Spring Threadventure Week 7: Portland Japanese Garden

by , on
May 28, 2020

Hello there! Can you believe that we’re to the end of our 2020 Spring Threadventure Garden Tour? I know – neither can I! The ultimate zen experience awaits you at our final destination, so hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me, and let’s take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to the last stop…

Spring Threadventure Week 6: Lotusland

by , on
May 21, 2020

Well hello there, lovely! Last week’s adventure through Desert Botanical Garden was oodles of fun, but I think you’re gonna like this week’s destination just as much. 😉 It’s quite different and it has a very interesting history. (All you opera fans are gonna get a kick out of learning more about Madame Walska!!) So, hop aboard the  Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to a place that’s famous for its lotus flowers…

And here we are at our next destination on the 2020 Spring Threadventure Garden Tour!
Lotusland in lovely Montecito, California

(Gee, that was quick.) 😉

The lotus flowers bloom from late May through the summer.

Lotusland is a non-profit botanical garden…

that actually encompasses the estate of the late Ganna Walska, a Polish opera singer and gardening aficionado. Her opera career was rather ho-hum, but her creativity as a landscape designer lives on through the many distinctive gardens she established at Lotusland.

Here are a couple of pictures of her.


One of her first forays into designing gardens was the transformation of her leaky swimming pool into a water garden full of lovely lotus flowers like the one you see on this needlepoint canvas by Lee Designs…

Lotus flowers needlepoint canvas by Lee Designs

Of course, lotus flowers aren’t the only kinds of flowers that you’ll find on needlepoint canvases…

Designers paint all sorts of different flowers – from amaryllis to zinnias – and everything in between! Sometimes the flowers on your needlepoint projects are small. And sometimes they’re large. So what’s a stitcher to do when trying to decide which stitch to use for the flowers on her (or his!) project? That’s a terrific question – and it’s one that we’ll chat more about in today’s episode of Needlepoint TV™ at 3:00 p.m. CDT over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page. I hope you’ll join me. 😉

Since we only have a short time together here today, though, whaddya’ say we take a look at a terrific stitch for larger flowers?

The diagonal Roumanian stitch is one of my favorite stitches for large flowers.

It’s super easy to execute – work the stitches just like you see in the diagram below and you’ll be golden! (Note that you’ll complete each stitch “unit” before moving along to the next stitch unit in the row.)


The diagonal Roumanian stitch is a terrific choice for stitching large flower petals.


The diagonal Roumanian stitch is a medium-size stitch, so you’ll need to have plenty of space to establish the pattern. That’s why I like to use it on larger flowers, like these magnolias from Julie Mar Designs…

Large magnolia flowers are a terrific place to use the diagonal Roumanian stitch.


I’m using Waterlilies to work the diagonal Roumanian stitch.

Waterlilies is a 100% silk 12-strand divisible embroidery thread from the Caron Collection. At last count, it’s available in 254 hand-dyed colors and each skein holds six yards. Be sure and purchase enough thread in the same dye lot to complete your project,  as dye lots can vary wildly.

I recommend using four strands of Waterlilies on 18 mesh canvas and six to eight strands on 13/14 mesh canvas. If you want to allow a little of the artist’s shading to show through your stitching, use fewer strands. Be sure and use your laying tool to ensure that all of the strands lay smoothly on the surface of your canvas.

I’m actually using three strands of Waterlilies (117-Fresh Pink) in a #22 tapestry needle to work my stitch sample on a piece of 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. And I’m doing that because this stitch has two layers: the longer 2 x 2 diagonal stitch and the reverse tent stitch that ties the longer stitch down. Using three strands of thread prevents my stitches from becoming too bulky. 😉

Oh my – it’s been so much fun sharing this fun stitch/thread combo for flowers with you!

Thank you so much for joining me here today. Next week, we’ll visit our final destination on the 2020 Spring Threadventure Garden Tour. I can’t wait to share it with you.

In the meanwhile, let’s check into our cozy room at the Montecito Inn in beautiful Santa Barbara…


And remember to join me for a brand new episode of Needlepoint TV™ at 3:00 p.m. CDT every Thursday afternoon. 🙂

Until next week, happy stitching! 

Stitch with a smile!




Spring Threadventure Week 5: Desert Botanical Gardens

by , on
May 14, 2020

Well hello again! Our 2020 Spring Threadventure Garden Tour is speeding right along. We’re going cross-country today where we’ll have fun exploring a beautiful desert garden! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to our fifth stop…


Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

And here we are…


Welcome to Desert Botanical Garden!


Desert Botanical Garden is the realization of the vision of Swedish botanist Gustaf Starck. Way back in 1939, he posted a sign that read “Save the Desert” and a small group of local citizens joined him in their quest to conserve their beautiful desert environment. In the past 80 years, it “has blossomed from a dream into a living museum”.

Admittedly, I don’t have much experience with cacti. They don’t like Alabama very much. But they fascinate me! Especially those with so many prickly spines like these cutie pies – golden barrel cactuses…

Golden barrel cactus are short and squatty - and covered with prickly spines.


Did you know that cactuses are indigenous to the Americas with just one exception? Yep – that’s right… the only other place on the entire planet that you can find native cacti is tropical Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka. Pretty cool, huh?!

Today’s stitch, the staggered cross stitch, is a terrific option for cactus plants.

It’s particularly effective for stitching cacti like those you see on this lovely canvas from Purple Palm Designs. It’s called Desert Garden. Don’t you just L-O-V-E the colors and textures? What a fun canvas to stitch!


Desert Garden by Purple Palm Designs


And speaking of stitching, let’s take a look at the stitch diagram. You can see that the staggered cross stitch is actually a combination stitch.

So, what’s a combination stitch?

That’s a terrific question! A combination stitch is a stitch comprised of two (or more) stitches to create a brand new stitch. In this case, it includes two different sizes of cross stitches.

The first step in executing the staggered cross stitch is to work the larger cross-stitches. Follow the numbers on the diagram below and you’ll be golden!

Then, complete the stitch by working the small cross-stitches in the gaps between the larger cross stitches. Notice that the cross-stitches – the large ones and the small ones – are worked as individual units before moving across the row. Be sure to keep the top legs of each stitch unit going in the same direction so your work doesn’t look messy. 😉

And before I forget, the staggered cross stitch is a medium-size stitch so you’ll need ample space to establish the pattern.

Staggered cross stitch is a terrific stitch for the cactus on your desert themed needlepoint canvases.


I’m using Watercolours to work this stitch.

Watercolours is making an “encore” appearance, so you can click here to learn more about it.

Thread one strand of Watercolours (215 – Cilantro) in a #22 tapestry needle to execute the large cross-stitch in the staggered cross stitch pattern. Then, use one strand of that same color of Watercolours in a #22 tapestry needle for the small cross-stitch to complete the staggered cross stitch pattern. Work your stitch sample on a piece of 13 mesh needlepoint canvas.

Where will you use the staggered cross stitch?

Do you have a desert-themed canvas? Or will you use the staggered cross stitch for shrubs on a design with a garden theme? We’ll chat about some more uses for the staggered cross stitch at 3:00 p.m. CDT this afternoon during Needlepoint TV™ over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page. I hope you’ll join me! 🙂

Before you go, please tell me how you plan to use the staggered cross stitch on one of your canvases down in the comments box below.

Don’t be shy – I ❤️ hearing from you and I read every single note.

And just to spice things up a little, I think I’ll do fun “giveaway” this week.

When you share your thoughts with me below, I’ll enter your name into the drawing for a Serendipity Needleworks needle minder. (squeeee!!!)

Alrighty, that’s all for now.

Thanks ever so much for joining me here and…

until next time, happy stitching!

XOXO!!! ❤️
Stitch with a smile!

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