Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

From north of the border, we welcome
Carolyn Mitchell of Manitoba, as our Online Class Teacher

Join her in celebrating Christmas in July as she motivates stitchers to get started early on their holiday decorations.

Designed by Carolyn Mitchell

Carolyn's expertise ranges a gamut of techniques: Canvaswork, Hardanger, Blackwork, Bargello and Counted Thread, as well as having a special familiarity with Smocking and Pulled Thread Work. She has been an active member of the EAC (Embroidery Association of Canada) since 1977 and received her teaching certificate in Canvaswork from the National Standard Council of American Embroiderers. Embroidery education is her main focus. Carolyn occupied the Education Chair of the EAC from 1990 to 1994 and currently serves as an EAC counsellor in their correspondence course program. In addition, she has authored both beginner and advanced Hardanger courses and has published two books: Velvet and Lace and Samplings in Hardanger Embroidery. Last, but certainly not least, Carolyn is the proud proprietress of a shop with the curious name of "Mrs. Twitchett's Eye" in Winnipeg, which will be spotlighted in the August edition of our Shop Focus.

The Caron Collection threads form a mainstay in most of Carolyn's designs, be it Hardanger, Canvaswork or Counted Thread. Even the names of the fibers provide inspiration as is evident in the title Carolyn has given this Christmas design: Holiday Snow. Eye-catchingly vibrant, her tree ornament employs Waterlilies "Holiday" and "Snow" from the Caron Collection.

48 stitches by 48 stitches ( supplies make two ornaments)
1 skein of Impressions (Evergreen)
1 skein of Waterlilies (Holiday)
1 skein of Snow
6 x 6 of Zweigart #18 Mono Canvas (Eggshell)
Masking tape
#24 Tapestry Needle
Trolley Needle or other laying tool
Small amount of quilt batting for stuffing ornament.
Straight Pins

Cushion Stitch 2 strands of Impressions
Half Scotch Stitch 2 strands of Impressions
Double Straight Cross 1 strand of Snow
Hungarian Stitch 6 strands of Waterlilies
Binding Stitch 1 strand of Impressions


1. Tape all four sides of your canvas. This prevents the canvas from ravelling and the threads from snagging on the edges.
2. Should I use a frame? With such a small piece you can easily hold it in hand if you do not have a stretcher bar 6 x 6 .
3. The lines on the canvas are called mesh. We count the mesh to determine the stitch shape. Every stitch covers so many mesh. The mesh represents the lines on your chart. So what you see on your chart is what you stitch.
4. Thread length should be 30 inches. If you use less you are stopping and starting more often. Use more and the thread starts to break down.
5. Whenever possible stitch from an empty hole to a full hole.
6. Use a gentle hand when stitching to prevent the canvas from peeking through. Do not pull tightly.
7. Use a waste knot. Place a knot at the end of your thread. Place the knot on the top of your canvas about two inches from where you are making the first stitch. Make sure you place it in the direction of the stitch path. Now begin to stitch. Check to make sure you are covering the thread on the back. When you arrive at the knot give it a tug and cut it off while holding it snug. Everything is nice and tidy.
8. For this design we are using IMPRESSIONS overdyed colour Pine Forest. Two threads are required for good coverage of the canvas. I recommend that you lay your Pine Forest out and find the repeat dye pattern on the thread. Now, put these two strands side by side and cut your lengths and knot one end. Do a few up for future use.
9. For this design we are using six plies of WATERLILIES. For maximum coverage you should take these six plies apart and put them back together. It makes a world of difference in look as well as coverage.
10. How to use a Trolley Needle. A trolley needle can be placed on any finger or thumb that you are comfortable working with. It usually is placed on the opposite hand to the one you stitch with. I personally find my thumb the most comfortable. Others find the index finger. After you have determined which digit follow the instructions below:
a) Bring thread to front of canvas.
b) With trolley needle smooth out the thread so that all the plies are laying side by side and not overlapping
c) Keeping the trolley needle on top of the plies put your needle into the hole where you are placing the next stitch.
d) Gently pull the thread through to the back of the canvas. As you near the end; lift the trolley needle and gently guide the flat plies into the stitch hole.
e) This is a slow process as you are learning but the results are worth it. Light plays on the fibres and reflects back. The smoother the fibre the better the finished product looks.
11. The term compensation stitch is used when only a portion of the stitch unit is required, such as along the edge of the design.
12. For this design when you read the diagrams the number is where the needle has come to the front of the canvas and the arrow is where you go to the back of the canvas


THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CANVAS EMBROIDERY STITCH PATTERNS by Katherine Ireys. ISBN 0-690-26336-8 published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company New York
THE NEEDLEPOINT BOOK REVISED AND EXPANDED by Jo Ippolito Christensen . ISBN 0-684-83230-5 published by Simon & Schuster Inc. New York

Click on chart for larger version to print out


This pattern is worked on the diagonal and when it is assembled it will become stripes.

The second sample is the same design just reversing the Impressions and Waterlilies. This design was backed with fabric and a bow placed on top to represent a present.

A chart is provided with the over all design to show how the stitches fit into each other. The following is step by step instructions and diagrams of the stitches used.

START: Measure in 1 and « inch from both the top and side of the left hand corner.


CUSHION STITCH: The beauty of the Cushion Stitch is the extra height it offers. Place one stitch over four mesh on the diagonal from the top left to the bottom right hand corner. See Figure 1. You can place all 12 diagonal stitches OR you can do each one individually and then do the next step. Either way would be correct. This diagonal stitch will be totally covered. This is what gives the stitch its height. Use your trolley needle.

STEP 2: Following Figure 2 gently stitch over the diagonal stitch following the counting system.. Use your trolley needle. Work a total of 12 Cushion Stitches.


STEP 3 is putting the HALF SCOTCH STITCH in place. It is nestled right up beside the Cushion Stitch. Use your trolley needle. There are eleven stitches on each side of the Cushion Stitch. Follow Figure 4.

**If you are an experienced stitcher you can work all three steps as you stitch.

STEP 4: The DOUBLE STRAIGHT CROSS STITCH is a delightful stitch for texture. When you are working this stitch you may find that you have to angle your needle under the Half Scotch Stitch. Make sure you do not catch the thread of the stitch; it will lay gently over a small portion of the Double Straight Cross. Follow figure 5 below. Steps 1 to 4 create the stitch. Step 5 shows how each stitch locks into each other. There are 20 stitches plus two compensating stitches (see figure 6) one at each end. They are snug again the Half Scotch Stitches.

STEP 5: There are two rows of HUNGARIAN STITCH. This stitch creates a lovely flat surface which shows off the overdyes so well. Follow figure 7 carefully noting that there are two mesh between the two units. View the overall for the compensating edges and follow figure 8. Use your trolley when working this stitch. In the first row closest to the centre there are eleven whole units and two half units. The second row has nine whole units and two half units.


STEP 6 Is another row of DOUBLE STRAIGHT CROSS and it has 12 full stitches and two half stitches. View the overall design.

STEP 7: This row consists of five full Cushion stitches with six Half Scotch Stitches on the inside and four Half Scotch Stitches on the outside. Use your trolley needle. View the overall design.

STEP 8: Stitch another row of Double Straight Cross consisting of six full stitches and two half stitches.

STEP 9: Stitch two rows of HUNGARIAN STITCH. The first row is two full stitches and two half stitches. The second row is two half stitches. Use your trolley needle.

FINISHING: read everything first before you begin to stitch.
1. Trim back the canvas eight mesh on all four sides. Cut diagonally on allfour corners as shown in figure 9.
2. Fold back the edge of the canvas between number two and number three mesh. Do all four sides.
3. Fold the canvas on the diagonal from bottom right to top left creating a triangle.
4. Pin together making sure all the holes line up. You have two sides.
5. Using one strand of Impressions and starting on the left hand side work the BINDING STITCH. Follow figure 10 carefully to get the rhythm of this stitch. The centre line of the diagram represents the fold back and joined section. Therefore, #1 is the back of your canvas and #2 is the front of your canvas. The thread is going over your canvas from one to two. The needle comes out on the back of your canvas for three and over the canvas join for four. Remember it is going through four layers of canvas. Yes, you end up putting two stitches into each hole. This gives good strong coverage.
Sometimes on the corners you will have to go over the same area a few times to make sure all is covered.

Have a tie and some batting near by. After you have completed the first side. Put in some batting. As you come closer to the end you can add more batting and place your tie up at the point. Stitch to the corner making sure your tie is in securely. You could add a tassel in the centre or even hang it from the centre.

I hope you enjoyed this little project. I would love to hear from you.


To order Carolyn's books or for more information, contact her at:
Mrs. Twitchett's Eye
1739 Pembina Hwy.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3T 2G6
WEBSITE: http://www.mrstwitchett.mb.ca
E-MAIL: twitchet@mb.sympatico.ca
PHONE/FAX: 1 (204)261-7747

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: None of these designs or instructions can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) without the prior written permission of Carolyn Mitchell


© 1999 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com