Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Step 5

Step 5 of the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas 3 had to include 2 appliques (canvas to canvas and at least one had to be irregularly shaped). It had to be 10″ x 14″.

The wings were stitched on 24 count Congress Cloth and applied to 18 count canvas. These are the practice wings. In a nutshell, Step 1 is to pull threads out to the stitched piece (in progress in left photo). Step 2 buries some threads on the back of the applique (right photo). The rest of the threads are pulled to the back and buried in the surrounding stitched area. It is time consuming.

I started this piece shortly after seeing the article Tale of Two Stitchers in the Needle Pointers magazine (Mar/Apr 2021) regarding 2 painted canvases of owls “Who Gives a Hoot”. At first I was going to make the round eyes the applique until I realized that a circle is not irregular! So, I switched to making the wings the appliques which actually made better sense since they should be in front of the body anyway. I would have padded it but the instructions didn’t say you could but it is allowed. They have changed their instructions to clearly state that padding is allowed.

I had to practice the technique and actually stitched 5 wings trying to get this right. That’s why this step took an extra 6 months. But, the piece passed with distinction. So, it was worth it. Bill likes owls, knew I had worked on it a lot, and thought Night Owl deserved to be framed. So, it was framed before going on display at EGA National Seminar from August 24-28, 2022 in New York City.

I’m glad I waited to post this until I got it back so I could take a new photo. Before my photography class:

After class:

Canvas Master Craftsman Program, Step 4

Step 4 of the Canvas Master Craftsman program had to incorporate 8 different bargello patterns but not into a “sampler”. So, I have 3 bowls, 3 abstract flowers, a background, and a border. It’s 252 x 180 canvas threads on 18-count canvas. I was surprised to see that it measured 14.5″ x 10.25″. Do stretcher bars actually stretch the canvas that much?

Step 4 passed with distinction and will be sent for display at EGA National Seminar in 2021 along with Steps 1, 2, and 3! 

Any color combination was allowed. I selected a tetrad that are two sets of complements: yellow-orange (browns), yellow-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

The left blossoms use 3 diamond patterns. For the bowl, I combined two of the same components used in the blossoms and overlapped them when joined side by side. The center bowl and blossoms are different but related diagonal patterns. And, the third group are both examples of mirrored bargello patterns.

I never thought I would finish the background which is a variation of Victorian Step from Decorative Backgrounds by June McKnight (page 53). Since this pattern has more smaller over 2 stitches than over 4 stitches, the stitches recede from the main design elements which consists of mainly larger over 4 stitches.

The border stitch was tricky to make it align evenly. I had to expand the pattern on the sides to make it fit. Four Way Bargello by Dorothy Kaestner is a great resource for bargello patterns. This is a variation of Mauve Ribbon Corners (page 110-111).

I really wish Liz Morrow was still with us. Her designs were instrumental in teaching me about different bargello patterns. Her last blog posting was 2 lovely Hearts for Hospice ( Liz was a wonderful designer and teacher. She was another generous and supportive needlepoint mentor that I have been blessed to know. We are fortunate that her designs are still available at: There are several bargello patterns I still want to stitch and under her needlepoint tab, I’ve always loved her Leaping Stag.

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 ( 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

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

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.