Thursday, October 20, 2011

Focus on: Accentuate

Accentuate is a gorgeous poly thread that is comprised of 70% polyamide and 30% metallic polyester. It is sold in 50 meter spools, in 148 different colors. This very fine metallic filament is very strong and flexible. You can use it alone or blended with other threads to give your color a little bit of a pop of glitter. You would use this filament in a 2:1 equivalent. If you're using Accentuate alone, you should select simpler stitches. It would be a waste of time to execute a complicated stitch with sparkly metallic threads like Accentuate because the pattern would not be apparent.

Use the Ashley stitch, shown in the photo above, to create a lovely background, a special clothing pattern, or wallpaper. In the example above, Stephen used 12 strands of Accentuate by itself to create the effect of this stitch. It's nice to see how beautiful this thread comes out when you're just using it by itself.

Another stitch that uses this lovely thread is the Framed Reverse Scotch Stitch, which you can see above. This stitch would look lovely in a design with a tablecloth, a pattern on curtains, and rugs. Once again, the thread is not blended with another color, but is placed next to another contrasting color. This little pop of shimmer really makes the yellow pop and gives this stitch added character.

The Raised Maltese Cross, seen above, is another fantastic example of a stitch that this thread really shines in. The combination of the loveliness of this stitch as well as the beautiful colors that Accentuate comes in, would make this an excellent stitch to use with Accentuate to create a patch of flowers or shrubbery.

Try this lovely thread out for yourself. By all means let us know how it works for you, and what you use it for! We love to see everyone's projects!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stitch of the Week: Rosemary

This past week we held a Thread Tasting class. In this class, we give you a goodie bag with samples of five to six types of thread that we carry. All of the threads that Stephen chose were beautiful. With each of the threads, Stephen also gave a stitch lesson.

One of my favorite ribbons we carry is Neon Rays Plus. I wrote a blog all about it back in August.

The stitch Stephen used to show how to incorporate this ribbon into your next project was the Rosemary stitch. This is a beautiful stitch that really catches your eye and can make your piece look special.

This stitch is completed in three parts. For the first part, which you can see in the image above, you will use basketweave to complete each square.

Once you have completed a 3 x 3 group of these squares, you will stitch two straight stitches over three intersections, following the guide above.

Finally, once you have finished stitching the straight stitches, you will complete the stitch by doing a small cross stitch in the middle of each cross, as shown above.

As you can see in the stitched sample at the top of this blog, this stitch looks best when using three different colors for each of the parts. A cotton thread, such as DMC or Hylas, or Mandarine Floss, shown in this past blog post, is perfect for the first part where you use the basketweave stitch. Use Neon Rays + for the second step to make the straight stitches (or "petals" as I like to call them) really pop. For the final step, use a complimentary color of the petal.

This stitch would look great as a border, a pattern on clothing, or used as a square in a stitch sampler. As I've mentioned, this stitch would also look great as a little flower patch.

I hope you give this stitch a try, and feel free to send us a picture of how you incorporate it into your piece!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stitch of the Week: Nobuko

The Nobuko stitch is a great stitch for creating special effects in your piece. It is a textured stitch that is worked in alternating long and short diagonal stitches, and is worked in rows similar to the Continental Stitch. It can be worked in a single color or multiple colors by row.

To stitch the Nobuko, you will work from right to left. Bring your needle up through the canvas and over one intersection (1-2 in the diagram shown). After that, you will bring your needle up one row under the first (3), and then you will carry the stitch over three intersections (3-4 in the diagram shown). The next stitch will be over one section, and then you will continue in the same way across the row you are stitching. When you are stitching the next row (as you can see in the picture below) you will be working in the opposite direction.

There are a lot of great threads you can use to really emphasize this attractive stitch. Flair is a very pretty ribbon thread that you can use to create snow. Threadworx Overdyed thread is great for stitching sky and water. To create snow, sky or water, you can use Silk and Ivory and Silk and Ivory Stardust. To create fish scales, you can use Perle cotton in either #3 or #5, and you can also use Trebizond.

Focus on: Mandarin Floss

Mandarin Floss is a beautiful and easy to use 6-strand floss made of 100% Bamboo. Stephen, one of Rittenhouse Needlepoint's owners, says it lays better than cotton because it is softer, yet it is still very strong. For these reasons, it's very similar to silk, but it has the benefit of being less costly! You would use this fantastic thread wherever you would use embroidery floss, strand for strand. Ply up or down to suit your needs, of course. We recommend using four strands of Mandarin Floss for 18 mesh. For 14 mesh, use 6 ply. For 14 count cross stitch fabric, use 2 plies.

Above is an example of this thread stitched up. I chose to use the Milanese stitch, which was very easy to learn. The Mandarin Floss just glided through the canvas and gave me no problems. It didn't snag like cotton sometimes does, and it really is very soft! Another great thing about this thread and also with this stitch is that Mandarin floss has a semi-matte finish, so it doesn't overpower other stitches. So, if you use the Milanese stitch shown here, and blogged about earlier in the week, you won't have to worry that it will look distracting or overpowering.

Some other stitches that Mandarin Floss would look great with are French knots, Moorish, Damask, Byzantine Scotch, and the Fancy stitch.

Come in to the store and check out this fantastic fiber. We carry 120 of the 132 colors in the line, and they're all beautiful!