Sunday, May 30, 2010

Focus On: Alpaca 18

Alpaca 18 is a great thread to use when you want to achieve a realistic look for animals, hair and beards. It is 100% natural Alpaca, made in Peru from the Alpaca sheep of South America. While primarily used on 18ct mesh, it also works on 13ct mesh if you don't pull too hard and want a light look. Rainbow Gallery produces Alpaca in 19 colors, 12 yards to a card. It is a non-divisible thread, and one single strand is equal to two strands of Patternayan wool.

Alpaca 18 is available in natural animal colors and offers a variety of choice for animals, hair, beards, and other natural effects. It can also be brushed with a Bunka Brush or toothbrush to raise the nap a bit. When stitching with Alpaca 18, it's best to use shorter strands than usual so that it doesn't get worn out from too many passes through the canvas.

Some stitches/effects suggested for Alpaca 18:

Giant Horizontal Interlocking Gobelin (over 4 horizontal, 1 vertical thread) -- use for animal fur (cats, dogs, horses, etc.) see photo top left

Horizontal Interlocking Gobelin -- flat appearance (see photo top left)

Kennan -- animal fur (see photo top right)

Long and Short -- animal fur (see photo middle left)

Horizontal Parisian -- fuzzy animal, elephants, reindeer, horses, dogs, bird wings (see photo bottom right)

Velvet -- fuzzy effect, hair, fur (see photo bottom left)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stitch of the Week: Medieval Mosaic

This week's Stitch of the Week is Medieval Mosaic, an excellent stitch to know. Medieval Mosaic works up quickly, makes a lovely background or filling stitch for a large area and is very versatile. Use Medieval Mosaic with overdyed thread for depicting sky, water and beaches. Medieval Mosaic can also be used when stitching up wallpaper, carpets, clothing and rivers.

Medieval Mosaic is stitched in vertical rows. If you want, you may turn your canvas 90 degrees and stitch in horizontal rows (the end result will be the same).

The stitch is a series of Gobelin stitches -- one group is over four canvas threads, the other group is over two canvas threads. Each group consists of four individual stitches. The longer stitches step to the left one canvas thread with each stitch while maintaining the same stitch length. The shorter stitch units step to the right one canvas thread with each stitch unit. The result is a series of forward advancing long Gobelin stitch followed by a series of receding shorter Gobelin stitches. As you may have already guessed in subsequent rows the position of the long and short Gobelin stitches are reversed so that if you started with long stitches in the first row you will start with short stitches in the second row (and vice versa). See diagram for a visual representation of these directions.

Medieval Mosaic is a stitch that shows off flat, ribbon-type threads such as Neon Rays, Ribbon Floss, Flair and Sparkle Rays. It also looks good with stranded threads such as embroidery floss, Splendor or Mandarin Floss. Be sure to use a laying tool for best effect.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Focus On: Impressions

Impressions is workhorse thread -- it comes in many, many different colors (approximately 230), always looks appropriate and is very versatile. Impressions is manufactured by Caron Collection. It is composed of 50% wool and 50% silk. The combination of silk and wool is a popular one. The silk lends lustre while the wool provides durability. Also, silk and wool reflect light differently giving greater depth of color.

Impressions is a single stranded thread with a tight twist. One strand is equivalent to one strand of Pearl Cotton size 8. On 18 mesh canvas use one strand of Impressions for Basketweave and two strands for upright stitches. For 13 mesh canvas use 2 strands Impressions for Basketweave and three strands for upright stitches. For decorative stitches on either 13 or 18 mesh canvas experiment with one, two or more strands of Impressions to create the look you prefer.

Impressions combines well with other fibers. In the photos here it has been combined with Splendor for Diagonal Mosaic (see photo top left) as well as Cushion stitch. Either of these stitches would make an excellent background. Other stitches for use with Impressions include the Kalem or Knitting stitch which makes for elegant looking knitted garments as well as Giant Interlocking Horizontal Gobelin (at left) which would be perfect for animal fur.
Framed Pavilion (below) makes elegant clothing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stitch of the Week: Angelis

Angelis is a darning pattern -- the first that we have featured as a "Stitch of the Week." Darning patterns are a special breed of stitches. A darning pattern is essentially running stitches done in decorative repeats.

The possibilities for darning patterns are endless. Angelis is a popular darning pattern that works well as a background stitch or as a filling stitch for a large area. The best part of darning stitches is that they are quick to work up.

Because the pattern calls for numerous straight stitches done over five canvas threads, Angelis poses a risk of snagging and should be avoided on pieces where durability is a major consideration.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stitch of the Week: Arrowhead

The Arrowhead stitch can be many things to many people. Our version of the Arrowhead stitch is essentially a Milanese stitch where the "empty" spaces are then filled with tent stitch.

For the stitch to be most effective, use two different colors. For a more subtle look, use two colors that are closely related or even two different types of fiber (overdyed + solid).

To stitch the Arrowhead stitch, begin with a regular tent stitch. Do three more diagonal stitches (over two, three and then four canvas intersections), each one beginning immediately underneath the last and each ending in the same row of holes as stitch number 1. The final stitch is a tent stitch which is positioned in the center of the over four stitch. Begin again with the next stitch unit, immediately underneath where the over four stitch began.

Start the pattern once again -- over one, over two, over three, over four, center and over one. When you have completed an entire row (or area), go back and fill in the empty spaces with Continental stitch.

The Arrowhead stitch is recommended for clothing, rugs, quilts, roofs, fish scales and border.