What’s on the label

I’ve been stitching my value samples and I started looking closely at the floss labels I am using (Anchor, DMC, Finca and Sullivans). Each has their own way of presenting themselves and three of the four have these little symbols, so I decided to investigate and do a bit of research (stuff in my files from distributor or manufacturer.) What I found is as follows:


Research: 100% premium long-staple Egyptian Giza Cotton.

Label: 6 strand 100% mercerized cotton. Color Fast. Made in Hungary. 8 meters

Symbols on label: (left-right):
Tub with number and line underneath: Wash permapress (95 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Triangle with diagonal lines: Only non-chlorine bleach when needed
Square with circle and an X: Dry do not tumble dry
Iron with 3 dots: Maximum temperature 200 degrees Celsius or 390 degrees Fahrenheit High
Circle with P: Dryclean any solvent except Trichloroethylene
Circle with double arrows: recycle symbol

Research: Long staple Double mercerized, Color Fast.

Label: 6 strand 100% cotton. Made in France 8 meters (8.7 yds),


Symbols on label: (left-right):
Circle with double arrows: recycle symbol
Tub with number and line underneath: Wash permapress (95 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Triangle with CL inside: Chlorine bleach allowed (/Wikipedia says this is obsolete)
Iron with 2 dots: Maximum temperature 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit Medium
Circle with P: Dryclean any solvent except Trichloroethylene
Square with circle and an X: Dry do not tumble dry

Research: 100% long staple Egyptian cotton. Mercerized. Color Fast. Bleachfast Shrinkfast

Label: 6 strand 100% Egyptian cotton. Color Fast. Made in Spain 8 meters (8.75yds)


Symbols on label: None

Research: 100% long staple Egyptian cotton, color fast, fade resistant.

Label: 6 strand 100% Egyptian cotton. Color Fast. Made in China 8.7 yds.

Symbols on label: (left-right):
Tub with number and line underneath: Wash permapress (95 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Triangle blank inside: Any bleach when needed
Circle with two dots: Dry medium heat (Note really did not find the actual symbol but found circle with 2 dots to mean medium heat.
Iron with 2 dots: Maximum temperature 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit Medium
Square with circle and an P: Dry clean any solvent except Trichloroethylene

I thought this was very interesting, especially if you use 2 different flosses in the same design be sure and use the lower of the two settings recommended. Also I will tell you that when I was in St. Charles I saw a stitched sample of Finca threads that was reported to have been soaked in chlorine bleach for a long time and the colors had not bled nor faded. I personally would not try this on a finished work until I had personally experimented on my own…but I don’t plan on spilling anything either. I am a firm believer of food and drink not mixing with needles and thread.
And if you would like to research you labels try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laundry_symbol
Or just google the symbol.

I’m off to JoAnn’s to see if I can find a ribbon to finish my value scales and I hope to have these to show you first of next week.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!


Starting Color Project

My previous post brought up a project that I have long overlooked and so one of this summer’s projects is to work on my color notebooks. I love color but it is the one thing that intimidates me more than any other element of design. And I really don’t think it is color as much as value of color. I have my favorites and I have those that I shy away from…but what is really interesting to me is those colors I shy away from I have a better time choosing combinations that work. I think I try to force the colors I like to work whereas I just let the others be.
Color NotebooksI am going to make August a priority to get my color notebooks up to date. I have two notebooks; one for value and the other for color.
I know value is an element of color but it is the most important. In all the color classes I have taken value is an important element and in one color class I took, everything we were doing in color we first did in a gray scale before the color rendition.
Another thing I learned in my color classes is everyone sees their own colors. My true red may be your red orange or red violet or even a lighter or darker value than your true red. Everyone should make their own color wheel with a minimum of 12 colors using the medium of their choice (color-aid papers (http://www.dickblick.com/products/color-aid-papers/); paints, inks computer generated, threads). I think before you make a thread color wheel you should make another media so you have something to work from.
My Color WheelsI made my own color wheels on the computer this week and am going to do threads using DMC and Anchor flosses soon. I have several color wheels because I made 4 with shades (gray added) 3 with tints (white added) and 2 with tones (complementary color added).
Not hard to believe since there is more than one color theory. In fact, there are more than 50 color theories and color wheels (http://www.colorsystem.com/?lang=en) Sir Issac Newton developed the first circular color wheel and his Yellow-Red-Blue theory has been accepted as a standard since 1666. But there are other color wheels and theories: a Red-Green_Blue color wheel is based on light theory and a Cyan-Magenta-Yellow color wheel based on printing theory.
I have several sources for color inspiration; books, magazines, online…but my favorites are my books. Know when you buy a book which color wheel the book is based upon, it will make a difference in its color harmonies. I try to stick with the R-Y-B color wheel since that is what I have grown up using. I like Michal Wilcox’s theory about two color wheels: one cool color wheel and one warm color wheel; I think with threads this theory works well. And I like Stephen Quiller’s theories on mixing colors; I think these help with our thread choices too. Here are some of my favorite color theory books; I have been re-reading some of them to get my mind set for August…
Box, Richard; Color & Design For Embroidery; Brassey’s Inc; Washington, DC; 2000
Edwards, Betty; Color; Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.; California; 2004
Howard, Constance; Embroidery and Colour; B T Batsford Ltd.; London; 1986
Lambert, Paterica, Mary G. Fry, and Barbara Staepelaere; Color and Fiber; Schiffer Publishing Limited; Pennsylvania; 1986
Menz, Deb; Color Works; Interweave Press. Colorado; 2004
Quiller, Stephen; Color Choices; Watson-Guptill Publications; New York; 1989
Quiller, Stephen; Painter’s Guild to Color; Watson-Guptill Publications; New York; 1999
Shipp, Mary D; Color for Embroidery; self published; New York; 1997
Wilcox, Michael; Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green; Rockport Publishers; Mass; 1989

Quilting books are a great color resource too, closest to needlepoint because both are thread and dye based. Some of my favorites are:
Barnes, Christine; Color: The Quilter’s Guide; That Patchwork Place; Washington; 1987
Beyer, Jinny; Color Confidence For Quilters; Quilt Digest; California; 1992
Dobbie, Jeanne; Making Color Sing; Watson-Guptill Publications; New York; 1986
Chijiiwa, Hideaki; Color Harmony. A Guide To Creative Color Combinations; Rockport Publishers; Massachusetts; 1987
McKelvey, Susan; Color For Quilters; Yours Truely Publications; California; 1984
McKelvey, Susan; Light and Shadows; C & T Publishing; California; 1989
McKelvey, Susan; Color for Quilter’s II; Wallflower Designs; Maryland; 1993
Seely, Ann & Joyce Stewart; Color Magic for Quilts; Rodale Press, Inc; Pennsylvania; 1997
Spingola, Deanna; Watercolor Magic; That Patchwork Place; Washington; 1996
Wolfrom, Joen; Magical Effects Of Color, The; C & T Publishing; California; 1992
Wolfrom, Joen; Color Play; C & T Publishing; California

And Beading has some great color inspiration too. Beaders have some of the same color limitations needlepointers have…their media of choice is pre colored and they can’t mix there colors themselves. One of my favorites is Beverly Ash Gilbert’s website (http://www.gilbertdesigns.net/) and her blog (http://beverlygilbert.blogspot.com/). Beverly is a bead artist and I love to read her blog and look at her beadwork. She has written three books; two are available online (I need to order Artful Color for Creative Projects (http://www.beverlyashgilbert.com/books/artfulcolorforcreativeprojects.html); but was hoping she would make it available as a hardcopy soon) Her books are:Beaded Colorways; North Lights Publishers; Ohio; 2009 and Dip Into Color; self published E-book; Washington; 2008. She also has published several color wheels too that are great I own them all. Eye for Color (http://www.gilbertdesigns.net/publications/eyeforcolor.html) are two color wheels; one with tints, one with shades.; and Earthtones and Cool Earthtones (http://www.gilbertdesigns.net/publications/earthtonecolorwheels.html) 4 color wheels based on tones of the color wheel.
And with Margie Deem (http://www.margiedeeb.com/) has written three newsletters (two free, one a charge); Ask the Color Queens; online publications (http://colorqueens.com/home.html) .I have all three and love the color inspiration.
AND anyone lucky enough to have taken a class from Mary Ellen Searcy learned a lot about color and design. A few of her classes were: Art A’ La Carte; Color Mixing: 5 parts; Watercolour Washing Canvas and Threads. She no longer teaches so you will have to find her works at local guild sales or eBay. Anything Mary Ellen taught was worth taking.
That’s about it for now, I am starting a T-shirt quilting class tomorrow (I’ll keep you posted…quilting has never been my thing), trying to get some dresses stitched for my trip to South Dakota and still do needlepoint stitching too.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!

Different Threads

Liam…another project stitched… and a disclaimer…If the designer suggests threads I would use them…she probably has spent a good deal of time choosing these threads. That said, let me show you what happens when I don’t follow my own advice.

Anne's piece
Anne’s piece

Anne Stradal (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) at ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) stitched Liam this way, it is her design.

I stitched my Liam with these threads.

I used the same stitches but I decided to use threads in my stash rather than purchase new ones. I used

My Liam
My Liam

some threads that are out of production but thought they would work.
The only area that did not work for me was the scarf. My thread choice was not variegated enough to make the stitch show direction. The swag of the scarf should show a horizontal direction/pattern while the ends should be a vertical direction/pattern. I will just have to outline the horizontal swag of the scarf to delineate it more.

Anne's in B&W
Anne’s in B&W
mine in B&W
mine in B&W

But for the most part my threads did work; mine are darker thread choices but the values changes are the similar and they work; look at the black & white photos. The jackets are the lightest value with the lapels being slightly darker than the jacket but lighter than the rest. The pants and the next darker value, followed by the scarf and then the outlines are the darkest value. Anne’s has 6 values in her piece and mine only looks like 5 values; my pants and scarf are the closer in value, but both work…Anne’s is just more correct.

Learning to check values in a piece is a good thing to know. You can do this with your phone camera or digital camera (most have a black & white setting) or a copy machine will work too. It is a good tool to use when choosing your threads for a painted canvas. Lay the threads on the canvas close to the areas you will be stitching; take a picture of them using the black and white setting on your camera or lay them on the copy machine to do the same. If the values of the threads are close or right on to the painted canvas the threads will work.
If while you are stitching something doesn’t please you or look quite right, take a black and white picture and check the values of the colors being used. If a color is off it is most likely the value of the color and not the color…the value of the color will either blend with the other choices or stand out as too light or dark. Value choices are the biggest mistake we make when using color.
On a completely different though…I hope all United States citizens have a Happy 4th of July and for those of you across the ponds from us, have a great day. And may we all get to stitch today and all week-end …Thank you for stopping by today!


Computers & One Long Panel

I know I have been gone almost two weeks but I have trying to get everything converted over to the new laptop…long, arduous, boring job, but I don’t want to leave anything behind. This picture looks like dueling computers and some days that is how it feels.  And of course one thing leads to another and then you are off on a tangent to remedy that problem before proceeding. I thought I would fall off my chair when DH announced he thought in the next day or two he would have everything transferred over to his new laptop…I should be about a month behind him but I was thinking all I needed was one program purchase and my email. Tonight I want my DH to explain the new email system to me because I do not think I am getting my emails as I should. I did manage to transfer all my contacts from one computer to the other with import/export 😉 and my DH did it all by hand. I’ll keep you posted; this process has been like major house cleaning and trust me, I rather be stitching.

But of course, I have been stitching too. This week was the last of Laura Perin’s, One Long Panel (http://laurajperindesigns.tripod.com/index.htm) class at the shop. It has been a fun class and interesting to see how everyone has kept up. I went by the evening class and took pictures so you can see all of our hard work. I think I am probably the most behind of all of us and many of my friends are taking great delight that I am not one of the first to be finished. Notice the pink color-ways, mine is on the left and I cut the green out. I put them side by side so you can see the differences.

Thank you for stopping by and spending a few moments with me; hope you have time to stitch today! ttfn…sue

Spread’n the “ah-ha’s”

I’m having my cuppa and reading blogs this morning and have one of those “ah-ha” moments. You know this stuff in the back of head but it just doesn’t seem to surface until…

Kathryn at Threads of Desire http://threadsofdesire.blogspot.com/2009/07/why-floss-tosses-dont-always-work.html  or  (http://threadsofdesire.blogspot.com/ ) put it into words. Yes, I remember learning this in sewing class at school too, but Kathryn must be younger than I and so it is not buried as deep in her memory bank.

This is something we all need to be refreshed about; it makes a difference when stitching with different weights of threads or number of plies in the same piece.

For examples:

Using two different weights of thread to execute a stitch…

stitches 2 threads





Couching a ribbon thread with 1 or 2 ply floss, especially if you want a self color couching.


stitches couching



Overstitching: layering threads over previously stitched areas.


stitches overlays








Some of these things we just do from habit  but occasionally we will have something not look quite right and as they taught us in art school…it is probably a color value mistake.

Isn’t it amazing what surfaces when we stimulate each other through our blogs!


Time gets away from me

No matter how I try I seem to forget about writing a blog. I was never a journal writer or diary keeper, so blogging is going to be a difficult task for me. And even once I start to write, it takes me forever to get my thoughts down. I am a verbal person not a writer.

I have finished my February TIFs and have posted them. I am going to try and put together a “how-to” for temari but it will be brief. There are many good web sites out there and I will mention two and then from there anyone can dig deeper into this great art. 

February color palette  Temari 080215   Temari 080216  Temari 080217  Temari 080217b

I liked the color palette for February, but then I can’t imagine a color palette I will not like. This is a complementary color scheme and one of my favorite color schemes. I had lots of ideas but decided to stay with Temari Balls because they are quick and easy and that’s what I think these challenges should be. When I first read about this challenge I wanted something that would stimulate my imagination, inspire me and that not necessarily require a finished project.  I have always thought that a group to brainstorm  would be stimulating and rewarding.  I love looking at the interpretation of the month’s challenge and reading how these challenges have been interpreted.  A challenges need to stimulate your imagination, keep your imagination working and even give you food for later thought.  I have several ideas also for needlepoint, but my incubation of a needlepoint design is longer than Temari balls, therefore my goal is to keep doing temari balls as monthly projects.

The other part of the TIF challenge for February was “What I am old enough remember”…

I think this challenge should have said “What I am old enough to admit to remembering.”; but I think I am secure enough in myself to admit that I remember our first TV. We had one of the first TVs in the neighborhood; it was a black and white set in a big mahogany piece of furniture. The piece of furniture was nicer than the TV, the picture tube might have been 13-15″ but the furniture was at least 4 feet high and 3 feet square.  I remember watching the test pattern and thinking it was a great design.  I remember running home from grade school to watch, Howdy Doody, Hopalong Cassidy, and the news. TV was one station and I don’t think it was aired more than 6 to 9 hours a day when it first started. I remember lots of highs and lows of early TV, remember many programs were live. When TV became color TV, we had one of the first in our neighborhood also.  I remember one of the neighbor girls just sat there and stared at the color TV and when I asked her why, her reply left me wondering if this girl every looked at anything. She was watching a commercial and said, “The Folger’s (coffee) can is red.”  No kidding, it always has been red! I remember thinking I must have a vivid imagination because I visualized clothes in color before color TV and sometimes I liked my visualizations best. I still enjoy watching old black & white movies and I still visualize in color. Sometimes I will see an old movie that has been colorized and will think “That’s not the color I visualized.”…color is truly subjective

I also remember my grandmother kept coloring books and new crayons in the hall closet of whatever house we lived in. When I was small it was always a treat to have her get a new coloring book and a new box of crayons was a true gift. She always had the biggest box of crayons available. I don’t every remember not coloring every page, nor do I remember subject coloring books (Barbie, movies, etc) they were themed (farm, princess, Mickey Mouse and friends, etc). They seemed much simpler and certainly had no dot to dot, puzzles…I remember when  coloring book was a coloring book.  I still enjoy a coloring book and especially when you can find one that is simple and fun.

 I also remember …

The treadle sewing machine (learned on this) that I could make run as fast as the new electric one we had.

Angel Food Cake meant 13 egg whites and not Pillsbury, Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker.

Dial phones and a voice on the other end when the phone was answered.

Mail and milk was delivered to you front door…hucksters with fresh fruit and veggies came by…and bread was delivered too.

…when life seemed simpler, and certainly less scary.