I've started a new Amanda Lawford Santa; the theme of this guy is The Nutcracker.
He's a handsome fellow and his buddy the big nutcracker is really cute too. I've been enjoying stitching this piece and it is going faster than I anticipated.He is 15" (38 cm) tall and is painted on 18 mesh mono canvas. I mounted him on the mini stretcher bars because I like the lighter weight of these bars and it needs to be portable; otherwise it will take me years to stitch. Most of my stitching is done poolside while watching my children at swim team practice or swim meets.
I recently finished up the Royal Santa and had loads of threads left over from that. I keep my threads stored in a seven bin covered container so I broke up the Royal Santa threads into those bins. I then decided I have so many threads (too many) that I would try and stitch this Nutcracker Santa completely from stash. Of course, once I started pulling threads I realized that I needed a few odds and ends so off to the Needlepointer. I went to buy some soft yellows and greens for the bag.
I started stitching the undercoat first. It is worked in Appleton wool, the leftover purple from Royal Santa's cloak, with one strand. I took a photograph of the area first, because I know that I was going to bead the snowflakes over the understitching.
Then I stitched the undercloak, stitching right over the white paint for the snowflakes.
I then moved on to the red coat. While working on the coat I stitched two of the snowflakes. I'm embarrassed at how much time I spent on these. My original plan was to stitch all the red, covering the white, then make the snowflakes separately and attach them. I spent four hours making two snowflakes but they just didn't look right. So I took a picture of the area with iPad (which I love to stitch off of, btw) and stitched the red, compensating the stitches around the white. I then played around with the beading until I got the look I wanted. It is a combination of 8-10 beads on a strand which is then couched down, and individual beaded stitches. I anchored the thread a lot on the back so it is really secure. I'm most pleased with the lazy daisy bead loops. Small joys.
The red coat is stitched in Pavilion Stitch variation, alternating direction. There are empty threads throughout that I am going to stitch a bead in when I get some at-home stitching time. The threads are Trio in two shades of red. I used au ver a soie for the highlights on the sleeves, which are stitched in Diagonal Beaty.
Next up was the present in the top left corner. It is stitched in Milanese stitch in Vineyard Shimmer S-504 Lollypop for the side and basketweave Rainbow Gallery Treasure Braid 284 for the top. The ribbon on the side is long satin stitches of Kreinik 014 HL 1/16" ribbon couched with 094 #4 braid. After the background is stitched I will do laisy daisy stitches at the top of the present.
I then stitched the faces of the Santa, the Nutcracker, and Clara, as well as the toy Nutcracker. I used four strands of Au Ver a Soie silk. I blended colors together to get the shading I wanted. The eyes were then done with a metallic for a bit of sparkle and the lashes were done with one strand Felicity's Garden in Cast Iron Black.
Best stitching spot so far - 69 Beach North of Kona, Hawaii on Thanksgiving 2012
Next up was Santa's beard. I used two strands Soie d'Alger Au Ver a Soie silk blended with one strand Medicis Wool. I started with the grey areas first, using one strand grey silk, one strand white, one strand grey Medicis. Then I lightened it up by swapping out the grey Medicis for white (001) but keeping one strand grey silk and one strand white. I then switched to two strands white silk and one strand white Medicis. I used sort of random long and short stitches, following the curve of the painted grey lowlights, shading, trying not to stitch more than four canvas threads at a time. After it was completed I went back over it with Rainbow Gallery Wisper in W88 white to cover any canvas-hole-meet-ups that looked odd and add a bit of fluff. I must also note that rather than doing long and short I stitched basketweave around the Sugar Plum Fairy so she'll stand out a bit when I stitch her.
Lighting was now dim on the plane so I started the large Nutcracker's hat. More to come!