Threadventure destination #6 - New Orleans!
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Well, hello there!

Are you ready for this week’s destination on the Threadventure? Terrific! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and we’ll take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to our next stop, beautiful New Orleans! Wondering what we’ll be exploring? I’ll give you a hint…we’ll hit the ground running in the Garden District where we’ll explore some of the exquisite homes. Each one is like a jewel box chock full of architectural delights.

All aboard for New York City!


And here we are…Yippee!!!


Over inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group, I asked you to guess what we’ll be exploring in New Orleans.

If you guessed architectural details, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ever so clever.

It can be a wee bit overwhelming when choosing stitches and threads for architectural details like porch railings, garden walls, wrought iron fences, patios, and rooftops, but I have lots of suggestions for you.


Welcome to the Garden District!


Did you know that the Garden District is one of the best-preserved collections of historic mansions in the South?

Originally, there were only a couple of houses per block, with each house surrounded by a large garden (hence the name Garden District), but in the late 1800s, some of those large lots were subdivided.

That’s when late Victorian era homes began popping up and today, you’ll see a unique pattern with any given block having a couple of mansions dating from the early 1800s surrounded by “gingerbread”- decorated abodes. And so, the “Garden District” is known more for its architectural treasures than for its gardens.

Our first stitch, Mosaic stitch, is a great choice for a variety of architectural details.

Not only is it a really good stitch to use for exterior walls, but it’s also pretty terrific for window moldings and frames, door frames, and decorative accents like those you see over the windows and around the overhangs on that house in the picture above.

Mosaic stitch is one of the simplest of all the decorative stitches to execute. And that makes it perfect for stitchers of all skill levels. Another reason it’s in my “go-to” repertoire is that it’s a small stitch, so it’ll fit just about anywhere on your needlepoint canvas.


Mosaic stitch is a great choice for stitching architectural details on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Rainbow Persian to work this stitch.

Rainbow Persian is a relatively new thread for Rainbow Gallery – and it’s a “winner, winner, chicken dinner” in my book. It’s a single strand Persian wool that you can use on 10 – 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. Use a single strand on 18 mesh, 2 strands on 13 mesh, and 3 strands on 10 mesh. Use it “as is” directly off the card.

There are 75 amazing colors of Rainbow Persian and each card has a generous 20 yards. Because there are so many beautiful colors – and because the entire palette is so luscious – you could easily work an entire canvas in this thread. Since it’s 100% wool (and quite durable), it’s a particularly good choice for any project that will “live” in a place that gets a lot of use – like a pillow on the family room sofa.

Moving right along, our second stitch is Elongated Cashmere stitch.

Elongated Cashmere stitch is another great choice for exterior walls – and it’s incredibly versatile, too. It works equally well for window molding and frames, doors, door frames and door panels, columns, and shutters.

And, when you flip it on its side, it’s perfect for steps and wood or brick siding. It’s another simple stitch that’s easy to execute. Just follow the numbering system on the diagram below and you’ll be golden!


Elongated Cashmere stitch is a great choice for stitching architectural details on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Capri to work the Elongated Cashmere stitch.

Capri is a “repeat performer”, making its first appearance on the beach at Seaside. I like its matte finish for working architectural details on houses, like columns, shutters, and door panels.

Click here to learn more about this versatile 100% polyester thread.

Now, let’s hop on the streetcar and head down to the French Quarter…


Let's hop on the St. Charles streetcar and go down to the French Quarter.


Gee, that was quick!

The French Quarter is famous for its wrought-iron balconies and walled courtyards, but it’s a splendid amalgamation of historic French, Spanish, Creole, and American architecture.

Can’t you just picture yourself perched on that balcony with a tall glass of iced tea, stitching to the sound of Dixieland jazz?


Let’s take a look at some charming stitch choices for courtyards and patios…

Our third stitch – and one that is perfect for patios – is Gobelin Bars with Tent Stitches.


Gobelin Bars with Tent Stitches is a terrific choice for stitching the architectural details on your needlepoint canvases.


This stitch requires a good bit of space to establish a pattern, so it’s best to use it on medium to large size areas on your needlepoint canvases. It’s a combination stitch, which means that (multiple) stitches merge to create a brand new stitch. The two stitches are Gobelin (which you see in pink) and tent (which you see in blue). Pretty nifty, huh?

I’m using Overture and Rainbow Linen to work Gobelin Bars with Tent Stitches.

Both Overture and Rainbow Linen are reappearing this week – and both debuted on our trip to Seaside. You can read all about them here. 

Our fourth stitch, Woven Trellis Variation, is another prime pick for patios and courtyards…

like the one in the picture below.


A courtyard patio in New Orleans

Short and long diagonal stitches combine to create Woven Trellis Variation. It’s an eye-catching pattern that adds texture – and it creates just the right amount of visual interest to keep the viewer of your work intrigued. Woven Trellis Variation is another medium size stitch, so use it for medium to large size design components on your needlepoint canvases.


Woven Trellis Variation is a great choice for stitching architectural details on your needlepoint projects.

I’m using Grandeur to work Woven Trellis Variation.

Grandeur is a tightly twisted 100% spun silk thread. It’s approximately the same weight as DMC pearl cotton #5. There are 83 gleaming colors of Grandeur and each card has 10 yards. The colors of Grandeur match the colors of Splendor, Elegance, and Subtlety which means you have a nice assortment of silk threads from which to choose when you begin selecting threads for your needlepoint projects.

Did you catch that I said Grandeur is spun silk? Wanna’ know why I made the distinction? Okey dokey…I’ll tell you. ????

You see, in the world of silk threads, you have spun silk and filament silk.

Filament silk is very glossy – and very strong. It’s made from the longest and highest quality fibers of the silkworm cocoon. Since it naturally occurs as long continuous strands, it doesn’t have to be spun. In fact, multiple strands of filament silk can be plied together to create varying sizes of thread. Because it’s of such high quality, it’s more expensive than spun silk.

Then, there’s spun silk thread. Spun silk thread also has a beautiful luster or sheen, but it’s made from broken cocoons and leftover bits and pieces that are spun into thread in much the same way as cotton and wool. Spun silk isn’t as strong as filament silk and it’s slightly softer than cotton thread, so it’s more prone to fuzzing. Use shorter lengths when working with spun silk to maintain the sheen. (Remember, the more passes a thread makes through the canvas, the more wear there is on its surface – and that may ultimately result in damage to the thread.)

And here’s a helpful hint: spun silk is the perfect introduction to using silk thread if you’ve never tried it.

Moving right along, this next picture likely resonates with what you think of when someone says “French Quarter”…

Wrought iron balconies, like the one in the picture below, are a classic architectural detail that you frequently see on buildings and houses in the French Quarter. I think this one is particularly pretty, don’t you?


Wrought iron architectural details are a familiar site in the French Quarter.


Our fifth New Orleans stitch is Pineapple stitch.

And it’s a stylish stitch for wrought iron balconies like those on so many New Orleans homes. It’s really fun to work and it’s best to work it in three steps, as depicted through the use of three colors in the diagram below.

  • First, work the blue upright Gobelin stitches.
  • Second, work the pink diagonal cross stitch.
  • And third, work the green “tie-down” stitch across the center of the cross-stitch.

Be sure and follow the numbers on the diagram for proper stitch placement.


Pineapple stitch is a great choice for stitching architectural details on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Splendor and Subtlety to work the Pineapple stitch.

Splendor is Rainbow Gallery’s staple divisible 100% silk embroidery thread.  You can read more about it here since this is not its first appearance on our Threadventure.

Subtlety, the itty bitty baby sister of both Elegance and Grandeur, is another tightly twisted silk pearl thread. It’s also 100% spun silk and is about the same size as DMC pearl cotton size 12. There are 15 colors of Subtlety and each card has a generous 30 yards.

Subtlety is particularly useful for working fine details or for extremely light coverage when you want the artist’s beautiful painting to show through your stitching.

It works best on 18 – 22 mesh needlepoint canvas since it’s such a fine thread. Use it “as is” directly off the card and cut shorter lengths (16″) for the best results.

And this week, you’re getting a little “lagniappe”…

What’s lagniappe? Click here to read more, but, in a nutshell, it’s “a little something extra” – a “treat” – and I just couldn’t resist, since gifting lagniappe is such a charming New Orleans custom.

So, here ya’ go… lagniappe for the rooftops (and a few other architectural details like fancy brickwork and fences) on the houses on your needlepoint canvases.


Willow stitch is a great choice for stitching architectural details on your needlepoint projects.

I’m using Rainbow Tweed to work the Willow stitch.

Rainbow Tweed is another thread that’s making an encore performance. It’s a 4-ply divisible cotton thread that debuted on our visit to Seaside. Click here to learn more about Rainbow Tweed.

And that, my friend, brings us to the end of our stay in the Crescent City.

It’s been so much fun to share stitches for beautiful architectural details with you!


Sunset at Saint Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square in New Orleans.

Now, let’s hop on board the Serendipity Express and hit the road to our next Threadventure destination…

The Grand Canyon!

Before you go, be sure and tell me what you think we’ll be exploring at The Grand Canyon. (Please don’t be shy…I really do ❤️ hearing from you and I read every single comment. Pinky promise!!!)

Leave your thoughts down below in the comments box and I’ll enter your name into a drawing for a FREE 6-month membership in The Stitcher’s Club, too. Not sure what The Stitcher’s Club is? Click here to find out more. ????

Until next time, happy stitching!
Stitch with a smile!



PS: I’ll share pictures of my stitched samples over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page, inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group and on Instagram, so be sure and follow me there.



  1. Karen Lowenthal

    July 12, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Grand Canyon
    Layered bands of red rock, geologic color and strata

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 12, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Ooooh…all great ideas, Karen! Thank you for sharing them here with us. 🙂
      Have a great day and happy stitching!
      Ellen ❤️

  2. Anne Ballard

    July 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    The French Quarter is such a fascinating place! I think it would have been great to live there when I was in my 20s or 30s. It wasn’t the safest area even then, but it certainly would have been lively. Can’t believe it’s been nearly half a century since I was there.

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I absolutely adore New Orleans – and I agree, it would have been a reeaaalllly fun place to live. My daughter, Rebekah, has dear friends that live there and we love going for visits.
      Thank you for sharing, Anne. 🙂
      Ellen ❤️

  3. Brenda Hartley

    July 12, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    grand canyon will be Mother Nature’s creation

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 12, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Brenda!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here with us! The Grand Canyon is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to share the stitches with you next week. 😉
      Have a happy Thursday!
      Ellen ❤️

  4. Anne Ballard

    July 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Forgot, my guess on what we’ll focus on in the Grand Canyon – Mother Nature’s artwork on the canyon walls. My second guess is animals. So many iconic animals live there: wolves, bison, deer, antelope…. time for fuzzy thread?

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 17, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Hi Anne!
      Thank you for sharing your ideas…and what terrific ones they are! 🙂
      Just a couple more days until the “big reveal” 😉
      Have a terrific Tuesday!
      Ellen ❤️

  5. Jane Burton

    July 12, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Mountains, boulders and glorious sunsets and color-streaked skies. Perhaps a waterfall? (or am I confusing the grand Canyon with Niagra Falls – another great place to visit!)

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Hi Jane!
      Thank you for writing, Jane. What wonderful ideas! And you’re right, Niagara Falls is a lovely place! I don’t know if there are any waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, but the Colorado River has plenty of rapids. 😉
      Please check back on Thursday to see what we’ll be exploring.
      Ellen ❤️


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