Are you ready for this week’s destination on the Threadventure? Great! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and we’ll take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to our next stop – our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. – where there’s plenty to see and do! We’ll visit museums, buildings, monuments, and more…
And here we are! (WOW…that was quick!) 😉
Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.? Politics aside, it’s an amazing place! The White House, the US Capitol, The Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the list just goes on and on!
Over inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group, I asked you to guess what we’ll be exploring in Washington.
If you guessed buildings and monuments, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ever so clever. 😉
Buildings and architectural details can be daunting when it comes to choosing the best stitches and threads for your needlepoint projects, but I have some terrific suggestions for you.
Don’t you just love to look at the architectural details on old buildings? Every single one has its own personality – just like The Castle at The Smithsonian Institute in the picture above. That James Renwick, Jr. was some kind of talented, wasn’t he? Not only did he design The Castle, but he also drew up the plans for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (where we’ll be going next week!).
The Castle is actually red sandstone, but from a distance, it looks like brick. So, let’s start by taking a look at some stitches that are good for brick buildings.
Kind of a “no-brainer”, huh?! (Tee hee!) Brick stitch is easy to execute – and it’s also easy peasy to compensate. It’s a great first decorative stitch, if you’re new to using decorative stitches, or if you’ve been away from your needlepoint hobby for a while.
Brick stitch is one those “go-to” stitches because it’s so versatile. Not only is it super small (so it’ll fit in teeny tiny spaces), but you can also turn it on its side and work it horizontally. (And that’s when the stitches really do look like bricks!)
If you’ve worked Brick stitch before, my diagram may be a little confusing to you. Don’t fret, though. It’s really quite easy to get the hang of after you’ve stitched a couple of rows. (And if you prefer to work it the other way – where you alternate your stitches up and down across the row – that’s fine, too. Just be consistent.)
Bravo! is a four-ply divisible thread. It’s 100% Pima cotton. Each of the four plies is slightly thicker than a single ply of DMC cotton embroidery floss.
Bravo! has 45 exquisite over-dyed colors and each card has a generous 15 yards. The colors of Bravo match the colors of Encore and Overture. I recommend using 2 plies of Bravo! on Congress Cloth, 3-4 plies on 18 mesh, and 5-6 plies on 13/14 mesh.
I also recommend stranding Bravo! (and using a laying tool) so that your stitches lay smoothly on your canvas.
Cashmere stitch is a box stitch – and it’s easy to execute, too. A small-ish stitch, Cashmere stitch doesn’t require a large area to establish your pattern, either. Work it in vertical, horizontal or diagonal rows. The diagram shows Cashmere stitch executed in diagonal rows.
Oh – and you can flip this stitch on its side, too. It reeeaaaallllly looks like bricks or blocks of stone when you do that!
Mandarin Floss is a six-ply divisible thread. It’s similar in size to DMC cotton embroidery floss, but it’s 100% bamboo! Pretty cool, huh?
Mandarin Floss has 116 lustrous solid colors and 12 magnificent over-dyed colors. Each card has a generous 20 yards.
It has a semi-matte finish that contrasts nicely with high gloss and metallic threads. It’s a bit softer than stranded cotton floss and has many of the qualities of silk.
I recommend using 4 plies of Mandarin Floss on 18 mesh and 6-8 plies on 13/14 mesh.
I also recommend stranding Mandarin Floss (and using a laying tool) so that your stitches lay smoothly on the surface of your canvas. (Not sure what stranding is? Click here to read more.)
Did you know that many of the buildings in Washington, D.C. are of the neoclassical architecture style? The neoclassical style encompasses the styles of Federal and Greek Revival architecture which were a major influence during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Several of the foundational buildings of the United States government were constructed during this time period.
You may flip Beaty stitch on its side, too, and work it as a horizontal stitch, just like you can Brick stitch and Cashmere stitch.
Flair is a stretchy tubular 100% nylon ribbon. It’s available in 99 colors and each card holds 10 yards.
Flair has an inconspicuous glimmer that will not overpower the other threads you use on your project. Use it on painted canvases to reinforce the color underneath for an interesting effect.
I recommend using it “as-is”, directly off the card. Cut short pieces – no longer than 12″ – 15″. Apply Fray Check to the ends (or use a Thread Zap), since it’s prone to unraveling. Remember to use a laying tool to lay Flair, since you don’t want it to twist. (Trust me – the effect is well worth the effort!)
like those in the picture of the Lincoln Memorial below.
First, work three vertical and three horizontal rows of blocks for a total of nine blocks. Each block has nine tent stitches worked in basket-weave (or diagonal tent stitch).
Next, work two straight stitches over three canvas intersections, following the diagram below.
Finally, work a cross stitch in the open space in the center of each unit.
Designer’s Dream is 100% non-divisible wool thread. It’s available in 28 contemporary colors and each card holds 30 yards.
I recommend using 1 strand on Congress Cloth, 2 strands on 18 mesh, 3 strands on 16 mesh, and 4 strands on 18 mesh. You may also use it to top-stitch details like eyelashes. (NOTE: I’m using Designer’s Dream to work the long stitches in step 2 of Rosemary stitch.)
Neon Rays is a flat ribbon. It has 139 colors and each card has a 10 yards.
It has a shiny finish that provides contrast to matte and metallic threads. Use it “as is” off the card, but use a laying tool to ensure that your stitches lay flat on your canvas.
Oh – and two more very important things…
Put a drop of Fray Check (or use a Thread Zap) on the ends of Neon Rays, since it’s prone to unraveling. And use short pieces, no longer than 15″. (NOTE: I’m using Neon Rays to work the cross stitch in step 3 of Rosemary stitch.)
Click here to learn more about Splendor. (NOTE: I’m using Splendor to work the tent stitch boxes in step 1 of Rosemary stitch.)
Personally, I’d use shades of the same color in all three threads to execute the Rosemary stitch when working the architectural details on a building. Of course, it’s your project so do what makes you happy. 🙂
It’s a super-terrific option for columns and it’s really fun to work. The direction of the stitches is reversed every other stitch unit (hence the name) and that creates visual interest for the viewer of your work. Light also reflects off the thread differently, depending upon the slant of the stitches, and casts subtle shadows that add more depth and texture.
I recommend using Rainbow Linen on 18 mesh canvas. It’s a 100% linen thread and you can click here to learn more about it.
It’s been so much fun sharing “monumental” stitches 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 New York. (Don’t be shy…I ❤️ 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!
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