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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lots of Santa Progress

Given that I can't do much besides sit or sleep, Celebration Santa has seen a lot of progress. Since the last post about this piece, I've stitched several large areas, including all of his clothing (save the hat and footwear) and his pack. I love the fact that the strap for the pack is an actual strap made of ultrasuede (I think).

As you can see, I've also begun the background. I wasn't sure about using the Oriental stitch for the background, because it seems so heavy. I will be having this finished as a stand-up, though, and think that once the sides are curved around the stuffing, Santa won't be overwhelmed with the background. If I were to finish this as a framed piece, I'd have to reconsider. I did reduce the number of floss strands from 5 to 4, though. I find that 4 strands covers very well with diagonal stitches, where 5 just seems bulky.

Before I do too much more on the background, I need to make some decisions on the tree and his feet. The stitch guide calls for long and short stitch on the tree, but I don't know if that will work. Unfortunately, the picture of the original shows so many ornaments on the tree that I can't tell how it was stitched. I'm going through some stitch books to see if I can find some alternatives to long and short, but I definitely think my Santa will be carrying an undecorated tree. I'm not sure why Santa would carry a tree at all, but if he were to do so, why would it be decorated?

As for the feet, my critics here (DH, Mom, and MIL) and I all agree that his feet look, well, feminine. Like ballet slippers. I'm going to play a bit with some photo editing software (or just a paper copy and markers!) to overlay boots on top to see how that would look. I'll just square off the toe, add a bit of a heel, and make the whole thing black or brown. Any other ideas?

Pregnancy ticker: 29 weeks, 1 day
Yesterday afternoon, I had an appointment for fetal monitoring (a non-stress test, which measures heartrate and movement). Normally, this appointment, including the car trip, should take less than an hour and a half. Instead, due to a snowstorm that started in the late morning and dumped almost a foot of snow by 5PM, the trip, in total, took three and a half hours. Non-stress, you say? Well, apparently it was all me, because the monitoring looked great.

Oh, by the way, DH suggested an alternative name to "TK" ("The Kid"), which he never really liked anyway. So now, we're referring to the baby as "BJ", short for "Bundle of Joy". :-)


Kathy A. said...

Jeanne - your Santa is looking fabulous but I agree - you need to do something about those shoes

Elmsley Rose said...

Just some tracing paper and a few trials?
I agree the slippers are a bit weird.

Karol said...

Your santa is looking great. Do agree that boots would look more santa like. Love the new nickname for baby.

Carol said...

Jeanne, I am so glad things are going well with 'BJ'. The santa is looking great & I do agree with you about the slipper part. I am so busy at work I don't know when I'll get to another ANG meeting. I love visiting your blog when I have a spare moment to vicariously do some stitching! Be well ~ Carol

anniebeez said...

Hehe! I love BJ such a sweet nickname. Thank you for the heads up on your detached buttonhole tutorial-I think that will definitely help! Right now I am focusing on getting Marriage of the Minds done and then the Golden Age sampler will become my focus piece.The detached buttonhole is the very next thing on the chart, so I need to get that stitch down! Love your Santa! I kinda like the ballet slippers! LOL!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Jeanne, the tree is easier to do in long and short than you think. First, make sure you've got a copy of the unstitched tree to look at. Photocopy, scan, picture, whatever works.

Then use interlocking goblein and 2-3 plies of whatever DMC cotton floss you have in the two shades of green to stitch the tree's middle. You don't have to stitch all the way out to the ends of the branches. You just need a base layer of stitches that you will cover with Step Two. You can do tent stitches as the base but Interlocking Goblein is quicker.

Once you have the base laid down, use 2 plies of your green cotton floss and start stitching just long stitches, radiating out from the middle of the tree toward the branches and the tips of the tree. Keep thinking of pine needles and pretend you are stitching them in the direction they are on a real tree. The "needle" stitches are longer in the middle of the tree and shorter as you get to the tips of the branches. You won't completely cover the base stitches but that's ok because you are going to add a third layer in Step 3!

Look at step two and figure out where you need more needles and put them in. That's step 3.

Step 4 is a fourth layer of "needle" stitches but this time use just one ply to fill in here and there.

Note that you will refer to the photo you have of the bare naked unstitched tree and choose colors. You can mix colors in your needle or use just one color, as you please. You can't mess this up because you can always stitch on top of something you aren't wild about.

It takes time and you have to have a mental image of how the needles will lay but it isn't that hard. Be brave and give it a try!

Jane, sending Good Thoughts for Baby from CH

Carol said...

Just logging in to say I LOVE your work!

I agree about boots. MUCH more macho!

Oh, and the Dutch St. Nick ALWAYS brought the tree on Christmas Eve, decorated (after all, he wouldn't have time to decorate on site if he had to do everyone's!). That is how my Dad's family (Dutch Grandmother) ALWAYS celebrated -- the tree appeared ATER we kids went to bed, brought by Santa!