I’ve Done it Again…

The reason you haven’t heard from me is I’ve done it again…I’m expanding my needlearts learning.  Last week I took a knitting class, kumihimo with beads class, a beading class, made another temari ball, wrapped 3-4 more to stitch in the next couple weeks, and yes I needlepointed too. I know I should concentrate on one project at a time but I love them all and can’t pick just one…so I’m just going to have to figure a way to sleep less, cook less (love these too), general household duties (don’t like these so much)  or maybe I could just clone myself.

And I am sorry but I think my blog suffers the most. I really am going to have to get in a habit of stopping here. Last week in a magazine I finally had time to read there was an article on how to have a successful blog and I guess I’m never going to have a successful blog by their standards. I am supposed to find a niche and stick to it…and we all know that isn’t going to happen. I have too many things I want to learn and do. Then I looked at the name I gave my blog nine years ago “sudukc’s needleart & other musings… A place to see what I am doing or not doing”; I must have known then that this is an eclectic place. It is mostly about needlepoint because that is my primary love but it is also about any kind of needle art because they are all fascinating to me. So, thank you for finding my musings interesting even if they are all over the place and sporadic at best.

I used to think I knew my limitations, and I do know that I love quilts but I am never going to make my 13 quilts…For those of you who don’t know; history or folk lore says that before a girl got married she had to make 12 quilts, the 13th quilt was made and quilted by friends and family when she was about to get married. And anyway, I’m already married, too late. But I know too that I am not a large quilt maker; I tried it, and even though I love them and they are beautiful but it is not me. I like smaller projects and there are plenty of them for me to try.

Last week I was beading at Florilegium with Gretchen and I said I wish I were as creative as she is. Gretchen tried to convince me I am and just need “to do”… After I got home I really thought about this and I think I am creative…just maybe spread too thin. No matter what project I pick up I can think of 4 or 5 other things I want to do in the technique I am working at the time. I have decided to write them in my Stash Idea book, or if they are in another book or magazine to mark and keep for after I catch up. It’s like stash…only I’m not buy the canvas and thread (well I still am buying needlepoint canvas and threads but that’s a paragraph or two down.) I’m going to think of this as stash ideas and when I want a project I will just look at my Stash Idea book, purchase the supplies and go for it. I probably could check around the stash already purchased for some supplies, but we all know I’m going to be short something.

So here’s what I’ve been up to these last few weeks…

These are the beading projects I have in the works…several fobs, a herringbone learning piece, several other projects to start…I also have marked my books with more stash ideas…I do believe my bead stash is growing.

 

Now I am combining my kumihimo with beading and starting that too.

 

 

And I am bound and determined to learn to knit…no Peruvian sweaters in my future but I do want to learn how to knit. I can crochet and have tried knitting several times before but I never seem to get the hang of it. I am bound and determined to learn this; it will not get the best of me. And I know practice is the best teacher so I try to do 5 minutes every day. I don’t go back to classes for another week, but I hope then we start a project and I have a goal in site.

Like I said last post, I belong to two Temari discussion groups online and they are having stitch-a-longs. And since I have been a lurker for these past few years I have decided to try and participate. I’ve done two so far and have two more in the works. I also try to keep an info sheet on every Temari I make (another to do), never know I might want to make another. I think it is difficult to write exact instructions for Temari because each ball is a unique size. I can only approximate the size of the balls I make and I like them about 30 cm, give or take and larger. I find for me the larger balls are easier to work on.

And I have been needlepointing too. I have a secret project in the works…I’ll show it to you soon. It is a gift and I want it to be a surprise. I am finished stitching and just have to get it finished and given then I’ll share. I am also working on a small take-a-long project but just haven’t taken pictures. This project I only stitch on when I go to a guild stitch-in, stitching with friends or to my weekly stitch-in at local shop.  I also am gathering stuff for another nest project. Nest projects seldom leave home; they are larger projects and require a stand and light.

You know I was just thinking, if I ever win the lottery (guess I should buy a ticket) I’m going to have a studio and call it Stash Studio or Creative Corner. I am going to have all kinds of my favorite stuff. I’d really like to live above the studio and whenever I want (day or night) just go down and play. When the lights were on, my friends or anyone could drop by to stitch too. I would never want for any stash, it would just always be there…okay so this is a dream but wouldn’t that be great.

I hope you all are staying cool this summer. To my Canadian friends, “Happy Canada Day” yesterday and to my USA friends have a safe and happy 4th of July. I’m off to redo my herringbone sampler, then I think I may tackle another beading project or two and then I’ll stitch and watch a movie this evening. And oh yes, NeedlePointers arrived today ; so I need to stop and look at this too.

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

ttfn…sue

 

This week I played with Temari Balls.

I belong to a couple groups online and one is doing a beginning study. While I have been doing Temari Balls for a long time, I do not consider myself anything but a beginner. I think in order to advance you should work at the art regularly and I am sporadic at best.

I can do most of the simple divisions and some of the complex divisions. I am not at all familiar with the terminology, especially the Japanese terms that true Temari artists use. I call a ball stitched with spindles and “spindle Temari”; while a true Temari artist calls this “Tsumu kagari.”

But I like to keep my beginning skills up and so every now and then I join in rather than just lurk all the time. If you would like to explore the two sites I frequent most, here they are: they just recently changed web hosts and I think you have to ask permission to join but that should not be a problem.

Temari Challenge for Everyone: https://temarichallenge.groups.io/g/Main

Temari Talk Companion group to Temari Kai (see below)  https://talktemari.groups.io/g/main

 

And here are the Temari sites I explore most:

Barbara Suess: http://www.japanesetemari.com/index.html

Temari Kai: http://www.temarikai.com/

Temari Obsession: http://www.npcdesign.com/index.html

This study (Beginning Basics) appealed to me because it was the perfect opportunity to explore some concepts that I had been tossing around in my head while also honing my beginning skills and practicing stitching  a spindle.

In my Temari Ball mind I have wanted to play with DMC #3 and #5 perle cotton to see the differences in making a ball. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore this concept.  I learned that two rounds of stitching with #5 perle is about equivalent to 1 round with #3 perle. It is kind of an eyeball adjustment and a judgement call but at least I have an idea now.

 

In the past some of my spindles seem to pop out of place and now I know why. I was not allowing enough space between the stitches. I have decided that a good rule of thumb for stitching spindles is that there should be at least the diameter of the thread between stitches. And if you lay the thread where it should be placed you can see where to take the next stitch. Following these personal observations, my Temari spindles turned out very well.

 

Another thing I gleaned from this study is that if you are using more than two threads of the same color from one source, make sure they are the same or at least compatible. I used #3 and #5 perle in three colors: the white and dark blue were the same but the light blue was two different colors (even though they were the same number). When placed next to each other under a bright light, one had a blue-green cast while the other was a true blue tint.

 

I also experimented with stitches at the pole points. This one I used a Smooth Spider Web stitch.

I also tried using a double silver thread and twisting it in the needle before stitching. Both of these experiments worked fairly well.

This was a fun experiment and I considered it a great learning experience, so  I am going to try and continue following along and practicing…never know I might consider myself an intermediate Temari Ball stitcher when I get.

I am going to get back to needlepoint and I have been stitching. I’ve been stitching on a secret project but I did take pictures and so when it is completed and given as a gift I will post all about it. And as a matter of fact going to do another one as an experiment. More later.

Would also like to get back to finishing needlepoint as it is mounting up. And I haven’t told you everything I did last summer and this summer is already about half over. I made a list of things to write about and I don’t think I’ve covered more than a couple….see how I get distracted. Okay off to finish another non needlepoint project….but next week I will share needlepoint.

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

ttfn…sue

A new book: Raised Embroidery by Kelley Aldridge

So last week I spent sorting books and the same week received a new book.

I love books. They are like friends to me; some are close friends and I wouldn’t part with them and some are acquaintances. And like friends they have different interests; some friends like goldwork, some like stumpwork, some ribbonwork, others like beading and color or design. But even with their differences, they all have creativity in common.

And my newest friend is from the Royal School of Needlework (http://www.royal-needlework.org.uk/) libraries, Raised Embroidery by Kelley Aldridge.  Kelley’s first statement in this new book is: “There are already a number if excellent books available on this subject, written by some very talented embroidery artists, but this book is about exploring new possibilities.”  I like that!

While the material in this book is basic, the inspiration just jumps off the pages. The photographs are clear and concise and the information is presented in a clear and orderly fashion.  I learned how to wrap an embroidery hoop which I have never seen in any other book and I love the little blue boxes with hints…hints always make a task so much easier. And I have always referred to this technique as stumpwork but Raised Embroidery is more accurate as it incorporates more techniques to give a three dimensional look to your needlework.

But my favorite thing about the book is the new needle artists she introduces with pictures of their work, and in one area she mentioned a ceramic artist that inspired her.  I spent some time google-ing these artists and was introduced to more artists that will inspire me to continue my study of Raised Embroidery.

 

I have toyed with Raised Embroidery over the years; my first attempt was my stitching doll. She has all sorts of techniques on her: her hair is couched doll hair that I added after I put her together. Her apron is needlelace and her hands are stumpwork and I added sewing embellishments for her to hold.

 

 

 

Many years later I did leaves for the cherries on my heart (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/a-heart-for-all/), the feathers on my shuttlecock on my Nelson Art Gallery piece (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/nelson-atkins-museum-of-art-needlepoint/) and most recently several different areas on the Wicked piece (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/melissa-shirley-wicked-fun-stuff/) were raised work.

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So with my new book and new ideas fermenting in my brain (Thanks Kelley for the idea of small projects in a large glass bowl) I will pursue one of the techniques on my thimble (instead of bucket) list.

And if you would also like to add a book to your library for inspiration I recommend Kelley Aldridge’s Raised Embroidery. It has techniques and projects but the pure inspiration is the best! The title says so and it’s true. And be sure and Google the people mentioned in the book too; they have more inspiration to share.

 

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

ttfn…sue

Books, not worth the effort

Don’t you hate to waste time? I do. I spent the morning sorting books, taking pictures, cataloging them, and researching them; only to find that 1/3 of them are worth my time to list online and that is no guarantee they will sell. I’m thinking about just putting them in a neighborhood garage sale this weekend and then what’s left taking to Half Priced Books for credit…I can always spend money here.

Since I have the list assembled, if you are interested in seeing just drop me an email (sudu@kc.rr.com) and I’ll shoot a PDF list back to you. I am not going to put a lot of effort into this but if there is something you can’t live without, let me know. BTW, this is first come, first serve and after Thursday they are garage sale bound.

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

 

Catagories: Books, etc,  life in general, needlepoint

Tags: books, needlepoint,

Melissa Shirley Wicked: final thought

See what happens when I get busy or distracted. I had been writing this post for the week of May 15-20 and I got distracted or sidetracked and now here it is almost Memorial week-end and I am just coming up for air. So here is the final thoughts on Wicked…

After the stitching is completed then the piece has to be finished. I know I have been showing how to finish needlepoint but last year I was not up to the task of finishing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…Seriously, I can do ornaments and some other little stuff but really haven’t had the time to try the biggies. One day I am going to try a pillow and a purse but for now I’m going to send big pieces to the finisher. I can’t even find time to sew a button on, let alone make a blouse or finish big needlepoint or for that matter any needlepoint.

 

I knew where I wanted to hang “Wicked” and how I wanted it finished. I drew a picture for the finisher and once the material was purchased I sent it to her to do her magic.  I was very pleased with the way it was finished and I love to see it hanging at Halloween.

To some people finishing a piece of needlepoint is easy; they take it to a trusted shop and have it finished. Not me, I agonize over finishing. As I am stitching I can see the finished piece, I get these pre-conceived images in my head and then I feel like I need to look for the material to finish the project. Nice for me I know the finisher and I can as her if my idea will work. If she says yes, then I’m off to look for material.

 

Now, let me give you the advice I seldom ever follow but every finisher I know will tell you is the truth.

You should buy the fabric for finishing before you ever start stitching.

I know, seems illogical to me too, but remember we are limited by out thread choices and the fabrics we choose to  finish our pieces are limited by their color choices. Now I will admit if you go to Hamilton Mo or any large quilt shop, you should be able to find a fabric. But what if you want a velvet or moiré for that Christmas stocking you are spending hours stitching? There is a world of difference between DMC 666 red and DMC 321 or 498 red. And fabrics only come in certain colors. And yes, you could use green for the backing and lining, but there are different greens too. So, if you want as perfect a match as you can get; sometimes it is important to buy that fabric first.

And while we are talking “you buy the fabric”; remember that if you want self-cording you need extra fabric. Self-cording is cut on the bias of the fabric and will require more fabric. Just as local needlepoint shop or finisher how much fabric you will need to finish your piece.

 

And some shops stock fabrics for finishing, so ask before you head all over the countryside looking for that perfect fabric. Some finishers have fabrics stockpiled and if you ask the shop you use, they probably can tell you which red would be best on that stocking or they can ask the finisher for you.

 

I’m lucky we have several very nice fabric shops in the area. Sarah’s in Lawrence (http://www.sarahsfabrics.com/), and several quilt shops in the area, plus Hamilton, Mo (https://www.missouriquiltco.com/). I’ve been to Hamilton twice now and while it is both eye candy for the imagination it can be overwhelming also. Hamilton is quilt town in northern Missouri, aka Missouri Quilt Co; Google it or read my post from last year…

 

A word about finishers… Have you ever wondered why so many shops guard their finisher’s name so closely? The real reason is that they are not trying to keep her a national secret, they are trying to protect her from the thousand calls she would get during busy times of the year asking, “Is my ornament finished yet?” And that is why finishing deadlines are so early. I think a finisher told me one time she finish over 1000 ornaments for Christmas and that didn’t count the stockings. Keep in mind blocking boards can only hold so much and sometimes pieces need to be blocked more than once and sometimes needlepoint even needs to be cleaned before blocking may begin. (This is another blog…but stitching in the hand vs stitching on a frame does have its drawbacks as well as its advantages…I will put this on my list of things to write about.)

 

Back to “Wicked”… I found the fabric and Batik at Hamilton and bought it. Brought it home and took it to the shop for my finisher to pick up (No, just because I know her doesn’t mean I don’t have to take it to the shop. My finisher will not accept pieces except through the shops she does finishing.) I took the piece about mid-May and I got it back about mid-August.

 

What took so long? Mine was not the only finishing in line. Mine had to be blocked, just like the rest and maybe twice I didn’t ask; and it’s a pretty big piece so it took up some real-estate on the blocking board. Mine also only had the green material supplied, so my finisher had to get the black for the inset, thread and even the interfacing. I could have purchased the black but I didn’t think about it at the time and she suggested this after she saw the piece…that’s another reason you use a finisher…She’s seen enough pieces to know what looks best even when you limit her by you pre-conceived finishing. And I had no idea what interfacing she would recommend. So see, Finishers do more than finish; they make your needlepoint look just like you want, and they know from experience what works best.

When “Wicked” returned home, it was just what I envisioned and more. I hung it and hated to see Halloween come to an end. I sometimes think I stitch long hours for a piece that only is displayed for a short time but I like it and it brings a smile to my face. And I hope it will be around for many years to come, maybe even one of my Grandchildren will want it when I am gone. Sometimes I get it out in it’s protective bag, and hand it on the door of my office just to look at it…it makes me smile.

Oh and before I forget; what do I do with the stitch guide after I complete stitching the canvas? I destroy it; it is a copyrighted piece of work.  And in my opinion, stitch guides should not be bought or sold without the purchase of the canvas! I have done two or three stitch guides for canvases and I will not sell them to individuals only to shops where I assume the canvas is purchased.

I know a stitcher who saves her stitch guides as a reference and that’s fine but I don’t want all the extra paper. I might make a note in my computer or my stitch notebooks I keep about a technique, stitch pattern or stitch but my stitch guide goes to the trash. I do not share it with my stitch friend who bought the canvas only because she liked mine. I destroy it. Enough said…my soap box stand for the week.

On another note…my family is having a garage sale…no needlepoint but I do have needlepoint books I have accumulated over the years. I will list them here next week with cost and then I will put them on Needlepoint Nation Stash after that.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today and over the holiday week-end. AND please don’t forget to honor those you know who are serving or have served in our military. Without these brave men and women we would not enjoy the freedoms we take for granted.

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Embellishing

Over the week-end went to a bead show, bought some beads for projects (like I need more projects), but like I say want has nothing to do with need., so I indulged myself. Funny thing is when I got home I remembered I had purchased a bead project last year. But do you think I have found where I put that project? A blog all of its own! I’ve looked a few places but still haven’t found it, but it will turn up…maybe much later. Anyway had a good time at the Bead-Blast.; look forward to next year.

Also went to out 1st art fair of the year. Brookside annual art Fair was this week-end (http://www.brooksidekc.org/art-annual) 32 years and I bet I have been to most. It is just a fun way to spend the afternoon or evening. There is always something to see and I usually come home with something too. This year I did not get anything but the art was very inspiring and my two favorites were Gwen Bennett’s Feather Art (http://gwenfeathers.com/)…these were beautiful. And after I got home and read about her art was even more impressed. And my other favorite was Julie Powell Beading (https://www.juliepowelldesigns.com/)…I will never be this good. Two reasons: My first love is needlepoint and I just don’t have the time or patience.

But it was a beutiful week-end (no rain) and we had fun.

I left most of the attachments, bullion knots and all the beading to the very end, I didn’t want to take the chance I would catch other threads on them and either snag the thread or worse still pull the embellishment or bead out of whack.

I have several Bullion knot needles I got from needlework shop. Colonial Needle distributes them and I blogged about them a couple times (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/ ) or (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/category/needlework-tools/needles-needlework-tools/bullion-needle/). These needles are a size 20 and so they make a pretty good sized Bullion Knot.

I started with the Letter “K”. I decided the Bullion Needles were too large for the curly-q on top of the pumpkin and the bird’s feet, I used a #24 Tapestry needle. I stitched the curly-q before I stitched the birds feet; it is a very long bullion and I gave it a twist or loop.  After curly-q I added the bird’s feet, more Bullion Knots that I stitched over and around the green curly-q, still using the #24 needle. I left the curly-q above the bird’s wing and the wing to apply later.

I stitched the red veins for the eyeball in Bullion knots using the long Bullion needles I stitched these into a center whole that I had enlarged with and awl (or larger Tapestry needle) to accommodate the eyeball I would attach later. Notice these veins go over the outline of the letter

Next Letter “C” and the legs of the spider. I used a #24 needle here too as I wanted the legs to be small.

And finally the Letter “I”, this had almost the whole top half of the letter unstitched. Using a Bullion needle I made a short Bullion for the top of the pumpkin at the bottom of the “I”. Then I made Bullions using the Bullion needles and made them looser than normal so they looked like curls. I made some at the top of her head too and these I made tighter so the brim of the hat could lay over them.

Then it came time to tackle the hat and flower on the Letter “I”. The hat was a padded ultra-suede applique with beading. I decided to applique the hat and only to tack the brim at the left side outside the letter and the right side on the tip also. The right side is also held in place by the flower. Next I did the ruched petals of the flowers using a flat braid thread and pulling one of the plies.  I left the hat beading and center of flower until I was finished with all the letters.

Two of the areas had a memory wire thread applied to the canvas; the pumpkin in the “W” and above the bird in the “K”.  Memory wire thread is a thread with a fine wire hidden within it; some wires the wire is like one of the plies and other wire threads are wrapped wire with thread. I don’t know that one is any better than another, this was the first time I had used them. My only experience with wire before had been to use in finishing to make an ornament bend, so it looked like ribbon candy.  First I cut two 3-4″ pieces of the memory wire, then I wrapped them tightly around a small knitting needle. I could have used the Bullion needle, a #18 or 20 Tapestry needle, or even the end of a laying tool; just anything that would coil the wire. On one end, I pulled enough back out straight to tie an Overhand Knot close to the coiled thread at one end; I also placed a small drop of Fray Check on the end to keep it from coming loose. I threaded a #26 needle with 1 ply of matching floss (you could use matching sewing thread) to secure the wire in place on the front of the canvas as well as to secure the tail to the back of the canvas.

To place the wire on the pumpkin on the “W” and above the bird on the “K” I used an #18-20 needle or laying tool.  I opened a space in the canvas to plunge the open end of one of the wired threads to the back of the canvas. I pulled the wire to the desired length and secured with at least one couching stitch on the front; then I turned the canvas over, left about an inch and half, cut excess and tacked the remainder securely to back of canvas.

Beading: There were two types of beads on this canvas; regular size 11 or 15 seed beads and then glass eyes on long pins. Go to Etsy and search for glass eye beads on a long pin, they come in all sizes and colors. Here’s one place: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWoolenWagon?ref=l2-shopheader-name. I’m sure you could find even the one used for the eyeball in letter “K”; I had smaller green one for the cat’s eye in letter “W”, larger green pair for the witch in letter “I” and amber ones for a bat in letter “D” and a solid black one for the bird in letter “K”.  These all came in the thread kit, so I don’t know the sizes. You were to place these in the proper place through the front of the canvas, with needle nose pliers bend the wire down into place and the secure with thread on the back. Since I had never done this before I was a bit apprehensive…I didn’t want to get into the wrong place on the front, break a pin bending it on the back, or after I secured to back finding the bead looked wrongly placed on the canvas. You guessed it, I left these until I could do nothing else.

I first did all the stars on the letters, then the bat eyes on letter “D”, and the skull on the witch’s dress on letter “I”. For the stars, bat eyes and skull I used the double thread, lasso method. I referred to the unstitched pictures of the canvas for placement of the stars; I did move a star to the nearest over one stitch of the Nobuko so I did not disturb the over 3 stitches. The other beading was on the letter “I” were the center of the flower, and it was just piling beads up to make a center. Then there were the beads on the hat, they were supposed to be Peyote stitched but at that time I did not know how to Peyote stitch (I just learned last week); so I just strung five beads by row and stitched them on the hat.

 

And then I attached the wing of the bird. I attached it at the top, poked the wires through the canvas ,  bent the wired down and secure with thread to stitching on the back. Then on the front I bent just a bit to give the curve of the wing.

 

 

When there was nothing left but the glass eye beads I tackled them I started with the cat in letter “W” because I figured if I broke this bead I could use a metallic braid and make a French knot. Then I did the bat in letter “D” and the black eye in the bird of letter “K”, same thinking here. By know I was pretty sure I could do this and so I did the witch’s eyes letter I and then the big eyeball in letter “K”. They all turned out well, the big eyeball has a tendency to flop but I’m the only one it seems to bother.

 

 

And “Wicked” was stitched!

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

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Fun stuff

You should know that stitching does not happen overnight. I probably stitched on the background and letters for a good three weeks and maybe longer since I know it got boring. Big projects like Wicked are home projects; you just don’t pack these up and take them to a 2 hour stitch-in…at least I don’t. I like to have them set up in my stitching nest and it is usually the one in my bedroom, where I can get away and just stitch. These times always remind me of the old Calgon commercial….”Needlepoint take me away!”  I have my TV with recorded shows and my needlepoint, who could ask for anything more?

I usually have small projects (anything smaller than 12 x 12 inches) that I can take to a stitch-in or stitch downstairs in the family room stitch nest. Sometimes these are just my doodle canvas to audition stitches for the big project or another piece. And then there is the computer work that I often let get away from me…my own that is. If I have a teacher’s work I keep on top of these…they have a schedule and so do I. We all have deadlines and other things to do in our lives.

I really like Melissa Shirley’s “Wicked”…I guess, otherwise why would I stitch it?  I can’t imagine buying a piece of needlepoint I didn’t like let alone stitching one. Now that’s not to say that while stitching a piece of needlepoint I have not become less enamored with it. But I don’t think I have ever abandoned a piece of needlepoint; I even completed a notebook class.  (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/wilanna-bristow/) Wilanna Bristow, my first ever seminar teacher, even told me she had never seen one completed.

I have taken a technique class at seminar that I knew I was not taking for the piece, but to learn the technique or a class from a particular teacher; and I knew I would not complete the pieces after class but I stitched on them during class and kept all the information and samples in a notebook. The remaining supplies I incorporated into my stash.

But this is a whole other blog post; see how I can get sidetracked? …so lets get back to “Wicked”

Again I started with the “W” and moved right. I left all the beading until the very last but I’ll tell you about that as we go along. All the little white circles on all the letters are beads representing stars. All these were left until “Wicked” was stitched. More about beading later.

I am not going to tell you specific threads, because I feel that is part of the stitch guide and should be protected by copyright. The stitches are also protected by copyright …not the stitch but their use in this project. But since you can see the stitches in the picture I will use names.

Letter W: I started with the moon. It is lightly padded with a stranded thread (I may have gotten the padding thread from my stash) and then stitched over in Diagonal Gobelins with a thread that had some glitz. I outlined the moon also, since the cat was stitched with a black furry thread and did not want to be dragging this into the moon.

I padded the vertical slates of the fence and the center of the pumpkin only before stitching over them with the appropriate threads. I used the same thread to pad the areas as I used to stitch them.

The cat called for a stitch that to me seemed more difficult to do with the furry thread so I changed it. I used a brick stitch for the cat’s body and random stitches for his tail.  I also used a stranded thread to stitch the two fangs on the face, I though a furry thread was not needed and another thread would make them look more like fangs. On hindsight, who was going to notice this but me? You would have to be too close to the canvas to notice this, but what can I say…it was my choice and at the time it felt right.

I left the cat’s eye (white square) and the curly q (rectangle on picture) on the pumpkin for later. I did use a highlighter in the stitch guide to note the areas I was leaving to do latter. It is easy to miss these details once you have stitched a large project. It has taken a long time to stitch and you are excited to get it finished and may even be stitching on a date deadline, so it is easy to overlook a small detail that will bug you later on. Just mark the stitch guide or keep a notebook handy to make notes.

I outlined the “W” after I finished all but the final embellishments.

Letter I: This was one of the three most difficult letters to stitch. It has a lot of details and several different techniques required.

I stitched the “I” in the following order, although I think the stitch guide started at the bottom and moved up… I stitched from lightest thread to darkest thread for the larger areas and left padded area until last. I Basketweaved the face, stitched Witch’s dress, coat, and then the pumpkin. The pumpkin is self-padded in the center section only. I stitched the details on the face and the nose, leaving the eyes for later (white rectangle). I left the hair (white rectangles), hat (white triangle), beading on hat White oval) and flower (white circle), skull beading (white oval) and the curly q (white rectangle) on the pumpkin for later. I have not done much applique, so I had to build my confidence up. The beading suggested was not a method I was familiar with so I had to decide whether to learn this or do something else. And the flower I knew how to do but it couldn’t be stitched until the hat was in place.  I stitched the outline of the letter “I” even though the top was not completed. Then I moved on to…

Letter C:  I outlined this letter before I began the details of the stitch design. This is one of the major changes I made to the piece and one of the easiest to stitch. The curves of the spider web were supposed to be beaded, but I didn’t do this. I stitched the spokes of the spider web first with a shiny braid and then couched the curves with the same thread using  a thinner matching thread to couch (I either had both threads in my stash or purchased them). I couched the long line the spider was hanging from last. I used the unstitched picture as a guide but since the entire letter C was stitched in Nobuko, no black lines were showing except the thread the spider was hanging from and the spider and the background had been stitched over these too.  So everything on this letter was surface applied. The spider was supposed to be beads also but I stitched the body in a Cashmere Stitch and later stitched the legs in Bullion knots. I left the stars (white circles) and spider legs (white rectangle)  until later.

Letter K: Another difficult letter. Again stars (white circles) are stitched later. I really had to think about this letter and how I was going to stitch it so I took a few days to live with the letter and look at it closely. By “living with the piece” I mean I leave the needlepoint up in the stand and uncovered, so I can see it while I am working on another piece, sitting down to study the piece, or just walking by the needlepoint. I had to decide the order I wanted to stitch and if I wanted to do it like the stitch guide suggested or whether I was going to add my own stitching to the piece.  I even thought about moving on to the letter “E” but it was also presenting its own difficulties and I wanted to save the letter “D” for last because it was easy. So after living with the piece a few days and really looking at all three letters that were giving me some difficulty (I-K-E), I came to some decisions. I made notes and checked the kit to be sure I had the things I needed and then began to stitch again.

I decided to stitch the bird first.  There were three stitches suggested for him, his head was Basketweave , I did not like the Basketweave on his beak so I stitched long slanting stitches over these to a point for his beak. His body a Cashmere pattern and his tail a straight stitch pattern. I stitched his pretty much as suggested but I did cover more of his body than was suggested because I had decided to make the wing a stumpwork piece. I also couched the black line from tip of his beak to the large eyeball bead using the black braid I had used for the spider web in letter “C”. I left bird’s eye to add later (white square)

The wing took some thinking about but and I decided to do it more like a stumpwork attachment than what was suggested. The suggestion was a second canvas finished like a small ornament and attached along long top side to main canvas by sewing The wing was stitched on a separate piece of canvas, I outlined the wing in satin stitch over a wire that I used later to attach wing to canvas. I also could bend the wing to give it more dimension.  I striped the canvas threads back to the stitching and wove them into the backside and covered these canvas threads with a piece of ultra-suede with an applique/sewing method. The wing was saved to attached later.

The pumpkin is self-padded with the same thread. If this piece had not been kitted I would have used floss or perle cotton to pad but I had a bunch (3 skeins). I outlined the letter but left pumpkin curly-qs, eyeball veins, birds feet and wing application for later (white rectangles and oval).

Letter E: I made more changes here too and even left some elements off. The easy part were the logs at the base of the letter. Before I did anymore I outlined this letter. Next I tackled the caldron; I would have to say the applique of the caldron wasn’t that hard. It is a padded piece of black leather but I did not put the metal handle on the caldron nor the lip of the pot. I didn’t think a handle was necessary and the pot was boiling over so you wouldn’t see the lip. The boiling and steam were a challenge I ruched the Flair for the boiling portion and I tried the technique suggested for the steam but didn’t like the way it looked.  I took it out (what a pain). Since I was trying to cover the painting error; I wanted to be able to manipulate the thread. So I couched long lengths of Flair twisting as I applied for steam.

The flames were the hardest, didn’t care for the fiber given for this, Flair didn’t work so I tried a glitzy ribbon. I stitched Turkey Tufting with glitzy ribbon threads and then frayed ribbon with a sharp needle. I like it better than the other ideas, but I’m still not happy with it. I will say, when I finished stitching this letter the only thing left were to embellish with the stars (white circles).

Letter D: Always good to have an easy part to complete stitching or almost complete stitching. The D and C were the two easiest of the letters. Small bats at top of D were Basketweave and larger bats (lower part of D) were Basketweave faces and Directional Diagonal stitches.  I outlined the letter “D” after I stitched the bats.  I left the stars and eyes of the bats to bead later (white circles, ovals and rectangle).

Next time we will do the embellishing.

Later today I’m off to our first art show of the season and always one of my favorites. I may even get dinner and ice cream.

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

ttfn…sue