitches and japanese ribbon stitches.  Before you know it, your tree will be complete.

I chose a bright orange for the background.  One can't have too many bright colors at Halloween.

It's off to the finisher to be made into a standup.  We probably won't see it again until after the first of the year but it's going to be outrageous!

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pssst...... I'll tell you a secret

There really is a land filled with fairies and pixies.  It's not just in my head.  It's real.  See, here's a picture. This darling little pixie lives to clean dishes.

Or maybe she lives to make piles of dishes in your sink.  Hmmm, suddenly I'm not sure.

Our little darling is back from the framer and looking oh so hip in her funky frame and mat.

This is a brand new painted canvas from our pixie series complete with stitch guide by Vicky De Angelis.  Wait till you see the rest of the girls!

We had a great time selecting just the right threads and stitches for this canvas.  Her little frou frou skirt is ruched petite frosty rays.  Vicky was concerned it made her butt look big but I think its flirty.

Check out the green border.  Super simple but a great effect. It's nothing more than a Diagonal Long Stitch worked in a pattern with 2 different threads. 

And then there's the bubbles.  you know there had to be beads somewhere :-)

Until next time......

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Little Quail

Two more days of class with Lynn Payette.  She is amazing, inspiring, patient and so much more.

Saturday and Sunday we worked on the little quail.  Of course with a class from Lynn you start by cutting and and ironing stabilizer to whatever lovely fabric is in your kit.

Leaves on congress cloth and leaves on sheer fabric ready for embroidery.

Then we had a length discussion of the venal system of a plant.  Lynn teaches all kinds of art classes to kids and adults.  There's lots of drawing and studying shadows and light and color play in her classes. She was and still is a landscape painter.

Once our venal systems were stitched in place we made these nifty edges for all the leaves.  We made our own Memory Thread.  Very cool.  A little messy but so worth the effort. The color is now perfect for our leaves.  It's really quite easy.  A gluestick is your friend.

Day two was all about the quail. The quail is embroidered on a piece of muslin.   Begin by working a Split Stitch frame around the area you are going to Satin Stitch or fill with Split Stitch. Trust me, this little extra step is worth the price of admission to the class. It does a great job keeping your filling stitches looking good.

We covered the quail in Long and Short using one ply of silk.  It really isn't so bad.  It goes quicker than you think.

Here's my quail.  Lynn thinks it is a girl.  She thinks the look in her eye makes her look flirtatious.

So, at the end of day two, here's my progress.  Not finished but a heck of a lot done and an arsenal of new techniques that I am excited to explore.

We asked Lynn to sign the autograph board.  Her signature is by far the most clever in positioning.  She filled in the dots of the bee trail.

Thanks for coming Lynn.  We had a fabulous time and can't wait for you to come back! 

While Lynn was flying home, I finished my Birches from the day before.  Off to the framer they go.

To all the ladies who attended class.  Thanks for coming.  It was a great weekend with you all!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Birches are the Best!

How cool is this class? We have been privileged to have Lynn Payette at the shop the last two days teaching her fabulous design The Birches.

This is a very cool piece filled with all sorts of techniques that are totally transferable to Needlepoint.

Yes, there is some ironing involved, but it is worth every second of it.  It only takes a second or two.  How bad is that?

Once the fabrics were prepared, we discussed color theory.  Clearer colors come forward.  Duller colors recede. OK, there was more to it than that, but I can't give away all of Lynne's brilliance in one post.

Once we knew the basics, we were off and running.  Laying out our colors and fabrics in a manner that was pleasing to each of us.  Of course remembering the rules we were just taught.

Now we have a beautiful background painted with washes of fabric color and its only lunchtime.

Next up, the trees; birches of every color, size and dimension are quickly created and placed on the canvas.  Again, we chose the position on the composition, remembering those basic rules of design that things with detail come forward and those with less detail recede.

The trees are sewn to the canvas with invisible thread.

Check this out, we added a few simple stitches, and shadows magically appeared.  Look at the depth those few stitches created.

Pretty cool for a day's work.

So, here we are on day 2 of the Birches

There was more color theory in reference to which colors of threads to use for the moss and where to place it. 

You've got to keep those duller colors in the background and the brighter, yellower colors in the foreground. 

This is my moss.  Talk about instant gratification.  This is my type of project!

Next up are the leaves.  Now I will admit, I only placed about 6 leaves so I really don't have much to show.  This is what it will look like.....eventually.

 Gorgeous piece, Lynn.  Thanks for coming and teaching us.  One day, mine will look like yours!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Even More Pattern?

Could it be?  I've added even more pattern and detail to our Mystery Class Tree?  If you've been with me from the beginning you have learned never to expect the expected.

When I first saw this canvas it reminded me of the Mackenzie-Childs design duo.  All of their pottery and glass and furniture is layers of pattern on top of pattern on top of pattern.  You know I love that.  Add to it black and white  classic checks and stripes and I love it even more.

I borrowed this image off the Mackenzie-Childs website to give you a little feel of the style and because it's cute and has puppies. You know I love puppies. 

Now that the Tree is back from the framer I can reveal the idea that has been in my head since day one.  Yet another border.  This time black and white stripes!

Hope you like it.  It adds another level of whimsy to the piece and takes it that step away from traditional that you know I need :-)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Needlepoint for the next generation

Wow you meet some pretty cool people in the shop. A mother/daughter duo came on one day...... They are a great pair- lots Of fun!  And they both stitch.  There's also a son/brother who stitches too. 

Over time we have gotten to know them and then one day in they come with the most entertaining canvas and I find out that Katey designed it, and she is stitching it!  Too cool.

Katey is in college so there won't be a ton of designs from her...yet.  She is definitely one to watch.  If she gets the bug and keeps at it I see a fun future of designs with her.

Since she is the next generation of needlepoint stitcher  she is the perfect one to be designing for the next generation. 

If you are looking for something to entice a younger stitcher or need a gift for one check out Katey's designs.  Her current series all fit the Stirling wallets and checkbook covers so easy peasy finishing.

Here's just a few of her designs.

 Check them out and see what you think.  I'm for one excited to see what's next.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The trouble with Tribbles

Actually there are no troubles with tribbles.  They are super easy to stitch and super cute.  Gotta love these little guys.  I realize that the Tribbles in Star Trek were furry but they were round and cute and so are these. The tribbles were part of today's class on the Halloween tree. 

Here's the tribbles with a little glow.

We also brought the big ole pumpkin in the center of the tree to life!  His eyes and silly grin glow in the dark just like the skulls.  We couldn't have a big black hole in the middle of the tree when the lights go out, now could we?

The tree itself is a very colorful blend of blue and purple sparkly threads in the Diamond Ray Stitch.

It's coming together and looking more Halloween-y with each passing day.  We'll have it finished. well stitched, just in time for Halloween.

Thanks for checking in.  There's more fun to have with this tree!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

So Many Stitches

Two days with Brenda Hart at Bedecked and Beadazzled and you walk away with stitches started here and there on your canvases an oh about a million ideas!  Pictures tell the story better than I can with words.

A face only a mother could love.

Claws by Charley Harper.

Love the patterns on these flowers!

Roosters aren't normally my thing, but this one can visit any time.  Great stitches and textures.

Brenda does great demos so you get the stitch just right.

Check out this tree that Palma is stitching.  Sooooo much fun.  She'll never get bored.

Linda is working hard on this beautiful frame from Lani.

Brenda tests her ideas to make sure they work perfectly.

I love the way these flowers are turning out - 
the magic of the perfect stitch combined with a beautiful overdye.

Can't you just tell how much fun Linda is having?

Another fun demo from Brenda so that Mary's snowman is absolutely perfect.

Mary's entire snowman is going to be beaded!!! You know I love that.

Our other Linda brought the shop celebrity Graffiti to class.  Graffiti is a special friend.  

You can tell how much Graffiti loves her mom.  :-)

Well, there you have it.  Two days of pics. We had a wonderful time.  Thank you Brenda for coming to Bedecked and Beadazzled.  We treasure every memory with you and our friends!  

We're already looking forward to next year.  Watch the website, maybe the planets will align and you can join us for a class or two.  We'd love to have you join the party!
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