Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stitching the ANG 2012 Stitch of the Month

I have a confession to make. I'm not a heart person. The shape really doesn't appeal to me when it comes to stitching, and in general I guess. So I was a bit disappointed when the mystery Stitch of the Month project was revealed to be a stylized heart shape. Sigh. What was I going to do? After much thought, and discovering from reading the discussion boards that I wasn't alone, I've decided to just do a stitch sampler, 3 x 4 blocks, using as many threads from my stash as possible, supplemented with new threads to complete the colorway.

To begin, I found a card of Patina, which is similar to Panache, the first thread used. Then I searched through my stash to find a variety of threads that fit the description, e.g., a round thread equivalent to a #5 pearl in thickness, shiny if possible. What I came up with were a Thread Gatherer Silken Pearl, DMC #5 Perle Coton, Rainbow Gallery Fiesta and Grandeur, and DMC #8 Perle Coton. I went a little thinner on a couple of the threads to see what the effect would be, and added in the stranded rayon for another bit of flexibility. Then I set to stitching, and this is what I got.

The colors are dark blue, medium thyme green, lavender, purple, and medium gray on the bottom. I stitched the swatches on brown canvas to be able to gauge how much canvas would show through with the different threads. In pulling threads, I discovered how much I use purple! This also has decided my colorway for me. I'm going to use primarily purples of various shades with a dash of that thyme green. And I'll stitch the actual piece on either sage green or lavender 18-ct canvas.

I found the T-Stitch a quick and easy stitch. It's a variation of the tent stitch, but oh so much less tedious! (I'm not a fan of tent, continental, or basketweave, could you tell?) Here are closer looks at the individual stitched swatches:

You can't really see the sheen of the Patina (top). Panache has the same look but may be slightly thicker. Beneath that is #8 Perle Coton, which gives a more open look. Neither one covers the canvas completely. The middle swatches are the Silken Pearl (SNP; left) and #5 Perle Coton. The SNP gives an even more open, lacier look, which I rather like. The #5 covers much more than even the Patina and is nubbier. For the Fiesta (left in the bottom picture), I used three plies, which gives a similar effect to #8 Perle and SNP. I attempted to just use the strand as it came off the card, but it wasn't a happy experience, so I switched to the smaller bundle. (I took no pains with laying this, as I was pretty sure I wasn't going to enjoy the experience of stitching regardless of the look.) I like the way the Grandeur filled better than the #5 Perle. It was less bumpy, being a finer twist. My preference for stitching with silk was once again confirmed by this exercise.

So what did I decide on? That Silken Pearl in Dried Thyme. I just like the lacy look of it. I also like that color, and it will look wonderful on either the sage green or the lavender. It will recede on the green, of course, and really pop on the lavender.

I think I'll wait to see what the next couple of stitches are before I start stitching on the actual sampler. I'll do some more swatch work with the next two installments to get a feel for the threads, see how the colors are ranging. I may end up using all different colors and not stick to the monochromatic-with-an-accent scheme I'm considering right now. It will be my own little crazy quilt of a design. At some point I'll have to come up with a sashing and border concept I suppose.

Who knows? I may end up with a bunch of swatches to use for reference and no real project at all. My 2012 Stitch of the Month Odyssey has begun, and it could end up almost anywhere.

What are you going to do? If you're not interested in doing the mystery project but still want to stitch along with everyone, e-mail me and let me know if I can help with thread selection or anything else.

Sara Leigh

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stunning Stained Glass From Laura Perin

Do I need to state it? Okay, I will. Laura Perin's done it again! Her latest design, reminiscent of her recent long panel designs stitch-wise, is a gorgeous bit of colorplay set up in a classic stained-glass window format.

Laura's calling this "Stained Glass Windows." The chart comes with a bag of gold glass seed beads and calls for 2 skeins of Caron Collection Watercolours, 11 skeins of DMC #5 Perle Coton, 4 reels of YLI Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss, and 3 spools of Kreinik #8 Braid. We think the effect is simply stunning!

We've pulled together the threads and are offering kits for all three colorways, and we're hard-pressed to decide which is our favorite. The cover model is based on Watercolours Lexi's Blue. Just feast your eyes on these beautiful blues and greens:

I'm leaning toward the one based on Watercolours Ethiopia, a rich tapestry of purples and oranges:

Are those threads not to die for?

I think Dawn is torn between the blue and the third one based on Watercolours Mystery Mix (don't you love that name?). It's a gorgeous melange of reds and golds:

Decisions, decisions. What one will you pick?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Two-Tone Colorway for 2012 SOTM

We're excited to be able to offer another alternative colorway for the ANG 2012 SOTM: ANG 2012 Stitch of the Month Threads, Beads, and Canvas, Candy, which was developed by Candy Chadderton. It's a beautiful selection of greens and purples.

We've made substitutions for a couple of items pictured: the ThreadworX equivalent of the Needle Necessities overdyed cotton and Mill Hill beads for the Sundance beads. Not pictured are two additional threads that Candy will be using, a Gentle Art cotton floss and a Gloriana silk floss. We decided to include them and let you decide how to use them. The canvas for this colorway is Vintage Santa Fe Sage.

In addition to the original red colorway, we're offering blue and purple. We're restocking the red once again, and the purple's going fast.

Check them out if you haven't made up your mind about what color to do it in yet.

As soon as I get the time to stitch the first installment, I'll be blogging about it. I'm not really a fan of heart designs, so I'm going to do a more traditional block-style sampler. I'm also going to try different types of threads, just to see how the thread affects the look of the stitch. I may run late in the month each month, but I'm going to do my best to keep up.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Bounty of Beautiful Canvas and Threads

By now, ANG members have received and read the latest issue of Needle Pointers. It included a great review of a wonderful new hand-painted blank canvas, which we're very pleased to offer on a special-order basis — Nature's Palette!

Aren't they beautiful? The colors are fantastic, and unlike the hand-dyed canvas, this canvas retains the stiffness of regular, untreated canvas. There are three basic varieties.

The most economical are the Solids and Metallics, pictured at the top. The Metallics have a very subtle metallic sheen to them; they're not sparkly. Next up are the Premiums and Jewels, which are either hand-painted opalescent canvas or two-color regular canvas and are shown in the bottom photo. The Custom colors are the most expensive and are multicolor extravaganzas. They are pictured in the top photo with the Solids and Metallics.

You can see larger pictures of the individual canvases in the Nature's Palette section of the catalog. We have put a lot of effort into making sure the colors are as accurate as possible. Do keep in mind that these are painted to order, so there will be subtle variations between what is pictured and what you will receive. Just like any hand-dyed thread would have.

Nature's Palette paints to order, so it's usually two to three weeks from the time that we place an order till it's shipped to us. You can purchase these canvases three ways: fat eighths (9" x 20"), fat quarters (18" x 20"), and custom cuts. If you want a custom cut, please send us an e-mail, telling us the canvas color name and the exact size you need, e.g., 11" x 11", 12" x 18", or 16" x 13". We'll get back to you with the price and a link to your item in the Catalog so that you can place your order through the secure shopping cart.

Now for the newest thread we're offering!

These are YLI's Painter Threads, overdyes that evoke the color palettes of renowned artist such as Klimt, Picasso, Cassatt, Monet, and Kahlo, to name just a few. Scarlet Thread is offering their overdyed Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss on a special-order basis to start (as we fill your orders, we'll be increasing our stocked inventory). The sparkling colors are to die for! As with any overdyed thread, there may be subtle differences between dye lots.

To further entice you, we have a couple of examples of how both the canvas and the thread can be used. Here's a piece that I stitched on Nature's Palette's Copper Solids canvas:

And here's the beginning of a Milanese Pinwheel stitched with the YLI Painter Thread Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss:

I'm currently designing an ornament using this thread, and I can't wait to get back to it!

What will you do with these two exciting new materials in your own needlepoint adventures?