I seem to be very very lax in answering your burning questions and responding to your lovely comments, so I thought I'd try to catch up a bit. (By the way...does anybody know the proper etiquette of how a blogger handles/responds to his/her comments/questions? I always get so worried that y'all will think me either a) a boob for not replying to you or b) guilty of not reading comments.)
(The answer to that one is "a", just in case you were wondering.)
The painted canvas that I'm working on at the moment is a Raymond Crawford. Check out his website if you want to see more of his fabulous stuff! (Methinks I am in love!) As to the class part of it....well, I happened to read on Ruth Schmuff's blog that her shop was offering it as a "Mystery Class". Ruth's shop is Bedecked and Beadazzled, and although I am about a 16-hour drive away, I am participating as a "distance learner". This means that I receive installments that consist of a fabulous stitch guide/instruction sheet and all of the necessary fibers to do that part of the lesson. This is the first time I have done such a thing, and I have to tell you that I am now completely addicted and hope to have one of these going at all times.
As to the question of how one does needlepoint, please bear with me as I try to walk you through it (as it was explained to me by my Stitchy Sen-say, Aunt Chrissy). (Oh, and I forgot to mention this before....Aunt Chrissy is actually my little sister. I call her Aunt Chrissy because when Stewey came home she suddenly found herself in the highly exalted position as Aunt Chrissy. And then when Bosco came home to her house, I became Aunt CJ.) (It's a "spinsters with pets" thing.)
I started stitching by learning how to cross stitch on 14ct Aida cloth using DMC floss. From there, I graduated to stitching "over two" on evenweave. Then I started using over-dyed cotton threads (like Weeks and Gentle Art), and when Aunt Chrissy felt I had mastered that enough, she turned me loose on linen. I think I worked on 28ct. linen for quite a while before I tried 32ct., and by then I was hooked. My final step in mastering cross stitch was the completion of my very first Shepherd's Bush kit, which contained a gorgeous piece of hand dyed linen, silk threads, and wonderful instructions for "specialty stitches".
When I decided that I wanted to start "needlepointing", I picked up a Laura J. Perin "American Quilt Series" design. This, to me, was the perfect way to transition between cross stitch and canvas work, because the chart was very very easy to understand and Laura gives great instructions that practically walk you through the project stitch by stitch! Starting to do canvas work involved a whole new stash of canvas, stretcher bars, tacks, and threads, but in the interest of Spinster Sanity, I took the plunge and never looked back.
Painted canvases are an entirely different matter for me, since I quickly discovered that I am completely incapable of "seeing" specialty stitches in my punky little head. (Well, I guess I can "see" them....I just can't get them onto the canvas in a way that results in something I'm happy with.) So after years and years of frustration, I finally realized that STITCH GUIDES would be my method and I wouldn't feel one bit bad about calling in the professionals. Janet Perry has written a fabulous stitch guide for a fabulous "Bohemian Paisley" canvas that I have, and I can't wait to get my paws on it! After emailing back and forth an few times, Janet determined what types of threads I have in my stash, what I like working with, and what my threshold was for patience. The resulting piece will be stunning once completed, I'm sure, so I'm really glad that I was smart enough to get help on it before getting frustrated on my own.
The class situation for painted canvases also appeals to me enormously, since I have a very clear direction from the teacher, yet the result is almost exactly what I had hoped for in my head. On the Merry Christmas canvas, I "saw" funky...and by jeepers....funky is what we got! It's also wonderful to use threads/fibers that I never would have picked for myself, and to then discover that I love them (hellooooo Sparkle Rays!).
So that, my dear friends, is a somewhat garbled explanation of my stitchy journey. Throw hardanger and crewel in there, and the urgent desire to learn how to make a felt penny rug, and I think you've about got me figured out. The bottom line is that I am a stitchy harlot...I love it all and greedily covet it as though it was dipped in chocolate and peanut butter.
Hmmmm. Peanut butter. I think I need to have some peanut butter toast now.
Here's hoping that you have a Happy Tuesday!