Melitastitches4fun's Blog

An Adventure into a Poppy Field – Winner of the ANG State Art Award Ribbon
September 2, 2012, 10:11 am
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2012, Melita's Adaptations, Monet's Poppy Field

“An Adventure into a Poppy Field” was entered in 2012’s ANG 40th Seminar in the Adaptation category and it won the State Art Award Ribbon. There were about 2 dozen pieces from Pennsylvania. I was shocked and thrilled! I didn’t even know that “State Art Award” was ribbon category. I am glad I am not a judge – too many beautiful pieces to choose from.

Mary Smull, a fiber artist and educator from Philadelphia, was the guest judge asked to select the winner of the award. Read all about her at Mary gave the keynote speaker address at the Welcome Banquet. She founded SPUN, the Society of the Prevention of Unfinished Needlework. Read all about SPUN at

For this piece, the critique noted that “my journey was well documented”. So true, it is easier because I blog and keep notes. The documents and photos that I sent for the  artist’s statement were taken from a previous blog (

I still twist the thread (a comment I got last year too) in some sections particularly in the sky on top dark area. So, I will keep working on that. And, the perspective a bit off. I had told friends that one comment I expected was that I had gotten carried away on the poppy field. It got away from me like wild flowers. Better “integration” of stitching to create the hillside was also recommended. I also got nice comments such as “truly lovely”. I would like to thank all the judges for taking time to write the critiques. As was last year’s, they are thoughtful, instructive, and encouraging! I highly recommend getting them done so that you can learn and grow.

And, I just love the double mat especially the grayish blue inner mat that was suggested by Ted (Theodore) Hartz, Custom Picture Framing, in West Chester (google will get his name and address – or call Fireside Stitchery who referred me to him).

I am very happy with the piece but will the 5th try be my last attempt? Even my husband is ready for a change in design! For now, perhaps I can photograph, enlarge, and project certain areas using the critique as a teaching tool to my local chapter. I bought a book at Ruth Kern’s bookstore (only 1 of 3 – I thought I did good to limit myself to 3) regarding photography. And, several other projects have been put aside with all this seminar activity. So, for now, I look forward the next adventure . . .

My artist’s statement was as follows (excluding photos from previous attempts which can be found on my blog as noted above):

I can’t remember where or when I fell in love with Monet’s Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny (1885) but, I want to capture it in needlepoint. It seems so peaceful and relaxing.

My first attempt was all about testing stitches. I really like the Whipped or Laced Running Stitch (Elegant Stitches by Judith Baker Montano) for the light blue on the right. I didn’t care for it as much for the 2 greens to the left of that area. I also liked the stitch Serendipity used in the top blue-green portion for the distant tree line and Rococo for the dark green bushes in the middle (both are from Stitches To Go by Suzanne Howren & Beth Robertson). It’s size is 4&1/2″ x 4&1/2″ and too square.

The quest continued for stitches in my second attempt. I had it in my mind that a large stitch pattern base would work for the poppies and then thought random french and colonial knots would make the flowers on the field appear random but it became too dense. I did like the Knotted Stitch on the upper left and a similar stitch with less slope for the area to the left of the center dark green bushes called Diagonal Roumanian. Then, I created a variation of Kennan for the area left of the center dark green bushes. These stitches came from Stitches To Go by Suzanne Howren & Beth Robertson. I expanded the size to 4″ x 4&1/2″.

I felt pretty good about stitches and decided in the third attempt that I better test some colors and threads. To combat the density of the poppy field, I switched to a thinner thread. It was better but it wasn’t right – it seemed flat and lifeless. So, I put it away for a long time deciding further experience was needed before I could improve the piece.

Always on the lookout for new threads, I tried a variety of threads for my fourth attempt. I also tried some different stitches. I liked this version much better, especially the poppy field because I used various shades. While I saw improvement, I wasn’t sure where to go next and decided to put it away – again.

Then, I saw the class ‘Landscapes’ was teaching design and stitching techniques just for landscapes at the 2010 ANG Seminar taught by Lois Kershner. So, I attended my first seminar to help me figure out how to do my poppy field. I left Ohio armed with knowledge from her class as taught by Pat Rusch. Working now on a full scale size (8″ x 9&1/2″), I studied the techniques in the book and reconsidered threads and stitches – again!

I hope the patches of the long grass will be as inviting as Monet’s and you and I enter into the field, sit, and relax for a while until another adventure comes along.

I met 2 of the ladies from the chapter that stitched the ribbons & now can’t remember their names or chapter. I found their names/chapter  in the seminar brochure. So, thanks to the ladies in the Cape Cod Chapter and Keystone Chapter.  I discovered that our state flower is the Mountain Laurel! It is a lovely ribbon.

Small Orange Areas

Thanks to a combination of stitches including padded satin and freestyle stitching I am happy with the oranges areas. I combined 3 Bark (WDW) for the padding. Then, 2 Hazlenut + 1 Bark or 1 Bark + 2 Hazlenut for the top layer. Plus, a little freestyle stitching on the top.

Blue Green Strip

The strip along right side that is blueish green worked up quicker than last time when I used Diane’s Stitch on that side!

I used the blue portions of one strand of the overdyed thread, ThreadworX 1067, but switched to two strands of a darker overdyed green thread from Weeks Dye Works named Lucky (medium greens).  You should be able to see the difference between the Blue patch I added yesterday & this one.

Blue Patch

The blue patch among the dark green grassy areas needed to be angled & upright. So, I found Zig Zag Stripe but did a variation of it by off setting the stripe. And, I filled in the empty spaces by a single cross stitch. It increased the denseness of the stitch & added to the slope.

I mainly used the blue portions of the overdyed thread (ThreadworX 1067) but also switched to some green from the same overdyed thread combined with blue & up close you can see the differences.

My shoulder has been bothering me but seems to be better now. So, I hope to make up ground on my Poppy Field while I can – kind of a pun!

Very Dark Green Grass

In the 3 very dark green grassy areas, I wanted to use different but related stitches. So, I selected Criss Cross Hungarian for the left patch because of the denseness of the stitch & the longer length. The Woven Trellis is in the center patch because it is about as long a stitch as the left patch and because they are on about the same distance. And, Serendipity was selected for the right patch because it is farther away than the other 2 areas and is a smaller stitch.

The darker the thread (still using Sampler Threads 7042 Raven) the less of a stitch pattern is evident but up close you can see the differences.

For the top long row, I used the 3 threads layed in the same direction to get a few patches of light green from the overdyed. But, in the smaller 3 areas, I layed 1 in the opposite direction for a more solid dark effect.









In case you forget what Monet’s look like by now, here part of it is again.


Medium Dark Green Grass

For the large medium dark green grass area, I used one strand each of Weeks Dye Works overdyes named Grasshopper (yellow-green), Collards (dark green), and Moss (medium green).  The stitch, Diane’s Lace from Suzy’s Portable Stitches, was difficult to get the hang of but especially slanting up & to the right (on the left side). The other angle, slanting up & to the left, just clicked for me.  Odd how the brain sees some things better than other.  It’s a good stitch for full coverage & looks somewhat random (especially using overdyed floss).

The little dark blue-green area in the center (with arrow pointed to it) used a portion of the 2 threads with the blue portion and 1 thread with the green portion in an encroaching gobelin stitch.

Dark green ridge

The far dark green section is done using random straight stitches & Weeks Dye Works (WDW) thread (color named Raven) that is very dark with portions of a slightly lighter green. I like that a little canvas shows through – especially up close as it seems more natural.

And, I removed what green & orange threads I had placed in the upper right area from stitching in class because I found more shades of WDW. I plan on doing a lot of thread blending with what I found (but more of that with my next blog). (great overdyed floss selection that I was able to get at The Strawberry Sampler in Glen Mills, PA which is southwest of Philadelphia & not too far).