Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday Whimsies.

Gosh, that sure was a fast week wasn't it?  Do you suppose the holiday had anything to do with that feeling?

I have often had students ask for assistance in how to correctly execute the basketweave (diagonal tent stitch).  Therefore, I thought I'd share that stitch before we progress along much further (is it further or farther?)  into our Notebook. (Have you noticed that it is hard to tell what word I might capitalize next? Hmmm.  There is probably some deep meaning to that but I certainly do not have the time to explore that path.)  It is my blog and I can do whatever I fancy at the moment.

When doing this stitch, it is important to pay attention to the weave of the canvas.  The warp, up and down, or vertical canvas threads, and the weft, sideways, or horizontal canvas threads (also affectionately referred to as the 'weft to right' thread), determine how the stitch is to move.  When crossing a vertical, warp, thread, the stitch moves diagonally down - sliding down the pole is often used to describe this movement.  When crossing a horizontal, or weft, then the stitch moves diagonally up - or stepping up a ladder.

Reading the Canvas
This flow of the stitch is necessary - no, critical - to get the resulting 'basketweave' on the backside of the canvas. The basketweave stitch is always stitched diagonally.

Basketweave Front

Basketweave Back

  (If anyone can share with me how to make to pictures line up side by side in this darn program, I would be most grateful!)

The stitch is invaluable for adding strength to designs such as stools, chair seats, garments, etc.  Which, is what the stitch was originally used for. It is very durable and long lasting.  Anytime you take apart an older piece of needlepoint cover used for these purposes, it is almost always basketweave. Also, the stitch uses much more thread in its execution than does something like the continental stitch.  

Today, we consider this stitch a favorite 'go to', fill in spaces, stitch it when you can't think of anything else stitch, etc.  It is great for small spaces on canvases.  And, I almost 99.99% of the time use it for faces, hands and any exposed body parts. I don't even think about it.  If it is a face I basketweave it and while doing so think about what else I want to do with the design.  It is my 'pondering' time stitch.  

So, now you know how I see the basketweave stitch.  Enjoy and have a great week!

Stitch with a Smile!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Witch on the Town.

Today I am busily drawing Witch on the Town canvases and getting kits together to send to the San Bernardino Chapter workshop scheduled the last of June.  I believe Pat is still accepting ghosts if you still want to get in on the fun.  You may contact her at

Now, isn't she just too cute!

For those taking the f-2-f portion of the class there is a little pre-stitching.  There are so many fun threads in this piece - Planet Earth, Kreinik, Shimmer, Ribbon Floss, Rainbow Gallery, Watercolours, floss, pearl cotton, and on and on.  There are also lots of fun stitches - applique, couching, bargello variation, upright cross, etc., etc.  And, look at all those embellishments!  Way, way too cool.

She is all dolled up and ready to go with her blushed cheeks and her curled eyelashes.  That sparkly lipstick just begs the local vampires to give her a kiss (well, maybe not!).

Well, while I am sitting here at the computer I obviously am not working on my kits!  So back at it . . .

Have a great day and Stitch with a Smile!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Whimsies

Good morning all.  Our thoughts and prayers to all those who are faced with the terrible weather being experienced in several parts of our country and to all those who are related and sharing the burden.

Today I will share with you the Barred Cross stitch.
Barred Cross Stitch

This is not a delicate stitch.  It is made up of three layers of stitching:  the foundation cross stitch, a row of vertical Gobelin stitches and a row of horizontal Gobelin stitches.  It is a good stitch when one is seeking some dimension to a piece.  Notice that this is not a woven stitch.  It is a layered stitch.

The stitch may be altered and reverse the direction of the Gobelin stitches, as shown on the bottom row of my sample card.  It may be offset to add a different interest.  These variations could result in great patios, cobblestone paths, stone walls, chimneys, tops of fence posts, etc.  What about a 'pillow' quilt?  Use your imagination and share with others.

Until next time, enjoy and be sure to visit the Yahoo Group and add pictures of your sample.

Stitch with a Smile.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

TNNA Class for Columbus No. 2

Done!  Isn't this a cute family of Quail from Sundance Designs?  I will be teaching this class Thursday afternoon, June 20, beginning at 12:00 noon until 6:00 pm.


 This sweet canvas is 10" x 10" with a design area of 8x8.  (Erroneously shown in catalog as 12"x12").  A wide variety of threads and stitches are provided:  Burmilana, Caron Impressions, High Cotton, Pepper Pot Silk, Planet Earth Silk, Rainbow Gallery, River Silks and beads from Sundance.

We will do an interesting open background.  The quail has a variety of stitches to emphasize different parts of the body.  Flowers add great color and the grasses are wonderful in both Burmilana and River Silks silk ribbon.  And look at those dimensional flowers from Sundance!  What fun!

Come join me for this class on Thursday night - TT201.  Register now!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Whimsies

Today I will share with you the Cashmere Stitch  What a versatile stitch.

The Cashmere can be used in any number of ways - clothing on any type demographic, architecture such as buildings, walkways and paths, brick walls, etc., and in addition to the always standby of a background, it is a great fill for all sorts of areas - moons, trees, etc.  I think it is considered a 'brick' when you look at it, so it is natural that it becomes walls, walks, etc. Isn't it something that this is called a Cashmere and looks like a brick, but the Brick stitch not so much?

This guy can be stitched in all directions - horizontally,vertically and diagonally.  Now, don't get the Diagonal Cashmere Stitch confused with the Cashmere Stitch done diagonally - two totally different stitches!  I'll post the Diagonal Cashmere Stitch soon to help you see the difference - in fact I'll probably do that next (otherwise I'll probably forget and lord only knows when it would show up in the lineup).

There are also many variations where the stitches are wider and the rows longer - some have other names, some don't.  The point I'm making here is that if you like the look of the stitch but your area is 3 canvas threads wide, try it and see if you like it.  The stitch-name police aren't going to come after you saying 'oh no, that's not a Cashmere, it is over 3 canvas threads instead of 2 canvas threads'.  Heaven knows we designers abuse stitch names daily - and not always intentionally.  How many times do you stitch a stitch but cannot for the life of you remember the name of it?  Sometimes you are in position where you are asked 'what is that stitch' and instead of saying I can't remember the name you call it something like diagonal Gobelin variation (the Cashmere is a group of diagonal Gobelins after all).

My stitched sample shows the stitch done in all three ways. No matter which of these three ways you stitch, it should always line up beside itself and over top (or underneath) itself like the sample in the top right. Also look at the placement of the stitch.  In the horizontal row, for example.  I stitched from right to left.  If you stitch it from the left to the right, place your needle in a position of coming up in an unoccupied hole so that you exit into a shared hole.  This leaves the thread less disturbed.  When coming up in an occupied hole (and sometimes we have no other choice) one must be careful to try and not split the threads of the previous stitch - not always an easy task.

Okay, enough already.  Those in the Yahoo Group who do not follow the blog miss all this gibberish that I interject here - are they lucky or missing out?  That is for you to determine - lol.

So stitch your sample and get that page into the notebook.  You will start seeing how quickly this will truly become a Stitch Sampler Notebook.

Stitch with a Smile!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I have the good fortune of once again teaching at the TNNA market.  This time we return to Columbus, Ohio.  I will be teaching two classes.  One for Leigh Designs and one for Sundance Designs.

Today I am going to share with you the Leigh Designs canvas.  This is Jamaica and is one of eight of the new Caribe series.

We will be doing so many fun things with this canvas:  stretching Flair, adding beads, doing ruching, and some Or Nue'.

So many sponsors have donated such wonderful products - canvas and stitch guide from Leigh Designs, needles from ColonialNeedle, gobs of threads (Burmilana, Rainbow Gallery, Kreinik, Caron, DMC, Pepper Pot Silk, Vineyard Silk), and beads from Sundance.

The class is an all day class (thank goodness!) and is set for Friday, June 21, it begins at 8 am.

Class is limited to 18 so be sure to sign up right away.  I would love to see you there.

Later this week I will highlight my second class that is for Sundance Designs - cute.

Have a great day and Stitch with a Smile.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Whimsies - Wooo Hooo!

Here we are again.  Yea!

Today I am sharing a Triple Parisian Stitch.  Which means it is simply a Parisian Stitch but tripled.

For some reason today my photo program does not want to pick up the lines between columns.  Oh well, typical day on the computer for me.  If it isn't one thing it is another.

This stitch diagram is shown lying on its side because the space is not large enough to show it horizontally.  So if you want it to look like water, etc., stitch it horizontally, not vertically as placed in the form.

Below is a sample of my stitched block for my notebook.  Isn't it pretty?  I really like this stitch.  And it is so easy to do once you get the first row in - you just keep going in the same rhythm.

Triple Parisian
So happy stitching everyone until next time.  Be sure to go over on the Yahoo Group and post pictures of your samples and share.

Stitch with a Smile!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Village Sampler - St. Albans,WV

Well, I had a great time in my home state and mingling with like-minded women.  We had no trouble communicating at all!

Pat McClure was a wonderful hostess as was her husband Bo.  They really worked to make us all comfortable.  And I do mean all.  We had 11 in an embellishment class.  Ole Sandy's butt was hoping around that shop I tell you!  But Bo kept me supplied with ice and Pat kept the soft drinks on hand.

Pat hard at work

Now the students, in addition to Pat, certainly made sure that we didn't go hungry.  There was a constant supply of sweets, cookies, brownies, veggies, wonderful dips, great crackers, fruits, meatballs, salads, on and on.  We hardly had time to stitch!

We had a diverse group and a diverse bunch of canvases - from teeny tiny ones to humongeous ones.  But they all had one thing in common - needlepoint.  Most of the class had never taken an embellishment class before and had no idea what to expect.  Some thought they were to get full blown stitch guides, some thought they were to get all the threads, etc., etc.  But we worked through it and all were stitching away.  It is so sad  that I can't be there to watch each piece develop as it is being stitched. It is such fun to watch them come to life with each different thread and stitch or technique.

I had a wonderful time and am thrilled that I have been invited back again.  I didn't get to take any pictures because I was too busy running around but maybe next time.  However,  Debbie was on the ball and managed to get some photos and shared some with us.  Thank you Debbie.

I got to meet Cathie from the Stitch Sampler Notebook group.
Isn't it fun to connect with someone you meet on the internet  face to face?

Thank you Pat and Debbie for spearheading this event, and all the participants who supported Pat in this new adventure and allowed me to come along for the ride.

Until next time,

Stitch with a Smile!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Stitch Sampler Notebook

I was thinking of some things this morning to share with you about my notebook.  I don't know if I have shared them before, but we keep getting new members over on the Yahoo Group page so

I don't think it would't hurt to repeat.

First, you can devote an entire sheet to one stitch.  This gives you the opportunity to experiment with the stitch in several different ways, with different threads, different directions, and different combinations.  The down side to that, of course, is that you end up with one heck of a large notebook as each page potentially has only two stitched samples. The up side is that you have a treasure of samples.

I also keep some regular sheet protectors handy for my notebook.  Every now and then there is a stitch or technique that needs to occupy a whole sheet of paper so I let it have its way.  I'm easy like that.

Second, if I have not said so before, you do use both sides of the protector sheets.  Therefore, each 'page' has six stitched samples.

Third, to distribute the bulk, I rotate my stitched samples.  For instance, the actual sample may be a row on the top this page, a row in the center on the next page, and a row at the bottom on the next page.  You can see how that cuts down having one big hump in only one area of the notebook.  You could even rotate them by placing them top in the left slot, middle in the center slot, and bottom in the right slot.  This really mixes them up. But,  I tend to like my stitched samples placed in little horizontal rows. It's my notebook, I can place them where I want!  Right?  Here's a sample of samples in the middle row and samples in the bottom row.

Okay, that's it for right now.  Gotta get to work.  Have a great day and week and remember

Stitch with a Smile!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

If this is May, June can't be too far behind.

I am preparing to leave for St. Albans, WV to teach a two-day embellishment class at The Village Sampler.  There are so many cute canvases that I know we'll all  have a great time.  It is a pretty large class for embellishment, but we'll be sure all get their fair share.

Next on the agenda is a great Old Crows Workshop class sponsored by The Needle Works in Austin, Texas.  Colleen Church is a great hostess and we will certainly enjoy our time there.  You may chose to work on any or all of the Old Crow Series by Leigh Designs.  We can even adjust the jack-o-lantern to look like a regular pumpkin and then it can easily be displayed all fall - and beautifully.  Check them out at

These projects will be worked on June 6 and 7.  But . . .

To make your trip even more worthwhile, Colleen is also hosting Desert Garden by Sundance on June 8 and 9! 

We will have so much embellishment fun with this piece and it will result in a spectacular example of your needle skills.

Check out or call and get all the details.  You know with Colleen in charge that a great time will be had by all.

I would love to see you there and work with you on this fantastic weekend!


Wednesday Whimsie - May 4, 2013

Oh my - MAY ???  Time is so flying out of my life.

This week I am sharing the Jacquard stitch.  It is a combination stitch of the byzantine plus a tent stitch.  This is a fun stitch to use when you need a variety of a bunch of stitches in one project - such as a pile of packages under a tree, several clothed persons, etc.

This stitch is easily adaptable to different canvas space availability.  The byzantine, which is made up of diagonal Gobelins, can cover more canvas threads, thereby, making the pattern larger.  If you want to make a huge pattern, you can even expand the byzantine further and make the tent stitch area into a diagonal Gobelin.  I would label this technique as a 'variation'.  

Threads are no issue.  Use of the same thread throughout will produce a very monochromatic stitch.  The byzantine section can be one thread color and the tent stitch section can be a second color.  Or, the tent stitch section can be a different texture such a metallic, fuzzy, bumpy, etc.  Beads are another great possibility.

Here's my sample that I will be placing in my notebook. This sample is on 14ct monocanvas.

The first section is strictly Silk 'n Ivory in Pumpkin #82; next is Silk 'n Ivory with Rainbow Gallery Tiara in a lime green - orange is also beautiful and keeps the monochromatic colors but adds some excitement; and, last is two colors of Silk 'n Ivory.

As always, experiment and have fun!

Be sure to check out the Yahoo Group page and post progress and photos.  Thanks to those of you who do actively participate.  I hate to be the only one that has to work!

Have a great day and Stitch with a Smile!