Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jolly Nutcrackers by dede Ogden and Robin King

Hi Everybody... Robin here.

Retailers and Shopping Networks have recently made a big deal about Christmas in July. Thought I would join in and play along.

Jolly Nutcrackers by dede Ogden (ED-4004P)

Did I ever tell you about the Jolly Nutcrackers? It is a wonderful canvas by dede Ogden (ED-4004P). It comes on 18 mesh, 14" x 14" square, and is great for a pillow or frame. The same design also comes in a Large Stocking shape. 

Blog readers might already know two things about me: I love cats and I adore Nutcrackers. I have stitched a few Nutcrackers in my day. My own Christmas stocking has four Nutcrackers (or as I call them "The Brothers") by Shelly Tribbey (CS-17). 

My very first Nutcrackers were stitched from stitch guides written by Meredith Willet (Herr Drosselmeyer) and Susan Portra (Mr. White Santa, Mrs White Santa, Victorian Red Santa). I worked with Amy on the Chimney Sweep during her canvas enhancement classes, and I did the Blue Nutcracker on my own.

I also stitched this Nutcracker from Melissa Shirley; love the round Leather Box.

So when Julie Mast, owner of 3 Kittens Needle Arts in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, asked me if I would write the stitch guide for the Jolly Nutcrackers by dede Ogden,  I agreed ... sight unseen. Her description was fetching enough. 

Julie sent me the canvas and we discussed over many phone calls and emails how she was wanting to present the Jolly Nutcrackers on a monthly basis to her interested customers who had signed up in groups for this journey.

Month by month each guide was written, charted, and thread selections were made. Diane had agreed to stitch the Jolly Nutcrackers model for 3 Kittens. It was only later, well into the following months, that I saw how each Nutcracker installment was turning out. Or, more importantly how they looked with each other. May I just say I was very pleased.

Wind the clock forward to now and you see the finished Jolly Nutcrackers. Diane (the main stitcher) and everyone at 3 Kittens Needle Arts did a wonderful job. I also wanted to let you hear from Julie as she too, was most integral in this project. 

"We were first inspired by this canvas when we were hosting a Dede Ogden trunk show.  We pulled this canvas out of the box and showed it to a group of stitchers who happened to be in our shop at the time.  We said how about this for a class?  Everyone immediately said “let’s do it!” and a week later we had 18 people divided up into three separate stitching classes to take on this canvas as a monthly class.

We contacted Robin to design the stitch guide for this amazing canvas.  We sent her the painted canvas and she wrote us a guide once a month over a 9-month period of time, each month featuring one Nutcracker.  Little did we know that we had ventured into a “Mystery Class” format – we were able to stitch it monthly right before we taught the classes – sometimes just in time!  It was impressive that Robin was able to deliver such a creative and inventive stitch guide without stitching the canvas.  The final guide included all the Beards, Mustaches and Hair and the awesome background darning stitch!

Nutcracker #1 (Red & Green) – we were so excited when we received our first stitch guide and knew were in for some fun!  The ruching and the twisted Kreinik w/bead on the Epaulets, the gorgeous stitch on the Sleeves and the padded technique on the Nose – we were in for a wild ride!  Robin was gracious and patient with us as we consulted with her over the phone and via email to get this right.  The first round of classes were thrilled with the beautiful thread choices, the sparkle and shine and loved the new challenges.  Most were intermediate level stitchers and we happy to have these new stitches and canvas embellishment techniques to add to their repertoire.

Nutcracker #2 (Pink & Purple) – the string beading technique on the Epaulets was new and his gorgeous embellishment stitches on his Hat brought it to life. Reversing the direction on the Victorian 
Step on the hat was right on and a challenge worth meeting by all.

Nutcracker #3 (Purple) – very realistic “goldwork” on his Jacket.  The Detached Buttonhole was a new technique that really captured the ruffle on the Shirt.

Nutcracker #4 (Green) – beading on the Hat  and the green jacket – stitch allowed us to learn and teach a new anchoring technique.

Found Objects – we were first introduced to the idea of incorporating “found objects” into a canvas.  Once we all, including our students, got a hold of this idea, many of them sought out their own “jewels” and additions to make their canvas uniquely their own. (Nutcracker #5)

Nutcracker #6 - we enjoyed working the Double Stitch for his hat.

Nutcracker #7 – we collaborated with Robin on “tweaking” the Purple Jewel; once we tried her original idea and sent her a photo, we all realized we needed to come up with another stitch.  The final solution is fantastic – a Triangular Rhodes stitched in a mirror fashion.

Nutcracker #8 – we all increased our beading skills throughout this canvas, culminating into the beaded Heart crown; the Jacket Heart stitch was the perfect companion!

Beards, Hair, Mustaches – we now have a full complement of textures and techniques that can be applied to so many other designs – what an inspiration!  Each Nutcracker had its own personality and unique embellishments.

Background – this was the first time many of us worked a darning stitch and incorporated sequins – this was the perfect stitch and embellishment combination that evokes a festive, fun, light and airy backdrop to the Jeweled Nutcrackers in the foreground.  This entire canvas continues to be oohed and aahed over by all who see it!

Many thanks to Diane who stitched the Jolly Nutcrackers.

3 Kittens Needle Arts is proud to have worked with Robin – a true creative genius and collaborator!  We can’t imagine how the process could have gone any better.  We hope we get the chance to work with Robin again – if this is an example of the results, we are anxious for our next project to start!  Our customers could not have been happier – thank you for sharing your creativity.

We would be thrilled to share this Stitch Guide with others – please contact our store @ 651-457-4969 or via email to purchase the canvas and guide.  If you already own the canvas, you may purchase the guide and threads."   --   Julie Mast, owner of 3 Kittens Needle Arts

So now I can add more Nutcrackers to my needlepoint repertoire. Many thanks to Julie, Diane, and everyone at 3 Kittens Needle Arts for this creative opportunity.

For any shop owners interested in their own Jolly Nutcrackers experience, please email me at

Until the next time... Hugs, Robin


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Peggi,
      Great to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. It was a fun project and know others will have fun, too. Robin

  2. As a fabulous stitch designer/teacher I know would say, "Brillant!"

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Aren't you funny. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you. Hugs, Robin


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