Monday, January 9, 2017

A Design By Loretta Spears (Free Chart from Needle Necessities)

I just stitched "A Design By Loretta Spears" which is a small 1993 design from the double-sided page of instructions I found stuck in the pages of a mystery chart.  I know the original owner of the mystery instructions where I found this chart shopped at Loretta's store, so this was probably a giveaway at her shop to promote Needle Necessities' threads, and possibly was handed out at other shops as well.  I have never seen this stitched or heard of it before I found the chart.  I am going to change canvas count and threads for this, but you can see something closer to Loretta's original by checking Pat's stitched example here. She has also worked this design.


My Colors 

My materials list is much different than what Loretta specifies since I wanted to do an 18 count version.  I chose sage green canvas with a mottled brown pattern which is a specialty item, not something you can easily obtain, but it looks good with my Needle Necessites overdyed floss.  The instructions say to use Needle Necessities' overdyed floss and their overdyed size 8 perle cotton in the same color.  Since I didn't have a perle cotton to match my floss, I choose a solid color that coordinates. I also found a nice Sampler Threads overdyed floss that also looks good with my Needle Necessities floss so I added that to the mix.  I may or may not use it.  We'll see....

If you find these instructions and want to stitch this, choose an overdyed thread with a lot of color changes first, then pick a color from the skein that comes in size 8 perle cotton.  Finally, choose a contrasting color of size 18 needlepoint canvas so the threads will show up well.  You will need a 10 inch square piece of canvas. Here is my materials list for my autumn color version:

My Materials List:
9x9 or 10x10 inch square of 18 count needlepoint canvas (depending on the side margins you prefer)
Needle Necessities overdyed floss #146 "Fall Foliage"*
Sampler Threads overdyed floss "Bittersweet"
DMC size 8 perle cotton rust #919

*If you want to stitch this yourself as I did, substitute ThreadworX's 1076 "Honky Tonk" for the Needle Necessities overdyed floss.  Or pick your own colors.

Center Motif

The first step in this design is to stitch the central motif.  Mine is about an inch and a half square. I used four plies of the NN overdyed floss to cover on 18 count.  A laying tool helps keep the stitches smooth.

T-stitch Using Sampler Threads Cotton Floss (pictured)

Step two is to do T-stitch in a box around the center motif.  I used one ply of my second overdye from Sampler Threads instead of using the perle cotton.  As you can see in the photo, half of each thread strand is more yellow and half is more rust, so I used the yellower half for the regular tent stitches and then the more rust half of the thread for the reverse tent stitches.

Mirror Imaged Jacquard Stitch Rows

The background continues with Jacquard Stitch, done with four plies of the Needle Necessities overdye.  (The instructions say to use two plies but it's written for Congress cloth.)  You do mirror images on each side as you see above.  A laying tool will come in handy.  I worked from the middle of each side up and out, but you may be able to count up from the center and start at the edge.

More Jacquard Stitch Rows

As I've worked this on 18 count and come to the end of the Jacquard Stitch rows, I've realized that you will need a full skein of Needle Necessities cotton floss to work this with as many plies as I did on 18 count.

Jacquard Stitch Rows Done

I have only three full strands of the NN floss plus a few plies left.  So don't start this on 18 count without enough overdyed cotton floss.

Square Rhodes Stitches Underway

The last step is to fill in the empty boxes among the Jacquard Stitch rows with square Rhodes stitches.  You are to use the size 8 perle cotton for this.  Interestingly, the upper left and lower right quadrants have the slanting / stitches worked clockwise while the lower left and upper right quadrants have the slanting \ stitches worked counter-clockwise.  With the solid perle cotton I'm using, the changes in direction aren't too obvious but they may be more so if you use an overdyed perle cotton.

The Final Design

The final piece is shown above.  My version is 4 3/4 inches square on 18 count needlepoint canvas.  The different ways the Rhodes stitches are slanting made didn't show up well but I like the way the different slants of the Jacquard rows reflect the light and make the outer border flow in a sort of circle.  Very nice design!