This lovely Provencal Lady Needlepoint from Cooper Oaks is one of my favorites. As part of a new series on Nuts about Needlepoint once a month I will be sharing with you a free needlepoint stitch guide.
The canvas is by Linda Ragno and is on 13-mesh. The number is LR320 and it is available at your local shop. The canvas is also available on 18-mesh (#LR320 A or B – different heights). If you chose to stitch it on 18 mesh, you will need to change some threads and the number of strands you use.
The major threads I used in the design are (1 skein unless otherwise noted):
- Expressions from Threadworx: 2324 (yellow) and 200 (white)
- DMC #5 pearl cotton in bright red (321), dark green (890), light (783) and dark (782) gold, and navy blue (336 – 2 skeins)
- DMC floss in white (blanc), navy (336), pink (224 – cheeks), 347 (lips), black (310), brown (3371 – eyes), pale apricot (754 – flesh)
- Silk & Ivory in hyacinth (66), pansy (75), and kiwi (55 – 3 skeins)
- Kreinik #16 braid in 001HL (silver)
- Amy’s Wool Crepe Metallic in 403 (silver)
I used colors from my stash for the red, green and gold pearl cottons. You can also use colors you have on hand for the face.
The face is done entirely in Tent Stitch using six strands of floss. Stitch the scarf in Tent Stitch as well using floss from your stash.
The watering can is also done in Tent Stitch. Stitch the outline using the Kreinik braid. Then fill the main part of the can with the Wool Crepe Metallic. This thread mimics the look of peeling paint on metal very nicely. Finally, fill in the head of the can with white floss.
Begin working on her clothes by doing the two yellow stripes at the bottom of the skirt. These are done in Tent Stitch.
The green stripe at the bottom is Padded Goblein. To make the padding, run a line of pearl cotton across each section of the stripe, coming in and out the center hole. You should have five longish stitches. Now make a Goblein Stitch over the entire stripe going over the horizontal stitch you just put down. Padding like this gives a tiny lift to the stripe and makes it stand out a bit.
The red stripe on the skirt and the background of the vest are both done in Kalem or Knitting Stitch, over two threads, above. I love this stitch in pearl cotton because the sheen of the thread really shows up. The medallions in both areas are done in Tent Stitch using pearl cotton and Expressions.
The skirt is a bit more complex. begin by stitching the white lines in tent stitch using Expressions. The blue part of the skirt is done using the navy pearl cotton and the Double Straight Cross Stitch, below. Stitch a section of the skirt. When you get to the white line, take it into account as a “hole” for counting. This way, all your crosses will line up throughout the skirt.
The belt of the skirt is done in yellow Tent Stitch (use Expressions) with navy Smyrna Crosses as accents.
The shirt presents another challenge because the white squares on the canvas do not line up with the stitch I am planning to do, Alternating Mosaic, below. Therefore we need to fudge a bit and keep the occasional white blocks but not necessarily in the exact same places.
I began by stitching a yellow Mosaic stitch next to one of the white blocks. I continued making the yellow blocks in my stitch until I got to an area where there was some more white. At this point if the white block didn’t line up exactly, I picked which portion of the block would ground my next white stitch. Most of the time two threads of white showed in my open blocks. I kept working like this until each sleeve of the shirt was completed in yellow. Then I filled in the white blocks.
For the bodice of the shirt I wanted to be sure that the area between the two sides of the vest came out even and neat. Therefore I began stitching at the bottom of the vest and did Mosaic (not alternating) all the way up. For the remainder of the bodice I followed the same principle I used for the sleeves.
In some ways the hat presented the most challenging part of the piece. I wanted a small scale stitch which would look like woven straw, but not be overwhelming. I chose to use the Damask Weave in two colors, below. For the flowers, I used Tent Stitch for the leaves on the flowers and French Knots in two shades of purple (instead of purple and red) for the flowers. The leaves should be stitched before doing the Damask Weave and the French Knots should be done last.
The shoes are done in Padded Satin Stitch. Begin by stitching the white socks in Tent using Expressions. There will be two layers of padding, using the navy pearl before you do the top layer of Satin Stitches. Each layer of the shoes should be slightly larger than the layer below and should run in the opposite direction.
Begin by doing a layer of vertical satin stitches in pearl about two threads in from the sides of the shoes and one or two threads from the top and bottom. Now do a second layer of satin stitches, horizontal this time, stopping one stitch from the edges. The final layer uses the floss (and a laying tool to make it smooth. This should cover the entire shoe and run vertically.
Once the main stitching is completed, the background can be begun. It is stitched using Silk & Ivory in the Offset Scotch Stitch. The easiest way to make the background even is to place a single Scotch Stitch just above the center of the hat (one thread above). Then do 10 Scotch Stitches on either side of the center stitch. This will establish the pattern for the background and will make it even on both sides.
I have several stitch guides available for canvases as PDFs. I also can create a custom stitch guide for you that fits your stitching level, you likes, and even your stash. If you are interested, fill out the stitch guide request form at the bottom of this page.