Melitastitches4fun's Blog

A Day at Edwardian Needle and the New Jersey Needle Artists Holiday Luncheon
January 12, 2023, 5:44 pm
Filed under: ANG New Jersey Needle Artists Chapter

The day spent at The Edwardian Needle was busy – helping people pick threads or substitute threads for Crescent Journey. A couple more people joined the group planning to stitch it in 2023 (ANG Stitch of the Month). The store was full of folks who came to sit and stitch. Very nice time.

From there I joined Sue C who was so gracious to offer her guest room to me and made a great dinner. Always enjoy Sue and Rosie’s company!

The following day, we (almost 30 members) attended and had a lovely luncheon at The Grain House in Bernards, NJ. The Board gave all members a thank you gift. Yes, that is a Trish Vine bag with a specially made tag for NJNA, cute embellishments from Sundance, and coordinating DMC floss. Very nice. I talked about Crescent Journey and showed all 5 colorways. I think a few more are interested now too!

Finishing the Heart Ornaments

It took about 2 months to get back to finishing the other 2 Bargello ornaments from Hearts of Gold by Michele Roberts (an ANG Correspondence Course). It’s available under Distance Learning on ANG ‘s website. Michele’s are all done using only 4 gold threads so they are all color coordinated. Mine are all different colorways for seasonal display. Tedious work but I completed the finishing on them! This time I used a binding stitch.

I had pulled out my Kreinik Custom Corder. It’s loose but ok for the hanger. Since my threads were already cut, they weren’t long enough to go around the whole heart. Step 1 is to interlock the 2 threads. Step 2 is wind. Maybe I didn’t twist enough?

Step 3 is to remove from cord maker, bring both ends together, and allow them to twist together. It was tighter initially but then loosened during that process. Since even 2 lengths weren’t working, I abandoned the cord maker.

There was still a decent gap between the back and front due to a 5 mm soft foam core that I used. So, I went with a “binding” stitch and it took way longer than I am sure a professional finisher would take to do it. Bending the monocanvas back results in a less than desirable rounded shape. But, that stitch covered the gap and turned it back into a smooth heart shape. I prefer stitching over finishing but am happy with these.

Hearts of Gold: Second Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornament by Michele Roberts

Hearts of Gold is an excellent ANG Correspondence Course that includes 20 Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornaments by Michele Roberts. It’s available under Distance Learning on ANG ‘s website.

Michele describes this heart as a “classic tiny pattern” of shadowed boxes. The stitches are all over 2 canvas threads. It can be stitched in as few as 2 colors and as many as 7 colors. I love the 3 dimensional effect with this pattern.

To say “spring”, I selected a rainbow of Silk & Ivory threads including yellow=maize 241, orange=clementine 215, red=tamale 199, dark purple=sugarplum 117, blue=delphinium 70, green=lime 56, and light purple=shrinking violet 116.

Hearts of Gold: First Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornament by Michele Roberts

Hearts of Gold is an excellent ANG Correspondence Course that include 20 Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornaments by Michele Roberts. It’s available under Distance Learning on ANG ‘s website. Michele’s are all done in golds but I wanted seasonal hearts.

I began my first heart with the Greek Meander Bargello pattern which is best worked in two colors. Mine is done in green and white (Silk & Ivory in 86 Shamrock and 01 Natural) for St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas.

The over 6 stitch is tricky because it falls in a different place with each color. The two colors fold into each other. Once I got to the first full row of white I started seeing the rhythm. Michele diagrammed the whole heart including compensation although it didn’t quite match mine because I tweaked the top center a tad to make the dip in the center deeper.

Hearts of Gold: 20 Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornaments by Michele Roberts

Back in March of 2020, ANG Cyberpointers offered Hearts of Gold: 20 Bargello Ornaments by Michele Roberts as a group Correspondence Course. It’s still available for individuals to sign up for. I didn’t get to it until now. Thanks to my ANG New Jersey Needle Artists chapter who has 42 of 53 members working on a bargello project, I plan on stitching 4 of them in the next couple of months. Five members are working on my Bargello Bowls!

The heart ornaments are not only great designs but Michele Roberts teaches classic techniques of stitching Bargello and combining different patterns.

I backstitched the heart shape with Londonderry Linen LNS #8085 Beige 80/3. It’s almost the same color as the sandstone canvas. The extra dip I added in the upper center portion defines the heart a little more. These are little hearts at 3″ x 3″.

The golds would be pretty but I want to have “seasonal” hearts. Green and white for St. Patrick’s Day, red and white for our Phillies and Valentine’s Day, multi-color for spring, and magenta for other times.

Since this project should have started in March, I will start with the green and white threads, Silk & Ivory in 86 Shamrock and 01 Natural.

Secret Window, Center Dome Window Before Beads

The top and bottom upside down crescents and rounded Jessicas in the center dome window of Secret Window are done except for the beads which will be added last.

Secret Window, Center Dome Window and Another Treenway Silk

The center was squared off with Two Tone Sprats Head (Entice and Bijoux). For the eight crescents, I used Harmony, a natural-dye (explained on the Treenway website), 6-strand silk floss (from a particular silk worm also described on their website). I didn’t try to color match the skein (find the repeating color pattern). Instead, I used 4 of the 6 strands and started on the top on each side by working 2 strands counterclockwise to the left and 2 strands clockwise to obtain matching color movement.

I love the shape of the blue Plaited Ray’s between the Sprats Heads in the corners.

The 2 tiny Diagonal Sheaf stitches use 4 strands of Accentuate. It’s not my favorite thread and I realize that I have 2 spools of it. Each spool is 50M. I better learn to like it! But, for now, I was given the option to add some sparkle on the last 3 stitches. So, I did and used 2 strands of Bijoux in the center for the last 3 stitches.

Secret Window, Center Dome Window and Treenway Silks

The Kurdy Biggs Zoom Group had a great gab fest yesterday although we missed Jacqui. Most are working on her perforated paper Ornament Diamond Drops and Linda on Cathedral. I’m doing Secret Window from ANG’s virtual Seminar in 2021.

Besides agreeing that she has lovely designs, we agree a piece of hers has to be done with a lot of concentration. Counting is essential.

Star Jessicas got me off and running. This is the first I’ve worked with Treenway silks. This thread is Tranquility, a fine cord, between a #8 and #12 perle.

Those big motifs are called Swing Stitches which is similar to Sheaf Stitches but doesn’t allow thread to show through (using 2 colors of Zen Shin) with Hat Crescents (Water ‘n Ice). Zen Shin is a 100% spun silk 20/2 and equivalent in size and twist of #8 perle.

I haven’t seen this thread line any of my local needlepoint stores. It’s always fun to try new threads!

Secret Window by Kurdy Biggs and NJNA Monthly Zoom dubbed KBZ Group

Instead of a typical New Jersey Needle Artists (NJNA) Stitch of the Month project where we all meet to stitch the same project in different colorways and since some of us are remote members, several of us formed a “KBZ Group” who will stitch Kurdy Biggs projects during the year and meet monthly on Zoom to discuss progress and challenges of her lovely pieces.

I suggested Kurdy Biggs specifically because of Secret Window which I had not started since getting it in the fall during ANG’s 2021 Virtual Seminar. Kurdy’s husband made the wood frame and that came with the kit.

For multiple reasons, I have decided to stitch this on a single large piece of canvas and am having a custom Cathedral-shaped made for it. That may raise questions but all will be revealed in time. Since it will take time to stitch this, you’ll just have to check back later.

There are 6 sections and each one is outlined in a double row of Smyrna stitches. That will be 1,525 Smyrnas. While the number of Smyrnas is large, what seems even more daunting about them is that Kurdy gave us 2 cards of Splendor which is 8 yards each. Splendor has 12 plies and I am using 2 plies! I can’t imagine using all that Splendor for these.

One thing became clear is that I can only stitch so many Smyrnas at a time. And, I can’t have the TV on because I have to pay attention to where I am on the chart. In order to keep track of where I am along the Smyrna border, I am using a yellow marker to color the completed stitches (like I used to do when following a cross stitch chart). Very useful. I also worked up along one side with one length of thread and then the other side checking against each side. Getting the border correct is crucial to fitting the interior motifs. So, in the morning while my husband reads his morning papers (paper and online), magazines, and/or books, I am working on Smyrnas. So far, no ripping but a long way to go!

If you look at the image provided by Kurdy, the Smyrna border looks reddish but Kurdy says, “if it looks different that is due to monitor setting or the photo settings”. In the directions, she does mention that the thread color was selected to match the wooden frame (which is not at all red in person – it is a very light colored wood). The Splendor is a yellow/gold. The canvas color is French Blue (barely colored). This center bottom area is 4″ wide at the base and 5″ high.

Over the coming months, I will appreciate the support of like-minded stitchers including Noelle, Jill, Jackie, Brenda, and Linda! That’s who are the KBZers so far. They are doing other Kurdy Biggs projects including the perforated paper ornaments available from ANG Workshops through January 31. Kurdy has lots of lovely designs.

Pretty Petites, Needle Felting, Watering Can with Vicky Witterschein

The ANG New Jersey Needle Artists had the second 2-hour class on Zoom Wednesday night. Vicky Witterschein had us needle felting first because the rest of the stitching went on top of the felt except for the small bee.

I added a third strip of felt along the bottom to see if I could create depth which doesn’t appear to have added much.

We were given a big piece of foam to protect our fingers because it just gets stabbed into place with the needle which has barbs on it to catch the fiber. I didn’t get jabbed once even when I didn’t use the foam because I didn’t put my fingers below the canvas where I was jabbing! Perhaps if the canvas hadn’t been on bars and I was holding the canvas instead of the bars, the foam would be practical.

I love learning a new technique although I don’t think it’ll be anything I have to do again. But, it certainly is not anything I would avoid!

Using clear beading thread, the bee has a large x to hold him in place along with a straight stitch below the head. Everyone was done with the project at the end of the second class which was great!