Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Technique Issue: Stitching into stitches and catching fiber
November 26, 2019, 11:46 am
Filed under: General comments, Technique Issues, Threads

In reading over suggested materials from the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas bibliography, I have found a couple of interesting issues and will post about some of them. I’d love to get your input on these.

In Needlepoint and Beyond: 27 Lessons in Advanced Canvas Work by Edith Anderson Feisner, she says to always work into the stitches that have been previously done. That makes sense. It’s also been described as working from a clean hole into a dirty hole. That’s not always possible but an excellent tenet to follow.

Before I proceed, let me say she is using size 10 or 12 mesh interlock canvas and Colbert Persian wool in her examples. So, perhaps her next statement that I have some question about is not applicable to all fibers.

She says to catch just a tiny bit of the fiber as you work the stitch to lock the stitches together but do not split the fiber. Her reasoning is that, “This will prevent friction between stitching from building up and destroying the fibers.”

Do you think her finished pieces are being used as rugs or something being handled a lot? Because when would there be friction after you stitched and framed something?

I have always tried to keep the holes more “clean” by specifically avoiding catching the fiber from the previous stitch. I thought that was preferred. And, so, perhaps “it depends” on what you are stitching and for what purpose. In straight stitches like bargello, it might decrease the chance of seeing the bits of canvas on either side of the threads (sometimes referred to as teeth or dandruff). And, bargello patterns are often pillows or purses which would get wear.

Have you ever heard anyone recommend catching the fiber while stitching? And, if so, when, what fiber, and why.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments.



Zentangle Class
November 17, 2019, 9:41 am
Filed under: General comments

Mt. Airy Learning Tree offers a great variety of classes throughout the year. I decided to take an Introduction to Zentangle class. I had been exposed to Zentangle by my ANG Keystone Garden chapter and stitched a design I had drawn (which got Honorable Mention in 2018 at Woodlawn). Candice had given us an excellent class but that was a few years ago and decided to give it another go.

Mindy Shapiro, a certified Zentangle teacher, provided a Micron 01 pen, a Micron 08 pen, a short pencil, a smudge stick (Pro Art Stump No. 2), and 4 cards (3.5″ x 3.5″ heavy stock with wavy edges and curved corners from Zentangle.com). There are no erasers because whatever happens is meant to be.

In just 2 hours, we covered the origins of the art form and got exposed to multiple patterns. The design on the left has Crescent Moon with auras (upper left area), Hollibaugh (pairs of lines passing under others; bottom right), Printemps (circular pattern with auras or dots; bottom left area), and Knights Bridge (grid; upper right area).

The one on the right was done in the last 30 minutes to expose us to a few more patterns including Florz (grid with diamonds at the intersections with shading as I did or it can have an aura inside each white space; upper left area), Printemps with Sparkle (leaves an open area in the circular pattern; bottom center area), and Static (zig zag with shading; upper right area).

Four dots are placed in the corners. Then, connect them. Mindy liked the wavy lines that I used to connect my four corners. The left design has a Z string and the right design a V string. A ‘string’ divides the large area. The smudge stick smooths out the pencil marks to create shading and depth.

It was a fun class. There was 9 of us and no 2 looked alike.



Osterville Needlepoint Shop in Cape Cod
October 8, 2019, 5:46 pm
Filed under: General comments, Threads

The Osterville Needlepoint Shop in Mashpee, MA in Cape Cod has a great selection of threads and canvases. And, a wonderful staff. I don’t recall seeing Treenway Silk Cords and Ribbons. Love the color combinations.

Even after I said I had too many projects to purchase anything, I was invited to join the ladies to sit and stitch. Had it not been for my husband waiting in the car, I would have joined them. Two nice big tables, plenty of light, and such pleasant women. Another time! Good place for classes. And, lots more threads not seen in this photo.



Summer Stitching Contest from Needle Me, Shapes Galore
October 3, 2019, 9:41 am
Filed under: General comments, Needle Me Canvas Contest

Needle Me offered a summer stitching contest and while I was there getting a piece framed, Marcie had one canvas left. It looked enticing, wasn’t too big, and looked fun.

Here’s my entry. All I could think of was how many of the patterns from Sandy Arthur’s Shapes of Needlepoint books would I be able to incorporate. There are 4 ovals, 13 triangles, 20 rectangles, 5 circles, and 47 squares. The background is the woven stitch creating small diamonds. That makes 90 patterns in the 8 & 1/8″ x 2 & 1/8″ design area.

Having that much going on with stitches, I decided to use one color but with 5 values and intensities. The silk threads are Au Ver a Soie hand-dyed by Chameleon called Shades of Africa, Two Oceans. You can’t tell in the smaller shapes that all 5 values are overdyed threads. It’s not until I stitched the larger background did the overdyed effect show.

When I picked up my framed piece, I saw all the entries and there were some great entries. Well, the results are in and I came in tied for Third Place overall and First Place for Stitch Category. It was quite amazing to see all the interpretations of the small and simple canvas. Congratulations to Marcie on her 30th Anniversary and thanks for hosting the contest.

Needle Me Newsletter WInners



Summer Stitching Contest from Needle Me
September 22, 2019, 12:28 pm
Filed under: General comments, Needle Me Canvas Contest

Needle Me offered a summer stitching contest and while I was there getting a piece framed, Marcie had one canvas left (the line drawn unstitched canvas is in the upper left corner of the image from her newsletter).

Please go to Needle Me (12 E Eagle Road in Havertown, PA) to vote for your favorites by September 28. I’m not going to tell which is mine until the results are announced.

Needle Me Contest



New Tools Handy for Edward Scissorfish, Belly Scales and Face
July 30, 2019, 6:03 pm
Filed under: General comments, Scissors

Edward Scissorfish ran into a snag. Before I realized it, he had 7 belly scales on one side and 8 on the other. I slept on it for 2 nights and finally decided that Linda’s birthday gifts arrived to help me just when I needed them! The tiny little scissors, Rainbow Thread Cutters, helped me snip in the tiniest of spaces around the beads. And, the tweezers, Uncle Bill’s, helped me clean up the loose threads and pull off the beads. It took some work but am happy to say that Edward is once again symmetrical. Thanks again Linda!

Edward is ready for tomorrow, our second class with Cleo. A good number of my EGA Brandywine chapter members are working on this too.



Watercolor Poppies Stitch & Zip
July 21, 2019, 7:31 am
Filed under: General comments, Other People's Pieces, Stitch N' Zip, Threads

Having a small, easy piece to stitch and carry with me is great for trips. And, Stitch & Zip pieces fulfill both requirements. I found this eyeglass case in a corner of a gift store called Wonderful Things in Great Barrington, MA in May 2018. The only needlepoint in the store was a few of these. So, I had to pick it up! It’s called Watercolor Poppies.

I found a few threads appropriate for 14 count canvas in my stash including Vineyard Merino a violet M-1042 Dark Earth, 2 greens M-1065 Martini and M-1067 Foliage and 2 roses Silk & Ivory 161 Lida Rose, 162 Rosie O’Grady.

But, I still needed lots of colors so I found more Silk & Ivory in August 2018 while stopping at Point of It All (before ANG Seminar) including yellow 241 Maize, 2 shades of orange 213 Banana and 215 Clementine, 2 shades of pink 185 Cosmopolitan and 119 Grenadine, a red 199 Tamale, and 3 blues 198 ahoy, 36 Admiral Blue, and 69 Forgot-Me-Not.

Apparently, Silk & Ivory pills more depending on which end is threaded! If you thread Silk & Ivory one way, it pills. If you thread it the other way, it doesn’t. So, if you find which end splays more, you should always thread that end into the needle’s eye. I didn’t find any pilling issues but these are small areas and the canvas is 14 count. Good tip!

I found this tip in an earlier blog posting and it’s worth repeating: In order to get the top edge to angle like the rest, turn the canvas upside down and stitch left to right with the needle moving straight up, the thread ends up angled correctly (like basketweave).

I was surprised to see how the colors in the photo of the stitched example differ from the canvas colors.

I stitched more closely to the canvas colors.