Chatelaine’s Persian Iris Mandala – Progress 23

I didn’t get the dome and minarets finished. I haven’t had as much time to stitch upstairs. I finished the dark blue Woven stitch above the front panels, added rows of gold and turquoise cross stitches, and completed the dark teal Rhodes stitches above that. The top of the dome goes quickly. I only have the very top left to do and then add a dark gold around the edges of the dome.


It won’t take long to get the dome finished, maybe an hour or so. The minarets have a LOT of color changes and that takes time. I’m trying to do the little bits of minaret as I finish using each color on the dome. I should still be done in just a few more days. Then I can start working on the buildings on the right side of the mosque.

Border Rug – Progress 9

I now have the rug on the larger stretcher bars and am working on the last border I can reach before I have to turn it on its side to make my life easier. Here is the motif for Band 4.


Simple stitches that are moving along quickly – mostly straight stitches and Gobelin. The burgundy is the same shade as the border around the outside of the rug. Here’s the rug so far. The photo looks a little fuzzy – sorry about that.


I’ll finish this  band and then turn it on its side and work on the outer border on the right side for at least two repeats of the pattern. Then I’ll turn in around and do the same for the outer border on the left side of the rug. To give you an idea of how much I still have to do, here is a photo of the entire canvas. The stretcher bars are 24″ wide and 34″ tall. The canvas is actually 36″ long to make sure I have 2″ on all sides when it is done. I fold the extra inch at each end down over the stretcher bar so it will fit inside the knuckle of the Twin Tower floor stand. This is the reason I have the 36″ bars on the Tower now instead of the 24″ bars – so my rugs will fit tightly and make it easier for me to stitch them.


The little mess of threads on the right side are leftover threads of different colors. Most of the time I use a half length of thread at a time, so the extra half goes in the pile along with any threads that are 10″ or more in length. You never know when they will come in handy.

I still have a small border, a medium border, and a large border in the center of the rug to go – before I start repeating all the bands in reverse order. A looooong way to go.

Nain Diamond Needlepoint Finale

I want to show you the final three areas before I show the whole piece. I love the little Theresicas in medium turquoise Impressions with a small X in Kreinik braid. This stitch is from Suzie’s Stitches volume 2. The Rhodes stitches in the diamonds were stitched with two shades of turquoise Impressions, a signature stitch of mine. The last set of hexagons around the outside of the piece are Ray stitches that meet in the middle done in Vineyard Silk, Jessicas stitched with Elegance and a copper bead inside each Jessica. NainNP-final stitches I can’t believe how fast this stitched up – and how much fun I had choosing the stitches and getting it all finished up! NainNP-4 I’ll get started on stitching instructions right away and hope to have them ready for purchase in a week or so. My only regret on this design is that the overdye only had two colors. I love the way it turned out since I love rust and turquoise! But I wonder if it would be better with an overdye that had 3 colors – more variations in colors to use. Also – if you are a person who wants everything to be exact and balanced, this design might not make you happy. The hexagons are not exactly “true.” They appear to be correct, but can be off a little. The stitches I chose for the hexagons help to keep the illusion of being exact. Just to let you know ahead of time. Update – I had promised that I would show you the two versions (cross stitch and needlepoint) side by side. Here they are.

Nain Diamond Cross Stitch - 2014

Nain Diamond Cross Stitch – 2014


Nain Diamond Needlepoint – Progress 3

Now that the borders are all complete, it’s time to start filling in all those diamonds and hexagons. Like the cross stitch one, I started in the center area.


The diamonds that cross the middle from left to right and to to bottom were stitched with Jessicas. They were small ones and just didn’t look right. I ripped them out and stitched a larger version that looks better. I started to add a Smyrna stitch in the middle of each Jessica (see the bottom two diamonds) and they are too small, so they got ripped out too. The centers now have a Wheat stitch inside the Jessicas. The diamond in the middle is rust Impressions, the next ones going out from the middle are medium turquoise Impressions and the outer ones are a darker turquoise Impressions. The area around the center diamond was stitched with dark turquoise Shimmer for the grid lines and rust Impressions for the cross stitch tie downs.

For the next round of diamonds, I used both shades of turquoise Impressions to stitch the long crosses and small crosses to hold the threads together. The hexagons at the middle level are stitched with the rust using a Vault stitch from Shapes of Needlepoint. The small Smyrna stitches and the tie down for the Vaults were stitched with medium turquoise Impressions.

Now to decide on stitches for the rest of the design. I hope to have it done in another week.


Border Rug – Progress 8

It’s been a while since I showed the rug to you. I’ve been packing things away and cleaning up the needlepoint room. But I have now completed the 3rd band on the rug.


After I finished stitching the first motif, I was unsure of the colors. When I stitched the second repeat of the motif, I switched two of the colors. Still not sure of the colors. That’s where I was when I stopped stitching to pack away my stash and calm things down a little. Going back to the rug last week, I decided that I would keep both versions that I had stitched and alternate them across the row. The solid colored square between them is Nobuko stitch, so it worked up quickly. Here is the band all stitched up.


Before I start on the next band, I have something else I need to do. I’ve been working on this using 24″ and 20″ stretcher bars. Since the project is getting longer now, it will soon become more difficult to reach the areas to be stitched. So it’s time to get out the longer stretcher bars – 34″. With the rug canvas mounted on 24″ X 34″ stretcher bars, I can turn it around and work along the longer sides and get half of each band completed and then turn the rug around and stitch the other half. It’s easier on my arms and shoulders this way. So I’ll do that over the next day or two.

Then I need to work on the next band. I’m doing the practice stitching just one band at a time. So when I have the stitches figured out and the spacing across the row done, I’ll start the next row. I’m going back to posting this every two weeks, so I should have at least half of the next band done by the next post.


Nain Diamond Needlepoint

Here we go again! I’m stitching the Nain Diamond, but in needlepoint this time and it’s going much faster. I’m stitching on 18 ct canvas and it will be about 10″ x 10″ when done. The one thing slowing me down in the design stage was how to make the diamonds. I couldn’t figure out how to make it pointed on all four sides. The final decision was to keep it pointed at the top and the bottom and flat on the sides since I was going to be doing Slanted Gobelin for the straight lines. I looked through a lot of stitch books and the stitch that intrigued me was Interlocking Gobelin. Could I do that on a slant? I figured it out and really like how it looks – and it’s super easy and fast to do. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t wait to show you this border completed. Look at the diamond on the right that is mostly rust colors. The stitches meet at the top and the bottom and overlap one stitch on the sides. Perfect! I have to turn the diamond a quarter turn for the outside diamond on the left and the right. Otherwise it would have a flat side facing out – not good. All other stitches in the entire design all face the same way.

I thought I would need at least two skeins of Watercolors for the borders, but it looks like I’ll be able to finish the borders with just one skein. Nice!  I’ll be finished with the border today and then can think about stitches to fill in the diamonds and hexagons. I’ve pulled threads to go with the Fiesta Watercolors in rust and turquoise (the cross stitch one was rust and teal). I have lots of choices – floss, impressions, Kreinik braid, Sprinkles, and maybe a few others. I want to use some special stitches to make this a little fancier than the cross stitch.

Here’s where I am on the project today, about three fourths of the way around:


Chatelaine’s Persian Iris Mandala – Progress 20

I’ve been working on the door to the mosque over the last two weeks.  There are three layers of different colors around the outside of the door. Then I stitched Rhodes stitches in very dark blue around the inside. The last layer was Algerian Eyelets in teal. I’ve started filling in the center section with a very dark turquoise. I did not do any beads, which I promised myself I would do. Oh well.


I’ll finish the center of the door and add the steps that lead up to the door next. The sections at the top of the door (the triangle shaped areas) are a tile design, stitched over one thread. I want that finished before I show this to you again as well. And I need to get part of the beading done on the carpet leading up the mosque as well. If I have time, maybe I can get some of the gold top stitching done on the buildings to the left of the mosque. No promises on that.

Here is the whole piece so far.

PI-Prog 20

Border Rug – Progress 6

This rug continues to fight with me every inch of the way. So some days, I just walk away and let it roll around in my head – trying to think of a better way to do things or another stitch that will work better. But I do have the two motifs for Band 2 to show you today, finally.


I left Band 1 in the photo so you can see how much bigger Band 2 is. The light brown thread across the top is to help keep track of where each motif should start and end. This is the third time I’ve done that for this band. I think it’s finally going to work out across the row.

The Greek key type row at the beginning and end of the first motif just didn’t look right when I finished it so I added another row of the Cabernet across the top – looked better. I didn’t realize that adding that one stitch would change everything else as I stitched it. I  like the combination of Sprat’s Heads and Diagonal Mosaic on the left and right side of the larger motif. The large X is done in a variation of Burden Stitch – slow going. The triangles at the top and bottom of the motif are from Suzie’s Portable Stitches 2 – Sprat’s Head Herringbone. This was also used for the light green triangles in the second motif. I needed to make this second motif skinnier because the first motif changed in size. The Herringbone stitch is now over 3 threads instead of 4. The striped zigzag is a little narrower as well.

It’s now ready to go and Band 2 should be done by the time it’s shown here again in two weeks. I’m hoping for trouble free stitching for a while. Here is the rug so far.


Chatelaine’s Persian Iris Mandala – Progress 19

Since this project and the Border Rug are moving so slowly, I’ve decided to post about them every two weeks instead of weekly. Today is the mandala and next Wed. will be the rug.

I had one week when this project just sat – very little stitching time in the mornings and I wanted to work on the rug. So for the last week and a half I’m been working on the second mosque. Most of the first minaret is completed. The top will get done when I do the dome of the mosque – so several weeks away at this point. The door has been outlined and the two panels to the left and the right of the door are almost complete.


The door will take some time because the top of the door is a mosaic that is stitched over one thread. I want to spend one day each two weeks working on beads. I want the carpet leading up to the mosque to be finished by the time the mosque itself is finished. And there is still a lot of metallic top stitching to do on the buildings to the left as well. I’ll be busy.

Here’s the project as it looks today.

PI-Prog 19

Introducing the Border Rug – Progress 1

I started the design process for this rug in early December. Time to introduce you to it and get it started. I bought a book in the early 70s that reminded me of the rugs I had seen in Morocco. I’d only been back in the States for about 3 years when I found this book.


It’s a book of illustrations from North African Carpets, mostly Tunisia and Algeria. For the most part, they are all Berber designs. They have partial illustrations of rugs, but most of the book is motifs of all sizes and many, many borders for rugs. I’ve always wanted to do one of the rugs and now is the time. Rather than take one of the illustrated rugs from the book, I copied various borders that I liked, cut them out, and arranged them to form a border rug of my own. A rug with nothing but borders!

layout start

There is one border that will go all the way around the rug and others that will form bands across the shorter length of the rug. I bought a half hank of Cabernet Silk & Ivory thread and a few other skeins of colors I needed. Most of the threads will come from what I have in my stash. These are leftovers from other rugs I’ve done, such as the Mosiac Rug. So there will be lots of olive greens and rusts, and a few others (natural, black, light blue, light gray, etc.).

I used my cross stitch software to rough out these borders and a few that aren’t in the photo above, and started to do my practice stitching. I knew there would be spacing problems because of the cross stitch software so the practice stitching was even more important this time. My rug won’t look exactly like the borders shown above, but hopefully they will be similar.

I usually do a small border all the way around to set things off – using Slanted Gobelin over two threads. So I changed that up as well. There are three rows of Basketweave – black, natural (off-white), and black again.

Outer border

Then I finally started the first border. This is stitched mostly with Continental and Diagonal Mosaic stitches.

Border Rug -1

The photo seems a little dark – the burgundy is a little brighter. Working on the practice stitching for some of the other bands finds lots of repeats on stitches – Diagonal Mosaic, Ray stitches, and Sprat’s Head. This could prove interesting. Hope you will enjoy watching as I stitch it.