April in Alabama
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Hi there! It’s a gloriously beautiful spring day here in Alabama…there’s a cool breeze blowing, the sun is shining, the birdies are chirping, and big puffy white clouds are drifting across the bluest sky you ever saw. It makes my heart sing just to look out the window. Last week, we chatted about the design elements on my Tuscaloosa canvas and identified the focal point (and subordinate focal points). Then, we brainstormed about some descriptive words that could be used to help in exploring different thread options. And this week, we’re exploring stitch options!

Before we go any further, let me show you the threads I’m thinking about using to stitch this cutie-pie canvas. (I had a few of them in my stash and I purchased the others from my local needlework shop.)

Threads for stitching the Tuscaloosa canvas

Wondering how I came up with what you see in the picture above?

Well, last week we made a list of descriptive words for each of the design components on the canvas – and I studied it really carefully. Then, I dove into my thread stash to see what I could find that might work. After I’d exhausted the possibilities in my stash, I made a trip to my LNS (a.k.a. local needlework shop) and Voila…I now have the threads and embellishments I’ll need (plus a few extra options, in case I change my mind along the way).

Before we dive into exploring stitch options…

let’s take a closer look at just one of the threads and how I came to choose it, so you’ll have a better understanding of what I’m talking about.

Watercolours, by The Caron Collection, is a three-ply divisible Pima cotton thread that has been over-dyed to create lustrously rich hues. “Gingersnap” (my choice) is similar in color to Denny Chimes – and the slight coarseness mimics the rough texture of the brick used to build the bell tower.

The Denny Chimes design component is smallish, so there’s not enough space to establish a decorative stitch pattern. And, since every project needs a place for the eyes to rest, I’ll use tent stitch to work the Denny Chimes design component in “Gingersnap” Watercolours. Make sense? Terrific!

Now, let’s take a look at another design component.

How about the trees along the edge of the river? When you look at the real shoreline, you see a mixture of pine trees and hardwood trees – in an exquisite array of greens. That’s why I chose a variety of over-dyed green threads from Threadworx. (Surely I’ll be able to capture the beauty of those trees with these sumptuous shades!) And I’ll use one of my favorite stitches to add a little bit of extra texture – French knots. 😉

Tuscaloosa canvas with threads

The riverboat, another small-but-important design component, would be best worked in tent stitch, too.

(Just like Denny Chimes.) Why? Because there’s simply not enough space to establish an aesthetically appealing decorative stitch pattern on the riverboat, either. And ironically, both Denny Chimes and the riverboat are the subordinate focal points.

Why did I bring up the focal point again? Well, you know that every canvas needs a bit of tent stitch on it – so the eyes have a place to rest. What better place for the eyes to rest than on those two subordinate focal points? 😉

And I’ll use white silk to stitch the riverboat because it’s shiny – just like the glossy white paint the real Bama Belle sports as she cruises up and down the Black Warrior River.

What about the sky?

Great question! I haven’t decided how I want to stitch the sky just yet, so I’ll save that for next week. In the meanwhile, keep an eye on my Instagram Gallery to follow my stitching progress. (And go ahead and become a Serendipity Needleworks follower, too – so you don’t miss out on anything!)

Until next time, Happy Stitching!
Stitch with a smile!



PS: Are you a member of the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group? That’s where we share ideas and cheer each other on – and I’d love to have you join us, so click here to request an invite. I’ll see you on the inside!

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  1. Juliet

    April 19, 2018 at 10:46 am

    What and where is your local needle shop. Looking for a another shop to add to my lust to visit. Juliet

    • Ellen Johnson

      April 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Juliet! Thank you so much for your note. I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but my brick and mortar shop closed last May. (My husband had some serious health issues that prompted the closing, so now I’m completely online.) Look for some new and exciting things coming your way, soon, though. 😉


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