Stripes in canvaswork

Stripes in canvaswork

This panel of canvaswork was originally intended to make a case for my husband’s beloved Psion palmtop computer. Alas, by the time I finished it, the Psion was no longer working.

The starting point was a wonderful Watercolours thread, graduated in shades of blue (not blue for a boy, blue for a redhead!), to which I added toning shades in soft embroidery cotton. It seems that this thread is not made any more, which I think is a pity. It used to provide a good alternative to tapestry wool, especially for those who don’t like working with wool in the summer, and – provided the right base fabric is chosen – a reasonable heavy but matte thread  for surface embroidery. Almost all the threads now available are mercerised, and thus have a slight shine – but sometimes we don’t want any sheen on our stitches at all!

Stripes - Detail

Stripes - Detail

I rotated through several different stitches, as well as the different colours, and made sure that the second layer in the fine Wildflower thread overlaid a different base colour each time. There were five threads (Watercolours plus four soft cotton) and six stitches, which ensured that they cycled round. The stitches I chose were MilaneseDiagonal Mosaic, Eye (not pulled), Mosaic, Rice (using the Wildflowers thread for the second layer of stitches) and Double Cross Stitch.

The full size piece shows how the position of the colour changes is different in each stitch, as well as showing the veiled effect of different colours each overlaid by the variegated thread in the different panels of Rice Stitch. For that reason it is a very interesting needlepoint panel, but I still have a completely finished and neatly-worked canvaswork sampler looking for an occupation!


  1. Lady Fi says:

    What wonderfully vibrant colours!

    Perhaps you could use this as a cover for a mobile phone? Or glasses case?

  2. Chillyhollow says:

    Watercolours are still available in the U.S. and very popular. (They just came out with new colors for the Watercolours/Wildflowers/Waterlilies line which are three ply cotton/perle/silk floss respectively in the same colors.) Let us know if you can’t get them locally and we’ll gladly get what you need sent to you.

    What did your husband replace his Psion with? I’m sure there are plenty of smart phones, handhelds and tablets that need a nice case….

  3. karen says:

    how inconsiderate of him to allow the palmtop to die before its beautiful coat was ready!! Typical!

  4. Judy Harper says:

    What a beautiful piece this is! I’m also a great fan of the Caron Watercolours and the other threads they have in the cotton and silk. Colors are gorgeous! You’ve made something pretty as well as a reference for thread textures and stitches – great way to experiment.

  5. Janice says:

    It’s beautiful, Rachel. Shame it no longer has a purpose, but I’m wondering if it could be enlarged (if need be) and made to fit whatever gadget is now in use…?

  6. […] Strictly speaking, this isn’t one of mine. My mother stitched this, but she asked me to design it for her after she saw the stripy sampler. […]