“I Must Have Flowers…”

by , on
May 14, 2019
The flower garden in front of Claude Monet's home in Giverny.

Claude Monet once said, “I must have flowers, always, and always.”

Visiting his home and his gardens is something I’ll never forget – and I’ll even go so far as to say that it’s one of the highlights of my life. ????

It still seems surreal that I was actually there two weeks ago…

Winter Threadventure Week 7: Hygge in Copenhagen

by , on
Feb 20, 2019
A cup of tea + a cozy blanket = hygge!

Hello there! Can you believe that we’re already to the end of our Winter Threadventure? I know – neither can I! The ultimate in coziness awaits you at our final destination, so hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation train to the last stop on our 2019 Winter Threadventure

Hop on board the Serendipity Express and join me for the last stop on our 2019 Winter Threadventure where we'll explore hygge and the Gobelin stitch.
Copenhagen, Denmark (And here we are… that sure was quick! ????)

Colorful row houses in the Nyhavn district of Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s reeaaalllly cold here but the Danish have a way to combat the winter doldrums…

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) means creating a warm, cozy atmosphere and enjoying good things with good people. It’s a way of life in Denmark. That’s why we’re exploring the essence of “hygge” here in Copenhagen. You see, the Danes are the happiest people in the world, according to the World Happiness Report, and I’ll bet we can uncover some of their secrets while we’re visiting.

So, what exactly is hygge? It could be the cheerful glow of candlelight, snuggling under a squishy blanket by the fire, or wearing a soft fuzzy sweater while enjoying a steaming cup of gløgg.

Ready to try your hand at adding a wee bit of hygge to your needlepoint projects?

Terrific! Let’s light some candles…

The Gobelin stitch works well for creating realistic looking candle flames on your needlepoint projects.

Candles provide natural light and natural light makes us feel better than an electric light. The Danes call candles “levende lys” which means living light. And that makes perfect sense, don’t you think? The flickering flame of a candle really does look like it’s alive!

So, how can you stitch the candles on your needlepoint canvases, like this one from Tapestry Fair, so they look real? Great question!

Use the Gobelin stitch to stitch the flickering candles on Tapestry Fair's beautiful "Menorah" canvas.

The upright Gobelin stitch creates truly realistic candle flames.

It’s super easy to execute – and it’s also easy to compensate. It’s one of those stitches that you can always count on and it’s a terrific choice for beginning stitchers or if you’re new to using decorative stitches on your canvases.

The upright Gobelin stitch is terrific for stitching realistic looking candle flames on your needlepoint projects.

The upright Gobelin stitch is truly a workhorse stitch that you’ll find yourself using over and over again. In fact, it almost always works when nothing else will. ????

Execute this stitch from top to bottom – back and forth in horizontal rows – in an area, following the numbers on the stitch diagram above.

Upright Gobelin is a straight stitch, so be sure and use a thick enough thread if you’re trying to achieve full coverage on your canvas. You can work it over 2 – 6 canvas threads, but I prefer working it over 2, 3, or 4 threads. It’s a smallish stitch so it’ll fit in just about any space.

I’m using Water n’ Ice to work the Gobelin stitch.

Water n’ Ice is a loosely braided translucent ribbon-type thread. It is 100% nylon and is available in 18 colors. Each card holds 10 yards. I recommend using it for long stitches on 13 – 18 mesh canvas.

While Water n’ Ice can be a little finicky to work with, it’s well worth the effort – especially on painted canvases where you want the color to show through. It has a tendency to fray, so use Fray Check or a Thread Zap to treat the ends and use short pieces (no longer than 15″).

You have two options when using Water n’ Ice to stitch a candle flame. You can work the Gobelin stitch in the clear color (WT12) and allow the paint to show through. Or you can use different colors of Water n’ Ice to add more depth of hue.

My favorite Water n’ Ice colors for stitching flames are…

  • WT 3 – Flame Yellow
  • WT4 – Flame Orange
  • WT5 – Flame Red
  • WT6 – Flame Dark Red

Use the stabbing method to stitch – come straight up through the canvas and take your needle to the back straight down through the canvas – being careful not to drag your thread along the surface or pull it at an angle. And be sure to use a laying tool.

To get the best effect with this thread, it should lay flat against the canvas on both the front and the back. It takes a little practice to get the hang of laying ribbon-type threads flat on the backside of your work without having to flip your canvas over with every single stitch you take. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right away. Just keep at it and your persistence will pay off. Trust me. ????

I’m using one strand of Water n’ Ice (WT12) in a #22 tapestry needle to work my stitch sample on a piece of 13 mesh needlepoint canvas.

Oh – and you can also use this stitch/thread combo to stitch blazing fires on your needlepoint projects – like the one you see in this canvas by Sandra Gilmore.

Use the upright Gobelin stitch to stitch the crackling fire in Sandra Gilmore's "Ready for Santa".

And now, here we are back at our beautiful Hotel d’Angleterre.

Let’s have a nice warm cup of tea by the fire…

The Hotel d'Angleterre is an exquisite 5-star hotel that has been serving guests for more than 260 years.

I’ve had oodles of fun on our trek through Scandinavia and I hope you have, too! Thank you ever so much for joining me and I’ll see you again back here next week for more needlepoint fun. ????

XOXO!!! ❤️

PS: If you’re new to the Serendipity Needleworks family – or just discovered my blog, click here for more info on what a Threadventure actually is. And click here to read about the other destinations on our 2019 Winter Threadventure through Scandinavia.

Winter Threadventure Week 5: Snowy Narvik

by , on
Feb 6, 2019
Stitch new fallen snow on your needlepoint canvases in the Nobuko stitch for a realistic effect.

Well hello again! Our 2019 Winter Threadventure is speeding right along. We’re making our way into Norway this week where we’ll have fun playing in the snow! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation train to our fifth stop…

The 2019 Winter Threadventure is a fun way to learn new stitches and threads that you can use on your winter themed needlepoint canvases.

snowy Narvik. And here we are!!!

The Nobuko stitch would be a terrific option for stitching a snowy hillside on a needlepoint project.

Narvik is one of the northernmost towns in the world. It lies on the shores of the Ofotfjord, an inlet of the Norwegian Sea. And even though it’s 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Narvik’s port is ice-free year-round, thanks to the North Atlantic Current.

Ironically, that same North Atlantic Current provides Narvik with a milder climate than you might expect for a place that sits on such a northerly latitude. But still, there’s a lot of snow!

Use the Nobuko stitch to embellish snow-covered mountains on your needlepoint projects.

The Scandinavian Mountains – the ones you see in that picture up there ????- are a country-long chain of peaks that is geologically continuous with the mountains of Scotland and Ireland in Europe. That same chain crosses the Atlantic Ocean and re-emerges in North America as the Appalachian Mountains. And Tuscaloosa is right at the base of the foothills of the Appalachians. Pretty cool, huh?

Those snow-covered mountains offer some of the finest skiing in the world.

Use the Nobuko stitch for snow-covered mountains on your needlepoint canvases.

Did you know that nearly one-third of Norway’s landmass is above the tree line? That means trees can’t grow there, so the landscape is pretty stark. Mostly, you’ll see snow covered mountains and glaciers.

Today’s stitch, the Nobuko stitch, is a terrific option for snow.

It’s particularly effective for stitching smooth snow. Think new-fallen snow as you see in this canvas by Maggie and Co., “Night Snow Reflection”.

The hills on this snowy scene by Maggie and Co. would look terrific worked in the Nobuko stitch.

Freshly fallen snow doesn’t have much texture and the Nobuko stitch implies just enough movement to create subtle depth and dimension for gently rolling hills. You may also reverse the slant of your stitches to alter directionality.

Let’s take a look at the stitch diagram. You can see that the Nobuko stitch is a true diagonal stitch.

The Nobuko is a terrific option for snowy areas on your needlepoint projects.

What does that mean? Great question!

A true diagonal stitch lies across the same number of vertical and horizontal canvas threads. The short tent stitch lies across one vertical and one horizontal canvas thread (i.e., intersection) and the longer diagonal stitch lies across three vertical and three horizontal canvas threads.

For example, when you bring your needle to the front of the canvas at number 3, you then count over to the right three vertical canvas threads and up 3 horizontal threads to arrive at number 4, which is where you take your needle to the back of the canvas to complete the stitch.

Make sense? Terrific! And remember, as long as you use the stitch diagram as your roadmap for where to place your needle, you’ll be golden!

The Nobuko stitch is a smallish stitch so it’ll work on a variety of canvases – from ornaments to pillows. It’s also a terrific background stitch.

I’m using two threads to work this stitch.

First, I’m using Neon Rays to work the long stitch in the Nobuko stitch. Neon Rays is making an encore appearance and you can click here learn more about it.

And the other thread I’m using for the Nobuko stitch is Kreinik Tapestry Braid #12. It’s made of synthetic fiber that is tightly braided together by a machine to become a single strand of thread.

Kreinik Braids are metallic threads that you can use “as is” – straight off the spool. (Don’t separate them.) They add the beautiful shimmer of a real metal thread, but in a material that’s easier to use, less expensive, washable, and more readily available.

Kreinik Tapestry Braid #12 comes in 243 stunning colors. Each spool holds 10 meters/11 yards. (The 10M on the end of the spool indicates the quantity of thread on the spool. ????)

It’s not particularly prone to fraying, but you can certainly use a Thread Zap or Fray Check on the ends if you want. I’ve found that it helps to “tame” Kreinik braid by running it between my fingers about 10 times before I thread it into my needle. Oh – and be sure to use shorter pieces (no longer than 15″).

I’m using Kreinik Tapestry Braid #12 to work the short tent stitches in the Nobuko stitch.

Use one strand of Neon Rays (N102) in a #22 tapestry needle to execute the long stitch in the Nobuko pattern. And use one strand of Kreinik Tapestry Braid #12 (032) in a #22 tapestry needle for the short tent stitch to complete the Nobuko stitch pattern. Work your stitch sample on a piece of 18 mesh needlepoint canvas.

Use a laying tool to lay your thread smoothly on the surface of your canvas for the best effect.

Where will you use the Nobuko stitch?

Do you have a snowy canvas? Or will you use the Nobuko stitch for a background? It’s also a good option for sand, in case you’re working on a design with a summery theme – and dreaming of warmer weather. ????

Before you go, please tell me how you plan to use the Nobuko stitch on one of your canvases down there in the comments box. ????

Don’t be shy – I ❤️ hearing from you and I read every single note.

And since Valentine’s Day is next week, I think I’ll do a fun giveaway.

When you share your thoughts with me below, I’ll enter your name into the drawing for a Bella Lusso thread bouquet. (squeeee!!!)

Alrighty, that’s all for now.

Thanks ever so much for joining me here and…

until next time, happy stitching!

XOXO!!! ❤️
Stitch with a smile!

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