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 – the magnificent Grand Canyon! We’re expecting beautiful blue skies during our visit, so you’ll be able to see nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history that have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock. Pretty amazing, huh…
And here we are! (WOW…that was quick!) 😉
The Grand Canyon is a wondrous place! The canyon, itself, is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide at points, and is over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters) deep in some places.
Over inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group, I asked you to guess what we’ll be exploring at the Grand Canyon.
If you guessed clouds and wide open skies, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ever so clever. 😉
Choosing the best stitches and threads for clouds and skies can present quite the challenge, but I have some soaring (tee hee!) stitch suggestions for you that I think you’re going to L-O-V-E!
Beautiful blue skies with puffy white clouds make me smile. How about you? Did you ever play that game where you “find” things in the clouds – you know, like ‘that cloud looks like a leprechaun’ and ‘that one looks like a dog’?
I used to do that a lot – you see, I’m an “only” and my parents were both teachers, so our summer vacation was usually a two-week road trip. You can find lots of things in the clouds in the backseat of a Pontiac. 😉
But I digress… let’s get back to our visit to the Grand Canyon.
And the nice thing about this stitch is that you can work it either vertically (like in the diagram below) – or you can flip it on its side and stitch it horizontally. Either way, it’s a terrific choice for clouds (and skies!).
It doesn’t take up a lot of space, so you can use it in a smallish to medium size area – all the way up to a really big space – on your needlepoint canvas. (Hint: It’s a great background stitch, too.) And it’s super-easy to compensate. Just work as many full stitches as you can, then go back and fill in the gaps with your compensating stitches later.
Petite Frosty Rays is the baby sister to Frosty Rays. It works best on 14 – 18 mesh needlepoint canvas and is actually a strand of Petite Treasure Braid inside a tube/strand of Flair. (You can read all about Flair here. We’ll explore Petite Treasure Braid soon.)
Petite Frosty Rays is 50% nylon, 32% viscose, and 18% polyester. There are 106 splendiferous colors of Petite Frosty Rays and each card holds 6 yards. Use a laying tool when working with this thread because you really want it to lay flat on the canvas, so you can see that little twinkle from the Petite Treasure Braid.
Since this thread is prone to unraveling, use Fray Check on the ends (or zap them with a Thread Zap) to ward off that bothersome fraying. (Note: You may need to zap the ends more than once when using the Thread Zap.) Oh – and remember to use short lengths, too – 15″ should work very well. Anything longer will be an exercise in frustration – trust me. 😉
Vertical Milanese stitch is another terrific choice for clouds and skies – and you can turn it on its side, too. Either way, it’s stunning and adds just the right amount of visual interest to make your project really shine.
The pattern is easy to execute – just stitch the “blue rows” (as in the diagram below), then go back and fill in the “pink rows”.
Have a really big sky to stitch, this is an awesome choice since it’s a larger stitch. Not only will it look spectacular, but you’ll be done in a jiffy. 😉
Panache is a high sheen twisted rayon thread that is absolutely perfect for 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. It comes in 52 beautiful jewel tone colors and each card holds a generous 20 yards.
Use it “as is” directly off the card. Since it’s a wee bit prone to unraveling, you might want to put a drop of Fray Check on the ends – or use the Thread Zap. Remember to use shorter lengths when working with threads that have a tendency to fray. I recommend using pieces no longer than 15″.
Panache is slightly thinner than DMC pearl cotton #5, so you’ll get light coverage with Vertical Milanese stitch, but that’s okay – it’ll allow the artist’s beautiful painting to show through just a little.
Since Panache is slippery, be extra careful when anchoring it before you start stitching. And you might try running it over a damp sponge to make it easier to manage. Any rayon thread is more cooperative when it’s just the tiniest bit damp. (Be careful not to get it too wet, though, or it’ll snarl into a tangly mess.)
Did you know that some of the cleanest air in the entire United States can be found at the Grand Canyon? That must be (at least) part of the reason why the skies above the Grand Canyon are so breathtakingly beautiful. Each day dawns with a picturesque sunrise; bluebird skies brimming with puffy white clouds fill the daytime hours and watercolor sunsets bring each day to a close.
You may flip Parisian stitch on its side, too, and work it as a horizontal stitch, just like you can Venetian and Vertical Milanese.
Clouds – like those in the picture above – ☝️look soooo soft and squishy and I had a really hard time choosing a thread, so…
Not at the same time, though … I just couldn’t decide which I liked best. First, let’s take a peek at Very Velvet.
Very Velvet really looks like velvet when you stitch it, so that makes it perfect for a soft, fluffy cloud. It comes in 87 solid colors and each card has 10 yards. It’s a 100% nylon round velour thread, which is what makes it look like real velvet.
Very Velvet is great for 13 – 18 mesh needlepoint canvas, but I recommend using it only for long stitches on 18 mesh. 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 Very Velvet “as is” off the card, but use short pieces (no longer than 15″). Now, let’s chat about Wisper.
Wisper is a very fine 70% kid mohair/30% nylon thread that I think looks spectacular for stitching marshmallow-y clouds. (Of course, it’s great for beards and fur, too.) It blends well with Designer’s Dream and you can use multiple strands or combine it with other thread for larger mesh canvas.
Speaking of different sizes of canvas, I recommend using 1 strand on 22 mesh needlepoint canvas, 2 strands on 18 mesh, and 3 strands on 14 mesh. Each card holds 20 yards and there are 49 colors (35 of which are terrific for stitching animals!).
Use Wisper “as is” off the card. (TIP: I actually cut a long piece (36″) and doubled it so that I didn’t have to use two strands.)
like you see in the stunning picture below.
First, work the diagonal rows of the stitch as pictured in the diagram below.
Next, work the horizontal and vertical pink stitches to fill in between the diagonal rows of blue stitches.
And, Voilà! You have a perfectly executed Oriental stitch.
Bravo is making a repeat appearance here at the Grand Canyon, so you can click here to read more about it.
Remember to use 3 strands on 18 mesh needlepoint canvas for full coverage, or 1 – 2 strands for light coverage. This thread is a truly spectacular choice for those watercolor sunsets like in the picture down below. (It doesn’t even look like a photograph, does it?!)
It’s a super-terrific option for sunrise and sunset skies and it’s really fun to work. It’s another “combination” stitch. (We’ve had lots of those on our Threadventure!) Scotch stitch and tent stitch pair up to create this combination that has a very definite diagonal directionality.
I recommend using 1 strand of Encore! on 18 mesh canvas for light coverage, so you can see the artist’s shading peeking through. And this thread is an “encore” (tee hee!) performance thread, so you can click here to learn more about it.
It’s been so much fun to share “lofty” 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 Las Vegas. (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!
Would you like to be able to pick up any needlepoint canvas
and run with it?
You know - choose your own stitches and threads and have your project turn out just like you imagined...
Well, I can help! I'll write to you each week with my latest tutorials, tips, and tools to help you develop your needlework skills + I'll send you my
FREE Quick Start Needlepoint Guide.
Just enter your best email address below now and I'll see you on the other side.
©2020. Serendipity Needleworks. All rights reserved.