Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Winter Table by Melissa Shirley 4/22/15

April 22, 2015--Have just returned from a two-day class for a beautiful painted canvas called Winter Table, designed by Melissa Shirley (project photo below) and taught by Laura Taylor.  It was held at Louise's Needlework owned by Jill Mashburn Elia in Powell, Ohio.  

We had a bonus third day with Laura who helped us with stitches and embellishments for our own canvases.  Learned even more (including ribbon work) by watching and listening to what she said to each student.   I'm a very happy camper indeed!

Winter Table by Melissa Shirley Designs Painted Canvas Project Photo
Laura Taylor, Instructor, and Jill Mashburn Elia, Owner of Louise's Needlework

What fun we had learning to embellish this piece with a wide variety of stitches and threads in ways I would never have dreamed of.  Laura Taylor gave us instructions on how to do each section with lots of examples and in such a way as to keep our attention (with much humor too).  This was the first time I've taken a class from Laura and look forward to the next opportunity to do so again.  

Jill, the delightful owner of Louise's Needlework, was a most gracious host--and so very organized. She, along with Emily and Karen who work with her at the shop, had everything ready for us when we arrived. The canvas was taped and tacked to large stretcher bars, all the threads and beads (with matching beading thread) were placed in labeled bags and held together on a ring.  Extras such as paints, paint brush, felt, tracing paper, needles, eyelash thread, and twill tape were in a separate bag and labeled. Other necessities such as glue, paper towels, plates and toothpicks were on each table. Then we were given a large clear, zippered project keeper with handles to place everything in when we were ready to leave.   Jill also lent us floor stands, lighting and lots of plugs, as needed.  

And when we were hungry, delicious lunches were brought in for all 3 days, along with snacks, beverages, etc.  There were bagels and coffee in the morning too.  We wanted for nothing!

And finally, I had a most wonderful time with my classmates who not only came from the local area, but from places far and wide.  Some of us stayed at the Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center where Jill negotiated a special rate for class participants and arranged for van transport to and from her shop each day.  The two room suite was first class and I so much appreciated not having to worry about transportation.

On this piece called Winter Table, I learned lots of new techniques, such as stitching the chrysanthemums with TG Eyelash and beading the centers in such a way as to give a 3D effect.  The paper white petals are padded then beaded--wow, really pretty.  The small white flowers are made with, or all things, Wrights Twill Tape.  We also learned how to shade the leaves with paint instead of using thread.   The pine cone is given dimension using a "lazy daisy" twist.   This is a large project (for me) and I plan on taking my time with each section.

This is a canvas I fell in love with when it first came out.  It so looks like my husband's sun room where he grows paper whites, christmas cactus, etc. and where we see cardinals out the window.  Our female cardinals have more red on their crown and wings than the one painted on the canvas, so I'll add some color to the pretty bird.  Also, our christmas cactus has red blooms, so again, will make a color change.

Female Cardinal
I'll post again as more progress is made on the various sections.


  1. Thanks Lorraine, but the picture is the project photo--mine isn't completely stitched yet. Hopefully it'll look as good as the example.

  2. Brenda,

    Thank you for the lovely article. It was a pleasure having you in our shop, your enthusiasm is wonderful and only made hosting the class more pleasant for us. We loved having so many here for our class and we look forward to hosting many more in the near future. Happy stitching and keep us posted on your progress.


    Jill Elia

  3. Brenda, I enjoyed meeting you during the Winter Table class. You are truly a treasure. I hope to see you around the stitching table again soon.


  4. It was a wonderful class, Brenda! Laura is such a great teacher and Jill was the consummate hostess! She did a terrific job of pulling everything together. Even though I was only there to help, I learned so much from Laura. She is such a great teacher and lots of fun to be with too! We are quite excited to be bringing Laura to the East Coast in October, to The Stitching Studio in Richmond, VA! I hope you and Roseanne will be able to join us!