Border Rug – Progress 4

I’ve had interruptions every morning this week and haven’t had enough stitching time upstairs. I’ve been working my way across the first band by outlining each of the motifs to make sure everything would fit. Then I started working across the band one color at a time. I haven’t gotten very far on that, but the first of each motif is completely finished and I’ve started the border that will separate this band from the next one as well. Here’s a close-up of the ones that are done.


I said that I wouldn’t use any Rhodes stitches with two colors. So I tried a Ray stitch with two colors instead. I like it! In the first motif, the dark red is a Sprat’s Head and the light blue at each end is a Ray stitch. The second motif has Mosaic and Cashmere stitches in greens and off-white. The Ray stitch is Paprika and Natural (off-white). As I work my way across the band and complete the individual motifs, I’ll stitch the dividing border and the two thread separation between the motifs. I planned on doing the dividing border in Van Dyke, but I wanted it over 3 threads instead of 4. I ended up with a very tight woven band and I do like it, so I’m not going to rip it out and change it now. I also need to get more of the outer borders done on the right side. I have a lot to do over the next week. Hopefully it will get done this time.

Here is the rug so far:


It’s looking more like one of my rugs now – threads hanging all over the place. I try to start and end threads on top of the canvas since it is so large. By next week they will all be covered up and it will look neater.

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.

Santa on a Brown Bear – Progress 2

I have completed the blanket for Santa to sit on. I hope he isn’t like the Princess and the Pea.

The white is done with Splendor and the small red stitch where the white lines meet was done in beads. I had #11 beads and they were waaayyy too big. So I picked up some Sundance Beads in size #14 red to use. The purple is Sheep’s Silk by Thread Gatherer (Wisteria) and has light and dark sections – subtle overdye. The reins for Santa fall down loose over the blanket and end with stars – I’ve decided to stitch over most of that and then add them back in on top of all the other stitching. They’ll have to be done at the end, along with the tassels and the bead fringe on the blanket.


I have started the gold around the edges of the halter, etc. I want to get them done next and the border around the edge of the blanket. After that, I’m not sure what I will work on next.

Antique Locomotive – Progress 9

I’m finally happy with the smoke. Anne Stradal ( suggested that I try needle blending to create the smoke. She is the master of needle blending and I had never tried it. I was only using two plies of Splendor, but I tried it on scrap fabric and it didn’t look good. But I tried again using 3 plies of Splendor and you can see the result below. Thank you for the push Anne!


I got enough white around the smoke this morning to take a photo to share with you. Friday and Saturday I will work on the bottom of the piece again. I’ll alternate between the top and the bottom next week. I’ll be pushing myself to get this one completed. I’m going to try to start the Border Rug this weekend so I will have two projects upstairs again for a week or two.

I’ll finish the two small wheels on Friday and then decide what to work on next. I’ve started the rail that the train is on and will work on that a little more. Maybe the railroad ties and decide how to approach the cow catcher on the front. I’m getting close.

Jim Wurth’s Peace Tree – Progress 3

This is moving along quickly. I’ve finished the tree branches and added the Jessicas as dangling ornaments and candles on the inside of the branches.

Peace Tree-3

I’ve done a few more things since this photo was taken. And I hope to have it done by Friday, so I will post the final photo on Saturday.

The outline was done in Grandeur silk. The peace symbol was filled in with Petite Very Velvet and the tree branches were done in Flair. Everything else in this design is Kreinik braid and ribbon – 11 spools in various colors and sizes. I’ve been going slowly, just a few steps each day. I don’t want to make mistakes and have to rip out any of those stitches. Off to do a few more Jessicas.

Brenda Stofft’s Santa on a Brown Bear – Progress 1

I love so many of the Brenda Stofft Santas and it was hard to choose which one to buy and actually stitch. I bought this one -

Stofft Santa

I decided to stitch the bear in three shades of brown Petite Very Velvet. I finally finished that first step last night.


He’s so soft! LOL  I needed to buy two cars of the medium shade of brown Petite Very Velvet. Everything else for this piece is being pulled from my stash (I hope). Now I have to decide what to work on next. I’m thinking the purple blanket should be done next and I do have everything that I need for it.