Melitastitches4fun's Blog


ANG Stitch of the Month 2008, Circles by Lois Kershner – Spiders
January 18, 2023, 12:11 am
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, ANG Stitch of the Month, 2008

My ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter is stitching Circles by Lois Kershner, the ANG 2008 Stitch of the Month.

We tackled Spider stitches in November (I forgot to post). The Ribbed Spider was first up. I’ve done Spider stitches before so I was surprised to see that Lois recommended making the spokes go from one side of the circle’s perimeter to the opposite side. Instead of crossing side to side I went into the center hole. I believe the spokes will stay straighter. And, other sources show the spokes going into the center hole.

The overview shows the N, E, S, and W spokes each going over 10 canvas threads and the 4 diagonal spokes over 7 canvas threads. Perfect location to get the same number of wraps on all spokes. When I got to the end of the spokes and didn’t think another wrap would fit, I added one last wrap.

Lois showed a multicolored Spider and Lisa stitched both hers that way. I had never tried switching threads mid-spider. So, I had to try it. It would be quite dramatic to see the colors radiate outward. A bit tedious to switch threads too often the way I imagine radiating and my blues won’t work because they are too close or too far apart in color difference. But I did use light blue in the center, a medium, medium-dark, and back to light to try switching. I love how wrapping these differently makes them so different. Very happy with both.



Seashell Ornament

Thanks to stitch suggestions from Susan Hoekstra in a Seminar Color class in 2019 and a thread from Rosie at NJ Needle Fest in 2021, I finished stitching this Seashell ornament. Fast forward to 2022 when I won fabric pieces as a door prize at Linda’s Quilt Guild Show. There are 19 pieces 5&1/2″ squares all different but coordinated. I narrowed the choices for the backing down to 6 and let my husband pick the fabric to coordinate with the seashell.

I did my cutting and ironing of the fabric and fusing web onto Skirtex as previously described.

On the canvas, I see areas that appear raised and want to accentuate them. So, I spent time cutting and tacking felt into the vertical areas along the bottom left and the larger upper right area. One layer of felt on the outer 2 vertical areas, two in center 2 vertical areas, and two in the upper right area.

Then, I attached the padded canvas to another piece of Skirtex in the unpadded areas to make the padded areas raised.

I tacked the edging back using invisible thread (not the lacing technique).

I didn’t have any cording I liked. So, I went into my stash and found Vineyard Silk Shimmer S-515 Toffee which is brown to match the back, frames the seashell nicely, and has a little gold sparkle. The skein was already cut into 38.5″ lengths. So, I thought I’d need 11″ without a hanger. The instructions for the Kreinik Custom Corder say to start with 3x what you need. Tension can vary ending length.

By tying together 2 lengths for one large loop and 2 for the other, I got 16″ final twisted cord which even allows for a hanging loop. Between the Kreinik written instructions and YouTube video, I made the cord and hopefully I got enough twist.

With more invisible thread and Wonder Clips to hold the back and front together, I attached the twisted cord between the two layers.

Plenty of time to clean up the dining room table before Christmas!



Ornament Blitz

Well, I channeled Cleo, of Busy Lizzy, a professional finisher, who works on multiple ornaments simultaneously. I saw her in her workroom during a Zoom meeting working on at least 6 ornaments. I have all the supplies on my dining room table but am working on a tray table in the living room going step by step. My husband is very tolerant of the mess. One more odd shaped ornament after these and then I will clear the table for Christmas.

Step 1. Make copies of the ornaments at 100 & 135%. Two diamonds are the same size. The Winter Sleigh is a painted canvas by Alice Peterson that ANG Main Line Stitchers discussed using 2 stitch guides in 2019 just before the shut down, the 2 large diamonds are by Kurdy Biggs from Needlepoint Now November/December 2015 issue that was a 2018 project with ANG Keystone Garden chapter that I finished in 2019, and the small diamond is by Vicky Witterschein which was stitched during a Zoom class in 2021 with my EGA Brandywine Chapter.

Step 2. Cut out paper templates and cut ornaments out of canvas allowing about a half-inch larger than the design.

Step 3. Using the larger of the 2 templates, trace and cut out fabric backs. All will get the new silver fabric and was an opportunity to use my Karen Kay Buckley micro serrated scissors (which stops edges from fraying). The right tool for the job helps.

Step 4. Cut the Skirtex and fusible web slightly smaller than front design for the fabric backing.

Step 5. Iron the fabric backing onto the Skirtex with fusible web (like that better than glue-much neater-as long as I make fusible web smaller than the smallest side).

Step 6. Using the exactly sized template, cut a piece of magazine board.

Step 7. For the sleigh, I cut 4 layers of felt smaller than the magazine board to make it puffy, tacked the felt in place, placed the magazine board on top of the felt. There are 2 layers of felt on the 3 diamond ones.

Step 8. I found my Wonder Clips and used them to hold the folded-over canvas while I laced the canvas side to side with invisible thread. One spool has 2,200 yards. I’ll never need another!

Step 9. Attach hanger for the 3 diamonds. I used a Kreinik #16 Braid which I tied into the felt to start and finish but run it up through the canvas and back down right in the center. Very easy! I am reminded of a Brian Regan joke sarcastically saying “you’re breaking some new ground there, Copernicus”. It’s probably not a new way to add a hanger but I can’t recall seeing it suggested anywhere.

Step 10. Get my Thimble Pack out because my index and middle fingers only made it through 2 ornaments. Using a small Crewel needle pushing through Skirtex and sometimes magazine board was tough on my fingers!

Step 11. I sewed a cord on the edge for the sleigh simultaneously with the backing but cord is not needed on the others. The others look fine with just raw edge I guess because the design has some open canvas. I’m very happy with the results and see improvements with each one. Reminds of the old adage, “Practice makes perfect”. I still prefer to spends the hours stitching.

Step 11. Hang and enjoy the ornaments!!



Ginkgo Leaves Stitched and Finished

The Lee canvas (design size 8.5″ x 3.75), BR67, Ginkgo Leaves, was easy and fun to stitch. The Gloriana Duchess Silk threads I got from Busy Lizzy were great to work with – so soft. I mixed in some sparkly threads on the edges of the leaves and in the patterns of four leaves.

Patterns are from a variety of sources including Desert Island Vol 1 and 2 by Carole Lake and Michael Boren, Lone Star’s Grab-n-Go Stitches, Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches by Susan Sturgeon Roberts, and The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen.

Patterns in the top row from left to right are from: Desert Island, Vol 1, pg 29; The Needlepoint Book, Byzantine #1; Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches, Carl; and Lone Star, pg 50.

Patterns in the bottom row from left to right are from: Lone Star, pg 37; Lone Star, pg 53; Desert Sand, Vol 2, pg 30; and The Needlepoint Book, Byzantine #2.

Basketweave with Pepper Pot Silk, Cream filled in the background.

I found a Vera Bradley bag online that has a lovely interior fabric and good pockets.

The front of the bag had a large enough area to apply the canvas. I cut out the design leaving 9 canvas threads on each edge (1/2″). I cut a piece of ultrasuede allowing a 1″ border on each side. Then I cut the window out to fit the design exactly. The piece of vinyl is about 4 canvas threads larger than the design area and rests on top of the design without being attached in any way. A little Aileens fabric glue attached the ultrasuede to the outer edge of the canvas not covered by the vinyl (waited 2 hours), more glue to attach the ultrasuede to the bag (waited 2 hours), and glue again to place the black trim on the outer edge. Thanks to Jacqui C for the trim suggestion – it really makes a difference although from a distance you probably can’t see black on black. But up close you can. Also thanks to Jacqui for telling me there is such a thing as fabric glue! I was going to use E6000. This was so much easier and faster than ornament finishing!

For those of you super observant people who noticed a piece of wood sticking out from underneath the bag (bottom right corner of photo), the bag came with straps on the bottom. They said it was for a yoga mat but it holds my Elan lap stand! I wouldn’t “travel” with it there but for going back and forth to class this bag will hold the stand, my charger, light, travel supply bag, bottle of water, and perhaps a small project bag.



ANG Stitch of the Month 2008, Circles by Lois Kershner
November 16, 2022, 5:07 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, ANG Stitch of the Month, 2008

Last month, my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter has started Circles by Lois Kershner, the ANG 2008 Stitch of the Month.

We are not going in the order Lois did so we have the background to stitch over the long winter months. I am very happy that Lisa, a chapter member, agreed to lead the project. I’ve wanted to do this for awhile. This month we stitched the Smyrna Cross Eyelet Combination that sits inside the Circular Buttonhole. I did use the dark Copic marker underneath but since I didn’t want the canvas to show through, I used Lois’ suggestion to place spokes in a circle first and then the buttonhole stitches. The spokes really helped me keep the buttonhole stitches even going around in a circle. If I were to do it again, I might use a thinner thread for the spokes to allow more of the blue to show through. Petite Frosty Rays provided almost full coverage.

Couched thread appears around that motif. My inclination would have been to stagger the couching threads but Lois suggested letting them radiate in a straight line and I tried it. Lisa staggered with matching thread and that looked good too. I find couching is challenging on a soft thread like DMC #5 Pearl because you want the thread to stay in place but without any indentation  in that thread caused by the couching thread.

Besides not liking the couching line on the second upper right spoke, I don’t like the texture or color of the pearl cotton next to the Petite Frosty Rays or the silks. So, I went to my stash. I found 4 possibilities including Alabaster, Gold Rush 14 Variegated, Petite Very Velvet, and ThreadworX. I previewed them and selected ThreadworX. It’s cotton and rayon and has a visible twist like Pearl cotton. Petite Very Velvet was my second choice because I like the texture but it’s not as bright a white as ThreadworX.

This time I used a pencil to make the spokes so I got them where I want them. Freestyle stitching is not easy! Much happier now.



Fiber on a Whim at Expressions in NeedleArt

Last Saturday I went to Expressions in Needle Art in Canandaigua, NY. Lori has a wonderful collection of threads and yarns for stitchers and knitters. Lots of counted instructions and painted canvases.

First, I got talking with the 5 ladies from Endicott/Endwell, NY who had arrived almost the same time as I did. They were with the EGA B.C. Stitchers chapter. And, they will be stitching my Overdyed Spools in January! That was fun to find out. We exchanged information and I look forward to hearing from them next year.

Then, we got to exploring the store. I found an overdyed cotton thread by Fiber on a Whim. Pretty but I did resist them.

I don’t consider the 2 booklets that I picked up as “Books in My Library” because they are more project oriented. That is especially true for Vienna Hearts by Sue Lentz Needlework (1998/1999). I have a piece of interconnected hearts that I need to redo and write up. These are much larger than mine and I liked the patterns Sue choose.

The other booklet, That’s Not Needlepoint (It’s Inspired Art Created with Your Needle) is by dede Ogden (2011) which are now represented by Fleur de Paris, Inc. It’s not intended to be complete charts or diagrams to finish various painted canvases but to offer suggestions for types of elements found in seascapes. The first canvas discussed is Seahorse Spyglass 18073 and is still available (and so is a stitch guide by Tony Minieri). Other canvases discussed are still available from a variety of sources including Undersea Fish 1373, Glass Aquarium Tropicals Green Fish 18015, Glass Aquarium Tropicals Blue Fish 18034, Undersea Garden 1378, Seahorse Pillow 18056, and Enchanted Mermaid Dream 18050. The Casalgudi stitch is a new one and quite interesting. I’ve read the section several times in the past week to understand it. The center of the Orchid (which I have been putting off because I haven’t found the right stitch) may be why this stitch is calling to me. I’ll give it a try. The Railway Stitch makes a good background stitch. Sue has an interesting Bead Cup Stitch and shows how to expand an overlapping cross stitch to fit fluctuations in the width of seaweed.

The store walls had a bunch of stitched samples. I spotted the Textured Treasures design, From Dusk to Dawn, that we are stitching at ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter. I’m doing a group of three too but it will be a different three designs and in a different colorway than displayed.

In fact, that was the piece I had taken on the road to stitch. The outer boders of straight Gobelin stitches were easy.



From Dusk to Dawn Begins
October 12, 2022, 9:10 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, From Dawn to Dusk

The other piece that my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter is starting is From Dusk to Dawn by Textured Treasures (you can find them on Facebook). The full design is 12 motifs done on 18 count canvas. But, they also sell the instructions in batches of three done on Congress Cloth and four motifs individually (count unknown).

I bought them in batches of three because I have too much to do to commit to the larger design. I’ve selected my own colors – fall colors – my favorite season!

I’ll wait to stitch the centers until the others get to the motifs that I want to stitch. In the meantime, I will stitch the outer areas.



ANG Stitch of the Month 2008, Circles by Lois Kershner
October 6, 2022, 7:44 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, ANG Stitch of the Month, 2008

My ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter has started Circles by Lois Kershner, the ANG 2008 Stitch of the Month. It is one of 2 counted projects for the year. We have more members than ever (35 and 18-20 show up in person and on Zoom). So, we (the chapter Board) thought that a couple of projects would be needed to appeal to more members. We have 9 people working on Circles and 10 on the other piece which will be the subject of another post. And 5 people are working on both (yes, I am one of the 5). So, we have 14 people participating in ongoing projects which is quite good. We have a third ready to start in a few months.

It’s great that alternate colorways are shown for Circles. I am using blues although not the ones listed in the Material List for the original colorway. I have a whole pack of threads of Chameleon, Shades of Africa, Two Oceans which consists of 5 skeins from light to dark and each overdyed that I picked it up at Half Moon Handwerks in Camp Hill, PA. They have lovely fabrics and some needlepoint supplies. I thought about using these for another project but I don’t like laying these threads because they are too slippery. They are such pretty colors but I don’t like fighting with the threads. However, ironing them helps some and I will use them for this project and be done with them!

Lois recommends painting some areas of the canvas. I already had 2 blue Copic markers and picked up 2 more darker blues. I tried “stitch painting” the 4-way Bargello pattern but I didn’t get it exactly correct – close enough anyway!

The circular Rhodes would not fit within the 7″ circle based on the template provided. So, I studied the other stitched samples. The Mango Sorbet kept the same size and placed it directly under 4-way Bargello, the Creamy Peach seems to have shifted a few elements, and several did not stitch it at all. I can’t understand how Lois got the larger one to fit with the template she provided. But, no worries! I adjusted it to a smaller circular Rhodes which is 5 wide and not 7 wide on each edge. With this smaller version, you would drop down 12 not 16 from the bottom center edge of the 4-way Bargello to start at the number 1 stitch. That still allows it to be offset which I prefer. 

The project and threads fit perfectly in a bag made by Linda from a blue fabric with circles in it! How perfect!?! I’ve got the ANG needle minder with blue in it too.



Ginkgo Leaves

Ginkgo Leaves is a Lee canvas (design size 8.5″ x 3.75), BR67. In June, at Cleo’s First Tuesday Stitch-in at Busy Lizzie, I found a new thread Line that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It is from Gloriana Threads and is Duchess Silk, a hand-dyed thread. Some colors have more subtle changes in the skein than others. The Antique Black is darker than the canvas but that’s ok. And, I will not use Brick after all because I am using some sparkly threads including Kreinik, Silk Lame Braid, or Snow for the edges of the leaves.

I was thinking basketweave for something easy to stitch but discovered that Duchess Silk is too thick. So, I selected various stitches incorporating a little additional sparkle into four of the eight (different from the edges).

My main goal was to find stitch patterns with stitches over 2 or 3 canvas threads that would create a diagonal effect according to the direction of the leaf. They came from Desert Island Vol 1 and 2 by Carole Lake and Michael Boren, Lone Star’s Grab-n-Go Stitches, Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches by Susan Sturgeon Roberts, and The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen

Part of this was stitched at yesterday’s Stitch-in with the ANG Main Line Stitchers. We had 5 in person at Buff’s house because the church is working on the floors. Speaking of Buff, she was quite observant by noticing that I was uncharacteristically stitching “in the well”. It is something that I have done when the canvas has too little around the sides of the design because it makes ending threads easier. When do you work “in the well”?



Christmas Time From Dawn To Dusk
August 12, 2022, 9:19 pm
Filed under: From Dawn to Dusk, Twilight Too

What happens when Christmas meets From Dawn to Dusk by Karen E. Dudzinski from Textured Treasures? This cute ornament! It is Motif 1-1 which I agreed to stitch to show how the various motifs would look if stitched individually for ornaments. This is one of three projects that ANG Main Line Stitchers will be stitching over the 2022-2023 year.

I had Needle Necessities 153 Razzle Dazzle Red for the Satin Stitch Leaf and a roll of 1/16 silver metallic ribbon for the Plaited Upright Cross and center leaf vein in my stash. The red flosses from dark to light are 814, 816, and 321.

Instead of the 11/0 beads, I used 15/0 Miyuki beads and Sundance silver sequins BDS-SQ214 which I have plenty to share if anyone is interested. I think they will sparkle better.

Other threads were DMC Floss Blanc, DMC #8 Perle white, DMC #5 Perle 321 red, and Kreinik #8 Braid 001 silver.

It took me about 6 hours to stitch this (spread over several days). I kept track to get a sense for how long it would take members to stitch a motif if we do one a month.

I stitched Access Commodities Metallic Soft Twist Trim Cord (Size 16) on with Sulky Invisible thread (fine 0.004) which was quite a challenge to see! But, it worked better than a matching silver thread because I had to go into the Ultrasuede backing & kind of deeper into the front to cinch the two sides tight. The cording Size 32 might be better although this is fine. It was way easier and quicker than using the Palestrina stitch for the edging. For this ornament, I used one layer of Skirtex, a stiff interfacing, that I had left over from a name tag kit obtained from Marilyn when we volunteered for ANG Distance Learning together. We made coordinating name tags for the 2014 ANG Seminar in Chicago. I had forgotten where I’d gotten Skirtex from, searched on my blog, and found out where I’d gotten from. I keep following Marilyn around ANG! She is excellent to work with and very knowledgeable.

My finishing is not perfect but looks very good. The first photo revealed a piece of invisible thread that had gotten caught on an edge but I was able to bury it. So, it was all done & ready for our August ANG Main Line Stitchers meeting this past Monday.