Sky and Cloud

Oh what a week end, hot,  rain and stitching. Wish I could say the only cloud in the sky was on this piece of needlepoint, but it wasn’t. Really been a strange summer, not too hot (good thing) but way too much of the wet stuff (not good for the crops and fresh produce we all love to eat.)  But,  I managed to stitch away the week-end…(although I probably should have spent some time on this computer…I have so many half started projects that it would probably take me the rest of the year to just put a dent in these projects. Anna Stradal (blog: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) of ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) calls it “Creative avoidance”, but that is another post for another day.)

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Clouds: Smyrna Cross

I decided to do the cloud in a traditional Smyrna Cross using #12 White perle Cotton. I wanted the clouds to have a little puff but not enough that the butterfly would sink into the cloud.

The sky is easy. I had seen this stitch somewhere and though it would make a great sky or background (sorry I do not remember where)  I also knew I could use it without much

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Sky 

compensation (although I think I forgot and did compensate in a few places (BUT if you are close enough to see these, you are too close to the needlework…please back away.) I have to finish the sky and especially around the butterfly. So I think I’ll stitch behind the kids first and then I won’t be tempted to stop and play with couching on the butterfly.

2015-07-23 MS JapButterfly  sky

Hopefully by the end of the week I can have this piece ready to be blocked. And next week is when I hide out at my niece’s house…my big job is to let the dogs out three times a day and watch the wildlife in her back yard.  I spend the rest of my time watching old movies and stitching…no work just relax and watch the wildlife and dogs.

And I have several other pieces in the works I want to get to stitch this summer too, so I am taking one of these with me.

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

ttfn…sue

More of the Butterfly

Had to take a small break to finish some instructions for a teacher but now I am back to stitching  along.  I decided a few things about the butterfly:

2015-07-17 MS Butterfly unstitchedI am doing the same stitch throughout. Nobuko and I would compensate as needed. The aqua and red dots will be Rhodes stitches to fit area. Butterfly body is going to be Gobelins, his topknot will be couched gold, and the antennas will be left for couching too (Rhodes stitches for the ends of antennas too).

Color choices are dark values for back wing and light values for front wing. These are also the colors used in the kids clothes.

I also decided to take a close up picture and I would later go back and couch the gold and red outlines. Then I realized I will have to stitch the cloud and sky before I couch the butterfly.

Since this is going to be a HOT week-end (I think summer has finally arrived in the Midwest USA…but gratefully it has stopped raining); it will be a great week-end to stitch.

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

ttfn…sue

Why do you stitch canvases?

When you buy a canvas do you think what the finished product will be? You should but few of us do. We are impulse buyers and this is good for shop owners but not always wise for us. There is just so much wall space that pictures can occupy. And even though I love my dog to bits, I do not like her using my needlework pillows as her lounging chair. And when are stand-ups & ornaments too many, not to mention where you store them all? So next time you go to buy that canvas, please think about the finished product; what will it be, where will it go, where will you store it if you need to do this and who will get it (if it is a gift)? All good questions and if you can’t answer them, then you might think about another canvas…because we all know that we have to purchase a canvas to maintain our mental stability. And visiting a shrink is more expensive and it will take you too long to get an appointment, so find a canvas you can see finished (someday), you can live with and then by all means… purchase it.

Do you ever buy previously owned canvas? Sometimes these canvases come with threads and stitch guides too. They can be from Susie Stitcher who is no longer as excited to stitch the canvas as she was when she purchased it; it can be from a guide member who is downsizing; or an estate sale of a former member. While I have purchased a canvas or two (less than 6) from an online auction company; I like to buy directly from the original owner, I like the connection to the stitcher.  I prefer to purchase something from a guide member at an estate sale for a couple reasons: 1. It gives that person a portion of her investment back or 2. It reminds me of that guild member who is no longer with us.

I have several of these and each time I stitch one I remember this lovely stitcher and how much I enjoy(ed) her company. This is one of those canvases, and when I got it out to stitch it I wondered how she had meant to finish it. I’m guessing a picture, but I do not know for sure. I asked on Facebook: Needlepoint Nation Group how I should finish this piece (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeedlepointNation/search/?query=sue%20dulle) and received many responses: bolster pillow, box, black lacquer box, top for a new stitching bag; basket band, top of a chair back, door draft stopper, hat band, eyeglass case, table runner, top of a mirror, tray insert, coat rack inset and a stand up. At first I thought I would learn to make a box, then I thought top of a tote bag or a bolster pillow, but after stitching on it I’m not sure.

The canvas is an older canvas from Melissa Shirley Designs. I think it has been retired; but when I contacted Melissa Shirley Designs (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/)for permission to use photos, she had some great advice for those of us looking for an older canvas. She suggested you contact your local shop and have them check with the designer; they sometimes have a back stock or will be willing to paint a special order. There were at least two others if memory serves me well; one was with a fish and the other I do not 2015-07-06 Barbara pictremember. Thank you Barbara Cohen for sharing one of the other pieces that are in this series. The piece is lovely and I do like the framing too. .  Does anyone remember the other design canvases in this series? Maybe I should check and see if the others in this series are still available… Oh my gosh, I am enabling myself!

This canvas I purchased from a guild members estate was kitted with silks and so I decided to use these…there were some stitch suggestions from the shop that chose the threads but I decided to wing it on my own. First I took a picture of the unstitched canvas. I always try to do this as a reference to the canvas; I print this as a reference only. AND I do not keep them 2015-07-06 MS JB unstitchedafter I am finished stitching and shred these pictures as they are not my designs.

I try to remember to ask permission of the designer to use pictures of the design in my blog too. I’m not always good at this; I guess I think all of you who needlepoint and read my blog are honest. I did contact Melissa Shirley Designs and obtained permission for two of her canvases. And then feeling guilty, I contacted some other designers I plan on stitching and received their permission too.

I Basketweaved all the children’s skin and most of their outfits; the exceptions were the small decorative stitches and they were either Reverse Basketweave, Cross over 2 threads one direction, Cross stitch over 1…whatever fit the area. Their backpacks or ribbons were mostly Diagonal Goblins to fit. I decided to have some fun with the hair and so three of the children have padded, hair, I think they call this Shimada hairstyle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimada_(hairstyle)]. The second child from the left just had wild hair… Random Straight stitches; while the second child from the right had a more controlled hairdo using Straight stitches in a more controlled method.

2015-07-06 MS-JB shoesThe shoes of the children were a combination of Cross stitches to fit; the heels and straps were Elongated Cross stitches to fit.2015-07-06 MS JB feet & grass

I spent 2015-07-06 bookan evening perusing for a grass stitch I liked. I chose #Grass 27 from Stitch Landscape from Little Shoppe Canvas Company (http://littleshoppecanvascompany.com/books); your local shop should be able to get this helpful little book for you.

Next I am going to stitch the butterfly…and then the background.

I still am undecided about how to finish this but maybe it will come to me as I stitch.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! Enjoy the rest of your summer…

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

ttfn…sue

My Doodle Canvas Notebook is born…

2015-06-23 ToitI have been contemplating starting a “Doodle Canvas” for years but have just never got around to it. Well, I have found “a round to it and wooden nickle” all in one …so I now have a Doodle Canvas too.

I have always thought you should have a “Doodle Canvas” but just never listened to myself. I have taken classes where teacher/designers have either suggested this; asked you to bring a Doodle canvas on stretcher bars; or supplied you with canvas (you bring the bars.) Susan Portra uses French Knots and suggests you practice making about 10-20 French Knots on a “Doodle Canvas” before doing on the stitching.

Then when I discovered “blog-dom” and became addicted to following blogs,  I began to see Doodle Canvases with purpose and still I did not heed. PinTangle (http://www.pintangle.com/ ) has documented hers. Here is how it all began: http://pintangle.com/2008/12/31/for-the-love-of-stitching-band-sampler-back-story/

Blogs had been speaking to me for years about “doodle canvas” but I just wasn’t listening…

Be Stitched several years ago (http://bestitchedneedlepoint.com/news-and-updates/what-the-doodle-is-a-doodle-canvas/ ) and

And Threads Across the Web: http://threadsacrosstheweb.blogspot.com/2011/11/doodle-page-exotic-swirls.html. She calls hers a “Doodle page”

Needle Bug (http://www.theneedlebug.com/) ) calls theirs a “sample canvas.”

And even Mary Corbet on Needle n Thread blog tried to tell me to start a doodle canvas.  (http://www.needlenthread.com/2014/10/5-reasons-to-make-keep-a-doodle-cloth.html)

Thought these were very cool but still it did not motivate me to start my journey. BUT I wasn’t able to get these out of my mind and I would think about this when I was stitching. So for the last several years I have had good intentions and we all know what road that paves; but still I did not heed that little voice in my head until earlier this year.

I had cleaned out some UFOs and knew I would never finish stitching but it seemed a shame to dispose of the canvas, so I put the canvass aside until I decided how to use them. And then while cleaning out a sewing drawer too, I found two things I had purchased in quantity.  Grommets and bias tape…I must have had something in mind or just thought I needed them because I bought 2015-06-23 Toolseveral packages of both and have never opened any of them. At that same time my daughter-in-law showed me this neat little gadget she had bought for something she was making and I realized I could use my grommets with this cool little gadget.

Canvas, bias tape, and grommets…hummm… the “doodle canvases” were born. I made two and put one on stretcher bars. Now I had no excuses. Still that canvas sat around for a couple months until one day I needed to practice something and I did it on the bottom of the canvas I was working on only to wish I had done it somewhere else. Not because I didn’t like it or that it ruined the canvas I was stitching, but rather because when I finally finish this piece you will not see my experiment that I like. If I had done this on my “doodle canvases” I would have it for future reference…as it is now I will have this scape of canvas to keep track of.  So then when I needed to practice some decorative flower stitches and ribbon stitches for this same project I remembered the “doodle canvases” and thus was my start.

2015-06-23 Notebook 1 2015-06-23 Notebook 2 2015-06-23 Notebook 3

Remember early this year when I was taking about notebooks? Well I have been pretty faithful about documenting all my stitching in this notebook. When I finish stitching a piece, I put the notes in the computer and fold the pages up with the name of the project written on outside of folded pages. So I started documenting the “doodle canvas” too. This week I finished using the first “doodle canvas” and documented it in the computer. I haven’t decided if this is the final format for this but I wanted to get it computed and move on.

2015-06-23 Doodle Canvas 1So now I have “Doodle canvas #1″ and its documentation; another notebook in the making.  Here is my canvas and how I documented it. I had thought I would use something I found at the quilt show to make a cloth print of the documentation to use as the backing of the piece but as you can see I have lots of documentation and it would be larger than the canvas…so 2015-06-23 DoPg01b2015-06-23 DoPg01aI am formatting and incubating ideas again. I am thinking that I have several other projects that I want to make into book formats and this will be the canvas I use to experiment with the covers. Someday I will be blogging about these too but right now the book finishing is still in the incubation stages, doing research and formatting ideas in my head and on paper too.

I don’t think everyone has to go to the extreme I have but I hope you will all consider the merits of a “doodle canvas.” You can experiment with threads: new threads, combination of threads, number of plies needed to cover the canvas or to get the desired effect. You can play with stitches: change the direction of the stitch, play with threads to give the stitch a different look, or just practice those French Knots  or as I have found Bullion Knots too. And best of all reasons: On a doodle canvas there is no “frog stitching”,  there are no mistakes only less usable ideas. And for those of you who are really creative you could create a design and make Christmas ornaments or scissor fobs, any small project for all your stitching friends. If you keep them, think of the reference canvas you will be making…. I like the roll that Sharon B on Pintangle makes (http://pintangle.com/2008/12/31/for-the-love-of-stitching-band-sampler-back-story/)  but that is not for me…a book will serve me better…find what works for you.

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

ttfn…sue

Today’s Road Trip: The Quilt Show

2015-06-20 Quilt Show entranceToday I went to the 1st Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival (http://kcrqf.com/)and about walked myself to death (next time I am buying a week-end pass and doing the expo in stages). I love quilts and have a great appreciation for the work that goes into these works of art.

I have made a quilt or two in my younger life but none as 2015-06-20 Quilt one block alovely as the ones I say today. I made each of my sons a simple nine patch. The material for these patches were old shirt samples my mother had saved from her days working in a retail men’s store; each sample was about 4inches by 5 inches so I just used them as 2015-06-20 Quilt one block bthey were to make the blocks. I used a flat twin sheet to join them together into a quilt top and then I backed with another twin sheet. I hand quilted one and after infecting a finger had the other two machine quilted.  Later I tried my hand at a quilt as you go log cabin pattern using the denim from my sons’ jeans. This was a better effort even if it took me forever to complete them; and not to mention that each quilt weighed a 2015-06-20 Quilt hankiehefty amount. I had a console sewing machine at the time and would have one of the boys sit under my machine and hold the table part up so the machine would not tip over while I was sewing the strips together. I think parts of these six quilts live still today…the shirt quilts surprise me but the jeans quilts were like iron.

2015-06-20 Quilt hankie blockBut the quilts I saw today were magnificent, works of art. You really wanted to have an artist statement with all of them. You know each of those quilts has a story to tell. All the quilts in the expo were either entered in the judging or were quilt guild displaying their members work. Then on the first floor of the 2015-06-20 Quilt hand quiltedexpo were the challenge pieces, the theme was the Beatles. These were small wall hanging quilts. And then the Texas quilters sent some of their quilts for a special exhibit…the face was really an eye catcher.

I wanted to see Janet Stones new alphabet quilts, both won a first prize ribbons. I wrote about Janet a few 2015-06-20 Quilt A Little Bit of Baltimoreyears ago when I went to another quilt show (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/the-art-of-machine-quilted-quilts/). Her first quilt A Letter Bit of Baaltimore, yes with two “a”s… a tribute to her love of sheep. I had no trouble finding the first sheep but the second one took me a minute. Truthfully I was not looking for the obvious and first checked the letters S and  B (also took a picture of the D, well sd are my initials) thinking she hid the sheep here. I was so convinced Janet had hidden the second sheep I didn’t even think to look for the obvious…but obvious he was. This quilt also won a NQA Award of Merit ribbon ( I think it is the same as an ANG Judge’s Choice ribbon)

2015-06-20 Quilt No LHer second quilt is No L and this one I got right away. I liked the traditional blocks combined with the modern border…Janet’s quilts are stunning and all have the alphabet.

It is very tempting to get caught up in the moment and think about taking on a new endeavor…especially when you hear one lady telling another “Oh, I just decided to try something new last year…I made this quilt in a couple weeks.”  But I restrained myself, I remembered my crochet fiasco from a few posts back (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/no-vacation-only-pitfalls/). So no I did not succumb to the temptation to buy patterns, books and other quilting supplies…. I did take the two needlepoint pieces I am stitching to see if I could find material or embellishments I might want to use, but did by the time I got to the shopping part of the expo I was 2015-06-20 needlesgetting tired and so not a lot appealed to me. BUT, not to leave empty handed, I did find these needles from Japen. They are called Hiroshima needles and are made in Hiroshima Japan by Tulip. More about these later after I have time to read about them and try them out.

Here are more quilts…I took over 100 pictures but these are some of my favorites.

2015-06-20 Quilt God Calls Us to Peace 2015-06-20 Quilt hand quilted2015-06-20 quilt texas2015-06-20 quilt Beatles 2 2015-06-20 quilt Beatles

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so tired I am going to my stitching nest and I hope that I get some stitching accomplished but if not the nap I take will be well deserved.

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

ttfn…sue

No stitching today,,,just making new friends

I am stitching, just have nothing to share yet…but I will.

2015-06-16 KC Needlepoint outsideToday I went visiting. We have a new needlepoint shop in town. I remember when we had five or six shops, maybe more, but sadly were down to two shops, but now we have three. This new shop KC Needlepoint; 105 East Gregory; Kansas City, Mo.; 2015-06-16 KCN Carol & Pollyhttp://www.kcneedlepoint.com  is owned by two young excited young women…Polly and Carol. They are starting out small with the basics and will slowly add to their inventory. In this day and age I think this is a 2015-06-16 KCN threadssmart idea…it would be nice to think that someone could open a shop with every thread and lots of canvases from many different designers, but the reality of today’s market is that is not economically 2015-06-16 KCN place to stitchfeasible nor would it be a smart business move.  Their shop is bright and refreshing with great areas for stitching and lots of areas to expand.

2015-06-16 KCN canvases & stitchingWherever we live, we need to support these young people in their ventures. They are the future of our art. If we are to survive as a needlework art, we need to support these new fledgling shops and help them to survive. Because without them we all lose! We not only lose that place to go and meet others who like us have a love of handmade needlework. We lose the place to learn new stitches, new techniques, new ideas and exchange ideas. We lose a place to SEE and buy our canvases and threads. But most of all we lose the place to connect one generation of stitchers to the next, we lose those young people we so desperately need to keep this art alive.

Remember the old Girl Scout song…”Make new friends and keep the old…one is silver and the other gold.”  We all need each other, we need to learn and teach each other. So I urge you to support your local shop or shops no matter how long it has been in business. And especially support that new shop, she (they) may be the new designer or teacher of the future.

So after you visit that shop, I hope you find time to stitch today!  And Thank you for stopping by…

ttfn…sue

No vacation only pitfalls

I have not been on vacation, but maybe I should have taken a break. This month has been full of pitfalls…mostly self imposed pitfals but pitfalls none the less.

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Mr. Bunny

On a bright note, I have finished stitching Mr. Bunny. He will not make a the Easter Parade this year but next year will be decked out in his finest for the day.

Stitching the background for this is brought up a thought to me. When you are choosing that painted canvas do you know exactly what you want to do with the completed canvas or do you just buy it because you like it. I have been giving a LOT of thought to this since stitching Mr. Bunny.

As I was stitching I decided I want the bunny to be a stand-up, but what kind of stand up: A form shape, a dome shape? At first I thing I would like a form shape but then I was afraid he was so tall his head might look like it was falling off the back of his shoulders So I decided to do a form shape. But after I drew a dome shape around Mr. Bunny and stitched the back ground, I thought the same thing would happen unless I decided to finish the piece as a boxed form. So a box form he will be.

The other thing I noticed is no matter how I finish this canvas there is not much canvas left (especially at the top for blocking.) I only stitched out one inch from Mr. Bunny’s ears and hips, I would have liked to do more but I needed to leave something for blocking. I know this is a cost issue for designers and painters and also for us as stitchers. Designers would have to charge more for extra canvas and we would have to buy larger stretcher bars but in some cases I wouldn’t mind the extra cost. I will block this piece myself and I am even going to try box finishing (never done before…any hints or suggestions will be appreciated.) But I think other finishers might have liked to have another inch or so to block.

And this brings me back to my original question: When you are choosing that painted canvas do you know exactly what you want to do with the completed canvas or do you just buy it because you like it? I think that this is one of the reasons we have canvases we never stitch…It was so-ooooo cute in the shop; we just had to have it. So we buy it take it home and later we are looking for something to stich and we don’t chose the canvas that we are unsure how to finish. So I challenge all of you consciously think about that next canvas; how do you see it finished? If you cannot answer that question look for one you can see as an ornament, a picture, a pillow, a stand up, or a purse. Because not only does the canvas you choose depend on how it will be finished, the threads, stitches and embellishments you choose also depend on how you finish the canvas.

And with that said I should have taken my own advice and never picked up the next project! I found an UFO in my closet that on hindsight was there for a reason but I had a two week moment of bad judgement. I let myself talk myself into finishing a doomed project. Let me preface this with the fact that I envy anyone who can knit…I want one of those beautiful sweaters I see my friends knitting. A friend told me to go take knitting classes and I almost tried this ill-fated project, but instead I found this unfinished crocheted jersey in my stuff. So I figured Iwould finish it and then think about knitting classes. I have spent two weeks stitching sleeves and putting this jersey together…Oh what an ugly thing it is! 2015-05-21 chief jerseyWay too big and falls off my shoulders….not to mention the weight (and its all cotton)…and then there is the cost…I venture to say I could have almost purchased a NFL team member’s actual jersey! Well, not quite, but I could have purchased a NFL jersey they sell at the local sports shop…and a nice one too.

And the other setback I had this week was I upgraded my graphics program and now I can’t open the old one. The new one is enough different that I am going to have to spend a few days looking it over before I need to do work for teachers and designers. It’s getting to be that time of year when teachers are getting their new classes together to pilot to some of you lucky stitchers.

But ever the optimist, I am playing with the new program and I am checking on Pintrest for remade clothes. AND I have learned a few valuable lessons:

  1. I am not taking knitting classes, I will just continue to envy all those of you who can multi task.
  2. I will only crochet afghans for myself, family and new babies
  3. I am a graphic designer; I can make nice diagrams for myself, teachers and designers. I have so many ideas that I will never get them all tried.
  4. I can sew; I can make some simple clothes for myself. And I can finish some needlepoint.
  5. But Most of all I am a Needlepointer! I do it fairly well and I am sticking with it! But I am going to look at each canvas I get with a critical eye and decide how I see it finally finished.

2015-05--21 red cherryAnd things are looking up…We planted two Bing cherry trees last year and this year one tree had ONE cherry, it ripened, I ate it and it was candy sweet, oh so yummy. And the other tree has a bumper crop but not quite ready for harvesting. I sure hope next year we have more cherries on both trees or I may have to replace the one that is producing stingily.

2015-05-21 more cherriesBut for now this needlepointer is off to stitch. I have picked a new project and threads; I know how it will be finished. I am going to pick stitches and just have fun!

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

ttfn…sue