Finishing: ornaments 3: Soft ornaments

Shaped ornaments may be finished with illustration board but I find it easier to finish them as a soft ornament. Any shape , even square or round may be finished using this method. These ornaments take a bit more time because they are hand stitched, no glue here.

Stuffing is a personal thing; some prefer tightly stuffed, while others like softer ornaments that are not stuffed as much. Whichever type you prefer, remember to use small amounts of fiber fill. Use a chopstick (reason to eat out) to push small amounts of fiber fill in to the nooks and crannies of shaped ornaments. My personal preference is somewhere between medium firm to firmly stuffed, squishy ornaments are not my thing.

Materials List:

BLOCKED Needlepoint

Copy of blocked needlepoint

Lining (optional)

Fabric Backing

Iron-on Pelon  or fleece: medium weight

Hanger (optional) Can use cording

Sewing thread to match Needlepoint and/or backing

Cording

Chop Stick or pointed tool

Usual sewing supplies

Step 1: Make a copy of your needlepoint on the copy machine and cut out.

 

 

Step 2: Lay copy right side up on the non-iron side of the pelon and draw around cut out copy.  Place on fabric backing for the ornament and iron to backing.

 

 

Step 3: Trim ornament to 1/2 inch and clip. Finger press the canvas to the back side of the needlepoint and hold in place with pins.

 

20160323 OrnSoft 4Step 4: With a long waxed thread tack the excess to the back of the needlework with running stitches. Be careful not to take the stitches to the front of needlepoint canvas.

Step 5: Repeat this process for the fabric backing, checking to be sure that 20160323 OrnSoft 5the fabric backing will match the needlepoint canvas. Be sure the running stitches are only tacked to the pelon or fleece.

Step 6: Optional. I used a hanger I bent to fit as a 20160323 OrnSoft 6hanger  to fit the sweaters.  I attached this to the needlepoint side of the canvas with basting stitches.

 

 

20160323 OrnSoft 7Step 7: Pin the needlepoint to the fabric backing.

Step 8: With the back side facing you (don’t ask me why…it’s just easier) and a waxed thread, ladder stitch the front to the back. The ladder stitch catches canvas 3-4 threads on the needlepoint and then 20160323 OrnSoft 8 ladder stitch graphicabout a 1/4 inch in the fold of the backing fabric. Pull this stitch snuggly, drawing the canvas and backing together. Do not for get to leave an opening for the ends of the cording and a place to stuff. Note the sweater ornaments had two openings; one at the hanger and one I left at the bottom to use for stuffing.

20160323 OrnSoft 11Step 9:  Using small amounts of stuffing, stuff the ornaments to the desired fullness. Use a chop stitck, small knitting needle or any pointed instrument to stuff; poking small amounts of stuffing into small places and corners. When stuffed to desired fullness, 20160323 OrnSoft 10close the hole with more ladder stitches.

Step 10: Make a cording to match or blend with the needlepoint. Attach to needlepoint hiding the ends in an opening left for this purpose.

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Step 11: With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Enjoy your finished ornament.

 

 

 

 

There is another type of soft ornament finishing and that uses fleece. These ornaments are not stuffed but rather stitched with fleece layers between the front and the back. I find this a great way to make a scissor fob…

It is finished very much the same way the above ornament is done:

Materials:

Blocked needlepoint Canvas

Backing material

Fleece

Thread

Cording

Step 1: Cut needlepoint canvas to 1/2 inch from needlework, angle corners.

Step 2: Finger press to back of needlepoint and pin.

Step 3: Cut fleece just a bit smaller then needlework and attach with running stitches being careful not to go through to the front of the needlepoint.

Step 4: Cut backing fabric 1/2 larger than needlework. Also cut 2 more pieces of fleece 1/8 to 1/4 inch smaller than needlepoint.

Step 5: Finger press and pin into place, mitering corners.

 

Step 6: Stitch needlepoint to fabric backing using ladder stitch method. Remember to leave opening for cording.

Step 7: Making cording and attach to needlework.

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Enjoy your new scissor fob. Hint you can also use to park needles.

This will be all the finishing for a couple weeks. Today as  I am having total knee replacement and will be rehabbing for a few weeks. But I look at it this way, I will have a good knee to keep me on my finishing quest.

AND I am going to have some great stitching time!😉

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Finishing: ornaments 2: square or rectangle

As you probably guessed by now I am a glue person. I can lace a piece of needlepoint, I have and I will again but sometimes I just have too many ornaments to finish at one time. See the carrots from a few years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/recipe-for-finishing-carrots/) that was a production. And truthfully I would much rather have my Grandchildren carry around their ornaments in their sticky little hands (although I would prefer they didn’t have sticky fingers…but you know what I mean). The look of delight and love in their eyes when they see their favorite ornament is worth far more than any museum could ever offer me for a piece of my needlepoint

Today is finishing square and rectangle ornaments…there are only two differences between round /oval ornaments and square/rectangle ornaments. You don’t have to clip curves, there are none but you do have to miter the corners. It’s a trade off and personally I think the  round/oval is easier but I also like the look of the square/rectangle. And I really make more square ornaments than round ones…geometrics usually are square.

Again RULE ONE is having all materials at hand. I can’t emphasis this enough and trust me you will get frustrated if you have to stop and go to the craft store to purchase something (been there, bought that T-shirt many times).

Let’s get started.

Finishing:  Square/rectangle ornaments using illustration board (glue method)

You will need:

Blocked ornament (all needlepoint needs to be blocked)

Backing material

Lining material if needed

Fleece:  I use one about a 1/4 inch thick.

Illustration Board: medium weight

Glue:  use archival save glue please

Clips to hold needlework and backing fabric

Sewing thread to match backing and complement needlework.

Beeswax

Sharp needle

Hanger (can use cording) another post…

Usual sewing supplies: pins, scissors, clips etc.

1.I press the backing fabric to get the creases out, if lining ornament (you only need to line an ornament if you did an open background stitch or your design has large open areas (not stitched).

2. Measure ornament and cut out illustration board cutouts; cut two same size: one for needlepoint, second for backing. I usually make these a tad smaller than the measurement; this is not an exact measurement, it is really by trial and error method because it actually depends on how much padding you use. Example:  needlepoint measures 3 inches x 3 inches, I make the illustration board about 2 7/8 inch by 2 7/8 inch.

Make sure these 2 cut outs are the same, trim if necessary. I mark mine with an up arrow so I know how they are to be put together.

3.Cut quilt batting; I usually use two for the back and three on the front. Number 1 is cut about 1/4 inch smaller than illustration board; number 2 is cut 1/4 inch smaller than first; and number 3 is cut a 1/4 inch smaller than number 2. You can do this as many times as you want, but four is about the most I’ve seen.

 

4.Cut backing fabric 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board.

 

5.Cut needlepoint 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board, trim corners diagonally. If using a lining for needlepoint cut this too. For ornaments on illustration board I use the same size lining fabric as needlepoint and you will aple the lining first and then repeat the same process for the needlework.

 

6.I glue the quilt batting to the illustration board with a dot of glue to hold in place. Start with smallest cut batting and largest batting goes on top.

At this point if your needlework need lining do lining first and then repeat with needlework. You do not need to finger press the lining fabric.

7.With wrong side of needlepoint (lining fabric) up, Finger press the corners and sides. Place illustration board over needlework.

8.Place a bead of glue on back side of illustration board at the corners. Start with the corners, turning them in to start mitered corner. I usually do one side and then the opposite side. It is important to keep design centered on the illustration board. Allow to set.

9.Run a small bead of glue along opposite edges of the illustration board and turn needlework bto the back , finish mitering the corners and secure in place with clips until set.

10.Repeat steps #6-7-8-9 with backing fabric

11.When set remove clips from needlepoint and backing illustration boards.

12.Attach purchased hanger if desired or can make from cording.

13.On wrong/back sides of illustration board place thin layer of  glue over the backs of the illustration board;. Keep glue about 1/4  inch from edge as I don’t want any seeping out. Leave an opening to place the cording ends between the layers. Place two canvases together and secure with clips. Allow to dry completely.

14. Make cording and attach with pins. Hide one end in the opening left in Step 12 and when finished placing cording, hind second end.

15. With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This  thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Notice that I do not glue cording! I guess you could if you’re good but I personally like to sew my cording.

16. Enjoy

 

 

 

Lacing Method is the same except that you turn all to back and hold in place with clips or pins. Lacing should begin in the middle of a side and proceed to 1st miters. Stitch the miters as you go around.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Finishing: ornaments

I’m going to break the ornaments up into types, so we will start with the round ornaments using illustration board.  There are 2 methods to finishing these ornaments: sewing and using glue. I will show you both, it is up to you to make your own decision to which to use. My ornaments are not going to the Smithsonian; my grandchildren hand them on real trees (pine oil) and there is the time it takes to do all by hand (hand sewing takes about twice as long).

RULE ONE: Have all materials at hand, there is nothing more frustrating than having to stop and go looking for something else

Before we begin there are a few hints to make finishing easier…

There are clips on the market for holding canvas and fabrics in place. They come in two and maybe three sizes (I just have two); they are usually found in quilt departments of fabric stores or quilt shops. I prefer the green ones to the mini ones and really I usually grab my old fashion clothes pins 1st.

Hooks: for Christmas ornaments: these are found at craft stores and come in gold and silver. I like the decorative ones for finishing needlepoint because I have never been happy with cording loops. My cording loops either are too long or too short, but with these, you can use a second one of the same hook or the more tradition ornament hook to hang them.  And should you decide to hang them on the wall, this hanger makes a nicer presentation.

Glue: If you decide glue is not a four letter word in finishing here is a helpful hint, especially when glue is less than half full. Lay the glue container on its side with cap on, make sure the tip is over a plastic lid to prevent accidents…Use a large lid and lay the entire bottle in it.

I use old credit cards or a scape of illustration board to spread glue, keeps my fingers clean.

I also keep a damp rag handy when using glue. It helps keep glue off your fingers and it can also help if glue gets on fabric or needlepoint accidentally.

Finishing: Round ornaments using illustration board (sewing method)

You will need:

Blocked ornament (all needlepoint needs to be blocked)

Backing material

Fleece:  I use one about a 1/4 inch thick.

Illustration Board: medium weight

Sewing thread to match backing and complement needlework.

Beeswax

Sharp needle

Hanger (can use cording) another post…

Usual sewing supplies: pins, scissors, clips etc.

I press the backing fabric to get the creases out…

Measure ornament and make illustration board cutouts; cut two same size: one for needlepoint, second for backing. I usually make these a tad smaller than the measurement; this is not an exact measurement, it is really by trial and error method because it actually depends on how much padding you use. Example: needlepoint measures 3 inches I make the illustration board about 2 7/8 inch around.

Make sure these 2 cut outs are the same, trim if necessary. I mark mine with an up arrow so I know how they are to be put together.

 

Cut quilt batting; I usually use two or three. Number 1 is cut about 1/4 inch smaller than illustration board; Number 2 is cut 1/4 inch smaller than first; and Number 3 is cut a 1/4 inch smaller than number 2. You can do this as many times as you want, but four is about the most I’ve seen.

Cut backing fabric 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board.

Cut needlepoint 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board. If using a lining for needlepoint cut this too.

I glue the quilt batting to the illustration board with a dot of glue to hold in place. Start with smallest cut batting and largest batting goes on top.

 

With wrong side of needlepoint up, place illustration board over needlework. Clip needlepoint.

With a double waxed thread begin to lace the needlepoint onto the illustration board. Start at 12:00 and work clockwise, pulling canvas taut but not tight enough to warp illustration board.

Repeat steps #6-7-8 with backing fabric

Attach purchased hanger if desired

 Place the two canvases together and pin. With back side (backing fabric) toward you ladder stitch together with a waxed heavy duty (quilt thread). A double waxed thread may be used too. Leave an opening to place the cording ends between the layers.

Make cording and attach with pins. Hide one end in the opening left in Step 11 and when finished placing cording hind second end.

With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Enjoy

 

 

The second way is to glue the ornament to the illustration board. There is not much difference except you are not lacing the needlepoint and backing nor sewing the ornament together.  It is much quicker, but does take some time to master  not gluing yourself too. Keep a damp rag handy and keep area clean.

Finishing: Round ornaments using illustration board (glue method) 

You will need:

Blocked ornament (all needlepoint needs to be blocked)

Backing material

Fleece:  I use one about a 1/4 inch thick.

Illustration Board: medium weight

Glue:  use archival save glue please

Clips to hold needlework and backing fabric

Sewing thread to match backing and complement needlework.

Beeswax

Sharp needle

Hanger (can use cording) another post…

Usual sewing supplies: pins, scissors, clips etc.

I press the backing fabric to get the creases out…

Measure ornament and make illustration board cutouts; cut two same size: one for needlepoint, second for backing. I usually make these a tad smaller than the measurement; this is not an exact measurement,  it is really by trial and error method because it actually depends on how much padding you use. Example: needlepoint measures 3 inches I make the illustration board about 2 7/8 inch around.

Make sure these 2 cut outs are the same, trim if necessary. I mark mine with an up arrow so I know how they are to be put together.

Cut quilt batting; I usually use two or three. Number 1 is cut about 1/4 inch smaller than illustration board; Number 2 is cut 1/4 inch smaller than first; and Number 3 is cut a 1/4 inch smaller than number 2. You can do this as many times as you want, but four is about the most I’ve seen.

Cut backing fabric 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board.

Cut needlepoint 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board. If using a lining for needlepoint cut this too.

I glue the quilt batting to the illustration board with a dot of glue to hold in place. Start with smallest cut batting and largest batting goes on top.

 

With wrong side of needlepoint up, place illustration board over needlework. Clip needlepoint with scissor.

Place a bead of glue on back side of illustration board around the edge. Start at 12:00 o’clock postion and use one of the clips to secure needlepoint to illustration board. Move to 6 o’clock postion and repeat. Do 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock the same and then fill in the rest until all clipped needlepoint canvas is attached to illustration board. Allow to set.

Repeat steps #6-7-8 with backing fabric

 

When set remove clips from needlepoint and backing illustration boards.

Attach purchased hanger if desired

On wrong/back sides of illustration board place a bead of glue around the edge (I usually keep glue about 1/2 inch from edge as I don’t want any seeping out) and in the center . Leave an opening to place the cording ends between the layers. Place two canvases together and secure with clips. Allow to dry completely.

Make cording and attach with pins. Hide one end in the opening left in Step 12 and when finished placing cording, hind second end.

With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Enjoy

Notice that I do not glue cording! I guess you could if you’re good but I personally like to sew my cording.

And that is how I make round ornaments using illustration board. Can you tell which one of the three was stitched?😉

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Finishing, the beginning…again:

I have started on my project for the year…I will have my needlepoint finished this year! I am going to do it myself or send it out.

I must tell you that I have great anxiety over trying to finish large stand-ups and pillows. I have these visions in my head of boxing some stand-ups and pillows and I have NEVER made a pillow in my life. This may be a real learning experience, but that is down the road and we won’t worry about it now because we are going to start with things we know and work up to the big things.

Okay some thoughts before we begin…

Washing Needlepoint:

Should your needlepoint need washing, I would have the piece professionally done. I am always afraid of wetting a canvas too much and having threads bleed. “Orvus” seems to be the recommended thing to use if you are going to try and wash your needlework.

I personally think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I wash my hands before I stitch and liquids around needlework is an accident waiting to happen.  I keep my drinks a few feet away from my needlework and my computer…two reasons: 1. Liquid and computers or needlework do not mix. And 2 I get my exercise getting up to walk to my drink…that’s not to say I have not left many a cup of coffee to get cold, but it’s not going to hurt anything either.

Blocking:

Blocking is essential. Even if you stitched on a frame and your needlepoint looks perfectly straight, it needs to be blocked. Blocking is not easy and if you do not have a blocking board I suggest you get or make one.

I wrote about blocking 2 years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/blocking-is-not-for-sissies/) and sad to say most of those needlepoint pieces in the top picture are not finished today. All I can say is I got sidetracked or it was just too overwhelming for me then.

14-06-12 blocking boardBut back to blocking boards.  I have one, it is a Maries Products 4 square blocker, and if I can ever find another at a reasonable price I will purchase it too. I love this blocking board. It works well for me. I use roofing nails to secure the needlepoint because roofing nails do not rust. I sure wish someone would 14-06-12 nailsmake this product again.

And not all blocking boards are suitable for needlepoint. Needlepoint blocking requires that you use heavy duty tacks or rust-proof nails to block needlepoint. Foam or vinyl boards are not heavy enough to block needlepoint.  Cardboard mats with ruled lines may work for canvas that is lightly distorted, but I would put a piece of clear vinyl over any thing I use to keep a safety net between the board and your needlepoint.  These cardboard mats may not last long either since you will be using roofing nails to hold stretched canvas in place.

You can make a blocking board using a piece of drywall covered with several layers of fabric. I would start with 2-3 layers of bleached muslin attached to dry wall with a staple gun. Over this I would use a piece of gingham fabric (woven not printed…Woven gingham will have straighter lines) with 1 inch squares in a light or pastel color. Attach gingham with staple gun using a right-angle triangle or T-square to keep lines straight. Over this I would place a clear piece of vinyl just to add that layer of prevention and prevent bleeding of the gingham. Of course you could prewash the gingham to see if it does bleed.  This board will have to be replaced also.  I understand you can use a piece of pinewood too, but this would require you hammer the nails into the board and it would have to be replaced too.

I have also known people who have blocked needlepoint on their ironing board using T-pins. I think these needlepoint pieces must have not been out of shape much.

Whatever method you choose, needlepoint should be blocked!

Before you block:

Whatever you use there are a couple things you need to do before you block any needlepoint.

14-07-09 Blocking remove tape & selvagesYou need to remove the selvage of canvas if it is still on your canvas.

You need to remove the tape from the canvas…you really should do this as soon as you are finished stitching. Tape is not good for long term on canvas.

 

Blocking needlework :

I am going to repeat here what I wrote two years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/blocking-is-not-for-sissies/)

 

if your canvas still has the selvage on it cut it off…hopefully this will still leave you room to block piece. If not, for now just clip through the selvage like you are clipping a curve, block and then remove. And shame on the designer or teacher who put her design too close to the selvage.


Blocking is hard on the fingers and the fingernails. You have to pull the canvas taut. I start to pin my needlepoint in the upper right corner. I pull the canvas taut and pin the top first (it does not matter whether you pin across the top or down the right side first whichever you prefer) The two things that are important are that you pull the canvas taut AND you pin in the same ditch, channel, between two parallel canvas threads (straight line) across the canvas. Next I pin down the right side, pulling taut and following a straight line. Next is the left side and then across the bottom Sometimes my bottom pining will be off a canvas thread or two, but what matters is that the canvas is square with no waves or puckers. Adjust pins by pulling canvas if you have waves or puckers.

 

To dampen or not…NEVER if silk or overdyes are used. I have a steamer and a mister but unless badly distorted (you must not have used your stretcher bars…shame on you) I seldom use water on my needlework. If I do, I put a towel under the blocking board and I mist very very lightly and leave the blocking board lying flat. You are going to love this reasoning…it makes no sense but it makes me feel more secure…I think if the board is flat and the color is going to run it will run down and not sideways. I told you it makes no sense but it makes me feel better. The other thing I have found is if I dampen needlework I have to adjust blocking the second time.
Okay needlepoint is on the blocking board and I leave it for a day or two, or three, or more…I check it after 24 hours and if the needlework is puckering I adjust the tension by unpinning two sides (bottom and left) and re-pin pulling taut. I leave blocked needlework on the blocking board until I get ready to finish and trust me I have had needlework on a blocking board a long time
. (Editorial note: No Kidding)


Another thing I want to mention here is if you have a piece that is badly distorted, I recommend two things:

1. Have it professionally blocked
2. Immediately find someone who will lace it for framing.
And know that over time it is going to distort again…unless of course you are planning on putting it in a museum where they can climate control it and keep it from the real world. And never let someone talk you into glue for the back or using pelon on the back… needlepoint is stronger than both of these and you will just have a mess.

14-06-18 supplies AOkay your piece is blocked and ready for finishing. Like stitching this requires some planning. It is necessary to have the proper tools and all the finishing supplies handy. Read this old my blog for these supplies they have not changed. 14-06-18 supplies B(https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/ufbsunfinished-but-stitched-supplies/)

Next we will finish ornaments…I’m good at small stuff.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today! I stitch even if I am finishing too…never want to run out of things to do…lol.

ttfn…sue

Monkey year…complete it year

A few posts back I wrote…http://eac-blog.blogspot.com/2016/02/some-unfinished-business.html

I’ll be back soon. I have been giving a great deal of thinking to my plans for 2016. Now that my threads are organized and I am working on reducing the pile of paperwork I have accumulated, I also have found another pile of things that really need my attention. More about this next time

I have sooooooo many stitched pieces that need to be finished that I should never stitch another piece of needlepoint. Well, we all know that is not going to happen so I am going to just bite the needle and start finishing. Another reason I am telling you this is that it will make me accountable, if I tell someone then I will have to do it or at least try.

So, this year , if it kills me I am going to tackle this project. I am going to get rid of the pies of paper on my desks.  I am going to finish many of my completed needlepoint pieces. And of course I am going to stitch.

I can tell you before I begin that this is probably not going to be my favorite project; if it were I would never have amassed this pile of unfinished needlework.  I just kept putting it off until It was either sell one of my children (and they are all too old to sell and I could never sell one of my grandkids), take a loan on our home (DH would not sign the papers, I tried) or try to do it myself.  And just so everyone knows, I am NOT going into the finishing business!  I can do it for myself because if I mess it up I can either live with it or get rid of it…but I would die a thousand deaths if I messed up someone else’s work.

So this monkey (yes, it is the Chinese year of the monkey) has decided that 2016 is the year of the finishing, finished projects are a priority. Not only is finishing needlepoint a priority, but that stack of accumulated papers on my desk is another priority. There are not just papers on my desk(s), yes I have two because I moved from smaller desk to larger area on table in office. I am getting stacks everywhere…and I didn’t even take you into the sewing area there are more canvases there.

So even though I will be stitching (a girl has to do what a girl has to do to keep her sanity);  I will also be using a pointed needle to finish some stitching.  I’m going to use scissors and glue too. So come along and we will learn together. If I forget to mention something just ask and if I have an answer I’ll tell you and if not we will put it out there and maybe someone else will have an idea or two. Together we can conquer the finishing challenge…and if all else fails I can send it to the pros.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today with whatever type needle you need to get the job completed.

ttfn…sue

Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.

Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.

Yesterday was “Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.” I have actively celebrated this for the past two years, you can click on hari-kuyo in the Categories list to see my other posts. Many fellow bloggers celebrate this festival too, so just check your other blogs or Google the festival. . If you would like to see how the ladies in the orient honor their prized possession here are a few links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari-Kuyo

Yesterday I spent a few hours preparing my wonderful previously stitched with needles for my “Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.” Last year I wrapped my needles in the same way I did this year; I have not yet decided how to permanently honor these old friends. I don’t want to put them in the ground; it is too cold and I don’t want them to eventually work up to the surface and hurt someone. One of my DiLs suggested I re-purpose them and do something creative with them to give them a new permanent life. Good idea just has not figured out what that will be.

I have thought about mingling them with the orts of the threads they so loyally helped onto my canvases to create the needlework I enjoy. I have kept orts and placed them in clear balls to decorate a stitching tree. And while this is an excellent idea it is so seasonal that I am waiting for inspiration to hit me for a more year-round idea. Any suggestions?

I kept last year’s packet on my desk to remind me that my needles are a very important part of my work and that I need to treat them with respect. I try to remember that like stitchers, needles come is different types and each has a purpose.

The Chenille friends are very much like my Tapestry friends but they have a sharp point…their numbers are even the same. I love the fact that the larger the needle size in Tapestry and Chenille needles, the smaller the needle…it’s good to know that larger can be smaller.  Chenille needles make it easier to pierce the needlepoint canvas when necessary and also they pass through layers with easy. I’m sure when I use my Chenille needles for this purpose my Tapestry needles are very relieved; because if I forget I usually end up pushing or pulling the Tapestry needle with needle-nosed pliers and sometimes I injure the eye of the needle and, sad to say, it will often join other fallen needles in the loved, used and put away area.

I seem to be most hard on the eyes of my needles. I think I sometimes try and make small needle do the job of one of its larger sisters. I will put a thread through the eye and then have to push and tug the needle…and I know this is not good on the needle or the thread.

Happily, I noticed I have very few broken Tapestry and Chenille but my beading needles are another story; I am really tough on these poor girls. I love the look of beading; I think I just do not enjoy the process. I have been known not only to break these fragile girls but to destroy a bead or two in the process. And their eyes are so fine and thin…not to mention the rest of them…I think it must be a bit of needle envy on my part…never was I this fine and thin.

And sad to say, this year my regular sewing needles and sewing machine needles are in short supply in the loved , used and put away area. This is not because I treat them better it is because I have not been using them. I’m hoping that this year will put a different perspective on these workhorse ladies of needlework and stitching. I keep many different types and sizes of needles in my sewing area; I have sewing machine needles from heavy duty to sheer and light; the Embroidery, sharps and millenary ladies all have their jobs and the needles are sized to do them.  I love my curved needle for those hard to stitch areas; they seem to breeze through like a lady waltzing with her favorite guy. All of these lovely needles are in my finishing sewing boxes (yes I have two) in my needlework finishing area.

So for now until I have that ah-ha moment; I have wrapped and will keep  my wrapped needles of honor on my desk to remind me this year to better about using the correct needle for the job and not to abuse and hurt them but to retire them with love and memories of jobs well done.

Thank you for stopping by and today you must find time to stitch.

 

ttfn…sue

1st Valentine’s Day Present

SDNote: Feb 25 Spoke With Michael Helmke and he is going to fill outstanding orders, but has suspended production of his products for personal reasons until the first of the year. He said he would let me know when he starts up again and I will let you all know too.

Last week I received a package I forgot I ordered, so I ‘m thinking it is my early Valentine present. This is good because by Valentine’s Day I will have forgotten and I can have another gift or two. ;=)

20160204 bAnyway I was using my original aficot when I stitched Anie Lane’s Welcome and then one of the books I was reading mentioned having one to lay and burnish silk.  My original was a gift from Kathy Holman at an ANG national seminar; all she 20160204 asaid was it was a laying tool and so for years that is all I knew about it. In the few books I have seen it mentioned, it was used as a laying tool and until last year I didn’t know the history. Mary Corbet told all about them last year (http://www.needlenthread.com/2015/03/whats-an-aficot-embroidery-tool.html )

I visited Michael Helmke’s site and fell in love with the different aficots and laying tools (http://www.mandhhandcrafts.com/Home_Page.html ) One of these days I am going to order the Pink Ivory and then I’ll let Michael tell me the differences in the Ebony or the Macasar Ebony;  which is more elegant and I’ll have to have one of these too and probably a laying tool to match.

My aficot came beautifully packaged and well protected. I have it sitting here on my desk to remind me to blog about it and then it will go up to my stitching collection area by my stitching nest and I will use it often. I’m really happy to have the box it came in because I have seldom taken my original aficot out because I do not have a way to protect it in my stitching tool case. I’ll have to remember to ask Michael for an extra box next time I order another aficot. And when I get my next aficot I will have another collection…remember when you have two you have a few but three makes a collection.

Like Mary Corbett said, if nothing else it is a great conversation starter because we have seen so few of them. But really they do a beautiful job when laying silk, floss or any multi plied thread. Burnishing or polishing the laid threads almost makes them look like material….Now before you all write me…let me state that: An aficot WILL NOT make a poorly laid thread look smooth! If you have a ply that has crossed over the others; an aficot nor any tool will make that little misplaced thread fall back in place.  Only frog stitching and relaying that thread will help this problem. I hate to frog stitch and I know that it is a pain; but if bothers you today, it will bother you ten years from now.

I’ll be back soon. I have been giving a great deal of thinking to my plans for 2016. Now that my threads are organized and I am working on reducing the pile of paperwork I have accumulated, I also have found another pile of things that really need my attention. More about this next time..

Stay warm, winter is not over yet. And…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue