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 to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina where mountain vistas await us…
And here we are! (Gee, that was quick.) 😉
Have you ever been to Asheville? It’s an enchanting little city tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Chock full of historic landmarks, cultural arts, and breathtaking natural beauty, Asheville is the kind of special place that beckons you back again and again.
Over inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group, I asked you to guess what we’ll be exploring in Asheville.
If you guessed mountains and mountain ranges, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ever so clever. 😉
Mountains and mountain ranges can pose quite a challenge when it comes to choosing the best stitches and threads for your needlepoint projects.
Mountains and mountain ranges – like the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Asheville – appear rounded and rolling.
Mountains can be lush with vegetation – heavily forested and brimming with streams and wildflowers. But mountains can also be starkly barren – rocky and treeless, and dotted with lichens.
Whichever type of mountain you have on your needlepoint canvas, there are lots of different stitches and threads that you can use to add texture and color to your masterpiece…
It’s super easy to execute – and it’s also easy peasy to compensate; a great starting place. It’s a very versatile stitch and it’s a terrific choice for beginning stitchers (or if you’ve been away from needlepoint for a while).
This Bargello line pattern, an upright vertical stitch, suggests a wee bit of movement. Use it in medium to large sized areas on your needlepoint canvas.
Encore is a four-ply divisible thread. It’s made of 100% pima cotton. Each of the four plies is about the same size as Perle Cotton #8.
Encore has 37 exquisite over-dyed colors and each card has a generous 10 yards. The colors of Encore match the colors of Overture, one of the 4-ply divisible cotton threads featured last week on our trip to Seaside. I recommend using 1 ply of Encore on Congress Cloth, 2 plies on 18 mesh, and 3 plies on 13/14 mesh.
I also recommend stranding Encore so that it lays smoothly on your canvas.
Double Hungarian stitch has a subtle wavy look – and it’s easy to execute, too. 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.
Splendor is also a divisible thread, but it’s 100% silk. Each of the 12 plies is about the same size as one ply of DMC cotton embroidery floss. Don’t be afraid of this thread…if you use cotton embroidery floss, you can use Splendor.
Splendor has 360 luscious colors and each card has 8 yards. Splendor features a unique construction of 3 bundles of 4 strands each; to strand it, separate the bundles first, then divide each bundle, one ply at a time. I recommend using 2 plies on Congress Cloth, 4 plies on 18 mesh, and 6 plies on 13/14 mesh.
I definitely recommend stranding* Splendor so that it lays smoothly on your canvas – and you need to use a laying tool with this thread, too.
*In case you forgot, stranding means to separate the plies of a divisible thread, and then put them back together again.
The Blue Ridge Mountains appear to have a bluish color when seen from a distance. Densely forested, it’s the trees that put the “blue” in Blue Ridge. They emit a natural compound called isoprene – and that’s what contributes to the characteristic haze on the mountains and gives them their distinctive color.
Notice the texture that the trees create on the mountain slopes in the foreground of the picture below. Then, look at the mountains in the background – those that appear to be far away. Which mountains have the most detail?
If you said the mountains in the foreground, then you’re absolutely right!
Notice how some of the stitches overlap on the Diagonal Upright Cross stitch? Those encroaching stitches combine to create light layers and add to the overall texture of the stitch. Work each cross as a unit before moving down the diagonal row.
Pebbly Perle is a 4-ply divisible mercerized cotton thread. What does “mercerized” mean? Great question! Mercerization is the process of treating cotton thread (and fabric) in a caustic solution under tension. It causes the fibers to swell and allows dye to better penetrate the fibers, thereby increasing the luster while also strengthening the thread.
Pebbly Perle is available in a small number of colors and each card has 10 yards. Because of its cable construction, stitches have a more pronounced corded appearance. Strand Pebbly Perle thread to create flat, smooth stitches. Use it on both 14 and 18 mesh canvas, depending on the look you want to achieve.
like that in the picture below. Reverse the slant of your stitches to create directionality and add depth.
Hesitation stitch is easy to execute – and it’s relatively simple to compensate. Just be sure and work as many full repeats of the pattern as possible first.
Since you already know about Splendor (which I’m using for the long stitches in the Hesitation stitch pattern), let’s take a look at the other thread in this stitch pattern.
Silk Lamé Braid, one of my all-time favorite Rainbow Gallery threads, is available in three sizes: Silk Lamé Braid 13 for 13 mesh canvas and Silk Lamé Braid 18 for 18 mesh canvas, and Petite Silk Lamé Braid, also for 18 mesh canvas. I’m using Silk Lamé Braid 13 for the short stitches in the Hesitation stitch pattern.
Silk Lamé Braid threads are a blend of silk and polyester metallic fibers. Silk Lamé Braid 13 has 8 yards per card, Silk Lamé Braid 18 has 10 yards per card, and Petite Silk Lamé Braid has 20 yards per card. I recommend using it “as-is”, directly off the card. There’s no need to use a laying tool, but you do need to use short lengths (approximately 15″) since it’s prone to unraveling. (NOTE: I don’t use Fray Check or the Thread Zap on Silk Lamé Braid.)
It’s a terrific option for rough and rocky mountains and, since it’s a “small” stitch, it’ll fit just about anywhere. Lazy Kalem is simple to work and compensate – and it’s another one of my favorite “go-to” stitches.
For light coverage on a painted canvas, use one ply of Encore or 2 plies of Splendor to work Lazy Kalem. That technique allows the artist’s beautiful shading to show through. If you prefer full coverage and want to use Encore, use 2 plies on 18 mesh and 3 plies on 13/14 mesh. And if Splendor is your thread of choice, use 4 plies on 18 mesh and 6 plies on 13/14 mesh.
It’s been so much fun sharing stitches from the mountain tops 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 Washington, D.C. (Don’t be shy…I ❤️ 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. 🙂
Until next time, happy stitching!
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