Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Silk Luster Leaf Exercise Kit

When I saw Karen at Nimble Needle had a Silk Luster Leaf Exercise Kit at the 2018 New Jersey Needle Festival, I didn’t know why I needed it but now I do. This works right in with a thread project that I started in October for my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter.

Access Commodities has an instructional booklet on their website to go with the kit. The kit contains Trebizond, Soie d’Alger, Soie de Paris, Soie Gobelins, Soie 100/3, and Soie Perlee. Threads are all green. First, I made the outline using my “Purple Pen” with disappearing ink. I had carefully cut out the stem and the veins from a paper copy and used it like a stencil. That looked good. So, I used my ZIG Fabricolor green marker that I got in a previous class. Easy! The threads are green and I’ll be sure to cover the lines anyway.

Both the slipperier the thread and the more strands needed (3 or 4) for proper coverage made it harder to lay the threads. Working with Soie d’ Alger was the easiest. I’ll probably finish the leaf on a long wrapped wire and place in a bowl of artificial flowers.

silk luster leaf

Join us Monday, February 11 at 7 PM in the conference room at Starbucks in Wayne (218 Lancaster Ave). I’ll be sharing 2 new threads.


Patchwork of Peace, Row 10 White

The part I like best about stitching this piece is having so many small areas to stitch which allows me to experiment with different thread combinations within a single square and I’m getting to stitch patterns I’ve never stitched before.

So far, my two favorite combinations are the first square on the right in the bottom row I just finished (Grounding):

and third row from the top fourth square in from the right (Escalator):

Starting with the block on the right (#1) moving to the left (#19), I used the following threads:

1 – Soie Perlee SPS694 and Au Ver A Soie 100/3 Blanc

2 – DMC Perle #8 B5200, Treasure Braid Petite PB10 (2 strands), and Wildflowers 000

3 – Designer’s Dream D02 and Soie Cristale 0057 (2 strands)

4 – Wildflowers 118 and Silk Lame Braid Petite SP100

5 – Soie Perlee SPS694 and Pashmina 261

6 – Elegance E800 and Sparkle Braid SK06

7 – Wildflowers 000

8 – Wildflowers 100 and DMC Floche Blanc

9 – Soie Cristale 0057 (2 strands)

10 – Pashmina 261 and Kreinik #8 Braid 102

11 – Bella Lusso 001

12 – Wildflowers 000 and DMC Perle #12 B5200

13 – Gloriana 261, Elegance E800, and Sparkle Braid SK06

14 – DMC Perle #8 B5200

15 – Wildflowers 118 and Soie Cristale 0057 (2 strands)

16 – Subtlety Y899

17 – Designer’s Dream D02 and Silk Lame Braid Petite SP100

18 – Burmilana 3845 and Bella Lusso 001

19 – DMC Floche Blanc

I finished my 12″ square design from the class with Kathy Rees (it goes to the framer, then to exhibit at Seminar, then it’ll get posted on my blog). There are still enough threads to stitch another small design. But, it’s not enough threads to warrent storage in my Bohicket Road bag. So, I moved my white/ecru threads into it. Fantastic bag! And, it made organizing fun.

Row 10 white stitched:

Beautiful Project Bags for Another Crescent Journey Colorway

I finally recovered from a month long viral head cold to visit people this past weekend. We made up for lost time. I took multiple pieces to our monthly ANG Stitch-In Time sessions (please join us at Starbucks on Lancaster Ave in Wayne, PA on the 4th Saturday 10-2 through April). We had another great turnout. From there Bill & I headed to Delaware for a birthday party where I shared my needlepoint exploits (one is also a stitcher) and on Sunday got together with Linda, my stitching buddy.

Linda and I exchanged gifts belatedly. I am fortunate to be the recipient of her first attempts at new patterns. You’d never guess that by looking at anything I’ve gotten so far. And, these 2 project bags are no exception. The bags have beautifully coordinating colors, a zipper closure, a see through plastic front, and a handle! The backs are quilted. Stunning.

I just put one of my current projects, another colorway of Crescent Journey. The threads fit perfectly in the small bag. This colorway looks fantastic in these bags! Thanks again Linda. This is also the project that Linda is proofreading my instructions as she stitches a third colorway.

2018 in Review and A Preview
December 31, 2018, 1:22 pm
Filed under: General comments

Thanks to the 7,500+ visitors to my blog last year. I do love keeping track of my needlepoint here and am happy to share it with all of you. My annual review is a wonderful way to look back over the year & realize my accomplishments and contemplate where to go with it in 2019.

It’s been another busy year with completed projects, exciting classes, and needlepoint travel adventures. Where to start? It’s really been a year about learning how to design first from Orna Willis through an online 6-month course where I drew, painted, and transformed two designs into stitched pieces. The one design called Crescent Journey received 25 out of 25 points for both the design and color elements by judges at the ANG National Seminar and was awarded a 3rd place ribbon. It was my most complicated design until I completed my ANG Seminar 3-day design class with Kathy Rees. We each designed our own 4″ square piece during class and now I’m half done stitching my 12″ square piece (unnamed as of now and pictured in progress below). It’s a challenge but so is working on writing the diagrams and instructions on my computer for Crescent Journey. My friend Linda encouraged me to create more colorways for Crescent Journey and agreed to stitch a neutral colorway. I’m stitching a beach colorway. We’re both proofing my diagrams and instructions. It is taking me longer to write this up and create the diagrams than it does to stitch it! But, it’s a learning process and makes me appreciate other designer’s instructions so much more.

My Scotch Stew design was published in Needle Pointers May 2018 issue. I returned from Seminar in 2017 having learned how to graph stitch diagrams and sent them to Pam Gardner who redid them but mine were better diagrams than I had sent to her previously and she said that made it much easier for her.

That’s not all I’ve stitched. These were completed:

  • Metalforms by Jeff Kulick in copper/green colorway. It was a counted piece published in Needle Pointers magazine (Mar, May, Jul, Sept, and Nov 2017) and done along with others in both my ANG Main Line and ANG Keystone chapter members.
  • My name tags for ANG Main Line and EGA Brandywine are both stitched and I finished them myself. Keystone doesn’t wear them.
  • Speaking of Keystone, they hand out a free project and threads each year. This year was The Thistle by Carole Lake & Micheal Boren which was a counted piece published in Needle Pointers magazine Sept 2014.
  • Scotch Flower & Hearts, an original design and precursor to my Scotch Stew design.
  • Purple Mountains Majesty, an original design, as a challenge to use only one overdyed thread with at least 3 distinct colors in a design.
  • A stitch & Zip rose eyeglass case with a fabric lining added under the tutelage of Linda, an accomplished sewer as well as needlepointer.
  • Coffee Cups, a painted canvas, is done. I was one of nine members of my ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter to stitch on it.
  • The Crazy Quilt piece was fun to stitch with Betty Pillsbury teaching ribbon and bead work at Edwardian Needle. It was almost finished during the 2-day class because Pam had provided pre-work materials that allowed me to stitch the beads and ribbons right onto the patchwork base. Betty is coming to EGA Brandywine chapter in April 2019.
  • Hearts. Lots of hearts! About 7 of them either for Hearts of Hospice ANG Greater Kansas City Needlepoint chapter or ANG auction.

Here’s what I started (adding to the list of uncompleted projects):

  • Golden Friends by Toni Gerdes which is a counted design provided to members of the ANG Golden Needle Society.
  • Lotus Kimono, a painted canvas by Lee which is part of an ongoing project at my ANG Main Line Chapter to see how different stitch guides are written. I’m selecting my own stitches and threads.
  • Winter Scene Sleigh, a painted canvas by Alice Peterson which is also part of the ANG Main Line stitch guide project.
  • Patchwork of Peace, a counted design of the United States flag by Mary Clark Donegan, consists of 247 different blocks of reds, whites/ecru, and blues. I am using supplements by Connie Camp but on Congress Cloth and am using my own threads.
  • A poppies Stitch & Zip eyeglass case.

My travels took me to:

  • Needlepoint Junction on Hilton Head Island where you can find loads of beautiful threads and canvases.
  • Nimble Needle in NJ quite often for various threads, tools, and Tulip needles
  • Rittenhouse Needlepoint at their new location at 12th & Arch to select threads for Lotus Kimono and the new Crescent Journey colorways. Linda & I spent 4 hours there – fun but not as easy as I anticipated!
  • Woodlawn Exhibit in Alexandria, VA with Bill. He’s my lucky charm! My original Zentangle design was awarded Honorable Mention ribbon.
  • New Jersey Needle Festival where we joined 100+ stitchers and vendors for a day of some fun stitching and shopping.
  • Fort Hunter Needle Art Exhibit in Harrisburg, PA with Linda. It was smaller than Woodlawn but larger than I expected with over 150 pieces on display from a half dozen area guilds representing a wide range of techniques – all done exquisitely.
  • Half Moon Handwerks in nearby New Cumberland, PA. Linda & I can’t get within 10 miles of here and not stop! I love their selection of Chameleon threads (hand dyed in Africa) which I have only found here. And, Linda loves their fabrics.
  • Washington, DC for ANG’s Annual Seminar. I surprised myself with the level of complexity in the 12″ square design that I’m stitching now. Kathy Rees really taught us the foundation of how to design geometrics in her 3-day class.
  • Scrim Discovery in Ocean City, NJ not only has threads and canvases but an amazing collection of stunning tote bags to place needlepoint on them.
  • Valley Forge Quilt Show. This is Linda’s Quilt Guild that exhibits and sells hand made goodies every other year. Great people doing amazing work!
  • Dyeing to Stitch in Virginia Beach, VA proved to me that I need to stop at “embroidery” stores as much as I need to stop at “needlepoint” stores. It didn’t take me too long to find something new that I had to have.
  • Orna Willis’ new studio. When Orna announced her open house, I knew a few members of my Main Line Chapter would want to go too. Four of us attended the event and met a half dozen other people I knew when we were there. Amazing space and light. We’ll have to plan a class there for our chapter.

I didn’t make much progress on these painted canvases: Vases, Swirling Leaves, Embracing Horses, JP Bird of Paradise & Bamboo, and JP Orange Orchid & Bamboo. Other projects have been waiting for me since as far back as 2011: Stitches in Sterling, Tar River Trail, Sisters, and Rozashi – Patterns in Blue and Green. But, they will be there for me this year!

Some fun times are already scheduled for 2019 including:

  • Woodlawn Exhibit
  • 2-day class at Rittenhouse Needlepoint with Sandra Arthur for beads and ribbons
  • leading ANG Delaware Seashore Chapter in Overdyed Spools, my design in the 2017 ANG Chapter Project Book
  • Stitcher’s Escape Cruise to Bermuda with Jean Farish
  • ANG Seminar in Houston

Thanks for coming along with me this past year and I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures over the coming year! Hope you have a healthy, happy New Year.

Christmas For A Stitcher
December 25, 2018, 8:06 pm
Filed under: General comments, Needles, Organization

In addition to some non-needlepoint gifts, I will enjoy these gifts from my husband and sister. How did they know?? Happy Holidays!

Shapes of Needlepoint, Series IV, by Sandra Arthur makes it my 3rd of the series I own now. Great books.

These are the 4 tools that I asked Santa to bring after seeing Linda’s tools at our ANG Main Line meeting. As Buff said, I had tool-envy! The needle storage tubes have magnets to prevent the needles from falling out. I have a seam ripper but the rubber tip on these grab and “erase” the loos threads away. The thimble pack is one I’m not sure I’ll need or use but worth trying. And, I hope the Hummingbird will be helpful threading really small eyes in needles.

There are 12 designs by Madeline Lake that features a different stitch of the month. Each is on 14 mesh and are 5×5 designs. There is a stitch guide on the back of each.

An alphabet book with clown letters – someone needs to have a baby!!

And, a clear plastic project bag. Never have enough of these because apparently, I find starting projects more fun than finishing them!

Chainettes Explored

As part of an ongoing thread project for my ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, I researched the following chainette threads: 24 Karats, Alabaster, Cresta d Oro, Gold Rush, Nordic Gold, Snow, and Winter. A chainette is like a chain of crocheting. Because each chain is tucked into the one before it, it can unravel. I didn’t experience that while stitching with either Snow, Alabaster, or Winter. However, I was able to pull on all 5 chainettes that I had samples of and make them unravel. If you experience unraveling, there are several options: cut off the raveled part and rethread your needle; use a larger needle to open the hole and pull straight through the canvas to create less friction; use Fray Check; or, apply heat to the frayed end with a thread burner tool.

  • 24 Karats – Rainbow Gallery: A high luster chainette metallic thread (79% Metallized Polyester, 21% Nylon). It is recommended for use on 12 to 18 count canvas. Available in 13 colors on 10 yard cards.
  • Alabaster – Rainbow Gallery: An iridescent metallic chainette with an opalescent sparkle (58% Metallized Polyester, 42% Nylon). It is recommended for use on 13 to 18 count canvas. Available in white only on 20 yard cards.
  • Antica – Caron Collections: A chainette thread between a #3 and a #5 perle cotton with more of a soft glow than a shiny sparkle. Available in 9 antique shades on 20 yard cards.
  • Cresta d’Oro – Rainbow Gallery: A chainette (67% Viscose, 33% Metallized Polyester). It is recommended for use on 12 to 18 count canvas. Available in 23 different colors on 15 yard cards.
  • Gold Rush 12, 14, 18, or XS – Rainbow Gallery: A chainette (80% Viscose, 20% Metallized Polyester). Available in different colors in 3 sizes on 10 yard cards: 12 for use on 10 to 12 count, 14 for use on 13 to 16 count, 18 for use on 18 to 22 count. XS is very fine available in different colors on 20 yard cards.
  • Nordic Gold – Rainbow Gallery: A very fine metallic chainette (52% Metallized Polyester, 48% Nylon). About the size 2 or 3 strands of blending filaments. Available in different colors in 25 yard cards.
  • Snow – Caron Collections: A soft metallic chainette with an opalescent sparkle (58% Metallized Polyester, 42% Nylon). Available in different colors in 10 yard skeins.
  • Winter – Rainbow Gallery: An iridescent metallic chainette with an opalescent sparkle (66% Metallized Polyester, 34% Polyester). Available in white only on 10 or 40 yards per card.

These stitched samples are Snow (left), Alabaster (center), and Winter (right). All 3 threads are similar in size to a #5 perle cotton and worked well with good coverage on 18 count canvas.

Snow feels the softest, is the whitest, is the least iridescent, and looks the least like a chainette.

Alabaster has the most visible chainette effect even when stitched.

Winter covered the best, has a good blend of being white and iridescent, and doesn’t look like a chainette when stitched. It photographs best too! So, Winter will probably be what I use for the snow in the Winter Sleigh canvas that our ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter are discussing and some of us are stitching.

Speaking of our chapter, I’m so excited that we have 5 new members since September! Oddly enough, each have arrived via a different path including being an invited guest to speak about her work on ecclesiastical needlepoint, a friend of a member, one met a member at Seminar, another heard of us through a local frame store, and the last through a Google search. And, that means 4 new ANG members as well!

Dyeing to Stitch
October 24, 2018, 8:40 pm
Filed under: General comments, Threads

I stopped at Dyeing to Stitch in Virginia Beach. They are an “Embroidery” store and knew of a very similar store near me, Strawberry Sampler in Glen Mills PA. They have Tulip needles (subject of a previous post).

They have a nice variety of floss threads all along the right wall. There are 2 threads that I hadn’t seen before. Classic Colorworks Belle Soie has a nice sheen to the silk threads. And, amongst the glosses sat some Merino Wool by Weeks Dye Works available in subtle overdye colors. It’s so soft. Not fuzzy. I had to get 4 skeins. Not sure what I’ll do with them yet!