The Amish Quilt Block needlepoint was first class I took and it has to be one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever stitched. Each square represents a different quilt block pattern, any you might recognize, especially if you are a quilter. I remember Flying Geese, Shadow, Log Cabin, Sunshine and Shadow, Nine Patch, and Tree of Life, to name a few.
This is when a whole new world of stitching opened up. Everything I learned was new. We had to stretch the canvas onto bars that held it in place tautly. The basic line drawing was on the canvas, no design, just lines and we were to fill each square by counting from a chart. The thread we used was embroidery floss, but we took a strand, separated the six threads and put three of them back together to thread into a needle. AND THEN, we used a tool, something with a pointed tip (I had never seen such a tool) and used it to lay each of the three threads side by side, creating a smooth flat stitch that caught the light.
Using a "laying" tool, as I learned it was called, was more eye opening than anything else I learned in that class and I learn plenty. Seeing the effect of laying stitches hooked me into the world of "art embroidery" as it was called. I couldn't get enough. As large as this piece was, I had it stitched in record time. I worked on it every chance I got and every stitch I took helped my technique. I could lay threads as smooth as glass and get the sheen that created the play of light, which is hard to detect in my photographs.
The next step was the discovered of silk thread and the ease of laying the strands, as well as the enhanced sheen and beauty. Each teacher had more tips and ideas that made the process more interesting, sometimes easier, but always added to my building blocks of learning. I loved learning. At the same time I was taking correspondence classes, classes from local teachers, working from purchased charts, and also building my library.
As I traveled through the world of art needlepoint I became acquainted with some of the best teachers in the country. They saw potential in me and encouraged me to take harder classes and learn from better teachers.
This orchid was created with one strand of silk stitched in long and short technique. The shading is from light at the edge to dark in the center, always one thin thread at a time. Betty Chen Louis, the designer and teacher, was one of my favorites, but many amazing women mentored my progress. Judy Souliotis taught me to stitch my favorite piece (below) and Shay Pendray was the sensei I who built my confidence and who took me on the most amazing journey.
The Basket Man was stitched using many different techniques of goldwork and metal thread techniques. I consider it my most adventurous piece and it was certainly the most fun to do. The pictures are highly inadequate, but they can all be clicked to enlarge and you might see more detail. I am also willing to answers any questions you may have.
Believe it or not, there is more to come, as I spent 20 years immersed in the world of needlework.