I’m soooo happy to see you again. Are you ready for the next stop on our Threadventure? Great! Jump on the Serendipity Express with me and we’ll ride our magical virtual vacation tour bus along the gorgeous California coast where flowering mountain meadows and majestic ocean views await us…
And here we are… gee, that was quick! 😉
Have you ever been to Big Sur? Dubbed one of the most unforgettable stretches of coastline in the world, Big Sur is a 90-ish mile-long expanse of waterfront between Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Simeon.
It’s, quite simply, an enchanting place. Spend the morning watching sea otters placidly floating among kelp beds, and then take a leisurely afternoon hike through flowering meadows or down to a secluded cove.
Over inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group, I asked you to guess what we’ll be exploring in Big Sur.
If you guessed meadows – both grassy and flowering, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re exactly right! 👏👏👏
Grassy fields and flowering meadows can be a little bit daunting when it comes to choosing the best stitches and threads for your needlepoint projects.
California Highway 1, the only route through Big Sur, is a narrow two-lane section of highway that hugs the coastline. It’s flanked on one side by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
Sprinkled in amongst rocky crags, every now and then you’ll come upon a grassy meadow like the one in the picture above.
It’s a terrific choice for grassy fields and meadows and it’s a simple stitch to execute. That means it’s a good option if you’re just trying your hand at using decorative stitches – or if you’ve been away from needlepoint for a while. Since it’s a smallish stitch, it doesn’t take up a lot of space so it’s a great option for small areas – or small canvases.
Since it’s an open stitch, it’s particularly nice for when you want to let the artist’s lovely shading show through on your painted canvas. It also suggests a wee bit of movement which makes it perfect for windblown grassy meadows.
Hourglass Cross stitch has an interestingly subtle wavy look. It’s a medium size stitch, so it requires a bit of space to establish your pattern. Use it in medium to large sized areas on your needlepoint canvas.
It’s one of those stitches that is easier to understand when it’s broken down into steps, so there are two stitch diagrams for you below.
Pay close attention to the numbering on this stitch. You should work the bottom leg of each cross first, and then come back and work the top leg. Notice, too, how the stitches in each row stagger up and down across the row. Row one is shown in blue, row two in pink, etc.
This first diagram shows you how to work the large cross stitches.
And this second diagram shows you how to add the tops and bottoms to the “hourglasses”. They’re those little green horizontal stitches. Pay close attention to the lettering system to ensure that you work your stitches in the correct order.
Overture, one of our “go-to” over-dyed threads, is making a repeat performance, so be sure and read all about it here.
Arctic Rays, on the other hand, debuts today. I absolutely adore this thread! It’s super-fun to work with.
Arctic Rays is a 100% nylon wispy fringe thread. What the heck is a wispy fringe thread? Great question! You see, the core thread has a chain construction – sort of like a crochet chain stitch. And there are oodles of little transparent wispy fringes shot through the core thread to create wild and wacky Arctic Rays.
Arctic Rays comes in 22 glistening colors and each card holds 8 yards. It’s best for long stitches on 14 – 18 mesh needlepoint canvas; more of those cute little fringies can dance around on the surface of your canvas when you use long stitches.
A word of caution – use the stabbing method when using Arctic Rays and take extra care not to drag it across the surface of your canvas. It’s a wee bit on the delicate side. Gently, gently use a Bunka brush (or a soft child’s toothbrush) to fluff out Arctic Rays after your stitches are in place.
Use it “as is” off the card and cut short pieces (15″). You’ll also want to keep a needle threader handy since it’s hard to get Arctic Rays through the eye of your needle. I recommend treating the ends with Fray Check or a Thread Zap since it’s prone to unraveling.
Work the blocks of tent stitch in leftward slanting diagonal rows first. Then, fill in the empty spaces by working the the right-slanting rows of mosaic stitch. Follow the numbers/letters on the diagram below to keep yourself straight. 😉
Bravo! and Panache are both making a repeat appearance here. I’m using Bravo! to work the mosaic stitch pattern and Panache to work the tent stitch squares. Click here to read more about Bravo! And click here to read more about Panache.
Using over-dyed thread makes those mosaic stitches looks like little flowers scattered across a grassy meadow.
like the one in the picture below. Boy-oh-boy, wouldn’t it be fun to take your needlepoint down on the beach for a day of stitching under a big ol’ umbrella? Looks like paradise to me! 🙂
Checkerboard cross stitch has a lot of steps, but it’s easy to execute. It’s another smallish stitch, so it’s a good choice for small areas or small canvases. Work the upright crosses first, then come back and fill in with the standard cross stitches.
Just follow the diagram below and you’ll be golden! 😉
It, too, comes in 87 solid colors and each card has a generous 15 yards. It’s a 100% nylon round velour thread, which is what makes it look like real velvet.
Petite Very Velvet is great for 14 – 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. It’s a really strong thread and it holds up quite well, so don’t hesitate to use it on a project that will get a lot of “love”.
Use Petite Very Velvet “as is” off the card, but use short pieces (no longer than 15″). Now, let’s chat about Gold Rush 14 Variegated.
Each card holds 10 yards. Gold Rush 14 comes in 64 solid colors while Gold Rush 14 Variegated (which we’re using here) comes in 24 colors. There are some incredible greens in this line and that’s why I’m using it here.
I recommend using it “as-is”, directly off the card. There’s no need to use a laying tool, but you do need to work with short lengths (15″ – 17″) since it’s prone to unraveling. Rainbow Gallery suggests snapping this thread apart instead of cutting it. I think that helps with the fraying issue a little bit – and anything that you can do to help prevent fraying is always a good thing, right?!
The thread choices for this stitch are “reversible” which means that you can use either thread for either unit of the stitch. Choose one of the gorgeous greens in Gold Rush 14 Variegated for the grass and use a solid Petite Very Velvet in a bright color for the wildflowers. Or, reverse that and use one of the delicious grassy greens in Petite Very Velvet and then select a shimmering shade of Gold Rush 14 Variegated for magical flowers.
I like to use this stitch when I want to scatter little flowers across a field or meadow – or when I’m working a design that features a vase of flowers or, perhaps, a window box.
It’s a largish stitch, so you need plenty of space get the best results. It, too, requires a lot of steps to complete a single unit, but the steps are not hard at all. Most importantly, just follow the diagram below and you should be fine.
It’s been so much fun to share stitches from the meadows along Highway 1 with you.
Now, let’s hop on board the Serendipity Express and hit the road to our next Threadventure destination…
Before you go, be sure and tell me what you think we’ll be exploring in Napa.
Please, please – don’t be shy… I love, Love, LOVE hearing from you and I read every single comment!
When you leave your thoughts down below in the comments box, 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.
Enrollment opens soon!
Until next time, happy stitching!
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