Melitastitches4fun's Blog

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!

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.

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.

Interpreting Color Theory for Needlework with Susan Hoekstra

One of my ANG Virtual Seminar classes is a color theory class presented by Susan Hoekstra.

We went through the theory Susan presented in her booklet during 3 videos. In the meantime, we submitted a painted canvas and answered questions about the focal point and how we wanted to achieve contrast among the various design elements. Then, during the live online meetings, we discussed how to achieve those goals.

I see the horizontal rings first & the large white/very light yellow area seems to me to be the next important area. The rings imply roundness/curved surface but the white/yellow area looks flat even though I know it should be rounded too. They share some of the same part of the shell & should be curved. 

Based on the discussion, I started with Vineyard Silk Classic C-184 Butter Pecan for the laid thread and am using 2 strands of Splendor S818 (3 strands) which is a perfect match. 
Initially, I was staggering the diagonal couching which wasn’t really giving the rounded effect (see photo “Staggered Couching”). Then, I accidentally lined up two diagonal stitches on the same diagonal line and knew instantly that was giving a better effect (in the same photo, look at the bottom right two stitches).

Staggered Couching

It’s very possible that Susan meant for the couching to be vertical stitches moving diagonally but I like the extra diagonal effect of making the stitches diagonal as well. I’m really feeling the roundness even in such a small space (see photo “Diagonal Couching”). 

I’ve been through my stash and have threads for all areas except for the dark purple 4×4 areas. So, I sent a request to members of my two chapters attending NJ Needlefest tomorrow to find 36-48″ of a DMC #8 or 12 that might work. One possibility has already found. Stitchers are wonderful people!

ANG Virtual Seminar
August 24, 2021, 6:11 pm
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2021, Secret Window by Kurdy Biggs

The American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) is holding their Seminar virtually again this year. Jessica T sent these gifts to all attendees and a lovely letter thanking everyone for attending virtually this year and inviting us to join what surely must be an in-person Seminar to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ANG as an organization. The orange thread drops on the ring came from Barefoot Needleart. Very thoughtful surprise!

My 2 classes are both underway. A notebook class with Susan Hoekstra on color theory and the other with Kurdy Biggs called Secret Window, a 5-panel piece to fit in a specially made wooden frame.

Secret Window Kit by Kurdy Biggs
August 8, 2021, 7:02 pm
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2021, Secret Window by Kurdy Biggs

The ANG Seminar went virtual again this year due to coronavirus. I signed up for Secret Window by Kurdy Biggs.

Isn’t the kit wonderful! I never used Treenway silk threads before. There is Tranquility described as a fine cord, Harmony is a silk floss, and Zen Shin which is 20/2 spun silk (looks like #8 perle). One of my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter members got a kit from Debbie Rowley for her ANG Seminar class and she’s using the same thread line but she also got Serenity.

Isn’t the frame interesting! She gives finishing instructions and makes it sound doable. But, this will take quite some time to finish. So, I don’t have to think about that now.