Threadventure 2018 destination #7 - The Grand Canyon!
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Hi there!

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…  


All aboard for the Grand Canyon!

And here we are! (WOW…that was quick!)

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!


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! 

Come on, let’s glide in and take a look at a few spectacular stitches for clouds and skies…

Beautiful blue skies over The Grand Canyon.


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.

Our first stitch, Venetian stitch, is a wonderful choice for big white puffy clouds. 

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.


Venetian stitch is a great choice for stitching clouds on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Petite Frosty Rays to work this stitch.

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. 😉

Moving right along, our second stitch is the Vertical Milanese stitch.

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. 😉


Vertical Milanese stitch is a great choice for stitching clouds on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Panache to work the Vertical Milanese stitch.

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.)

Now, let’s take a look at some more terrific stitches for clouds and skies…


Puffy white clouds over the Grand Canyon in Arizona.


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.

Our third stitch – and one that is quite effective for all kinds of skies – is the Parisian stitch.


Parisian stitch is a great choice for stitching clouds and skies on your needlepoint projects.


You may flip Parisian stitch on its side, too, and work it as a horizontal stitch, just like you can Venetian and Vertical Milanese.

Puffy white clouds over the Grand Canyon


Clouds – like those in the picture above – ☝️look soooo soft and squishy and I had a really hard time choosing a thread, so…

I’m using both Very Velvet and Wisper to work the Parisian stitch.

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.)

Our fourth stitch, Oriental stitch, is a super choice for clouds and skies…

like you see in the stunning picture below.


Beautiful skies over the Grand Canyon.

Oriental stitch is easier to understand when it’s broken down into two steps. 

First, work the diagonal rows of the stitch as pictured in the diagram below. 


Oriental stitch is a terrific choice for stitching the clouds and skies on your needlepoint canvases.


Next, work the horizontal and vertical pink stitches to fill in between the diagonal rows of blue stitches. 

Oriental stitch is a terrific choice for stitching the clouds and skies on your needlepoint canvases.


And, Voilà! You have a perfectly executed Oriental stitch. 

Oriental stitch is a great choice for stitching clouds and skies on your needlepoint projects.

I’m using Bravo! to work the 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?!)


Moorish stitch is a terrific choice for stitching skies at sunrise or sunset.

Our fifth (and final) Grand Canyon stitch is the 
Moorish stitch. 

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. 


Moorish stitch is a great choice for stitching clouds and skies on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Encore! to work the Moorish stitch.

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. 

Well, my friend, that brings us to the end of our stay at the Grand Canyon.

It’s been so much fun to share “lofty” stitches with you.

Colorful skies at sunset over the Grand Canyon.

Now, let’s hop on board the Serendipity Express and hit the road to our next Threadventure destination…

glitzy Las Vegas!

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!
Stitch with a smile!



PS: I’ll share pictures of my stitched samples over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page, inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group and on Instagram, so be sure and follow me there. 😉


  1. Wilkirson Dana

    July 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Las Vegas!
    I’m guessing we will explore lights and shiny costumes!

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 19, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      Ooooh…great ideas, Dana! Thank you for sharing them. And you’re right – Vegas is a glitzy place! 😉
      Have you ever been there?
      Ellen ❤️

  2. Angela Lepore

    July 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Las Vegas is the place where large hotels and casino’s are found!

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 19, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      You’re so right, Angela! Have you ever been to Las Vegas? We’re going to have TONS of fun on our trip there!
      Ellen ❤️

      • Angela

        July 22, 2018 at 8:41 am

        No I have never been to Las Vegas, but someday I hope to go there!

        • Ellen Johnson

          July 25, 2018 at 9:04 am

          It’s definitely worth seeing, Angie. 😉

  3. Kathy

    July 19, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Las Vegas would have to be the glitter and lights, the 24 hour excitement!

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Kathy!
      Thank you for sharing your ideas. And you’re right – it really is 24-hour glitter and lights! I can’t wait to “spill the beans” next week… it’s going to be soooo much fun!
      Have a happy Thursday!
      Ellen 🙂

  4. Karen Lowenthal

    July 19, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Neon lights

    • Ellen Johnson

      July 21, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Great idea, Karen! Did you know that there’s actually a Neon Museum in Las Vegas? I can hardly wait to share the stitches and threads with you next Thursday…
      Have a happy weekend and thank you for sharing your thoughts!
      Ellen ❤️


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