Melitastitches4fun's Blog

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

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 ( 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.

Edward Scissorfish, Lining
October 23, 2019, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Edward Scissorfish Scissors Holder, Embroidery Guild of America

Edward got his lining today and the dagger beads on his tail. Thanks to Cleo for her help with the lining. She makes it look easy but she’s done 4 of these fish and does finishing as part of her business (Busy Lizzy). We saw lots of fantastic pieces done in all manners from the ones she has ready for customers and the multitude of needlework throughout her home. As much as I want to finish the fish, I enjoyed our classes and am sorry to see them end.

Now, for the tail and fin fringes!

Edward Scissorfish, Belly and Lower Face
October 21, 2019, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Edward Scissorfish Scissors Holder, Embroidery Guild of America

Edward Scissorfish has his lower face completely filled in (on bottom) and filled in with dark beads around the belly scales as I sewed up the center seam. The bugle beads are a bit wonky where they join but he’s my Edward and am happy to have him ready for our fourth class Wednesday at Cleo’s (Busy Lizzy). I need help with the lining. In the meantime, I will string tiny (13/0) seed beads for the tail and fin fringes!

Edward Scissorfish, Lower Face and Belly Scales

Edward Scissorfish grew a lower face (on the sides/bottom) during our second class and an afternoon ballgame the following day (I forgot to post this earlier). After a break from beads for a couple of weeks, I went back to belly scales. Lots of them! Had my belly full of them.

Just a few more required for sewing up the seam of the belly. I’m ready for our third class tomorrow at Cleo’s (Busy Lizzy).

Edward Scissorfish Eyes, Back Fin, and Back Scales

My chair may have a few beads in it after this project! Good thing Cleo gave us a lot.

Getting both sides of the eyes and large scales to match was tough but once established, it went well. I loved how the dagger-shaped beads stood up after the surrounding beads were stitched into place.

The back 5 large and 13 small scales took a toll on my left forearm. Apparently, my left arm is gripping the fish too tightly. Got to take more breaks from working on it. With the scales done, that completed Areas 1 and 2. There are 5 more areas to cover and add the lining. It’s good to try new things. Right!?!

Edward Scissorfish Scissors Holder With Cleo of BusyLizzy

Fortunately, I am taking this class from Cleo now as it is the last time she’ll be kitting it (too time consuming). Thanks for your efforts Cleo! It’s an “encore” piece from 9 years ago which several members hadn’t finished yet and others were working on a second or third one in different colors (purple, green, or red). Edward Scissorfish Scissors Holder is from Beadalot, L. A. Hall Designs.

The beads are brighter than pictured. I just can’t get over how many beads we got! Cleo said we have plenty of extra beads. The fish is about 4 inches long without a tail.

We cut out a paper pattern as the foundation and sewed it together and turned it inside out. There are some basic areas marked for us to follow on the wrong side. We’ll stitch right over the paper. I got further on the left eye. It moved along quickly under Cleo’s direction. We’ll work on our own until our next class on July 31. It’s coming along swimmingly!

Paper Leaves

My EGA Brandywine chapter had a challenge to stitch on paper. I had saved a print from New American Paintings, a catalog of the fourteenth open studios competition, a juried exhibition from Feb 1998 at a flea market. Many of the pictures were interesting, different, and colorful. I did Fruit Basket by Stacy Thomas-Vickory last time when I had suggested stitching on paper to my ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter (search ‘fiber’ on my blog). This time I have a print of leaves by Jamie Brunson, an artist in Oakland, CA. I used 1 strand of DMC 935 to stitch the veins on some of the leaves. The rest of the leaves won’t be stitched.