After much discussion and voting, the NJNA SOTM group chose Lorene Salt’s Autumn Kaleidoscope for our 2018 SOTM project. It is an interesting geometric with some new threads and lots of different stitches. Our group has grown significantly with this project – we’re now at 24 with 19 doing Kaleidoscope and 5 continuing past projects!
There is an original colorway and a second colorway posted by someone who had stitched it. As usual, while many NJNA SOTM members chose the original or second colorway which were available as kits from A Stitching Shop in Denver, quite a few members decided to explore different colorways. The range of colorways is beautiful – watch our blog at NJNA 2018 SOTM for progress!
One of the goals and benefits of our SOTM group is to share information on what we are stitching and help each other improve our techniques. Some tips we’ve already discovered and shared with each other on this piece:
- Mark the schematic for the prework at the top since this is NOT square. There are 78 stitches across (156 threads) and 76 stitches down (152 threads).
- The stitch diagrams for the Smyrna inner border (Page 1) are two separate diagrams even though it looks like the diagram for a corner: one for stitching across and the other for stitching down. In the border there is no empty thread at the corner!
- To simplify counting the Smyrnas in the border, stitch the first leg of the cross stitch only, then every 10th stitch, complete the cross. This will allow you to count the stitches completed by tens. Much less chance of mistakes.
- Do not complete the inner border Smyrnas until all the interior stars are stitched. This will make counting the beginning of the diagonal row of Stars much easier to locate. It will also make it easier to double check each box to see if it is in the right location.
- Sue C found Size 23 tapestry needles made by John James and Sue R says they are terrific for those times that Size 22 just seem to drag through the canvas. Sue C first got them at In Stitches in Alexandria, VA. and they are available locally at Needleworker’s Delight.
- Area 9 – the consensus seemed to be that a 30″ length of the 1st Color (Neon Rays N82 if you are using the original colorway) is needed to complete the entire Sprat’s Head stitch. However, if you prefer shorter lengths, the stitch is forgiving.
- Area 10 – the instructions call for Threadworx #8 Pearl Cotton 51072 (original colorway) for the trellis. That should be Threadworx #5.
- Area 13 – Linda M used 36″ lengths for each of the Horizontal and Vertical Paddings and a 50″ length for the Sprats Head.
- Area 51 Bargello – Be sure to check the starting point several times before stitching. Several of us did not count correctly (many missed the corner star) and found out at the end that we were in the wrong spot. The bargello is stitched in your #5 overdye (not the #8 used for the internal borders). The bargello is repeated with four other #5 threads above and below the overdye. These rows are not charted. While most of the pattern just follows on that initial row, many of us did find that we had to look at the color photo as the pattern at the ends of the rows was not intuitive.
- Area 52 Centre Diamond – While several stitched the crescent first and then all the Jessicas without issue, a few stitchers found it easier to stitch the Jessicas first. If I did it again (see comment for Area 53) I would stitch the Jessicas first.
- Area 53 Centre Oval – There is a second row of bargello inside the oval. The master chart does not show that second row so the count is off the overdye row. It took a few minutes to realize that and why the Jessicas in this area didn’t seem to fit. In this area most recommend stitching the Small Jessica first, then the Centre Oval Jessica, and finally the Large Centre Oval Jessica. The counting was so much easier!
- Area 24 – the Master Chart shows a vertical stitch in the first color at the far right up against the border smyrnas. I eliminated the stitch; as far as I could tell from the color photo, it was not stitched on the model and when I did try to stitch it the horizontal stitches pulled it badly. I did make up my own numbering for the stitch as the second and third rows do not really follow the same pattern as the first row.
- Area 25 – I turned my canvas 90 degrees and stitched as I would a Bargello from the Master Chart.
- Area 26 – be careful of the numbering for the Sprats Head (page 32 Figure 2). Stitches 15 and 21 share a hole as do 11-23, 9-27, and 13-25 (check on the Master Chart). I did drag my thread from the end of the Sprats Head (27) to the Smyrna just above it and then continued around dragging my thread. My thread is hidden by the Overlaid Crosses. Others decided the Sprat’s Head in area 26 could be stitched as charted. Either Linda’s approach of following the master chart or just following the detail chart will work with slightly different results.
- Area 27 – Read the directions – you alternate the colors. I think it would have been less confusing (at least for me) if the instructions didn’t start with 1 for both colors.
- Area 28 – Be aware of the counts, especially with the 2nd layer for the Diamond Jessica (and use the right thread – I had to rip out a few times because of the count and then figured out I used the wrong thread). The two layers do not share holes. I didn’t have any trouble stitching the Round Jessica last but it might be easier to stitch it first.
- If think you made a mistake and are going to rip out, reread the instructions once more! I stitched the diagonals for the border all the way around and then decided I had used the wrong color, so I ripped it all out. Turns out I was correct and wound up stitching it all over again the same way.
- There was some discussion about changing the border so that it is even and the canvas is covered. That is a personal preference. Being a very symmetrical person, I decided to stitch the “yellow” Gobelins (chart on page 63) the same as the “red” ones using the variegated #5 perle cotton. I’m going to add Smyrnas in the same thread as the inside border Smyrnas.
- The Edwardian Needle carries the pearl beads, as well as bicones, needed for the project. Sue C. called the shop and Pam told her that the pearls are behind the counter. She rattled off at least 15 different colors so you should be able to get what you need if you are using your own colorway.
- Area 44 – Off-Centre Triangle Eyelet Watch the order and the placement of the stitches, particularly on the bottom of the triangle.
- Area 45 – Double Fan and Alternating Tent We all agreed that the Alternating Tent should be stitched first, before the Double Fan. Those of us who did the Double Fan first (as in the directions) tore it out. The Alternating Tent is stitched over the entire rectangle (not partially as shown on the diagram on page 53 or even as shown on the Master Chart).
- Area 46 – 2-colour Alternating Sprats (not Spats) Head The numbers are circled to show that each is one number (10, 12, 14, 16, etc.) NOT two different numbers such as you’d see on a Jessica. Watch the order of the stitches when you get to 34-35 and then 36.
- Area 47 – Jessicas with Back Stitches I dragged the thread from one Jessica to the next. I don’t think it shows through. There are beads in the centers of the two complete Jessicas so there is some coverage.
- Area 48 – Overlapping Triangle Jessicas It appears there is a mistake in the paragraph describing the stitch. You do not start tucking until you get to Stitch 49-50. Just follow the numbering on the directions. It’s actually the same stitch as Area 40.