I just love Kathy Schenkel’s little one-word sayings. I just finished my third of them yesterday, pictured above, and I have several more sitting in my stash.
These are great because they have many similar elements, but you can easily make each one individual with your stitch and thread choices.
Instead of the traditional stitch guide which covers only one canvas, I’ve created a more general stitch guide that covers each element in the design and gives you lots of stitch options. Throughout the article you’ll see unstitch sayings from my stash.
All the designs have a one-thread border around the outside edge. It would be easy to stitch this in Tent Stitch, but it’s also easy to add some great texture.
If you’d like the look of a thick ropey border, use Oblique Continental, below.
A more subtle look is One-line Four-way Continental, below. I used this on Google, above.
Next you’ll find a checked border of two-thread squares. These look really great when stitched in different stitches using threads with contrasting textures. In Google, above, I used Soft Sheen Fyre Werks and Mosaic, below top, for the blue and Watercolours and Smyrna Cross, below bottom, for the white. Sometimes these borders use threads you’ll find elsewhere in the design, sometimes not.
Other stitches you might consider are Rice, Four-way Continental, below top, and Small Algerian Eye, below bottom.
If you are using Smyrna Cross as one of your stitches, do the other stitch first. Smyrna Cross is a bumpy stitch and may make it hard to fit in the other stitches.
Just outside the saying is a two-thread border. The outer border is a solid color, while the inside border alternates between two colors. Occasionally one of these colors matches the background color. Stitch the outside border in Tent Stitch. Stitch the inside border in Two-by-two Alternating Tent, below.
Lettering in these canvases will take on of two forms. The letters may be a single thread wide, as is the case with Google, above. For these sayings stitch them in Tent Stitch for Letters, below. Use this technique even if the saying is in script; it will produce solid lines so the letters and words look correct.
If the letters are wider than one thread, as is the case with Meow, above, Use Tent Stitch with two exceptions:
- where there are single-threads lines, use Tent Stitch for Letters, above.
- where wider lines slant up and to the left, use Reverse Tent.
When it comes to stitching the background, you should keep two considerations in mind. First, see how much of the space the saying takes up. Google takes up lots of space, but Meow. below, takes up less. The more space you have in the background, the bigger the background stitch can be.
The second consideration is the letter width. One-thread lines will need smaller stitches so that the word remains the focal point.
Some very small stitches to consider are:
- Open Continental Stripe
- Carolyn’s Tiny Stitch
- Skip Tent
- Dotted Swiss
- Oblique T
Some slightly larger stitches to consider are:
As I wrote this I kept thinking of more stitches that would work.
Remember all stitches used in this piece will need to be small because there is not much room here.
Many of the small designs also have decorations in the word. You can see the cat’s face in Meow, the ball of yarn in knit, and the bottle in poison, below. Here you can exercise some creativity in your choice of stitches.
I’ll stitch the kitty in Encroached Gobelin, below. The whiskers will be stitched as overstitching.
The yarn will be stitched with long stitches going in different directions using a thicker thread to look like yarn. I’ll use two tapestry needles stick through it for the needles.
The poison bottle had a beaded label.
Many of the designs have small dots in the background, stars, or other opportunities for embellishment. You can see both of these in Imagine, above. The star would be a great focal point using a star button from Just Another Button Company or a star-shaped brad.
I thought it would be great to give the dots more emphasis by using small faceted beads for them. But, when stitched, they looked out of proportion. Instead use one-wrap French Knots or seed beads for these dots.
Most of the canvases I’ve shown you I have plans to finish. Google will be a fridge magnet. Knit will become a small picture for a knitting friend. Meow will have a twisted cord hanger across the top and be an ornament. Imagine, along with several other sayings will be used in a wreath for my studio.
You also might think about finishing them on sticks and making an arrangement in a vase or pot. I’m also thinking of having them finished as luggage tags. Or what about adding a pin back to make a bold pin? I’m just wishing there were self-finishing options for them.
These little canvases don’t take very long to stitch and don’t use very much thread. With so many different sayings, you can use these to make quick gifts or something special for yourself.