Splendor and the Grass

Tuscaloosa canvas by Kathy Schenkel Designs

No, I’m not talking about the movie starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. That’s Splendor in the Grass. I’m talking about using Splendor for the grass on my “Tuscaloosa” canvas. (tee hee!)

Splendor is one of my all-time favorite threads. I used it a lot in our Threadventure. You can read more about it here.

Problem is, I don’t have the right color green for the grass on my canvas…

So, what’s a gal to do? Go stash diving, of course…

Wanna know what I found?

Soie Cristale by the Caron Collection. It’s a 12-strand divisible silk thread and it comes in more than 200 solid colors.

It’s very much like Splendor, so it’ll give me the effect I’m looking for on the grass design component of my needlepoint canvas.

Soie Cristale is a spun silk thread. That means it’s made from bits and pieces of silk fiber.

Those smaller pieces are spun together to create a thread. It’s not as strong as filament silk (the other form of silk thread), but it’s easier to manage.

It’s best to cut shorter pieces when working with Soie Cristale, so it doesn’t tangle. I usually cut my pieces no longer than 16″.

Each strand is a little bit thicker than a single strand of cotton embroidery floss. I use four strands of Soie Cristale on 18 mesh canvas and six to eight strands on 13 mesh canvas when I want to achieve full coverage.

Use fewer strands if you’re using open stitches or prefer lighter coverage.

Soie Cristale is put up in a skein and each skein has six yards. Since it’s a divisible thread, it’s best to separate the strands, then put them back together before threading your needle.

Do that one extra little thing and your stitches will be more likely to lay smoothly on the surface of your canvas. Of course, you’ll want to use a laying tool, too – to ensure that those strands lay side by side all nice and neat.


Soie Cristale, by The Caron Collection, is a 12-strand divisible silk embroidery thread.


I’m using the reverse mosaic stitch…

to work the grass on the riverbank since it’s a small space. Here’s a picture of the first step.

The reverse mosaic stitch is a terrific choice for grass and lawns on your needlepoint canvases.


And here’s a picture of the second step. I love the way this stitch adds just the right amount of texture to the grass.

The reverse mosaic stitch is a terrific choice for grass and lawns on your needlepoint canvases.


The diagrams below show you exactly which order to work your mosaic stitch units. Just follow them and you’ll be golden!

Here’s step 1…

Reverse Mosaic Stitch - Step 1


And here’s step 2…

Reverse Mosaic Stitch - Step 2


Reverse mosaic stitch is also a nifty background stitch.

It’s really easy to execute and it’s not hard to compensate either. If you’re new to using decorative stitches, give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

Here’s a picture of the ornament I made for Rebekah and Dan’s wedding. I used reverse mosaic stitch as the background stitch.

Rebekah and Dan's keepsake wedding ornament


We’ll take a look at beading the letters on my Tuscaloosa canvas next week, so I’ll see you back here then. (That’s first thing Thursday morning if you’re new to the Serendipity family.)

Oh – and before you go, please tell me how you might use the reverse mosaic stitch – or Soie Cristale – on one of your needlepoint canvases. I’d love to hear from you. I read every single one of your comments.

And when you leave a comment, your name will be entered into the October drawing for a Serendipity Needleworks needle minder.

Until next time, happy stitching!
Stitch with a smile!




PS: Are you on our Serendipity Needleworks NeedleNotes list? That’s where we share tips, ideas, events, and cheer each other on and I’d love to have you join me, so click here to subscribe. I’ll see you there! 😉

6 thoughts on “Splendor and the Grass”

  1. I have a canvas of a front loader, I am going to use Soie Cristale in yellow to stitch the machine.
    P.S. I would love to have a Serendipity needle minder, I collect the store magnets.

    • Hi Angela!
      Thank you for taking the time to write. That sounds like a really fun project! I’d love to see a picture if it’s not too much trouble. You can post it inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group. Just click here! It’s always so much fun to see what others are working on. 😉
      Have a happy Thursday!
      Ellen 🙂

  2. Hello, Ellen and thank you for another inspiring post! When I first looked at this stitch, I didn’t get it. But I loved the way it reflected the light using the silk thread! So, I studied the diagrams and referred to the two stitched examples, and now I get it! It’s not that hard … maybe to get started. So worth it … just love the texture and play of light. Could you use two slightly different shades of green or would that become too busy? I think I will experiment on a doodle canvas. I have used Soie Cristale and other Caron threads, but unfortunately my stash is meager at this time, as I regret selling quite a bit about 4 years ago sigh. I like Splendor and am using it on a Danji Designs canvas called Celestial Lotus. I also have some Au Ver a Soie which I am looking forward to using, though have not tried it yet. I will look for Soie Cristal; Caron makes beautiful products.

    I, too, would love one of your Serendipity needle minder magnets! The size and shape looks so nice and it’s fun to have a reminder of you and your inspiration to keep improving and not be discouraged. You give us such great tips and information. Thanks again!

    • Hi Pamela!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I appreciate your kind words more than you’ll ever know. 🙂
      I’m glad you found my blog post helpful. There will be a video tutorial for reverse mosaic uploaded inside your Stitcher’s Club member portal a wee bit later today. 😉
      In addition to using the solid colored silk, you might think about trying an over-dyed thread. Caron makes one called Waterlilies (it’s also silk) and it’s quite lovely.
      I’d love to see any pictures you’d like to share. You can post them in The Stitcher’s Club Facebook group – or in the Serendipity Needleworks FB group. It’s always oodles of fun to see other people’s PIPs (projects in progress) 😉
      Again, thank you so much for writing – and have a happy Thursday!
      Ellen 🙂

  3. I’m brand new to the ndpt world and I stumbled on this pic of Tuscaloosa and am obsessed. Could you please share how I’d be able to purchase this too? My daughter just graduated from UA last year and I’d like to make it for her♥️

    • Hi Barbie!
      Congratulations on your daughter’s recent graduation! I’m a UA grad, too… give her a great big Roll Tide from me. 😉
      You should be able to order the ornament from any needlepoint shop that carries Kathy Schenkel’s designs. I’d try Magic City Needlepoint in Birmingham, AL first. They have a website and their contact info can be found there.
      Happy stitching…


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Serendipity Needleworks

Hi, I’m Ellen. A needlepoint teacher and author dedicated to helping motivated but overwhelmed stitchers at every stage find exactly what they need to stitch with confidence. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the needlepoint world or you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, I’ve fine-tuned a learning experience just for you.

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