Melitastitches4fun's Blog

The Penguin Family
March 16, 2010, 9:35 am
Filed under: Penguin Family

A good friend, Deanne, asked if I could stitch a penguin for her daughter, Kayla.  So, I adapted a photo (found at that I found on the internet of an emperor chick and parents to create a Penguin Family (on the right).

I utilized a xerox machine to enlarge the photo to the size I wanted & then a light box that I bought from Michael’s (watch their internet site for 50% off coupon any 1 item) to trace the rough design. Mainly, I used Split Encroaching Gobelin of varying lengths and at different angles to aid the visual flow of fur with a thread called Trio (from Brown Paper Packages in various values) & on top placed varying lengths (and angled) with Fuzzy Stuff (by Rainbow Gallery in various values). The sky is straight stitches of random varying lengths in an overdyed thread.

In honor of winter ending, I proudly present, The Penguin Family . . .

Calendar for January, February, and March
March 13, 2010, 9:19 am
Filed under: Calendar, Melita's Adaptations

I should have started posting these monthly needlepoint calendars back in January when I first started blogging.  I’ve been using this same calendar since 2006.  How’s it possible I kept on using it year after year? Keep on reading!!

In 2005, I received a 12-month calendar (published by Accord Publishing LTD) as a Christmas gift from a co-worker.  I attempted to stitch one month ahead of time the first year so each month would be ready to display & was late only 2 months of the 12.  Then, I created a 2006 calendar as a Christmas gift for family, friends, & co-workers. I spent a small fortune in color ink jet & high quality paper that year but everyone loved them.  Each subsequent year, I have taken a Word document, made 12 tables the exact size of the bottom half of the calendar, enter dates in the appropriate cells, cut, & tape them on the bottom half.  It works out great!

The calendar came with the color photo of what it should look like, canvas for each, charted directions, needle, & a coordinating paper matte suitable for framing each month’s piece – everything except the thread. Each was primarily cross-stitch with a few other simple stitches designed by Kam Snyder & Barbara Stark.  However, it may come as no surprise when I say I stitched most of them with different stitches (probably from The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen or Stitches for Effect by Suzanne Howren & Beth Robertson) because I no longer desired to do cross-stitch.  And, in a few instances, I made up a new design for a month.

January (photos for pattern & needlepoint, respectively): I don’t know all the stitches I used in the top half of the cup even with the aid of a magnifying glass.  In the bottom of the cup, there is a pattern of large and small crosses along with Rhodes & leaf stitches.  I think the steam is a stem stitch, the black background is Upright Crosses & the inner border is Smyrna Crosses & the outer border is a Six-trip Herringbone.

February (photos for pattern & needlepoint, respectively): In place of the cross-stitch, I used a small Jessica, Woven Trellis Variation, and Kris Cross Hungarian. In place of the Smyrna Cross border, I used a Wheat Stitch.

March (photos for pattern & needlepoint, respectively): This was one of the radical diversions I took from the pattern & used a Looped Turkey Work for the sheep. The flowers are a Star Octagon with a green leaf stitch.  The sheep turned out a little bigger than perhaps his little legs can hold! But, he’s cute & furry like a sheep.  The background may be a darning pattern. Again, the inner border is Smyrna Crosses & the outer border is a Six-trip Herringbone.

I’ll continue to post now on the first of the month. I have a similar embroidery calendar to do in my pile of projects. Someday!!

‘Pieces of Eight’, Octagons N and R
March 11, 2010, 7:03 am
Filed under: Pieces of Eight

As a reminder, the directions for ‘Pieces of Eight’ by Gayle Bicknell are available at  They are reprinted all in one issue for $18.

These are 2 of the octagons that’ll I’ll finish for coasters to go with the napkin rings.

Octagon N combines Double Straight Cross (bottom left portion) & Alternating Cashmere (top right portion). I did the centermost row of Double Straight Crosses in Kreinik & filament & added couched filament to accentuate the flow of the Alternating Cashmere.

Octagon R combines Diagonal Mosaic (upper left portion), Diagonal Herringbone (single row with Kreinik & Accentuate), & Slanted Gobelin (bottom right side with added couched filament to accentuate the flow of the columns). When I inserted this photo here, I saw a misplaced stitch but it’s not worth trying to fix it. Can you find it?

March 8, 2010, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Orchids
In honor of the Flower Show, which was excellent this year, I’m sharing a small excercise done as part of Mary Shipp’s class. I had to demonstrate asymmetrical balance.  So, I selected a photo from a past Philadelphia  Flower Show that demonstrated that & tried to recreate it. I didn’t spend a ton of time on it – just enough to get the point across.

I sketched it.

And, I stitched it.

How I made ‘Overlooking the Valley’ for a Mary Shipp lesson
March 6, 2010, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Overlooking the Valley

Not that this is by any way a masterpiece or anything close to it but I was looking through my box searching for something else & found more notes from Mary Shipp’s classes.  I had said it was my design but I was wrong – it is an adaptation. So, I thought I share how I made it.

I collected photos (this has a white fingerprint smudge on it-sorry) as Mary suggested to see learn about color & perspective.

Then, I sketched it. Drawing isn’t as difficult as it may seem. I took her advice & practiced techniques in Betty Edwards’ book, Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain.

Then, I mapped out the areas.

Lastly, I selected stitches for the various areas.

And, then I stitched it. Not going to win any prizes but much was learned.

‘Pieces of Eight’, Octagons Q and O
March 3, 2010, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Pieces of Eight

These are the bottom 2 of the 4 octagons.  

Octagon Q is a Waffle and Scotch Stitch Composite. I added a couched thread around the waffle stitch as a border.

Octagon O is a bargello pattern.

I filled in the center (where the 4 join) with a Rhodes stitch & haven’t decided what to do on the sides yet.  I have a frame & need to figure out how much wider an area there is after framing to see if a border stitch around all 4 octagons make sense.  Generally, I’m not big on open/unstitched areas on a canvas.  Of course, it depends on the piece & stitches selected.  I’m going to call the group of 4 “Southwestern Quad” until I come up with anything better – any ideas?