Archive for the ‘Needlepoint’ Category

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Therese de Dillmont

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

dollfus3.ashxHave you ever run across and antique DMC pattern booklet, or a reproduction of a booklet, written by a famous designer named Therese de Dillmont? This talented stitcher wrote many booklets for DMC.

…but who was she?

Therese was born in Austria and was both an accomplished needleworker and writer.Dillmont’s famous Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886) has been translated into 17 languages. You can view the complete English version of the book here.

In the 19th century DMC established strong links with the famous embroiderer. The friendship between this talented woman and Jean Dollfus-Mieg (both are shown above) led her to move to Dornach, a town close to Mulhouse (where the DMC factory is located), where she founded her own embroidery school in close cooperation with DMC.

collection_therese_de_dillmontA complete biography of this talented woman, along with can be seen on the DMC Archives site. The site is in French, but is easy to navigate and full of inspiration, including the images found on the pages featuring her work. You can also view images from the 2012 Exposition of her work here.

To this day her booklets and the Encyclopedia of Needlework are sought after by needleworkers around the world, as the quality of the education and designs are just as relevant today as they were two centuries ago. I’ll be visiting the factory and archives next week, and will be blogging more of the DMC story soon.


Shop Visit – Needlepoints, Ltd

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I’ve been on the road again… It happens every year around this time – sometimes it’s work-related, other times it’s just for fun. This time I was down in Southern California, and had enough free time to visit a few shops on my trip.

On a sunny Saturday morning I dropped in at Needlepoints, LTD in Garden Grove, located just a few blocks west from Beach Blvd and the I-22 Junction. I had an awesome visit with owner Diana Hardner and her daughter, and managed to find a few new goodies to bring home with me – but definitely wish I had room in my suitcase for a few more!

The shop is definitely a stitcher’s candy store – the selection of eye candy is amazing!

In addition for carrying a complete wall of DMC Needlework Threads (this image shows our pearl cotton), the shop carries a huge – make than gargantuan – selection of patterns for cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, counted thread and other needle arts.

Trust me – You can’t be in a rush to look through the patterns – it will take you a while because there’s so much to choose from. The wall of patterns shown here is chock-full of ideas and is just the beginning… wait until you see the binders. Oh my!

You’ll also find an impressive selection of fabrics and linens, plain and hand-painted needlepoint canvases, beads, buttons and charms, as well as stitching organizers, gadgets and frames – and don’t forget the necessities like scroll frames, needles and tools.

Needlepoints, Ltd also features a large, well-lit classroom area and offers classes from their own experienced instructors as well as top designers in a wide range of needlework types. Visit their classes page to see what’s going on before your visit.

Feel free to drop on by the shop the next time you’re in town as well. Bring your needlework and visit for a while… I’ll definitely be dropping by again on my next visit!


Precious Objects

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Welcome to week 2 of our Twelve Weeks of Holiday Ideas! We’re offering this in conjunction with our newsletter, so if you haven’t had a chance to check the blog and are signed up for the newsletter, you won’t miss a thing!

This week our focus is on Precious Objects – beautiful jewelry that you can stitch and craft using an assortment of DMC Embroidery Threads. The designs work up quickly using basic needlepoint stitches, and the set would make a wonderful gift.

Today’s projects features a complete set with earrings, brooch or pendant, and a cuff bracelet worked on 22-count mono canvas using DMC Light Effects thread, a glistening 6-strand metallic floss with reflective qualities, available in 36 brilliant colors and 6 thread families.

I’ve worked the design in aqua, violet and pewter, but you can choose any three dazzling colors to make your set. Get the PDF Instructions here, and get instructions for our previous ideas on the web site.


What are Compensation Stitches?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Compensation Stitches, also known as fractional stitches and partial stitches, are stitches made in an area of a needlepoint design that is too small or tight to work a desired stitch in its entirety, when filling in a curved or shaped object in a design, or when the boundaries of the stitch might extend into an unwanted area.

Cross Stitchers also often use partial stitches including the half cross stitch and quarter cross stitch, which are used to fill in small areas of detail or to smooth the edges of a design.

I’ve used Byzantine Stitch, worked here in two colors, as an example of a compensation stitch that would be used for needlepoint.

Working the stitch without any compensation results in ragged edges when attempting to fill in the square canvas area illustrated in the sample. You can see the jagged edges clearly in the upper image.

Adding compensation stitches fills in the ragged edges of each end of a row, and completely fills in the square area in the sample.

The darker green stitches are the compensation stitches used for the green rows of stitches, and the darker blue stitches are compensation stitches for the blue rows of stitches.

Without the compensation stitches used around the edges of this simple square area, the stitcher would have jagged edges and/or unstitched areas remaining in the canvas. These partial stitches fill in the design area completely, giving a neat and tidy look to the stitched square.

If you’d like to learn more about needlepoint, check out DMC’s Needlepoint Pages.

Happy Stitching!


Looking Ahead – Autumn

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It may be July and many stitchers are in the midst of a summer heatwave, but like many of you, I’m looking ahead to Autumn and Winter projects. It’s my favorite time of year for stitching!

Since some projects take longer than others to complete, it’s nice to get a head-start.

With this week’s free project I’m looking ahead to the warm days and cool nights of Autumn, and have created this simple Oak Leaf Medallion that is suitable to beginner to intermediate stitchers.

Work the design using a variety of needlepoint stitches by following a simple charted stitch guide, which shows how each stitch is worked on the canvas. The guide is super easy to follow!

In this project I’ve used continental stitch for the yellow borders and filling inside the medallion, tent stitch in two colors for the outermost border, long stitch for the leaves, alternating mosiac in two colors for the green border and slanted gobelin for the wider white borders.

The stitches in each quadrant of the design all face the same direction, which means there is almost no distortion after completing the stitching. It’s ready to be finished in any way you choose.

The finished design measures approximately 4×4 inches. The small size makes it perfect for finishing as a small pincushion (shown), to display in a square frame,  or finish as an autumn ornament.

I’ve worked the design in beautiful fall tones of DMC Tapestry Wool on 12-mesh mono canvas, in colors Blanc, 7541, 7542, 7918, 7922 and 7050. Leftover tapestry wool was used to make the matching trim.

If you prefer, you can also stitch the design in basic tent stitches or even cross stitch using the graphed pattern. Get the free pattern here!


An Interview with Orna Willis

Monday, April 8, 2013

Orna Willis has been one of my favorite needlework designers for several years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to do more than one interview with her.  A member of both the EGA and ANG, Orna uses a variety of brightly colored materials including DMC Embroidery Threads in her unique designs.

Today I am sharing our latest chat, offering insights into the way Orna designs her beautiful pieces of needlepoint art.

Orna describes her designs as Contemporary Ethnic and her heritage plays an important role in her designs. She states, “Whether intentionally or subconsciously, I clearly see my heritage in my designs.  My pieces have an ethnic feel to them. They repeat certain elements such as arches, crescents, and stars.  I also tend to choose strong vibrant colors, and add beads and embellishments all with a very Middle Eastern vibe.  Elements of places I know are reflected in my work.  Examples are: Window in the Old City, my take on the old city of Jerusalem and the beautiful arched windows in some of the ancient homes.  Hamsa is another example; the hand that wards off the evil spirits is a well-known motif in both Judaic and Muslim cultures.”

You can learn more about Orna, her patterns and kits on any of her web sites. Check out Adorn by Orna to shop for patterns and register for a cyberclass (like the one for these gorgeous Dolci Beads!). Visit  Orna’s inspiring blog for her thoughts on making thing by hand and her Adorn Atelier for a wide variety of handmade crafts including felting, paper cutting, wirework, knitting and more.

Here’s more from my interview with Orna:

When did you first discover that you could create art with a needle and thread?

I stumbled across needlepoint accidentally.  I had always sewn, making clothing for my sisters and then my daughters, but never needlepoint.  In 1994 I bought a needlepoint-charted design and jumped in, head first.  I found it very addictive, and immediately I tried another charted design.  After the second piece, I decided to play on a piece of canvas with no guides, just following where the needle took me.  I wasn’t interested in creating images, I wanted to create geometric shapes and fill them with patterns, textures, and colors.  It wasn’t long before I had bits and pieces of stitched canvas all over the house, like tiny vignettes of fiber combinations.  I couldn’t get enough of these experimentations and soon they got bigger in size, clearer in intent and were complete compositions.

Are you self-taught, or have you taken classes?

I began as self-taught.  I was too impatient and curious to stop for instruction.  Later, over the years, I’ve taken classes from some wonderful teachers and designers.

You create wearable art that is stunning, like this beautiful quartet of designs sitched with DMC threads to the right, and the “Kanya” cuff bracelet to the lower left. Do you often wear the pieces in public, and what type of response do you get?

Thank you for your kind words!  I wear my pieces when I go out to an event a bit more dress up than what I wear around the studio.  I particularly like to wear my earring pieces but also my cuffs.

The first response is almost always, “How long did it take you to stitch that?!”  I’m never quite sure of the answer but I explain that stitching is very therapeutic for me.  The next question is how hard would it be to try stitching a piece.  I love encouraging people to give it a try and have converted quite a few newbies to needlepoint.

In addition to needlepoint/thread on canvas, what other types of needlework do you enjoy?

I enjoy embroidery and felting but I must say that when I have the time I usually go right to needlepoint.  It’s probably where I feel I can make the most happen.  I have been working on smaller and smaller count.  While the majority of my design work is done on 18 count canvas, I have done quite a bit on Congress Cloth and now I am focusing on Silk Gauze, 32 and 40 count.  The detailing that can be achieved on this tiny count is amazing.

How much of your day is spent stitching versus designing?

For me stitching and designing are the same.  I always design on canvas, never on the computer, so designing is stitching.  Once I have stitched a new piece I then go on to chart and write the instructions.  This is the part that takes up too much of my time – this is when I’d rather be stitching.  However, it can’t be avoided…  When the design has been written, charted and illustrated I have someone else stitch it again, a proof stitcher, someone who makes sure the instructions are correct.  Most of the stitching I do is in the evenings.  During the day I work on my computer and in the evenings I sit and stitch.

Where do you seek inspiration on days when your muse is taking a break?

I “hoard” inspiration everyday, for just those moments when I think I have no muse in me.  I am constantly browsing online, looking at sites that focus on interior design, fashion, the art world and the craft world.  Everyday I make sure to find at least one new site that excites me and offers ideas for a new direction, a new design.  I live in the city and while others look at nature for inspiration, perhaps go out to their gardens or hike near their home, I walk the streets, look at people, shop windows, and the city skyline for inspiration.

If you could create one design that would become your masterpiece and spend 100% of your time on it, what would it be?

If I had all the time I could ask for, I would take a huge piece of canvas and I would let my needle guide me.  I would not make any determinations in advance, but rather just pick a fiber, a color, and plunge into the canvas.  Then I would like to never have to chart the piece, just let it sit across from me.  I will make that day happen at some point.


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