“I Must Have Flowers…”

by , on
May 14, 2019
The flower garden in front of Claude Monet's home in Giverny.

Claude Monet once said, “I must have flowers, always, and always.”

Visiting his home and his gardens is something I’ll never forget – and I’ll even go so far as to say that it’s one of the highlights of my life. ????

It still seems surreal that I was actually there two weeks ago…

Winter Threadventure Week 7: Hygge in Copenhagen

by , on
Feb 20, 2019
A cup of tea + a cozy blanket = hygge!

Hello there! Can you believe that we’re already to the end of our Winter Threadventure? I know – neither can I! The ultimate in coziness awaits you at our final destination, so hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation train to the last stop on our 2019 Winter Threadventure

Hop on board the Serendipity Express and join me for the last stop on our 2019 Winter Threadventure where we'll explore hygge and the Gobelin stitch.
Copenhagen, Denmark (And here we are… that sure was quick! ????)

Colorful row houses in the Nyhavn district of Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s reeaaalllly cold here but the Danish have a way to combat the winter doldrums…

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) means creating a warm, cozy atmosphere and enjoying good things with good people. It’s a way of life in Denmark. That’s why we’re exploring the essence of “hygge” here in Copenhagen. You see, the Danes are the happiest people in the world, according to the World Happiness Report, and I’ll bet we can uncover some of their secrets while we’re visiting.

So, what exactly is hygge? It could be the cheerful glow of candlelight, snuggling under a squishy blanket by the fire, or wearing a soft fuzzy sweater while enjoying a steaming cup of gløgg.

Ready to try your hand at adding a wee bit of hygge to your needlepoint projects?

Terrific! Let’s light some candles…

The Gobelin stitch works well for creating realistic looking candle flames on your needlepoint projects.

Candles provide natural light and natural light makes us feel better than an electric light. The Danes call candles “levende lys” which means living light. And that makes perfect sense, don’t you think? The flickering flame of a candle really does look like it’s alive!

So, how can you stitch the candles on your needlepoint canvases, like this one from Tapestry Fair, so they look real? Great question!

Use the Gobelin stitch to stitch the flickering candles on Tapestry Fair's beautiful "Menorah" canvas.

The upright Gobelin stitch creates truly realistic candle flames.

It’s super easy to execute – and it’s also easy to compensate. It’s one of those stitches that you can always count on and it’s a terrific choice for beginning stitchers or if you’re new to using decorative stitches on your canvases.

The upright Gobelin stitch is terrific for stitching realistic looking candle flames on your needlepoint projects.

The upright Gobelin stitch is truly a workhorse stitch that you’ll find yourself using over and over again. In fact, it almost always works when nothing else will. ????

Execute this stitch from top to bottom – back and forth in horizontal rows – in an area, following the numbers on the stitch diagram above.

Upright Gobelin is a straight stitch, so be sure and use a thick enough thread if you’re trying to achieve full coverage on your canvas. You can work it over 2 – 6 canvas threads, but I prefer working it over 2, 3, or 4 threads. It’s a smallish stitch so it’ll fit in just about any space.

I’m using Water n’ Ice to work the Gobelin stitch.

Water n’ Ice is a loosely braided translucent ribbon-type thread. It is 100% nylon and is available in 18 colors. Each card holds 10 yards. I recommend using it for long stitches on 13 – 18 mesh canvas.

While Water n’ Ice can be a little finicky to work with, it’s well worth the effort – especially on painted canvases where you want the color to show through. It has a tendency to fray, so use Fray Check or a Thread Zap to treat the ends and use short pieces (no longer than 15″).

You have two options when using Water n’ Ice to stitch a candle flame. You can work the Gobelin stitch in the clear color (WT12) and allow the paint to show through. Or you can use different colors of Water n’ Ice to add more depth of hue.

My favorite Water n’ Ice colors for stitching flames are…

  • WT 3 – Flame Yellow
  • WT4 – Flame Orange
  • WT5 – Flame Red
  • WT6 – Flame Dark Red

Use the stabbing method to stitch – come straight up through the canvas and take your needle to the back straight down through the canvas – being careful not to drag your thread along the surface or pull it at an angle. And be sure to use a laying tool.

To get the best effect with this thread, it should lay flat against the canvas on both the front and the back. It takes a little practice to get the hang of laying ribbon-type threads flat on the backside of your work without having to flip your canvas over with every single stitch you take. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right away. Just keep at it and your persistence will pay off. Trust me. ????

I’m using one strand of Water n’ Ice (WT12) in a #22 tapestry needle to work my stitch sample on a piece of 13 mesh needlepoint canvas.

Oh – and you can also use this stitch/thread combo to stitch blazing fires on your needlepoint projects – like the one you see in this canvas by Sandra Gilmore.

Use the upright Gobelin stitch to stitch the crackling fire in Sandra Gilmore's "Ready for Santa".

And now, here we are back at our beautiful Hotel d’Angleterre.

Let’s have a nice warm cup of tea by the fire…

The Hotel d'Angleterre is an exquisite 5-star hotel that has been serving guests for more than 260 years.

I’ve had oodles of fun on our trek through Scandinavia and I hope you have, too! Thank you ever so much for joining me and I’ll see you again back here next week for more needlepoint fun. ????

XOXO!!! ❤️

PS: If you’re new to the Serendipity Needleworks family – or just discovered my blog, click here for more info on what a Threadventure actually is. And click here to read about the other destinations on our 2019 Winter Threadventure through Scandinavia.

Winter Threadventure Week 6: Lovely Lillehammer

by , on
Feb 13, 2019
Welcome to snowy Scandinavia - our 2019 Winter Threadventure destination.

Well hello there, lovely! The snowflakes are swirling round and round and it’s great to be back with you this week as we continue our trek through the Nordic countries. We’re gonna have oodles of F-U-N at our next stop, so hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation train to a place I’m sure you’ve heard of…

Hop on board the Serendipity Express as we make our way through the snowflakes to our next destination on the 2019 Winter Threadventure!
Lillehammer – site of the 1994 Winter Olympics!

(Gee, that was quick.) ????

Lillehammer, Norway is our sixth stop on the 2019 Winter Threadventure.

Lillehammer is in the heart of Norway and it overlooks the northern part of Lake Mjøsa and the Lågen River – both of which are frozen right now. Snowy mountains surround this picturesque city that’s home to fewer than 30,000 people.

Wondering what we’re gonna explore here in Lillehammer? I thought you might be.

That picture below is your first clue. ????

Up close with snowflakes!

Yep – this week’s destination is all about snow, too! Our Scandinavian friends are surrounded by snow in the wintertime, so I thought we’d take a deeper dive into that pristine white fluffy stuff. (Click here if you didn’t see last week’s destination – it’s a “winner, winner chicken dinner”, too!)

Whaddya’ say we take a look at a terrific stitch for…

snowflakes!

Did you know that no two snowflakes are identical?

Did you know that the shape of a snowflake largely depends upon the temperature and humidity at which it forms? As the flake moves through different zones in the atmosphere, well – that’s when the complex structure develops.

Snowflakes usually have six arms (or dendrites, as scientists call them) and that’s because ice has a hexagonal crystalline structure.

As a snowflake falls through the atmosphere, each arm grows independently from each of the corners of the hexagon, while either side of each arm grows independently. And snowflakes usually aren’t completely symmetrical, so you can rest easy if your needlepoint snowflakes aren’t perfect either. ????

The Daisy stitch is a terrific choice for individual snowflakes.

It’s super easy to execute – work the stitches just like you see in the diagram below and you’ll be golden!

One thing you’ll notice is that there are no even numbers on this stitch diagram. That’s because each stitch “ends” in the center hole. Counting by odd numbers, beginning at 1 and ending at 31, will ensure that you don’t miss any stitches. ????

The daisy stitch is a terrific option for stitching snowflakes on your needlepoint projects.

Now, back to the daisy stitch…

It’s terrific for individual snowflakes that you might find on holiday canvases like “Candy Cane Snowman” by Pepperberry Designs. In fact, I’d stitch all of those little white dots with the daisy stitch.

The daisy stitch is quite small and that means you can use it on just about any size canvas. It’s a really good choice for beginning stitchers – or if you’ve been away from needlepoint for a while. And it’s just so darn fun to make that I’ll bet you find yourself using it for all sorts of other design components, too. (Tee hee!)

Use the daisy stitch to work the small white snowflakes on this cutie pie canvas by Pepperberry Designs.

 I’m using Nordic Gold to work the daisy stitch.

Nordic Gold is a 52% metallic polyester/48% nylon chain construction thread. It’s stronger than blending filament and is one of the more pleasant metallic threads to work with. And speaking of blending filament, Nordic Gold is a very fine weight thread that is equivalent to 2 – 3 strands of blending filament.

It’s available in 10 colors and each card holds a generous 25 yards. Rainbow Gallery suggests that it’s good for needlepoint up to 24 mesh canvas, which means that it’s a super versatile thread to have you in your stash. ????

I recommend using Nordic Gold “as is” off the card. It’s not as prone to unraveling as some of the other metallic threads we’re using, but you’ll still probably want to treat the ends for fraying. Oh – and use pieces no longer than 18″.

You could also use Petite Silk Lamé Braid for the daisy stitch.

I’m using one strand of Nordic Gold (ND17) in a #22 tapestry needle to work my stitch sample on a piece of 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. If you want to practice the Daisy stitch with Petite Silk Lamé Braid (SP02) on a piece of 18 mesh canvas, thread one strand in your needle.

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

It’s been so much fun sharing this fun stitch/thread combo with you.

I think it's time to brew a nice warm cuppa and settle in for the night. Don't you?

I’m ready for some stitching time by the fire. How about you? Let’s check into our cozy little cabin for the night and brew ourselves a nice warm cuppa. ????

Until next week, happy stitching! 

XOXO!!!
Stitch with a smile!

 

 

PS: There are oodles of needlepoint canvases that feature snow and it can be hard to narrow down which stitches will look best. You can rest assured that all of the snowy stitches from weeks 5 and 6 will work on a variety of projects, but you might want to be able to choose your own stitch/thread combinations. Inside The Stitcher’s Club, I help you learn how to do just that! Enrollment will be opening soon, so if you’d like to learn more about it just click here.

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