From north of the border,
Carolyn Mitchell of Manitoba, as our
Online Class Teacher
Join her in celebrating Christmas in July as she
motivates stitchers to get started early on their holiday decorations.
by Carolyn Mitchell
Carolyn's expertise ranges a gamut of techniques: Canvaswork,
Hardanger, Blackwork, Bargello and Counted Thread, as well as
having a special familiarity with Smocking and Pulled Thread
Work. She has been an active member of the EAC (Embroidery Association
of Canada) since 1977 and received her teaching certificate in
Canvaswork from the National Standard Council of American Embroiderers.
Embroidery education is her main focus. Carolyn occupied the
Education Chair of the EAC from 1990 to 1994 and currently serves
as an EAC counsellor in their correspondence course program.
In addition, she has authored both beginner and advanced Hardanger
courses and has published two books: Velvet and Lace and Samplings in Hardanger Embroidery. Last, but certainly
not least, Carolyn is the proud proprietress of a shop with the
curious name of "Mrs. Twitchett's Eye" in Winnipeg,
which will be spotlighted in the August edition of our Shop Focus.
The Caron Collection threads form a mainstay in most of Carolyn's
designs, be it Hardanger, Canvaswork or Counted Thread. Even
the names of the fibers provide inspiration as is evident in
the title Carolyn has given this Christmas design: Holiday Snow.
Eye-catchingly vibrant, her tree ornament employs Waterlilies
"Holiday" and "Snow" from the Caron Collection.
- DESIGN SIZE:
- 48 stitches by 48 stitches ( supplies make two ornaments)
- 1 skein of Impressions (Evergreen)
1 skein of Waterlilies (Holiday)
1 skein of Snow
6 x 6 of Zweigart #18 Mono Canvas (Eggshell)
#24 Tapestry Needle
Trolley Needle or other laying tool
Small amount of quilt batting for stuffing ornament.
STITCHED USED IN THIS DESIGN:
Cushion Stitch 2 strands of Impressions
Half Scotch Stitch 2 strands of Impressions
Double Straight Cross 1 strand of Snow
Hungarian Stitch 6 strands of Waterlilies
Binding Stitch 1 strand of Impressions
HELPFUL HINTS BEFORE WE START
1. Tape all four sides of your canvas. This prevents the canvas
from ravelling and the threads from snagging on the edges.
2. Should I use a frame? With such a small piece you can easily
hold it in hand if you do not have a stretcher bar 6 x 6 .
3. The lines on the canvas are called mesh. We count the mesh
to determine the stitch shape. Every stitch covers so many mesh.
The mesh represents the lines on your chart. So what you see
on your chart is what you stitch.
4. Thread length should be 30 inches. If you use less you are
stopping and starting more often. Use more and the thread starts
to break down.
5. Whenever possible stitch from an empty hole to a full hole.
6. Use a gentle hand when stitching to prevent the canvas from
peeking through. Do not pull tightly.
7. Use a waste knot. Place a knot at the end of your thread.
Place the knot on the top of your canvas about two inches from
where you are making the first stitch. Make sure you place it
in the direction of the stitch path. Now begin to stitch. Check
to make sure you are covering the thread on the back. When you
arrive at the knot give it a tug and cut it off while holding
it snug. Everything is nice and tidy.
8. For this design we are using IMPRESSIONS overdyed colour Pine
Forest. Two threads are required for good coverage of the canvas.
I recommend that you lay your Pine Forest out and find the repeat
dye pattern on the thread. Now, put these two strands side by
side and cut your lengths and knot one end. Do a few up for future
9. For this design we are using six plies of WATERLILIES. For
maximum coverage you should take these six plies apart and put
them back together. It makes a world of difference in look as
well as coverage.
10. How to use a Trolley Needle. A trolley needle can be placed
on any finger or thumb that you are comfortable working with.
It usually is placed on the opposite hand to the one you stitch
with. I personally find my thumb the most comfortable. Others
find the index finger. After you have determined which digit
follow the instructions below:
a) Bring thread to front of canvas.
b) With trolley needle smooth out the thread so that all the
plies are laying side by side and not overlapping
c) Keeping the trolley needle on top of the plies put your needle
into the hole where you are placing the next stitch.
d) Gently pull the thread through to the back of the canvas.
As you near the end; lift the trolley needle and gently guide
the flat plies into the stitch hole.
e) This is a slow process as you are learning but the results
are worth it. Light plays on the fibres and reflects back. The
smoother the fibre the better the finished product looks.
11. The term compensation stitch is used when only a portion
of the stitch unit is required, such as along the edge of the
12. For this design when you read the diagrams the number is
where the needle has come to the front of the canvas and the
arrow is where you go to the back of the canvas
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CANVAS EMBROIDERY STITCH PATTERNS by Katherine
Ireys. ISBN 0-690-26336-8 published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company
THE NEEDLEPOINT BOOK REVISED AND EXPANDED by Jo Ippolito Christensen
. ISBN 0-684-83230-5 published by Simon & Schuster Inc. New
on chart for larger version to print out
This pattern is worked on the diagonal and when it is assembled
it will become stripes.
The second sample is the same design just reversing the Impressions
and Waterlilies. This design was backed with fabric and a bow
placed on top to represent a present.
A chart is provided with the over all design to show how the
stitches fit into each other. The following is step by step instructions
and diagrams of the stitches used.
START: Measure in 1 and « inch from both the top and
side of the left hand corner.
CUSHION STITCH: The beauty of the Cushion Stitch is the extra
height it offers. Place one stitch over four mesh on the diagonal
from the top left to the bottom right hand corner. See Figure
1. You can place all 12 diagonal stitches OR you can do each
one individually and then do the next step. Either way would
be correct. This diagonal stitch will be totally covered. This
is what gives the stitch its height. Use your trolley needle.
STEP 2: Following Figure 2 gently stitch over the diagonal
stitch following the counting system.. Use your trolley needle.
Work a total of 12 Cushion Stitches.
STEP 3 is putting the HALF SCOTCH STITCH in place. It is nestled
right up beside the Cushion Stitch. Use your trolley needle.
There are eleven stitches on each side of the Cushion Stitch.
Follow Figure 4.
**If you are an experienced stitcher you can work all three
steps as you stitch.
STEP 4: The DOUBLE STRAIGHT CROSS STITCH is a delightful stitch
for texture. When you are working this stitch you may find that
you have to angle your needle under the Half Scotch Stitch. Make
sure you do not catch the thread of the stitch; it will lay gently
over a small portion of the Double Straight Cross. Follow figure
5 below. Steps 1 to 4 create the stitch. Step 5 shows how each
stitch locks into each other. There are 20 stitches plus two
compensating stitches (see figure 6) one at each end. They are
snug again the Half Scotch Stitches.
STEP 5: There are two rows of HUNGARIAN STITCH. This stitch
creates a lovely flat surface which shows off the overdyes so
well. Follow figure 7 carefully noting that there are two mesh
between the two units. View the overall for the compensating
edges and follow figure 8. Use your trolley when working this
stitch. In the first row closest to the centre there are eleven
whole units and two half units. The second row has nine whole
units and two half units.
STEP 6 Is another row of DOUBLE STRAIGHT CROSS and it has
12 full stitches and two half stitches. View the overall design.
STEP 7: This row consists of five full Cushion stitches with
six Half Scotch Stitches on the inside and four Half Scotch Stitches
on the outside. Use your trolley needle. View the overall design.
STEP 8: Stitch another row of Double Straight Cross consisting
of six full stitches and two half stitches.
STEP 9: Stitch two rows of HUNGARIAN STITCH. The first row
is two full stitches and two half stitches. The second row is
two half stitches. Use your trolley needle.
FINISHING: read everything first before you begin to stitch.
1. Trim back the canvas eight mesh on all four sides. Cut diagonally
on allfour corners as shown in figure 9.
2. Fold back the edge of the canvas between number two and number
three mesh. Do all four sides.
3. Fold the canvas on the diagonal from bottom right to top left
creating a triangle.
4. Pin together making sure all the holes line up. You have two
5. Using one strand of Impressions and starting on the left hand
side work the BINDING STITCH. Follow figure 10 carefully to get
the rhythm of this stitch. The centre line of the diagram represents
the fold back and joined section. Therefore, #1 is the back of
your canvas and #2 is the front of your canvas. The thread is
going over your canvas from one to two. The needle comes out
on the back of your canvas for three and over the canvas join
for four. Remember it is going through four layers of canvas.
Yes, you end up putting two stitches into each hole. This gives
good strong coverage.
Sometimes on the corners you will have to go over the same area
a few times to make sure all is covered.
Have a tie and some batting near by. After you have completed
the first side. Put in some batting. As you come closer to the
end you can add more batting and place your tie up at the point.
Stitch to the corner making sure your tie is in securely. You
could add a tassel in the centre or even hang it from the centre.
I hope you enjoyed this little project. I would love to hear
To order Carolyn's books or for more information, contact her
Mrs. Twitchett's Eye
1739 Pembina Hwy.
Canada R3T 2G6
PHONE/FAX: 1 (204)261-7747
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: None of these designs
or instructions can be reproduced or distributed in any form
(including electronic) without the prior written permission of