Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Floral Fantasy Turns Into A Beaded Nightmare
July 22, 2022, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Floral Fantasy, Other People's Pieces

Well, nightmare is too strong. However, pulling out beads you stitch through twice is not easy.

I was trying to get full coverage with the beads. But the 8/0 seed beads were too big for clusters of 5 even on 14 count. And, it looked messy.

So, in the May/June 2021 issue of Needle Pointers, Marilyn Owen had written an excellent article on various beading techniques in needlepoint. I thought I would try beaded basketweave with the same 8/0 beads (still on 14 count). But, as Marilyn said, that stitch is only good in small areas because it gets quite cramped. So, once that happened, out they came – again and I switched to 11/0 seed beads. Finally, it wasn’t too cramped. For a self-proclaimed non-expert, Marilyn was spot on.

I wanted full coverage and it is covered! I estimate that there is about 800 beads on that one flower. I used the beaded basketweave method which employs a cross-stitch to attach the beads following the grain of the canvas to turn beads causing the vertical canvas thread to raise the beads above the adjacent horizontally placed beads. It did take some time too but I got through it ok.

Once the beads were done, the center diamond waffle got lost. So, I had stitch over it a second time. Much better.

Considering that the first flower required that many beads, I knew that I would not have enough to cover the entire second pink flower. So, I had to go in another direction. The Partial Eyelet with Crosses is from Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches by Susan Sturgeon Roberts. I used 3 shades of pink Sparkle Rays (SR26, SR58, and SR57) to create shading. I filled in with a Raibow Gallery thread from a 6-thread card, maybe 24 Karats, possibly a discontinued color. I wanted to tie in the pink beads so I put one in each eyelet center.

As I had hoped, one project is done before I leave for Seminar where I will be starting two new ones. It’s a small one at 4″ square. Probably going to frame it. We’ll see.

Floral Fantasy at First Tuesday and a New Thread Line

I finally joined Cleo of Busy Lizzy for one of her First Tuesday sessions at her shop behind her house. It’s not large but Cleo has a good selection of painted canvases, threads, and miscellany including books. The table and chairs still allow enough room to walk around looking at everything. Eight of us fit comfortably around the table. Lively conversation made the time fly and before I knew it, it was 2:30 pm which was 30 minutes past the time I was planning to leave (just over an hour to and from Chadds Ford for me). Two others from ANG Main Line Stitchers, Gloriann and Stacie, were there. My travel SMASTA (tool case) was a smash hit! A very enjoyable day.

I found one book there that I couldn’t find anywhere online!! But, that will be the topic of another post.

The piece I’m working on is a small (4″ square) 14 count canvas with designer initials of BTB or BT8. I have no idea where I got it from but it looked like an easy piece to stitch at a Stitch-in. If anyone recognizes the designer, please leave a comment. I named it Floral Fantasy for lack of the proper title.

I selected basketweave for the white flower outlines, a 4×4 Norwich Stitch for the white center of the red flower, and 2 upright waffle stitches for the white center of the pink flowers using ThreadworX Expressions (200, white). These areas were finished the day before.

The green is Boucle (170) done with Checkerboard Cross which are alternating cross stitches and upright crosses each over 2 canvas threads. I wanted a random looking grassy texture. I began this area to make sure the thread worked. Since it is 14 count, the Boucle works ok. I finished this today and found out Pepper Pot Silk would not cover on 14 count at least for the stitch I wanted to use.

It was a perfect time to try the new thread Line at Cleo’s that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It is from Gloriana Threads and is Duchess Silk, a hand-dyed thread. Some colors have more subtle changes in the skein. I had brought along another canvas and selected other skeins of Duchess Silk but that too will be the subject of another post.

This Rose Violet (232) has more variations than many of the other colors in the line. You can see I got the upper right corner started using the stitch, Pointing Fingers. There is nice variation of color. It’s taking some time to “see” the pattern and compensation isn’t easy yet. Hopefully, I’ll get it once I start stitching in the larger area.

Also in the upper right corner are 2 small clusters of 5 beads each. I have accumulated (mostly from Trish who was unloading her stash before moving south) a slew of beads including a large tube of pink beads that are calling to me, “Use us!” I don’t know what kind they are so I hope I have enough for both pink flowers. If not, then I will improvise. The differences in texture are pleasing me most about this piece. I have no idea what to do with it when I finish it. Any suggestions?

NJ Needle Fest 2022

This year NJ Needle Fest was 2 days (Friday and Saturday) at the Embassy Suites in Berkeley Heights, NJ.

Buff and I drove up Friday morning. We found our table for ANG Main Line Stitchers right inside the main entrance joining Kristen, Linda, and Lori. There were dozens of other stitchers at tables in a large room and a second atrium room where the folks from ANG NJ Needle Artists sat. The rooms were not completely full which is why next year the event will be on Saturday and Sunday in April (15-16). On Saturday, Patrick and Beth joined us. Lots more people came but there were still about 30 cancellations even 3 at our table. It would have been too crowded for 10 anyway. Now we know that 8 is the maximum at a table.

There were lots of vendors and I couldn’t resist buying a piece of linen (30 count linen by The Primitive Hare), Easy Guide Ball-Tip Needles (2 each size 26 and 28 good for stitching on linen), a dozen beaded counting pins (by, beautiful hand-dyed threads (by – who is on Facebook), a 10″ x 8″ thread bag by Trish Vine Designs (who is on Facebook) and a 14″ square clear project bag by Trish who is formerly from the ANG Keystone Garden chapter. It was great to see her again and glad to hear she’s enjoying North Carolina.

Breakfast (bagels, toast, pastry type food, coffee, tea), lunch (salad, meats/cheeses/bread for sandwiches, grilled eggplant/zucchini, chips, water/soda), afternoon snack (cookies and fruit) were all very good. Friday night three Main Line Stitchers, 6 NJNA, and I met for dinner at Delicious Heights in Berkeley Heights for a wonderful evening of good food and conversation.

Besides stitching and vendors, we looked at a variety of wonderful pieces that others at the event were stitching covering a variety of categories. My favorite was the beaded piece Infinity by Tela Artis (seller is in Ukraine). The amount of beading is unbelievable but will be beautiful when finished. The shading on the fabric is pretty enough to just frame the fabric.

Dee from NJ Needle Artists shared her hand woven towels making me get more excited to learn weaving even though I am learning tapestry weaving which is different.

During the day they gave away door prizes and I won big prizes each day! On Friday, it was registration to their Summer Getaway in Radnor near Philadelphia that I can use in 2023 (I’ll be away at ANG Seminar in 2022). And on Saturday, it was registration to their Christmas in Williamsburg in Nov 30-Dec 4, 2022 which I can go to with Buff who won that prize last year! We can drive down and share a room. What are the odds of me getting both? Amazing!! Before I won the Williamsburg registration, I was paying for next year’s NJ Needle Fest and saw the Joyful box behind the counter and commented on how cute it was. Don’t you know that the certificate came in that box. It was certainly my lucky day.

Can’t forget to talk about the stitching that I did. I brought 2 projects expecting to zip right through the Corinthian Earrings by Orna Willis but between gabbing, shopping, looking around, and some frogging, it took 2 days to finish the earrings. I should have Xerox copied the pattern to highlight areas stitched as I progressed. They are on Congress Cloth and come with the materials to finish them but that will be the subject of another post.

Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, by Gay Ann Rogers
November 21, 2021, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Dowager Countess, Other People's Pieces

This is the 4th piece of the Downton Abbey series by Gay Ann Rogers. I worked on the overstitching with the darker plum Impressions in the corners of the Scotch stitch variation yesterday at our ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter Stitch-in. Due to Thanksgiving next weekend, we moved it to a week earlier than usual. Robin was a most generous host with a great soup and chicken salad lunch and brownies made by Pat. Last night, I finished the overstitching and filled in the Smyrna stitches. This morning, I finished the overstitching on the long diagonal chains with black Kreinik 1/16 Ribbon. I love it!

Gay Ann Rogers was inspired by this photo of Violet Crawley. Once again, Gay Ann captured the look and feel of the photo in her geometric. According to her website, Gay Ann will be releasing “Dowager in the Evening” at some point but it will be larger and beaded. While I may get it, I have a plan to design two more Downton Abbey pieces based on pictures I have selected. Then, I will frame all six together (or maybe three and three). I’ve had the threads for my first piece for awhile (they were in the dining room mess). After Thanksgiving, I hope to have completed all or most of the design on the computer and start stitching it. Oh boy, that’s a fifth piece calling to me!

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, More Pulled Work
November 13, 2021, 8:10 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, Gay Ann Roger's, Dowager Countess

Last month, I realized that a few sections of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham by Gay Ann Rogers were going to require extra concentration than can be done at our monthly ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter Stitch-in where chatting can disrupt with counting. We’ll be meeting next weekend which is a week early for our Saturday Stitch-in due to Thanksgiving.

So, I took advantage of this rainy afternoon after the morning Zoom session of ANG New Jersey Needle Artists Stitch-in to do the pulled thread stitch called Faggoting. My husband was grocery shopping and the TV was off. It was easy enough except on my hand. Pulling canvas threads on 18 count monocanvas hurts my hand. Congress Cloth would be easier.

So, rather than overwhelm my hand, I enlarged the holes (rows surrounding the center) as was done for eyelet stitches. I made all the holes larger along the whole row so that I could easily stitch the row without stopping. It worked out well. It gives a lacey effect and looks more and more like the Dowager Countess.

While I had the #8 Pearl cotton Ecru out, I stitched the slanting gobelin area with Smyrnas. With any luck, I will be posting a completed piece next weekend!

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Corners Done
October 24, 2021, 9:32 am
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Countess of Granrham, Other People's Pieces

Last month, I stitched 2 corners of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham by Gay Ann Rogers. They were less tricky this month but I still could only get the third corner stitched during my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter members Saturday Stitch-in yesterday. Thanks again to Buff for offering her home and lunch.

There was still a lot of baseball left when I finished the fourth corner. So, I kept going and added more to the inner diagonal chains, added a motif to the top and bottom large center ‘stones’. The next part on the outer diagonal chains looked tricky. So, it’ll wait until I have fresh eyes. I’m not sure if any additional areas will be ones I can stitch, count, and chat.

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Next Step and a Portable Charger
September 26, 2021, 8:44 am
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Countess of Granrham, Other People's Pieces

The corners of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham by Gay Ann Rogers, were tricky. I couldn’t get the rhythm of the stitch on the first one during my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter members Saturday Stitch-in yesterday. But, the second corner went better despite having one eye on a bad 50s female Dracula movie on TV. Even though I finally had the rhythm, I’ve put it away until next month’s Stitch-in. Hopefully, my mind’s muscles will remember the pattern. It’s a perfect size piece for traveling.

I had seen the Halo Bolt battery charger as a fundraiser for the Pacific Southwest Region of EGA. Very powerful at 440 Wh. It can jump start cars! But, at 3 lbs plus accessories, it was too heavy for my needs.

I mostly want to plug in my 2 prong light which has a clamp for Stitch-ins and classes. My rechargeable light just isn’t bright enough. So, I went with the SinKeu Portable Power Station Model HP5005 I found on Amazon. It’s only 88.8 Wh but will support the light for a full class day. There are 2 USB ports too. And, one of my chapter members plugged her rechargeable light into the unit when her light died. My Surface Pro drains the charger much quicker. But, I haven’t really tested it fully.

My charger is 6.75″ length x 3.75″ Depth x 1.75″ Height and weighs about 1 lb plus accessories. It displays the % of remaining power. So, the 2 units are about the same size and price but weight and power are different. So far, I am happy with the unit I selected.

NJ Needle Fest and Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, Step 2 by Gay Ann Rogers

Seven members of the ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter shared a table at NJ Needle Fest today. I missed it the year they, Needleworkers Delight, took over running the event from Susan Hoekstra and moved out of the church in Bedminster (2019) and we all missed it last year due to coronavirus. So, it’s been awhile for me but the location, the Embassy Suites in Berkley, NJ was nice. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks were included. Door prizes (I didn’t win). And, vendors (I just can’t buy anything else with so much waiting for me to stitch). I finished the light purple Oriental stitch filling today. Only the very first part of Step 2. The day flew by!

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Step 1
August 21, 2021, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Dowager Countess, Other People's Pieces

The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet, is the fourth in the series of Downton Abbey inspired pieces by Gay Ann Rogers.

Another month, another in-person Stitch-in, and another ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter member, Sally, hosted 6 members at her house and 2 members attended via Zoom. Wonderful lunch and so great getting together. Lots of chatting.

I forgot to post my progress on the black ‘stones’ and ‘chains’between the 2 Stitch-ins. Today, I stitched the border using Watercolours 006 Amethyst. There was more brown than I preferred for this piece. So, I cut most of it out!

The border completes Step 1.

Violet, Dowager Countess by Gay Ann Rogers Begins
July 26, 2021, 9:47 am
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Dowager Countess, Other People's Pieces

The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet, is the fourth in the series of Downton Abbey inspired pieces by Gay Ann Rogers.

I decided to get started on it Saturday for our first ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter in person Stitch-in since coronavirus.

One of the members, Buff, hosted us at her house. There were 6 in person and 3 via Zoom. Great lunch and to see folks in person again. But, we probably need more laptops to engage both groups. One camera can’t see 6 people sitting around a table. So, we’ll keep trying!

The Step 1A center eyelets and couched hexagon were easy to stitch as we talked. I was able to complete the rest of Step 1B after I got home.