I've made great progress on Santa's suit this week. Bottom half of red suit is complete but I figured out that I'm going to have to shorten the side stretcher bars in order to reach the top section. So I started working on the belt and the beaded buckle. Once those are finished, I can remove the piece from the bars, replace the side bars with much shorter ones, fasten it back on and roll up the excess canvas to get it out of my way while I stitch the top part. If I were teaching this piece, I might suggest roller bars or doing this process in reverse: the top section first, then extend the sides and complete the piece.
I stitch with two hands on a frame. I wouldn't even know how to stitch while holding the bars or do beading without having both hands available. I really have enjoyed stitching this piece - love large open areas where you can do some more of the "fancy" combination stitches.
Here is a little camera phone shot of where I'm at so far.....
Found a couple of missed stitches and got those fixed after taking this shot.....50 points for you if can you spot the obvious one? The points don't count for anything but at least you know your needlepoint acumen is "spot" on...get it? LOL
Another thought I had if I were to do this same design again would be to draw an imaginary line down the middle of the suit and stitch the left half of the suit as if the "arrow" design was pointing toward the middle and then turn and stitch the right side pointing toward the middle to meet up with the stitches from the left side. As if to make two sides of this suit. Could run a burgundy shading line of tent right down the middle and then start at the center and work out by stitching sideways on the canvas....make sense? Hmmmm...that might have looked cool. Always interesting the things you think about after you've already stitched something. I might at least write that down as a variation on this piece when I write up the stitch guide.
I love the mix of silk, velvet, sparkle, and beads! Hopefully I can finish this piece next week. Christmas stitching is so much fun. It's amazing how many needlepointers are crazy for anything Santa. :)
Stay tuned for more progress - we'll have Santa dressed and ready before you know it!