Challenging Myself One Chicken at a Time

I tend to steer clear of pre-painted canvases because I like designing needlepoint gifts with specific recipients in mind but last month, I stumbled upon No Name Chicken and fell in love. I knew I was not going to be able to let it go. I justified the purchase as an early birthday present to myself (only five months early) and decided to dive right in. I figure since I’ve never kept any of my needlepoint work I’m allowed to keep this one, right?

The canvas is far bigger than anything else I've ever worked on so I knew this would be a fantastic opportunity to challenge my patience and try out new stitches. As well-intentioned as my initial determination was, I quickly felt overwhelmed by the advanced Tony Minieri style guide I purchased as well as how truly enormous the canvas is - on stretcher bars it measures 19 x 18 inches.

As anyone who has ever tried to convince themselves to get out of bed at the crack of dawn to go running might understand, the hardest part was setting my mind to the task at hand and actually starting it. It turns out, I’m much better at making myself sit down and needlepoint than I am at making myself go running.

This week’s first challenge was a new stitch: the encroaching gobelin stitch, not to be confused with goblin. Far less intimidating than the evil character from European folklore, the encroaching gobelin stitch gets its name from stitches overlapping those from the row in front of them. The stitches are flat, angled at a slight diagonal and slightly longer than what I use for belts. The image below from the American Needlepoint Point Guild illustrates the overlap quite nicely.

I used the stitch on No Name Chicken’s beak which worked well with transitioning the shading. I think. This whole experience is reminding me how much I still have to learn about needlepoint.