Friday, January 3, 2020

๐Ÿงต A Needlepoint Round Robin! ๐Ÿงต

Happy New Year ๐ŸŽ‰ Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that 2020 brings lots of lovely stitching your way ๐Ÿ˜Š I had a fun stitchy adventure over the Holidays! My friend Shannan of Bobbin and Fred told me a about the #passthecanvas project hosted by Dish on Instagram (@dishingstitches) a few months ago and I was so excited to join in!

Dish is sending her beautiful funky geometric needlepoint canvas to stitchers around the world, like a round robin, and we each stitch five blocks in a week before sending it to the next stop! Happily, I received the canvas on December 30th, and I really enjoyed working on it in the quiet of the post-Christmas rush - it's now on it's way from snowy Newfoundland & Labrador ❄ to sunny Florida ๐Ÿ๐ŸŠ

It has been many - MANY - years since I last tried needlepoint! When I was a teenager, I made a sampler out of my Stitchy Guru Mother's leftover supplies from her own bargello adventures in the 1970s. I used her vintage stitch guides to make an add-as-you-go mix of stitch blocks. I remember working on it all one Summer - it was my first and last experience trying to stitch outdoors ๐Ÿ˜‚ The wind liked to play with my threads, all the bright colours attracted flies and creepy crawlies, the sun was in my eyes - it was awful! And the edges of the canvas, even covered with masking tape, were so sharp that I took to wearing a pair of neon pink and black leg warmers on my arms to protect them from scratches, and they were way too hot, which added to the misery ๐Ÿคฃ

That sampler is still in a tote box, waiting to be made into a cushion. I always meant to try more needlepoint, but I had trouble finding the supplies. So although I was super excited to add my block to the travelling canvas, when I first opened it, I was a little intimidated too. I had no idea what threads or stitches to use!

Here's the canvas as I received it! There are so many beautiful blocks, in all kinds of threads - velvets, braids, wools, metallics, and cottons. The stitch texture is fabulous, I wish you could run your fingers over the blocks and feel the stitches for yourself!

The package came with the canvas, a white storage bag (I just used the Ziploc the canvas was in), a little blue book to record your name, stitches used and materials used (which was so helpful and inspiring to read, especially the little messages to other stitchers!), and a cute little pocket stitch guide that was SUPER HELPFUL:

It's hard to tell from this photo, but it's a tiny book! With my favourite lay-flat coil binding. Small enough to slip in a project bag, and packed full of stitch diagrams:

I had so much fun flipping through this little guide and wondering what stitches I could try! Here are my five blocks, with a bit about stitching them:

Like most of the other stitchers, I chose my colours based on the printed blocks on the canvas. I started with the center block, using a leftover black Kreinik braid from the Bag O' Bits I received for the SFSNAD Challenge. I taught myself Norwich Stitch from the stitch guide (although I modified to fit the smaller space).

I absolutely LOVE this stitch, and it's one I will try again! It results in a wonderful woven effect ๐Ÿ˜ It looks complex, but is surprisingly quick and easy to do as long as you pay careful attention to the order of the stitches. Using a non-divisible thread like the braid makes the woven effect stand out and makes it easier to lay the stitches.

Then I added the teal block. I knew I wanted lots of sparkle, but I didn't have many thicker threads suitable to needlepoint canvas on hand. I had intended to buy some DMC perle (pearl) cotton for this project, once I knew which blocks/colours I was stitching, but it being the Holidays, the local quilt shop that carries it was closed and I didn't have time to order anything online.

So I improvised! For this block, I used DMC 3812 (nine strands) with Gutermann Metallic Blending Filament in #235 (4 strands) and did a slanted Satin Stitch.

The small blue block was next. This was my first time using the new DMC Etoile thread in C798 (a gift from my friend Karen!). It is very different than regular floss, it is fluffy and spreads easily, giving it great coverage! I used 9 strands, and it worked great on this canvas. I intended to make Smyrna Cross Stitches, but I liked the base Cross Stitches so much I left them - I love the filigree look, where the canvas peeks through! I added a Woven Cross Stitch in the corner where both stripes meet.

And now for the BLING:

This is, without a doubt, my favourite block ๐Ÿ˜† You know how I love glitter!

This magnificent beauty is Needlecraft Craft Cord, meant for needlepoint and plastic canvas! It has a white base with a rainbow of pastel metallics woven in, in shades of teal, pink and gold. It is #55026, Rainbow White Frizette.

It came in a small bag of stitchy supplies from a thrift store that I bought several years ago, and I have been looking for a way to use it ever since! I was so disappointed when I realized it was too thick to go through the canvas easily. I put it aside, but in the end I decided I really wanted to make it work. So I laid it on top of the canvas, weaving it together at the corner (inspired by the Norwich stitch) and then worked Padded Brick stitch over top, with DMC 957 (six strands). It's a little wonky, and definitely quirky - so much so that I debated taking it out for a while - but it's super sparkly and love it ✨

And for my last block, I ended up going entirely off script. It was spontaneously stitched (seems to be my new stitchy theme lately, and I'm really loving this approach)! I wanted something softer after the bling block, so I used DMC 964 (9 strands) to stitch what I think is Smyrna Star, On Point, with Compensation Stitch edging (aka Make It Up As You Go Along Stitch) ๐Ÿ˜‚ It's not quite what I had in mind when I started stitching, but I do like the fun zig-zag bumpy texture and the pretty seafoam green colour.

And finally, I stitched my initials next to Shannan's (hers are in blue, to the left of mine, and her blocks are on the lower left of mine) using the same pink from the bling block. It is amazing to be part of project with stitchers I don't know from all over the world, but it is also really cool to stitch on the same project with a stitchy friend I do know, which is why I chose to stitch my blocks next to the ones Shannan did ๐Ÿค— I did tent stitch first like all the other stitchers but then couldn't resist making them Cross Stitches ๐Ÿ˜

And here is the canvas, ready to pass on to the next stitcher! I'm so glad that I had to chance to participate in #passthecanvas, and it's inspired me to try more needlepoint in the future ❤๐Ÿงต And if you have any online suppliers you'd recommend, I'd love to hear about them! I've been looking for Canadian shops, but haven't had much luck so far in finding blank needlepoint canvas; most offerings are tent stitch kits, or painted.

Have you participated in a crafty round robin project, or would you like to?


Katie said...

How fun! Thanks for sharing. Love all the stitches you came up with.

Queeniepatch said...

PassTheCanvas seems to be such a fun project and you have made five very beautiful blocks.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I love all the different stitches and techniques you used for your blocks. This will be a lovely piece.
I did several cross stitch Round Robins back in 2011 to 2013ish. Mirabilias, Joan Elliott and band samplers too. So much fun stitching with friends.