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.


Koshga by Gitta – Progress 2

This has been sitting in my tote bag for a long time and I decided that I needed to work this old WIP and get it finished. I ordered two of Gitta’s rug charts and this is the first one. I started it in 2009, made a mistake in counting and the corners didn’t meet, so I put it away. In 2011 I got it out again. Since it’s on Congress Cloth, ripping out the whole top of the piece wasn’t an option so I threw it away. Getting out a new piece of Congress Cloth, I started again and got the top completed. This is being stitched in Continental/Basketweave using #8 peele cotton.


Now, two and a half years later, it’s finally going to get finished! I’ve worked on it an hour or two for each of the last 3 days. Here’s where it is now.


When it’s quiet here, I work on the black outlines for the various borders. While watching TV in the evenings, I can easily fill in the other colors. The bottom of the 4th large motif on the left is the middle of the rug. It will be 9″ X 5.75″ when it is done. There is one more border below the red one that is started. I want to get all the borders for the top half done before I start the center, so it will still be a couple weeks until that happens.

Antique Locomotive – Finale

Things seem to take a lot longer than I think they will. The background at the bottom of this train piece would be quick and easy – I thought. And it’s taken me many days. I’ve even brought it downstairs last week and worked on it in the afternoons for 4 days. But I finally got it done! I used two different overdyes – one beige and light brown and the second light brown and gray – to represent the gravel that is found along side the tracks and between the railroad ties.

The first photo is part of the background and the cow catcher at the front of the engine. I love the first part with the long ribbons laid carefully to form the catcher with black in the background for the spaces between the pieces of steel. The right side is more difficult since the pieces of steel fade away to the right and appear closer together. Then the artist Anne Cram had the steel in the center form a V in the middle – divided into top and bottom parts. I did the best I could but I’m not really pleased with the right side. I didn’t stitch them as painted – sets of stitches that gradually worked to make a slanted line. Using the ribbon worked much better – but challenging to get the black covered so when I laid a silver or red ribbon all the spaces would be covered in black. On the right, the light shows through the steel since it isn’t against the rest of the engine. It looks unbalanced to me.


But it is completed and overall, I really do like it! It was just a painting of a locomotive, but I’ve added backgrounds and smoke, filled in the railroad ties, and outlined the numbers so they are more visible. I think he’s ready for the museum now, as soon as he chugs down the track just a little farther.


Peter Ashe’s Ghiradelli Square – Progress 1

I was going through my stash (it’s easy when you keep a database of everything in the stash) looking for something that would look great in just Basketweave. Couldn’t find one! But I decided to pull out this Peter Ashe canvas. He’s famous for his San Francisco canvases. This is Ghiradelli Square – a composite piece of the buildings around the square.

Ghiradelli Square

I’m in no hurry to get this done, but it’s a good piece to pick up from time to time when I just want to relax. I’m using Vineyard Silk for this project. The roof of the restaurant just begged for Slanted Gobelin in three shades of brick colors so I started there. All the dark buildings are brick so I’ll use Cashmere for them when I get to them. Just to the left of the restaurant roof is the side of a building and I have stitched that in Basketweave with Slanted Gobelin again for the corner stones.

The trees posed a problem for a while. Little branches all over the place. I’ve started to stitch the largest one in front with a small Ray stitch and it seems to be working out well. (Sorry about the stray thread across the photo.)


I’ve decided to stitch all the black areas with a very dark gray to soften it up just a little. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll continue to work on the tree a little at a time but haven’t decided where to go next.

Antique Locomotive – Progress 10

I’ve been working on the white background on the top for a couple of days now. I hope to have it finished tomorrow. But I’ve been working on other areas as well. The two smaller wheels are done, the rail the train sits on is done and the railroad ties have been stitched. The ties were stitched using all four plies of Bravo so they look rugged and heavy. I used Giant Brick stitch for those.


I used black Splendor for the spaces between the spokes on all the wheels to make the spokes and other parts of the wheels show up better. For the shadows under the train and between the wheels, I used dark gray Splendor.  The shadows are lighter so they don’t distract from the locomotive itself.

You can see that I’ve done a tiny bit of the background for the bottom of the piece as well. I’m using two different Needle Necessities overdyes for this – one with light brown variations and one with beige and gray variations. Stitched in Alicia’s Lace, I hope it will give the impression of gravel that is always used around the railroad ties and the ground near the tracks. Monday I will start the cow catcher on the front. I know how I want to do it and hope it turns out the way I envision it. I want this done next week, so I’ll be spending more time in the mornings getting it completed.

Jim Wurth’s Peace Tree – Finale

I moved my trip to Needle in a Haystack to yesterday instead of next Tuesday. I did get this finished this last night but didn’t have a chance to upload the photo until now.

All the ornaments on this piece now have the bead stack in them – five gold beads stitched with red thread. These bead stacks are better than the last two ornaments I did, but I still am not fond of them and wish the red thread didn’t show so much. I’ve also added the bronze star near the top on each side and gold Kreinik braid in cascades along the sides. This one is so different from the others in the series. The little gold flecks in the canvas also made it difficult at times to make sure I had the stitches in the correct place – I kept getting the  wrong count with the gold braid because of the flecks.

Peace tree - finale

This is my least favorite of the Jim Wurth Dodecagons. It is all completed now and it will join the others. Until I finish the last two in the series I won’t decide how to do the finishing for them.


Antique Locomotive – Progress 8

I’ve been working on the second wheel, but took a break the other day to start the background on the top. I decided last year that I would stitch this with a darning pattern  - Dots from iStitches, volume 2. I had the wonderful idea of doing those above the smokestack in black and then slowly change to dark, gray, light gray, and then white to represent the smoke. I can’t do lots of smoke above the train because there isn’t a lot of room – I need to leave two inches all the way around for the mat and framing. Now I’m not sure it’s working….


I’ve decided that I need another gray halfway between the dark gray and light gray in the photo above. Maybe that would make it better. I can still work down the right side in white.

I’ll be going to Needle in a Haystack in Alemeda on Feb 4th to shop and have lunch with a friend. In the meantime, I’ll work on the wheels, track, etc at the bottom of the canvas.

Mini Maroc Rug – Progress 6

Slow going still. I didn’t do any practice stitching before I started this rug and boy do I regret that. I’ve been changing colors and trying stitch after stitch trying to get things to look like I pictured this rug in my head.

The center band is now complete. I did the lavender stitches, leaving one thread between each of the Hungarian stitches. Then used the medium purple to make the long cross stitch through the center. The triangle was stitched with the darkest shade of teal. Between these two sets of stitches I did Basketweave in white Splendor. That left the open triangles to fill in. I wanted a lacy look and tried about 10 stitches and didn’t get the look I wanted. I settled for Oblong Cross stitches (though I’m not thoroughly pleased with the result).


I’ve started working on the 8-pointed star band again. You can see I’ve used my laying tool to open the canvas a little in the five places where I’ll stitch the Eyelets next. Since there are no more decisions to be made, I hope I can work faster now and get this little rug completed soon.