Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stitch of the Week: Milanese

The Milanese is a lovely simple stitch that can really enhance your needlepoint. The Milanese stitch is comprised of triangle shapes arranged in diagonal rows. Depending on the effect you want, you can stitch each row in the same color, or you can do multiple colors. It would also be striking to use an over-dyed thread (like the image above), which would give the canvas another interesting dimension!

This stitch is a great stitch for filling larger shapes and backgrounds because it can be slightly bulky depending on the thread used. You can see in the sample above that it is stitched using Perle cotton. Because this is a thicker fiber, it would be best for a background stitch. This way it won't distract your eye from the focal point in your piece (unless you want this to be the focal point in the piece of course!).

You can use this stitch to create realistic mountains using Pebbly Perle, Perle cotton, or an overdyed thread. It is also great for Southwestern motifs, especially with an overdyed thread that combines the colors in your piece.*

We hope you enjoy using this lovely stitch in your needlepoint! Let us know how it works for you!

* p.40, Stitches For Effect, Suzanne Howren & Beth Robertson, 1996.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Focus on: Gloriana Lorikeet Wool

A few months ago we built up our thread selection in the store, and one of the lines that we purchased was Gloriana's Lorikeet wool. It's a beautiful hand-dyed over-dyed 100% Australian wool. It is a great choice for embroidery, crewel, needlepoint, punchneedle and counted-thread. It comes in a skein of five yards, and is plyable to nine strands. One strand can be used on 32 count linen or in any combination of 1 to 9 ply depending on the fabric and use. We recommend using six strands on 13 mesh.

Above are some samples of how this beautiful fiber looks stitched. The bottom right sample is stitched in continental. The bottom left is continental again, but the threads are reversed. You can see how this creates a total different look! The top right sample is stitched in Basketweave, and similar to the bottom row, the left stitched square is stitched in Basketweave again, but this time the thread is reversed. It is really amazing how different the sample looks depending on how you stitch it!

Lorikeet has shades of colors within the rainbow, so you may find between one and five shades in each color range, which is great for shading!

If you're wondering what kind of stitches this thread looks great in, and how you would incorporate it into one of your pieces, I have some suggestions. The Ashley stitch would be really effective on a rug, as would the Irregular Jacquard. The Criss Cross Hungarian stitch in Lorikeet would look great on a beard, so if you're stitching a Christmas stocking, try out this stitch and the appropriate color for Santa's beard! The Dutch stitch, is a fantastic stitch for a stone wall. The Hungarian Stitch is also fabulous for cushions. Also, when you're stitching a person, whether it's santa, or a figure in a landscape or ornament, consider using a complimentary color and trying Turkey Work for hair! That would really make your piece stand out!

I invite you to come into the shop and check out all of the gorgeous colors we have of this thread. We have the full line, so there are a lot to choose from, and will give you lots of opportunities to try it out in whatever piece you're working on!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stitch of the Week: Fern Stitch

The Fern stitch is a lovely stitch that can be used in a number of ways. It consists of pairs of overlapping diagonal stitches worked in vertical rows. It has an inter-locked look, and is a medium texture pattern. This stitch can be incorporated as individual or group columns. It is perfect as a border or background.

The advantage of this stitch is that it works up relatively fast and is very versatile. You can use the chart shown as the rule, but also keep in mind that you can vary the length of the arms. The only disadvantages are that it creates a bad backing and is a yarn hog. If you would like to use this stitch on your piece, make sure you have more than enough thread!

When you are stitching this pretty stitch, work from right to left in vertical rows. This means you should work from top to bottom only. Do not attempt to do this stitch from the bottom to the top. When you reach the end of the column, stop and bury your thread. Start your next column back at the top.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bargello In The Media

Missoni, a world-renowned designer brand, just created a special limited edition collection for the department store Target. From the headlines we've been seeing this morning, it seems like it was a huge hit! Target's website was so flooded with customers eager to buy Missoni's products that it crashed multiple times, and as is normally only seen on Black Friday, there were long lines, with many stores selling out within a half hour of opening. The picture below is from an article on apartment therapy of the writer's local store shelf 20 minutes after opening. Pretty crazy!

Besides the appeal of having a designer product that didn't cost you an arm and a leg, I think that Missoni's line is really interesting because they incorporate elements of Bargello that have been around for hundreds of years. They are especially interested in the Flame stitch, which you can see in this bedspread they have in the Target line.* Although it's not actually stitched, it incorporates the flame stitch pattern in its design.

Jonathan Adler is also very interested in using traditional needlework. He's used needlepoint in the past for many of his pillows. Now he has an entire line of Bargello themed pillows. The one on the right is from his current line. It's called the Bargello Worth Avenue Pillow.

If you haven't ever heard of Bargello before, Bargello is a type of needlepoint in which you stitch upright flat stitches that are laid in a specific pattern to create geometric patterns. It is usually stitched in wool on canvas because it is very durable. When you're stitching a piece that will be made into a piece of furniture or a rug, durability is definitely important! The chair by Charles Newhaven Interior Designers shown in the photo is done in Bargello. Bargello is a great stitch for pillows, upholstery, and even carpets, but not for clothing unless you're using a patterned fabric that looks like Bargello (Missoni has definitely found a way to do that successfully!).

Bargello designs are very colorful and normally use more than one hue of one color. This will create a very detailed shading effect. As mentioned before, the patterns are normally geometric, but you can use bargello to create stylised flowers or fruits.

Our finisher, Emily, found this great Bargello piece at a thrift store. There were actually two in the set! She picked them up for a steal (a few dollars each!) and finished them into lovely pillows. This heart pattern is really pretty and whimsical but incorporates the traditional Bargello stitching.

If you're interested in learning Bargello, we are developing a Bargello class. Get in touch with us and we'll put you on the wait list and will notify you when all of the details have been solidified!

*picture found on Apartment Therapy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stitch of the week: Floral Cross

The Floral Cross is a lovely stitch. It is a large stitch, so it needs lots of room to develop its pattern. This stitch is hard to compensate, so choose space wisely. This pattern would be excellent when stitching ornate backgrounds, borders, clothing, stocking cuffs, large baskets, and quilts.

It's most effective when worked in three colors/threads, or three values of the same color family. Perle Cotton, Impressions, Silk and Ivory, Rainbow Tweed, and Velvet are great for the four single diagonal stitches. A thinner thread like Perle 8, Rainbow Linen, Kreinik #8 or #4 and Lacquered Jewels would look perfect for the cross stitch. Waterlilies, Vineyard, Splendor, Perle Cotton, Watercolors, and Impressions would also do very well for the remaining straight stitches.

I hope you try this beautiful stitch out in one of your projects! Let us know how it turns out because we love to see your work!