Sunday, December 4, 2011

The First Pear of Christmas

I eagerly anticipated the arrival this week of the threads and stitch guide from Amy's for the first pear of the Christmas banner. I wasn't disappointed! Amy sent a beautiful selection of silks, metallics, ribbon, and beads to stitch the pear and begin the background.

I completed the entire border just in time for the first pear kit's arrival so I have been able to turn my entire attention to stitching the pear this week.  The first step of the background pattern was my starting point. It was just an evening's work to stitch the framework for this composite stitch background. I like the pattern just as it is with just the boxes but there are still cross and oblong crosses to add within the boxes and then a French stitch to complete the design. It looks complicated but each component taken separately is quite simple.

The pear is stitched using a subtle, hand-dyed Gloriana stranded silk. I'm finding the Helen's Lace stitch that Amy chose for the pear to be a challenge. For me, it isn't a stitch to work on when there are any distractions around me. I spent a few frustrating hours on Friday starting and stopping and ripping out. I tried Amy's tips for working Helen's Lace but even her tips couldn't help me. I finally took a break and set the canvas aside and decided to decorate my little Christmas tree. Evidently, a break is what was needed and when I came back to the canvas, I stitched a nice diagonal row that set me up for much easier stitching on subsequent rows. I worked steadily on the pear yesterday and made good progress. It just requires a lot of concentration - at least for me.

More work on the pear is ahead this afternoon. The "C" will be beaded and the leaf will use the Gloriana ribbon included in the thread kit. The snowflakes will be stitched in "Marshmellow" Kreinik and the red Hi-Lights I used in the border. Lots of work still to come on the first pear!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It's hard to believe that it was only a week ago that we were still eating leftovers. I had a fun stay in Jacksonville over the holiday weekend with Anna and Andrew. When we weren't eating leftovers or watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and football, we drove down to Ponte Vedra on Friday evening to the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse for their Christmas tree lighting.

It was a festive evening in a sort of tropical fashion. The temperature was mild so people were dressed in shorts and sandals and many of the children were dressed in their Christmas finery. The clubhouse was beautifully decorated with a variety of themed Christmas trees throughout. Once we made it out to the large lawn outside overlooking the 18th green, we saw "snowflakes" drifting through the air. Actually, a bubble machine on the roof was blowing very tiny bubbles our way that gave the illusion of snow falling. The carolers sang, the hot chocolate was served, and the tree was lighted. It was a very nice evening!

I finished my Christmas decorating yesterday. I'll take some pictures this week of my Heritage series needlepoint ornaments on the tree. They are so pretty! I'll have to stitch more of them. I finally found a backdrop for my Melissa Shirley Nativity figures. It isn't a creche but it has a sort of Renaissance feel to it that I really like. I'll get some pictures of it as well. I have a sheep canvas that I have never stitched that accompanies this group of figures.  I really need to get it out and work on it. There are also some shepherds I could add to the grouping. Future projects for 2012? Hmmm....

Hope you avoid any Christmas craziness this week and find some time to stitch. I know I will. Have a good week!


  1. Your doing a beautiful job. Still waiting patiently. I am now really far behind. Can't wait to see your pear finished.

  2. I received my huge Evertites on Tursday and am still waiting for the kit for the Pear. I still have a lot of border to do but will try to catch up.

    Your stitching looks superb, as always. Your banner is just lovely.

    Hav a great stitching week

    Sue V

  3. Diane and Sue - I hope your canvases arrive this week. Now I have spoiled your surprise to see what Amy has in store for us. You will both learn from my mistakes, however!

  4. The Christmas Banner is looking good. That Helen's Lace is a toughie, but looks so good when done. I have used it for the body of swan and fields with great success. I am glad you kept at it. Looks like your persistence paid off. It is beautiful. Can't wait to see progress.

    Merry Christmas from Stephanie in Texas

  5. Hi Melinda,
    The Christmas Banner is really coming along. Your progress on the background and pear is really looking great.