Thank you Stitch Guide writers

I just spent the most relaxing week. I was house sitting my niece’s dogs….it’s a tough job but someone has to do it and I’m so glad it’s me.

This is my view and if I’m lucky a deer or two will stop by to see me…

15-03-24 deer

15-03-24 bunny unstitchedUsually I take a have computer project to finish, but this time I took nothing but a painted canvas, threads and a stitch guide.

But that I want to thank all those people out there who take the time to figure out stitches for painted canvases. It is so relaxing (like stitching a piece of basketweave). All you have to do is pick up the thread, look at the diagram and stitch. I’m not saying that if Sally Stitchguider has suggested Bulllion Stitches using  Marlitt thread (so glad this thread is gone) for hair that you  must follow her suggestion…I personally think Sally Stitchguider was having a bad day and I would use loose French Knots with floss first.

BUT for the most part these fine people have a working knowledge of what they are doing and are usually right on the money.  They keep abreast of all the new and exciting threads on the market and try to incorporate them in their guides.  They know what stitch works best with what thread and they don’t have to experiment around.

Keep in mind there are several types of stitch guides. And not all stitch guides are created equal. Some stitch guides are written for a canvas and the shop that sells it. This means that all the Blue Dog canvases that Shoppe Around the Corner sells will have the same stitch guide for Blue Dog. The stitch guide writer knows the threads that Shoppe Around the Corner stocks and will use them in the stitch guide.

Some designers pay stitch guide writers to write stitch guides for their canvases. Some will sell these at an additional cost to the canvas, some other designers will include them in the price of the canvas.  This means that Debby Designer’s  Pink Cat canvas will have the same stitch guide no matter where you purchase the canvas.

And then there are the canvasses that you ask to have a stitch guide written for you. Depending on what you expect you can plan on paying from $0 to $600 (highest I have heard so far). Some shops will give you free thread and stitch selections if you have purchased your canvas at their shop, but don’t expect a big written out booklet…remember you get what you pay for.  Keep in mind, you are asking someone to spend time writing a guide for you and so if you do get a booklet complete with threads and stitches, Sally Stitchguider  has a business too.

My stitch guide came with the painted canvas and threads (the threads were extra but could be purchased as a kit too. )  I seldom stitch a painted canvas with a stitch guide and threads already chosen for me, but I picked this up at a guild sale and decided to stitch it. I usually like the challenge of choosing my own stitches and threads and usually make it up as I go. I approached it like a class project and so I first read the stitch guide and checked the threads to make sure I had what I needed. There were a couple thread substitutions (but that happens), so I made the notation in the instructions and then I started stitching.

15-03-24 bunny headI started with area #1 and picked the thread out of my thread packet and began stitching. The guide suggested Encroaching Gobelin over 2 threads and I tried it but didn’t like the look. I thought the bunny to large for such a small stitch so I “frog” stitched the area. But in keeping with the stitch guide my adjustment was an Encroaching Gobelin over 4 and encroached 2 threads.

15-03-24 bunny stichedThis was so relaxing and then I realized was not looking at other areas of the canvas to decide what stitch I might want to place in various areas. It was so mind relaxing. As I was stitching the mouth area in basketweave I realized that if I stitched the tooth n basketweave also it would recede into his mouth to far to please me so another stitcher’s  choice to wait and use straight stitches for the tooth and I stitched the tooth area twice to make it padded. I also have decided his cheeks need to stand up some and so instead of basketweave here too I will make padded satin stitches…I did the same with his nose.

I started stitching his ears in a  4 by 6 Byzantine…not sure where it came from but it was not the Diagonal Mosaic that was suggested.

I realized without thinking I was stitching without checking the stitch guide and so I got back on track with his vest.  Even though the canvas was painted with a smaller check I followed the pattern in the stitch guide. I’m not sure I like the metallic I don’t think it covered as well as it should but I tried another copper silk and wool but I didn’t think it had the sparkle that was needed.

15-03-24 bunny overdyeThe pants are stitched with the thread and stitch that is suggested in the stitch guide. You are supposed to use four ply of the strand to stitch the diagonal rows. I think you were given more than enough thread to do this; there are three skeins of overdyed floss in the kit.  I think you could stitch the pants without combining any of the leftover two ply, but it seems like such a waste of thread. And so the Scotsman in me made yet another executive decision, I would stitch the reversed diagonal rows using a random 4 ply of the leftover two plies. To ensure I had a random pull I pulled separated 3 strands and randomly put them all together before I stated stitching the reverse diagonals.  It seems to have worked out so far and I like the effect it gives. We will see how frugal I was when I complete this area, if I have less than 6 ply I will have figured accurately.

I’m almost done with the bunny and so for this Easter may just set him up on the stretcher bars for everyone to enjoy.  I plan on giving bunny a background stitch and then I have an idea for finishing but then I have another year before Easter rolls around again.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

Pi Day

We are going to a wedding reception this afternoon and were asked to bring our favorite pie…I really didn’t think anything of it  (the host is a great pie lover) until this week and the news media started taking about Pi Day. Then it hit me…they are just waiting to see who bites (pardon the pun).

In case you don’t know, today is Pi Day.

What is Pi Day you ask?

Saturday, March 14 is a very special Pi Day that comes but once in a century. That’s right, it’s 3-14-15, the only time before 2115 that the date reflects five digits of the magical, infinite number, 3.141592653…from the Washington Post

15 used instructionsSo I had to make a pi/pie. Only kind that I knew would be successful was the kind I stitch. So I charted one and stitched it. I have included the chart and finishing instructions as a PDF in case anyone else wants to do one. Pi day is every year; this year just is special because it is 3-14-15

15-03-14 Pi ornament aBUT my little creative mind did not stop here… We had  bought the lucky couple a pie plate and were going to give them cash (not very creative but wait…last night I had this great inspiration…we are going to get $1 and 2 bills to line the pie plate (representing 3). and then fill with 14 dimes and nickels (representing.1415) and cover with cling wrap.  Our pi pie.

Well I must be more of a nerd than I though but this just appealled to me.

 

15-0314 Pi ornament bAnd my real pie…coming from the store of course!

If you have trouble downloading the Pi instructions just email me and I will send you the PDF version. I may not get to it until later today or tomorrow as I am on my way to a St. Patrick’s Parade and then I am going to the wedding reception.

 

 

BTW here are some pretty cool places to visit today …all about PI:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/03/14/pi-day-kids-videos/24753169/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/14/10-stunning-images-show-the-beauty-hidden-in-pi/

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

PS if you hold up 3.14 (have to have pointed 4) it is this: :-)

15-03-14 pie reverse

Notebooks

I have had notebooks on my mind these past few months.

15-03-05 a J. Pollen notebookIt all started with the Jason Pollen exhibit and lecture last fall. In the second part of his exhibit he displayed some of his notebooks and in his lecture he said he draws two hours every day in these sketchbooks. I would love to spend a pot of tea going through these note/sketchbooks; it would be like climbing into the mind of the artist. Oh heck, I’d just like to sit in his studio as he worked and have him think out loud…I think you would learn so much.

And then last week on KCPT, Bob Holloway, another of my favorite artists was profiled and he said he has kept a journal/sketchbook for the past 40 years. He has 40 of these journals…incredible! Ditto on the sit in his studio.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell if I didn’t feel inadequate before I did after watching this show; I want to journal and sketch too. I want to put my thoughts down on paper so I don’t lose them. I was feeling pretty uncreative and I started straightening up the office, stitch space and library. And what to my surprise, I had an epiphany: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do journals, notebooks and sketchbooks and have for years. I have 2 Master Teacher Notebooks, I have a value and color notebook, I have a notebook of another favorite artist, Fritzi Brod and I have a notebook of finished stitched projects I have completed to mention a few.

And then I found these blue notebooks I made and carried. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI drew stitches in them whether it was a new stitch I saw on another canvas, in a book or magazine or whether it was just something that popped into my head, I drew it in these notebooks. I also kept noted on the canvas I was stitching and when I made the page for my finiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshed stitch project notebook I would turn the pages up of or remove them. These notebooks are dated so I have an idea when I did them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know why I stopped using this method but I have a feeling that this is what has been missing in my life. I think I thought that the larger graph paper in a larger notebook was the answer for me but now I am not so sure. I don’t carry this notecase everywhere and therefore have fallen out of the habit of keeping good records/notes for myself. And I seem to have acquired a large amount of pieces of graph paper that are not contained anywhere. I think maybe I thought I needed a larger area for diagrams but maybe I just need to have that at hand in case and carry my little notebook everywhere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also have two other note/sketchbooks that I keep. One is ideas that I see or think of that I want to remember for that “ah-ha moment” of inspiration. This notebook contains drawings and pictures of other art works, just stuff.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Every other page is numbered and I put a month and year date on the  page too. When an idea is forming I will look through these books (there are only three so far) for ideas that relate or that I might want to incorporate. This has happened and I go OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback and find the reference and it usually sparks more creative thoughts.  The flower in upper left of the picture became a Sunflower Temari ball with French Knot center.

15-03-05 j sktbk pg 4-15-13My other notebook is the frustrated artist in me. I want to be able to draw like Jason Pollack, Bob Holloway, Fritzi Brod, Mary Englebreit, Joan Walsh Anglund to name a few. I want it to seem as effortless as they seem to make it seem. But I struggle with this OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAartist within me; I read books, take classes and still do not feel I am neither a sketcher nor an artist. My drawings in these notebooks are all dated and vary from geometrics (which I love) to just a sketch of my coffee cup or dot pictures. I can create a geometric needlepoint, I can pick stitches for a painted canvas (and yet I struggle with these sometimes too) but I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdon’t think I will ever be an art show artist, nor is anyone going to ask me to have a showing of my artwork. But some of these drawings will hopefully become needlework too. I just saw a geometric in drawing #1 and the pumpkins in drawing #2 are drawn from a picture my daughter in law sent me of two pumpkins she made last year for a contest at work. I want to stitch needlepoint canvases, finish them as stand up baskets and have the hair and flowers planted in them…I see Sundance Sparkles for the hair. (see I am incubating a new ideas as I write this)

15-03-05 o FA ntbk 2And last week after cleaning, I went to the opening of a new show at the Nelson-Aitkens Art Gallery for a special exhibit: Ferran Adria Notes on Creativity. They are the drawings of this chef and his staff on food, history and creativity. While I creatively 15-03-05 p FA ntbk 2understood these drawings & notebooks, I wasn’t sure I understood his method (but I am not a chef either). 15-03-05 q no peasMy favorite was this graphic: I saw it from across the room and was sure I knew what it meant…I was wrong, it represented seed but to me it was and is “no peas.” There were parts I liked and other parts I am not sure I understood, but that’s okay because at the bottom of one page that had been blown up was the explanation of it all…

15-03-05 n FA ntbk

Result(in box): everybody has his,her own creativity process.

The “ah-ha” moment of the week for me. The artist understood these notebooks and sketches and each meant something to him and he became more creative because of them and helped his students to be more creative also. I did another tour of the exhibit with a new and greater understanding of the beauty he had created and given us a brief glimpse. I’m sure to the major chefs that see this exhibit it has my more meaning to them than it will to me, but we both have come away with our own moment of creativity.

It was ah-ha moment for me and I realized that my notebooks do not have to appeal to anyone but me. Notebooks are a glimpse of the artist who creates them and do not have to make sense to anyone but that artist. (I still would like to spend an afternoon with the artist I admire and their notebooks. Just to listen to them and see how their creative process works I think would be inspiring.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I have decided to go back to my little notebook for stitches; I made myself a new little notebook about 50 pages and will keep it with my stitching. I will still keep my ideas notebook , I will sketch (but maybe never 2 hours every day)  and I have also decided to start another long overdue type of journal…I am going to start keeping a stitch doodle canvas. It will have no rhyme nor reason to it, it is just going to be OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstitches. I plan to keep a log of which stitch is used, the thread and I might even add where I used it if I do use it. Stay tuned as I finish a canvas (the first page)  I will share it with you.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

 

Stitching updates

15-02-24 temari aSorry about last week but the week got away from me and before I knew it this week is almost halfway over too.

15-02-24 temari bI have been trying to finish up a heart and move on to St Pat and Easter and poor Mardi Gras just blew by like a cold breeze (hummm it was cold.)  But I did make two Temari for the occasion,  just didn’t get them posted.  Used Kreinik blending filament in purple gold and green togive color to base of ball and stitched with #5 DMC Perle in Green Gold and 15-02-24 temari cPurple and a Kreinik braid. Simple 6 division but the Obi bands are different.

My creative juices are keeping me awake; I even got up one night to stitch…What can I say…didn’t have a pencil and I was awake so it seemed logical to me. I don’t think dog and DH had the same thoughts… and 15-02-24 heartsall I did was play with the Kreinik wire braid for a few minutes, okay maybe 30 but in an eight to ten hour night that’s only a few minutes. Didn’t even stitch it down during that time…and the light was only on my stitching.

15-02-24 stitches aAnd then Jane at Chilly Hollow (http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2015/02/lets-make-ribbon-flower.html)  posted this new type of knot that was taught at TNNA winter show (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=656298941158846&set=o.108537025890131&type=2&theater ) and I had to try it, seemed perfect for this design. Colonial Knot, French Knot and Ruching. Plus the flowers are another decision I haven’t decided on yet either: Ribbon flowers, beads…decisions decisions!?!?!?!?!

15-02-24 stitches bAnd before I stitched the leaves on the heart I wanted to play with stitching picots. Needed to decide whether I wanted to use wired braid or just braid; whether I wanted two, three or four legged picots;  would one work better than another and did I want more than one style? You get the idea questions, questions and more questions.

But last week I did get this playing accomplished and this week I am really putting effort into finishing up the heart. Should get some great stitching time in as it is supposed to be cold, cold, cold and only have only a couple outings planned.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

Happy Valentine’s Day

One day inspiration struck and I stitched part of a design to see if it would work and so I had this partially completed canvas lying around. I also have a drawer(s) full of buttons, pins, and tchotchkes (trinkets) waiting to find a canvas. So combine one button from LaMode with a partially finished canvas and you have a 2 1/2 scissor fob, small ormament, whatever.

So one day I put it in the computer and today I’m giving to anyone who would like to have it.

One trinket+ one small canvas + stash threads+ 2 hours + finishing = one cute gift.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

15-02-14 I Love Squares layoutHappy Valentine’s Day. Hope it is a sweet one.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative! ttfn…sue

P.S. If you need me to email you a PDF version just let me know…happy to do it.

Almost Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day (and it is Friday the 13th)  or as my sons used to call it, National Suck-up Day (This was before they were all married and have wives;  now they celebrate with candy, flowers, etc; typical husband duties.)

Years ago I told my DH I didn’t care to have flowers, I didn’t need candy and I sure didn’t want to go out to dinner BUT I did expect a card. So off he went to work and at the office shop he purchased a card and that night he came home and presented me with a card. Cute card had a couple on the front standing in front of a red heart; it said, “To my wife”…you opened it up and it said, “Couldn’t be without you. Happy Anniversary.” DH had crossed out Anniversary and written Valentine’s Day. After I stopped laughing, he said Hallmark should not be allowed to put out cards with hearts if they were not Valentines, especially at Valentine’s season. I told him he should learn to read and not just look at the pictures. Anyway to really appreciate his thoughtfulness, you had to wait eight months for out anniversary. On our anniversary, he brought me a card with roses, lace, ribbons the whole Victorian looking type; “to my wife….sentimental dripping sweet verse…and Happy Valentine’s Day.” He crossed out Valentine’s Day and wrote Anniversary and below that, ” You may not get the right card for the right occasion, but you get the right number of cards per year.” I still have both!

And over the years we have stopped giving each other gifts. We’re big kids, we know what we want and usually we’re together, well except at the needlepoint store but then he never says anything either. And I have a few canvases on my want list…like I need another canvas…but then need was never an issue with needlepoint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis year I decided to do something different (usually buy needlepoint). I had my mother’s charm bracelet gathering dust in a drawer. My grandfather had it made for her when she got engaged to my dad, all the charms have a meaning. I’m not a bracelet person, so I found a chain similar to the bracelet, had the jeweler make me a necklace, put them together and I wear it as a charm necklace. Fun!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also had all my charms and an charm bracelet with about 20 charms (gift from my family before kids) gathering dust in a drawer. Never realized how many charms I had collected over the years and not all were silver, but had meaning to me. So I had them put on a necklace too; 60 charms later I love it.  It is a real conversation piece.

I wear both (not together) all the time. I just love them. So this year for Valentine’s Day I got jewelry.

Today I’m off to have lunch with the girls…and then home to stitch and my outing this week is a yearly art show. I love this art show, it is small and all local artists. And when this art show arrives I know spring can’t be far behind…I’m ready.

Maybe I’ll buy myself some chocolate too (dark of course.)

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

Hari Kuyo: Broken Needle Celebration

I like to think of this day more as a celebration than a memorial service. I know in Japan it is a solemn occasion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari-Kuyo).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used to have more needles to share on this occasion, I changed needles every month; but lately I have been keeping my old friends around until they are no longer useful. I am hard on needles, sometimes when my arthritis in my hands acts up OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use a pair of needle nose pliers to help me stitch and as you can see sometimes it is hard on the eye of the needle. Other needles especially my finishing needles tend to bend with use; but I use these (in fact I kinda like these sometimes best) until they eye breaks and then I have to replace. And occasionally I will use a needle that is not the correct size and I will break the eye right off.

Disposing of these needles is my big problem, I hate to bury them in the yard since they might work their way to the surface and a little person foot could find them. And I don’t want to pollute the streams or hurt our fish and wildlife.  One year I saved them and put them in the needlebook I finally completed (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/hari-kuyo-february-82013/). And another year I put them in frozen yogurt (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-festival-of-broken-needles-hari-kuyo/) and sent them to a landfill…but that didn’t seem right either. This OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAyear I have wrapped them in the canvas they so often traveled and tied it with a thread that they so often carried through the canvas; but I have not decided how to dispose of this. Any ideas? I wish someone would come up with an idea to repurpose these OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAneedles. I often look at the wine cork art on Pintress (cork craft) and think needles…that can we do with these?

This year I decided to celebrate the day with some new needles…they have been on the market for OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAabout a year but I just keep putting off buying them but this week-end I remembered. Your local needlepoint shop can order these from Colonial Needle Company (http://www.colonialneedle.com/cgi-bin/quikstore.cgi?search=yes&keywords=Bullion) They carry Bullion needles in both sharp points and tapestry points. These needles come in one size, equal to a size 20 tapestry needle and three lengths 7 inch, 5 inch and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3 1/2 inch. I have not tried them yet but I have several ideas on the stitching board that have these needles in mind (I will keep you posted). And who knows, maybe we will eventually see these needles in a size 24 too.

Other people on the web have celebrated Hari Kuyo too:

Vicky DeAngelis over at Mostly Needlepoint celebrated this way…and the Love canvas is speaking to me! Thanks Vicki for helping out my stash enhancements)

http://mostlyneedlepoint.com/a-tradition/

http://mostlyneedlepoint.com/whats-new-2

Susan Elliot at Plays with Needles celebrates too:

http://plays-with-needles.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-gift-of-harikuyo.html

http://plays-with-needles.blogspot.com/2015/02/two-days-until-harikuyo-2015.html

And then Carol-Anne Conway at Threads Across the Web visited a Japanesee needle shop…lucky girl! http://threadsacrosstheweb.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-needle-in-market.html

Click on some of her links and you will wish we had shops like this in the USA:

Oh I need the egg sewing box: http://www.hakotou.co.jp/

The sewing boxes are wonderful and the pins from here would make marking Temari balls such fun:

http://justhungry.com/postcards-kyoto-misuyabari-and-hakotou-lovers-sewing-and-handcrafts

I’m going to continue to celebrate the day by stitching and enjoying the beautiful (60 degree) February day.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative! ttfn…sue