Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Canvas Master Craftsman, Steps 1 and 3 Display Ready

Unlike my Step 2 piece which didn’t need blocking, Lisa did block the fish for me and I picked up earlier this week. I attached it with small nails to a foam board and laced it up. I’m using the same acid-free, 3/16” thick, white foam board (https://www.michaels.com/elmers-acid-free-foam-board-2-count/10390078.html) that I used for the previous step. Today, I laced up Step 3 too. No blocking was needed.

Since these pieces are not going to be judged, I didn’t want to mat and frame it. I ordered ultrasuede fabric to make the backs look nicer. They will be displayed in the Education area of EGA at the National Seminar in Chicago in September to advertise their Master Craftsman Canvas program. Bill and I are going to drive there for my first EGA Seminar. I have 3 classes which will be the subject of another post eventually.

Step 1. Line Drawing Supplied, Monochromatic Colorway
Step 3. No design supplied for Diaper Patterns, Split Complementary Colorway


Tree Ornament with EGA Brandywine Chapter and Vicky Witterschein

My EGA Brandywine Chapter hosted a class earlier tonight with Vicky Witterschein so she can gain experience towards her teaching certification with the National Academy of Needlearts (NAN).

Many thanks to her local needlepoint shop, The Edwardian Needle and Pam, for donating 20 kits to each of EGA’s 5 regions. It consists of 5″ x 5″ piece of 18 count canvas, Santa Fe Sage, 2 mm ribbon, Kreinik, pearls, needles, and beading thread.

Vicky led us through the stitches, had video demonstrations, and several of us finished the project during the 2-hour Zoom class. She is well on her to being an excellent teacher.

It could be done as a diamond like I did (2″ x 3″) or a Christmas Tree. Any ribbon thread will work, if I want to make up another. It’s great that the stitches work up easily into 2 different designs.



Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Step 3
November 25, 2020, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Embroidery Guild of America, Step 3

Step 3 of the Canvas Master Craftsman program was diaper patterns and my piece passed with distinction again and will be sent for display at EGA National Seminar in 2021 along with Steps 1 and 2. The instructions were to use at least 4 diaper patterns and a split complementary color combination (I selected orange, blue-green, and blue-violet).

After studying the extremely thorough book, Diaper Patterns, by Ann Strite-Kurz, I decided to make this a diaper sampler by incorporating the eight basic pattern networks (square, diamond, brick, half-drop, triangle, hexagon, scale, and ogee) into a design. I should call this piece Baby Steps because it barely touches the surface of what diaper patterns can create. Diaper patterns create strong visual diagonals in both directions.

There isn’t much open canvas but the judges commented that they did not see any visible threads through the canvas. It has good balance, excellent choices of diaper patterns and color, and the color of the canvas enhances the design where there is exposed canvas. And, I did a “fantastic job of laying threads”.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I am thankful I passed, appreciate the judges comments, and am looking forward to Step 4 and creating a bargello design! I hope you spend this Thanksgiving being especially safe.

Read all about the program at https://egausa.org/certifications/master-craftsman-program/.



Flower Cuff Ready for Final Steps
November 15, 2020, 2:16 pm
Filed under: Embroidery Guild of America, Flower Cuff with Orna Willis

Back to The Flower Cuff with Orna Willis. Our second and final class was yesterday on Saturday. When last I posted about this, it was all stitched and beads within the design had been stitched. I neglected to mention that this is now the second teacher who recommends matching the beading thread to the canvas rather than the bead. Luckily, I had a tan in my stash. What do you do?

As Orna instructed, I trimmed the canvas excess, folded the edges leaving 2 canvas threads, mitered the corners (which I didn’t do for the recent EGA piece I finished). Then, I whip stitched the edges using a long enough thread to just need 2 lengths. Orna gave a tip for turning the corner which I have diagrammed.

And, since I will hang it, I attached a loop using Kreinik #16 Braid. I don’t like making cord from threads even though I have the tool. It looks ok to me!

Next was the edge of Delica beads which worked up easily and looks fantastic! I love how they form little triangles. Orna showed us another step to make it more fringle-like.

Orna also demonstrated how to make an edge of bullions using Neon Rays (her favorite thread). I gave it a try and it turned out nicely.

That left attaching the backing which I started during class. I love ultrasuede. It was getting pulled askew as I was stitching. I told Orna what was happening and once she suggested pinning it in place, I got whipping right along (whip stitch again; pun intended). The hardest part was cutting the last long side straight. And, here is the back done.

During the 3-hour class while we stitched, Orna pulled different colorways from her studio. Beautiful combinations. Thanks Orna for a great class and wonderful piece.



Flower Cuff Growth
November 2, 2020, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Embroidery Guild of America, Flower Cuff with Orna Willis

It’s been fun stitching the Flower Cuff by Orna Willis. Her color selections are fascinating to me. They aren’t ones that I would select on my own but I love how they work together.

This weekend, the design area grew by an inch on both ends repeating a previous motif of petals and a Jessica. I used darker portions of the green overdyed DMC floss for the background and stayed with the lighter portions for the gobelin rows.


My French Knots inside the Jessica are very small and tightly packed together. I felt the blue ones were my best. They called for 3 strands while the center flower used 6 strands. I like the contrast that provided. As with anything, the French Knots improved with practice. 

The construction of the piece is next. I’m not going to make it into a bracelet though. I don’t wear them or a watch. So, I will make a flat ornament for hanging. Wait till you see where more Delica beads go!



The Flower Cuff is Blooming
October 26, 2020, 10:00 am
Filed under: Embroidery Guild of America, Flower Cuff with Orna Willis

I didn’t work on this since last Saturday’s class with Orna Willis and EGA’s Mid-Atlantic Region members. Between this Saturday’s Stitch-in with members of my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter, baseball, and football this weekend, I got a lot done.

I followed fellow classmate, Donna’s, idea to place the dark blue overdyed thread in opposite corners. I selected the yellow for the center basketweave stitch since there was enough pink there already. And, I selected the lighter portions of the green overdyed for the 2 rows of Gobelin over 2, the darker portions for the outer row of Gobelin over 2, and the medium portions for the basketweave in between.

Because it called for 3 strands of DMC floss for the reverse basketweave area (yellow and pink overdyed thread), I was able to use 3 strands in the bottom area working left to right. Using the other 3 strands, I worked the top area working from opposite corners. As I needed another thread, I continued with the next color of the skein to maintain the rhythm of color flow of the overdyed thread and used 3 strands in each area to mirror the effect.

This is 2″ wide and 5″ long. There is 1″ more to add on each end and French Knots to add and some beads.



The Flower Cuff Zoom Class with Orna Willis and EGA MAR
October 17, 2020, 5:18 pm
Filed under: Embroidery Guild of America, Flower Cuff with Orna Willis

I would have attended the Embroiderer’s Guild of America (EGA)  Mid-Atlantic Region (MAR) meeting in person in Wilmington, DE this month. But, it was canceled due to coronavirus, what didn’t!

But, Orna Willis agreed to hold the class through Zoom in 2 parts. The Flower Cuff measures 2″ wide and however long each person needs to make a comfortable fitting bracelet. I don’t wear bracelets or a watch. Can’t stand them or necklaces. So, why am I doing this? I really wanted to experience an EGA MAR event and Orna’s pieces are such fun colors and she’s teaching how to finish this ourselves. Instead of finishing as a bracelet, I will finish as a flat ornament for a small wall hanging.

Look at the lovely threads! It’s interesting that the threads are numbered 1 through 7 and instructions are written up by number of thread. It looks like 3 Neon Ray’s (ribbon) and 4 DMC overdyed threads. Wait until you see what I do with the beads.

I am in Wells, ME for the week and luckily the office of our timeshare had a small ironing board and iron. I needed to iron the Neon Ray’s. And, I didn’t think to bring my curling iron. Here’s my set up! Great light coming in the window (no need for either the battery or plugged in lights that I brought). I got a head start on class in order to figure out how long the threads should be before cutting. Signing in now.

We practiced French Knots. Mine got better as I moved left.

We went over all the diagrams but I couldn’t stitch and listen and or watch. Orna demonstrated several stitches using a pre-recorded video. So, here’s what I got done in class. But, I will easily be ready for the second class in a month from now.



Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Step 2

For Step 2 of the Canvas Master Craftsman Certification Program through EGA, I was tasked with a provided geometric design of 21 areas to be done in an analogous colorway using 21 different stitches in cotton floss. Some stitch patterns could accommodate 2 or 3 colors.

I selected Yellow, Yellow-Green, and Green for my analogous colorway (3 adjacent colors on the color wheel including a primary color; tints and shades allowed). There are a lot of greens. So many that you’d think it would be easy to get colors to look good together. But, it was tough. Not all of the first 15 colors worked.

So, I decreased the number of colors to 11 (5 yellow, 3 yellow-green, and 3 green), replaced one color, and spread out the colors relying on the 5 yellow colors to unify the design.

I mapped out the stitch patterns by area on my computer to minimize the amount of compensation because none of the stitches fit perfectly (probably by intention to test compensation ability). I thought I had everything where I wanted them but then realized I was off by 2 threads when I actually transferred the design to the canvas.

So, back to decide what went where. Only about 6 stitch patterns shifted. And, everything compensated better. A

After some practice stitching to settle on the number of threads needed for a stitch, I finally started stitching the real piece. The only section I had to restitch was the Turkey Work. As I worked from bottom to top, the nap of the threads were pressed downward. So, I didn’t notice that the coverage wasn’t as full as I expected when it was fluffed up. I used 2 strands in the left area and 6 strands (as Mary Corbet suggests in her YouTube video). Much better! At least the stitching was easy to remove from the backside.  

I was once again thrilled to find out that I passed with distinction and have been asked to send this for display at EGA National Seminar in 2021 along with Step 1 which would have been going to EGA National Seminar this year except that it was canceled due to coronavirus.

A few threads at the outside right portion of the Turkey work would benefit from additional trimming but overall is “good” (although it could have been squished in transit). I was particularly pleased to have the judges note the “very good” compensation between multiple areas and threads were laid well.

On to Step 3 and diaper patterns!

Read all about the program at https://egausa.org/certifications/master-craftsman-program/.



EGA Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Step 1 (Three Fish)
November 24, 2019, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Embroidery Guild of America, Step 1

I got started on the Canvas Master Craftsman Certification Program through EGA (https://egausa.org/certifications/master-craftsman-program/) in September 2019 with Step 1. I am also interested in the Color and Design Certification Programs. But, I decided to start with the Canvas program in order to demonstrate “mastery of basic canvas techniques and compensation” before advancing. And, I am thrilled to say that I passed the Step 1 evaluation with distinction! They want me to exhibit it as “an example of the beautiful work” being done as part of the Master Craftsman Program portion of the Education exhibit at the 2020 EGA National Seminar, September 4-8. I am happy to promote the program.

Since each program has 6 steps with judging at 6-month intervals, it’ll take a minimum of 3 years per program. But, you can take longer periods to complete any step. By the end of the 3 programs, I will have stitched 21 pieces and written 6 essays for the Color program (these sound tougher than stitching). While this is ambitious and challenging, it is just what I want. Even though I didn’t get started on my first piece until September, I was able to get it done before the end of October and send it in for the November evaluation. It appears that 3 people did the evaluation which looks at following directions, transferring the design, stitch technique, stitch placement, correct compensation, canvas coverage, and use of color.

For step 1 of Canvas, I had to select 10 stitches from a list of 20 and one of three designs using a monochromatic color scheme of 5 values of stranded cotton floss.

I selected the three fish mainly because I could use 5 values in the monochromatic color range that DMC calls Golden Yellow (3078, 727, 726, 725, and 972). After I made multiple copies of the design, I pulled out my colored pencils and mapped out the basic colors to be sure there would be contrast between adjacent areas and to get an idea of some different shading for each fish.

Next, I decided what direction each area would be. And, I wanted movement that would keep your eye within the piece. I selected Mosaic for what I saw as the furthest away fish (upper left) because it is a smaller stitch pattern, Parisian for the middle fish (right) because I could rotate the stitch 90 degrees for the tail which is showing the backside of the fin, and Milanese for the closest fish (bottom left) because it is the largest stitch pattern. Then, I filled in the rest of the areas.

For my initial tracing, I used a yellow copic marker but I couldn’t see the lines well enough. So, I got another piece of canvas and used a pencil even though I don’t like pencil. It either rubs away on me or it is too dark to cover with the light colored threads. As it turns out, one negative comment was that the lighter threads in some places picked up the graphite. Or, it might be that I didn’t cover the tracing quite enough in a couple of places. They offered two suggestions including colored pencils or micron pens which come in different sizes and colors.

I was pleased they noted my threads were “very nicely laid with good tension”. My coverage was good but “a small amount of canvas is visible in some areas”. I liked the coverage with 3 or 4 threads. But, I can appreciate their suggestion to use more strands on the straight stitches to cover even more. They also offered a good alternative to use paint behind the stitches. I wasn’t sure that was allowed but now I know it’s ok.

I planned out the thread blending on the bodies of each fish and they noticed. “Color blending added interest and the transition of values, particularly in the upper left fish, is excellent.” That fish had the most complicated thread blending pattern. And, they loved the way I turned the stitch on the right fish’s fin to add movement. It’s nice to read that my submission was “artfully done” and that the color blending and stitch placement, especially on the fin were appreciated.

An extensive bibliography is provided and, as a guide, each entry references which step it applies to. I own about 10 of the books. And, Rittenhouse Needlepoint has another 6 in their classroom library. I came to appreciate the stitching order as suggested in The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen. She indicates that slanted stitches should be stitched first when next to straight stitches.

Step 2 instructions were included when Step 1 was returned to me and I am already planning what stitch goes where in the assigned geometric design. My analogous colorway with DMC floss has been determined. Color placement is tough. While I am anxious to get started, I am not in a rush as I have until May. And, there is a painted canvas that I must finish first.



Edward Scissorfish, Tail and Fin Fringes

Edward Scissorfish is ready for displaying! The tail and fin fringes weren’t too tough once I used a single, very long thread for multiple fringe lengths (6″, 5″, 4″, 3″, and 2″). That’s a lot of beads but easy enough to watch baseball and bead.

No more baseball for 2019 but basketball season is underway and it appears Philadelphia has a team in the Sixers!

It was good to go out of my comfort zone to try this beaded piece but don’t look for another. I’m not sure my fingers can take many more stabs! I feel a real sense of accomplishment. I’m sure if I did a second one, it would be easier and turn out better. But, nobody else is going to be noticing anything amiss with this guy as long as I stop pointing them out.

Thanks again to Cleo Robbins (Busy Lizzy) for all her guidance and holding a fourth class so several of us could get the lining in correctly.