Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Lilacs and Bow Wrap Up Annette’s Bouquet with Deborah Mitek; Charger Update

The lilacs were the most fun flowers of Annette’s Bouquet (EGA Seminar class from Deborah Mitek) perhaps because they are French and Colonial Knots which I am more comfortable with than the other ribbon techniques.

These were also interesting because of the foundation consists of Fly stitches to raise the knots. I added extra Fly stitches than indicated in the instructions for the center top one because my line started out wonky but I had plenty of thread. By the second and third lilac, my Fly stitches lined up. You probably can’t see it but I poked a needle into the Congress Cloth to make the general shape.

Wrapping the lower stem stitches lightly adding twists and links with ribbon sounds easy. It took several attempts to get the first one (center top) and then when I finished it off, it almost looked better on the back. So, I tried until I was happy. Good thing I had plenty of ribbon. The second of the wraps worked great on the first attempt (bottom right). Then, I struggled with the third (bottom left). Wow.

You know that it took me 35 minutes to cut 4 skeins of ribbons for the lilacs (two were 5 yards and two were 5.5 yards). I know it was 35 minutes because dinner was cooking! The way it was cut yielded 4 threads of each color for the 3 flowers. That’s a lot of ribbon!

I saved ironing and separating them to get a good variety of overdyed thread in each set of three for the next day when I was ready to stitch.

The center top was my first one. It’s more dense than was probably intended but I kept putting my needle through thread which pulled the knots tighter than I wanted. Finally, I flipped the canvas and worked them up so the thread wasn’t in the path of where I was stitching. It’s a big lilac (compared to the teacher’s model but no two pieces would ever be the same anyway) which used 11 of the 12 threads one 7 mm strand left over). The shape is good, there is movement of color within the flower, and there is depth because some are tighter to the canvas. I am happy with my first lilac.

My second lilac was the bottom left. And, it too has a good shape, color movement, and depth. It is smaller. I had 3 strands of 4 mm ribbon left over (two solid and one overdyed).

The third (bottom right) is about the same size as the other one on the bottom and all aspects just as good. I had 3 strands of solid yellow ribbon left over (two 4 mm and one 7 mm).

Three lilacs took 3 days. But, I stayed up late to finish the lilac leaves and bow.

There are 6 lilac leaves using 7 mm ribbon in a Lazy Daisy and they were tricky. A little twist, a little luck, and a couple of tries finally got them in place.

The final step was the bow. Easier than the leaves because you twist, preview, and tack. I am very happy with the bow and the whole piece!!

FYI: I allowed my Surface Pro to get down to 22% (took about 3 hours of use) and then connected it to the charger. It took 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge my computer (I kept using it during the charging) and was left with 15% on the charger. So, that’s definitely adequate for my needs in chapter meetings and classes.

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Next Step and a Portable Charger
September 26, 2021, 8:44 am
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Countess of Granrham, Other People's Pieces

The corners of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham by Gay Ann Rogers, were tricky. I couldn’t get the rhythm of the stitch on the first one during my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter members Saturday Stitch-in yesterday. But, the second corner went better despite having one eye on a bad 50s female Dracula movie on TV. Even though I finally had the rhythm, I’ve put it away until next month’s Stitch-in. Hopefully, my mind’s muscles will remember the pattern. It’s a perfect size piece for traveling.

I had seen the Halo Bolt battery charger as a fundraiser for the Pacific Southwest Region of EGA. Very powerful at 440 Wh. It can jump start cars! But, at 3 lbs plus accessories, it was too heavy for my needs.

I mostly want to plug in my 2 prong light which has a clamp for Stitch-ins and classes. My rechargeable light just isn’t bright enough. So, I went with the SinKeu Portable Power Station Model HP5005 I found on Amazon. It’s only 88.8 Wh but will support the light for a full class day. There are 2 USB ports too. And, one of my chapter members plugged her rechargeable light into the unit when her light died. My Surface Pro drains the charger much quicker. But, I haven’t really tested it fully.

My charger is 6.75″ length x 3.75″ Depth x 1.75″ Height and weighs about 1 lb plus accessories. It displays the % of remaining power. So, the 2 units are about the same size and price but weight and power are different. So far, I am happy with the unit I selected.

Wild Greenery, Daisies, Periwinkle Flowers, and Leaves in Annette’s Bouquet with Deborah Mitek

Given a little quiet time and my comfy stitching chair, I was able to finish the wild greenery (pistol stitch and wrapped backstitch), stems, the 3 remaining daisies, the 5 Periwinkle flowers, and the leaves. I left my 2 practice ones in the bottom right corner to show the difference.

One of the biggest tips from Deborah was to enlarge the holes for the tips of the petals (away from the center) before stitching them to ensure you like the shape of the flower before stitching it.

That leaves (pun) just the 3 large Lilacs and the bow.

Seashell with Thanks to the Interpreting Color Theory for Needlework Class by Susan Hoekstra

The shell was discussed at the last ANG Seminar class with Susan Hoekstra for her class, Interpreting Color Theory for Needlework.

To create some depth between the center white/yellow area and purple area, texture contrast is employed. A thinner weight thread is used for the purple areas on the sides so they recede a little but the same stitch as the center area is used to maintain the rounded effect. The thicker Vineyard is slightly more forward than the silk which is 3 strands laid and couched of Pearsall’s Filoselle Silk 282A. BTW, there is some strange text on that skein that reads “FAST TO LIGHT AND BOILING”. Thoughts on what that means?

A couple of nights before NJ Needle Fest, I sent out a request to locate a dark purple in DMC Perle #8 or #12. Two members of my other chapter, the NJ Needle Artists, had 3 possible choices & the one from Rosie hit the mark, a # 8 Finca 2720. I added the 6 purple round areas then using a double layered cross with a small cross on top. It was nice to see everyone after missing the 2019 Fest (because of a cruise I took) and the 2020 Fest was canceled due to coronavirus. I signed up for their 2022 NJ Needle Fest and it’ll be back in May.

For the 3 blue round areas, I used the same stitch but with the lighter weight DMC #12, color 3822 to get the lighter color blue compared with the darker purple to recede slightly as that part of the shell is rounding down and away.

Once I got home from EGA’s Seminar and was sitting in my comfy stitching chair, I made good progress on the shell and finished it.

The horizontal rings is an encroaching gobelin with Tiara T106 and Kreinik #8 Braid 212.

Basketweave is used for most of the bottom (Waterlilies 217 Chili and 223 Rye) except for the light, medium, and dark teal areas which used a vertical couch. I used Gloriana Teal Twilight #108 for the dark teal but the lighter portion of the overdyed thread wasn’t light enough to show a difference and had to switch to DMC floss #597 for the medium color and used DMC floss #598 for the lightest teal.

For comparison, I am also sharing my first attempt that didn’t go well! I ripped that out in 2016 & left the canvas sit.

This was one of the three painted canvases discussed at last night’s meeting with my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter. Good turn out in person and on Zoom. A few technical difficulties but we managed.

Petals for Rings on Her Fingers and Kai Scissors

Kay Stanis filled in excellently for Allison Cole for Rings on Her Fingers at the EGA Seminar.

Kay shared that she prefers wooden hoops and even then suggests wrapping the inner hoop with twill which she brought and let us have some. It let’s the fabric hold better in the hoop.

In order to finish this piece, I needed new sharp scissors with the rounded tip in order to cut right up to the edge of each petal. I loved my gingher scissors that I’ve been using a long time. But, when I happened to mention that I needed a new pair of scissors to be sure they were sharp enough, I was told that Kai scissors are fantastic. So, I ordered them and am ready to cut! Nervous to cut that close to the stitching but I am going to do it.

The Kai scissors 4″ have a slight curve at the tip and are very sharp to cut with and have extremely sharp pointy tips. They are so light to hold – much lighter than the gingher scissors but those are all metal and these have the black plastic finger holes (very comfortable fitting). It wasn’t as bad as I expected. I did practice cutting on the practice petal and then kept going. It looks great! Once I am ready to attach it to the canvas, I will finish the assembly process and add the yellow center. I ordered the black Congress Cloth for the butterfly. Nobody around here has it. But, I will start gathering threads for Flutterby by Kurdy Biggs (in the ANG Chapter Project Book – two of us in Main Line Stitchers chapter signed up for it).

Back Cover Page of Needlepoint Now Sept/Oct 2021 Issue
September 9, 2021, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Needlepoint Now Magazine, Prime Examples - Sept/Oct 2021

My designs, entitled Prime Examples, made the back cover page of the current issue of Needlepoint Now ( My first publication in Needlepoint Now! Elizabeth B had shown me a proof earlier & I love how she arranged them for the photo. They are based off of a column by Mary Legallet in the Jul/Aug 2020 issue of Needlepoint Now.

I got to meet Elizabeth (publisher/editor/art director) and Joanne C (proofing and editing) over lunch at the EGA Seminar. Both are so nice. Besides classes, meeting people face to face is the other really great part of seminar. And, the magazine was waiting for me at home when I got back from seminar. What a nice treat!

EGA Seminar Ended
September 6, 2021, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Embroidery Guild of America, Seminar 2021-Chicago

A short post to wrap up a few points about the EGA Seminar. First, I loved the EGA name tag they gave us. It is zippered, with large pocket, and has a full clear plastic front that fit my EGA Brandywine chapter name tag and half a plastic open area in the back where they gave a tiny print but readable schedule of events and locations. I actually wore the nametag in reverse in order to fit my chapter’s name tag. Worked great. I’m saving it for future seminars.

The Seminar was very similar to ANG’s with the exhibit (my 4 Master Craftsman Canvas pieces were displayed together and it was fun seeing the variety from others progressing along; my Spring Sampler didn’t get a ribbon but I might have entered in the wrong part of the exhibit – the rules weren’t clear – still aren’t),  Teacher Showcase, Expo night (I still can’t buy anything because I feel overwhelmed by current projects), bookstore (I didn’t even look but heard it was great prices with a great selection). I did get a package of 3 Sleigh ornaments from the Seminar store (Inspired Needle Ltd from Lemont, IL) with the perforated paper that I can design my own and just glue it to finish it. My Brandywine chapter donates ornaments each year to some charity and these are easy and cute.

The one vast improvement over all other seminars was having a grab and go in a large salon where we could pick up breakfast and sit with people. It was physically convenient to the elevator and then to get to classes or the exhibit/bookstore/shop. They offered the same food every day but that’s ok. They had coffee, fruit, yogurt, pastries, muffins, oatmeal, and a sandwich (the gluten free roll wasn’t good). Quite a nice selection. I always bring my protein bars which go nicely with the yogurt.

Shortly before I left class with Deborah Mitek, she gave me a lovely thank you note and magnet with one of her designs on it to thank me for being her class angel. I didn’t have to do much – just get the blackboard and markers and return them.

We slept 10 hours last night! So, we walked some today, took a Chicago Gangster Tour by bus, and are going to Pier shortly. The weather can’t be any better.

Annette’s Bouquet with Deborah Mitek, Day 2

I’m done with my 2-day class, Annette’s Bouquet, with Deborah Mitek and Seminar is done too! It sure went by quickly.

Deborah got through everything even though I didn’t stitch everything. I only practiced the periwinkle (pink) flowers in the extra space she gave us. I didn’t bother trying the lilacs because they are either French Knots or Colonial Knots and I can do them although I will practice because I have not done them with 4 and 7 mm ribbons. I also need to finish the stems, leaves, and wild greenery before stitching flowers.

I brought my mini hair straightener wand even though it was not suggested (Deborah brought two). She irons ribbons and threads. When in Rome! Diane S-B (who I know from ANG) was next to me. She had a portable battery pack and I had the iron. Good table partner and nice to catch up with her.

This is one piece that I am going to focus on when I get home and finish asap so I don’t forget what to do.

Finally, I understand how to make a quilter’s knot to knot the end of a thread. It has been explained to me before but I didn’t get it until now!

Annette’s Bouquet with Deborah Mitek, Day 1

This 2-day class is Annette’s Bouquet with Deborah Mitek. Thankfully, the room is warmer.

Deborah puts together a lovely kit organized by flower and stems for specific flowers!

We discussed a good portion of the project but again the amount of stitching does not seem like a lot. I did get one Daisy done!

Rings on Her Fingers with Kay Stanis filling in for Allison Cole

Day 3 was spent with Kay Stanis filling in for Allison Cole who couldn’t attend from Australia due to coronavirus although she did Zoom in to say Hello. The one-day class, Ring on Her Fingers, is an introduction to stumpwork. It’s supposed to be made into a ring but I’m going to place it on a canvas next to a butterfly with a stem and a few leaves. The kit came in a lovely in a nice small compact box.

I practiced the buttonhole stitch over cake wire (Australian cake wire is apparently thinner than here in the US) on the far left one and then finished 3 petals and started a fourth. There will be 5 petals.

I’m not going to make it into a ring to wear. Instead, I am going to stitch a butterfly and place the flower next to and I still have to stitch the butterfly. I wanted to be sure what color flower I’d get. There were 5 options. I got the one I wanted. It will go in the guest bedroom with the other purple pieces!