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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Advertisements

My name in Print

14-08-13 Thistle 1

14-08-13 Thistle 2

14-08-13 Thistle 3In the mail today I received my current ANG magazine and low and behold my diagrams are featured in The Thistle by Carole Lake and Michael Boren. Someone had written me an email to tell me they had seen it, but it is always a pleasant surprise to see one’s name in print. Thank you Carole Lake, Michael Boren (http://www.stitchplay.com/index.html) and ANG (http://www.needlepoint.org/index.php).

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

UFBS(UnFinished but Stitched) becomes Pandora’s Box

I am still working on my Canvas tutorial…how to use. There is an interest, maybe not a large following but I think anytime you can help someone reach their goal; it’s a good thing.  I would much rather help someone learn to produce  good stitch guides  than to have them commit copyright infringement by photocopying books for stitch guides or heaven forbid other stitch guide stitches.

14-06-08 to finish aOh my, did I open Pandora’s Box! I got out two UFBS boxes (Unfinished but stitched) to see what I had. I stopped counting at 25 finishing projects and that was not pieces but projects.  I have about 24 Halloween pieces and I only counted them as one and the 5-6 roll 14-06-08 to finish bups I counted as one. I found original designs I have not yet put in the computer. Oh my, UFBS boxes have become Pandora Boxes and have unleashed a monster; I may never get out of my sewing area again! But I am going to start and some of my original pieces I will include finishing instructions with my charts for those that want to give finishing a try.

I spent last week-end getting organized and putting everything in one place. I had finishing here and there. Well, it made it look like I didn’t have a mountain but just little molehills. Now I ‘m looking at this mountain of finishing as lots of practice.

Over the years I have amassed in my library many books on finishing; and yes I found one I did not have so I ordered it. There has to be some compensation or taking on this massive project and I already have more than enough stitching so 14-06-12_finishing101why not another book. I ordered Pat Mazu’s Finishing 101 from Stitching From the Heart (http://stitches-heart.com/) I can hardly wait to get it. I have stitched a few of Pat’s stockings (think there is one on the finishing mountain as a matter of fact) and enjoyed it very much.

I also contacted Pat to get permission to use her book picture and she is semi-retired but still does finishing for one shop. She said her finishing technique is pretty basic and so if you want the new stuff using styrofoam she’s not you girl. She also mentioned her bibliography and you know that means books…I could be in heaven.

Here are my other finishing books, I tried to contact Sandy HIgggins and Summer Truwell to for permission to use their pictures but had no response:

14-06-12 book weilemannI took a class many years ago from  Edie Weilemann and it was wonderful. It was a hands on learning class and she gave us her book Finishing Needlework.  I learned a bunch and hope it comes back to me quickly. I remember the lady sitting next to me said, “This is the best class I have ever taken! I am not a finisher but a stitcher. AND I will never complain about how much finishing costs again.”  I may agree with her after this summer, we’ll see. I contacted Edie and she still does finishing…ummm good to know. And her book is still available. Look for her on Facebook.

14-06-12 book HigginsThe following I found online so there are copies available should you want to join my summer project.


Sandy’s Finishing Touches
by Sandy Higgins; ISBN 978-0-9663617-1-1

14-06-12 book truswellUltimate Big Book of Finishing, needlework knowledge and techniques by Summer Louise Truswell.

And of course I have books from the 70’s when rabbit glue was a finishing technique of choice…I think lucky for me I only had one piece finished this way. And funny thing about this piece was it went to Hawaii with a friend, and within a few months started to disintegrate. She took the piece to local framer and he knew exactly what was wrong with it and also told her rabbit glue drew bugs. Well, I re- stitched her another piece but it was a lesson learned…no rabbit glue ever. Here are my older books and I refer to them but if investing I would go for the newer ones.

14-06-12 old booksBlocking and Finishing and More Needlework Blocking and Finishing by Dorothy Burchette

Finishing and Mounting Your Needlepoint Pieces by Katharine Ireys.

I have a notebook of finishing information a have gathered from various other sources, sometimes finishing instructions came with needlepoint, sometime I read a magazine article…and have even written some myself for guild projects.
14-06-12 Singer bookI also have many of the Singer Sewing books I plan on referring too also. The Singer books you can find on Amazon, Ebay or probably at local used book store for next to nothing.

I have a blocking board, Maries14-06-12 blocking board Products 4 square blocker; it came with these nails for blocking. My builder told me
they are roofing nails because they won’t rust.  Edie used a Marie Products board (maybe that’s when I got 14-06-12 nailsmine and am not sure where to get today) and Sandy suggests a pine wood board.  I have known people who block on their ironing board very successfully.

BUT you need to block needlework, it just looks nicer! I try not to wet my needlepoint either but if I have to mist, I do so with my blocking board lying flat with an old towel beneath it.  I don’t know how I feel about washing needlepoint. I have never had to do this but I would be careful about threads bleeding.

Supplies vary from project to project and next time I will list some of the things I think are essential in a sewing finishing box.

As I was tiding up my office I found three more pieces to add to the needs finishing projects.  I am going to stop moving things around; out of sight, out of mind works for me…This new project may get overwhelming.

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

Not much happening here…

Between the pollen and the warm temperatures my sinuses have been screaming so much I have no voice. My family is grateful and I am too…they don’t expect me to say anything and I that’s good cause I don’t have anything to say.

And I am sorry to say that kinda goes here too. I am between big projects and no Devine inspiration has struck this week so it is kind of a regroup week.

The Value of Gray has been completed! I stitched a big piece for this but did not like it once it was completed and have set it aside until I decide what to do with it. My DH wants me to have it matted and framed to see if I like it better so I will but don’t hold your breath. I am going to give the book as it is written to two friends to look over and then probably will publish it. I’m not sure how to present it for general use yet, I want anyone who is interested to dig in and be hands on but I also think there should be samples; but with samples, your creativity could be stifled. Maybe I should offer the class online and then I could have everyone post there studies and I could post mine too. What do you think?

I have another project I am starting…I have been asked to explain how I use my graphics program and after contacting ACD and receiving permission again to copy the computer screens I am going to re-do the Using Canvas book I wrote for version 3 (we are now using version 15.) I have seriously been looking at this project for a couple months, incubating the ideas and researching whether I wanted to switch programs before I began. I think the advantages to the Canvas program are:

1. It is both and integrated draw and a paint program.

2. ACD is developing a program for Mac users again (they had this format up until version 10) and the two formats are inter-changeable. This means: Mac to Windows and Windows to Mac are possible with no loss of formatting, right now there is a formatting glitch.

3. Canvas is still available as a downloadable program and disks are available at reasonable cost while the other well know graphics program is available only through “the cloud”

The biggest dis-advantage I see is the co$t but both programs are pricey and I think you can probably get the program on a special and I know you can download a trial version to try it out. And I do think all graphic programs are similar enough that if you are already familiar with one, stay with it. The learning curve with any program is steep and graphics and draw programs can be daunting…

And of course there is a pile of finishing in my sewing room that needs to be addressed. I not only have the Shades of gray sewing book that I really want to do, because I still covet the one Kurdy Biggs has   (http://www.threedles.com/06012011/2013/Pangea/Pangea_BagAndWallet.html).  I also have pulled thread pieces that I did a couple years ago and have never finished;  then there are my Halloween pieces for my grandkids that have been on the blocking boards over a year and several other projects that need my attention… I guess maybe I should think about writing finishing instructions for needlework next.

Okay now I am overwhelmed by the stuff that needs to be done…think I’ll take a nap. I will try and get back here this week with some stitching productivity…but no promises.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day! ttfn…sue

Mom & Me: More Flowers

I can hardly wait for the REAL flowers to bloom. I know they bloom quicker and with more ease than this border has blossomed! Yes, you can hear I am a wee bit frustrated but I think I have the hybrid in the pot now. It took me the better part of the week-end to get these flowers to the place I want them but I think I have it now and all that’s left to do is stitch them. 14-03-26 Mom&Me Mst flower centerIf you notice in the center diagram all the stitches are over 4 threads. And most of the purple threads (purple lines) are stepped 2 threads up or down. The exception are the red parallel boxes where I made a mistake on the far outer purple stitch on the top left and only stepped up 1 thread so on the right I did the same (that makes it not a mistake but a planned stitch 😉 ) Then when I stitched the dk purple stitches (black lines) I decided that stepping up or down by one should be continued (this is called artistic planned mistakes) and so all the red parallel boxes are only stepped up or down 1 thread. I also do not straight stitches over a single thread and so the red ovals are stitches I make 1 thread longer over 5 threads (an artistic planned moment). 14-03-26 M&Mst flower all

I had thought the couter stitches should be over 2 but then decided that over four would be quicker. NOT, I tried stitching them over 4 threads and did not like …so-o-o-o I frog stitched them and went back to the over 2 threads. I liked this better and so after I stitched the left side I computed the stitches and then stitched the right side. Sould not listen to that left brain while designing! The black ovals are the compensating stitches I made to avoid the dreaded over 1 compensating stitch.

If my sample is any indication and I make no other creative stitches I think the flowers are 14-03-26 M&Mst flower 2going to work. I have started at the center and am stitching one flower and then I will work either to right or left and the far outside flowers will fall where they may…I think if my counting is correct and I have no creative moments I could be very close to having half flower units on either side…

14-03-26 M&M tulips allThank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day! ttfn…sue

Mom & Me: flowers

Who knew the hardest part of this redo would be the flowers… My right brain had this great vision in my head and would not allow my left brain to work. I never was a math major and every time I have to do algebra/geometry things I hear my high school math teacher telling me if I would just take the book home I could make A’s & B’s. Sorry I should have listened.

14-03-21 M&Mst fig flowerI began by counting the threads in the width of the area between the borders (105 canvas threads) and I counted the height threads from bottom border to bottom of bunnies (37canvas threads). I wanted to symmetrically place the flowers across the bottom, and I knew there probably should be an odd number of flowers since that was what had been painted in the original…don’t want to mess with the aesthetics of the design. I decided to divide the width by three and start with this…but that did not compute, my flowers would have been as wide as they were high. Then I decided on five across, this would work the flowers would be 21 threads wide. Finally I decided that if I charted the flower as my mind was seeing them then I could tweak the design to fit. Then I also thought about counting the width of the flowers that were already there, but I had painted over them and that was going to be difficult. But as luck would have it, at 2 AM I woke up with the thought that I could count these flowers from a picture I had taken before I painted the canvas white. These 2AM wake up calls are not very welcome but they usually are the easy answer to a nagging question., I have been known to get up and see if the 2 AM idea would work; lucky for me this time I could go back to sleep.

14-03-21 BGM&M original canvas flowersThe next morning  I counted the flowers and  I realized the original design had three full flowers and two partial flowers on the ends. So I figured I had 4 flowers across (3 fulls + 2 halves= 4 flowers…105 threads/4 flowers = 26threads per flower. So I am using my computer to develop a pattern for a flower about 26 threads wide by 36 threads high.  Since I know I wanted the center to be over 4 canvas threads this was a no brainer…I would have nine stitches over 4 threads, a place to start.

14-03-21 M&Mst flower centerFiguring out the flowers is not as easy as I thought it would be. I think I have figured out the center and am going to work on the outside petals. I think I want the outside petals to be over 2 threads but I need to chart the sides and begin stitching a flower to be sure it is going to work and how it looks.

I know I will need three full flowers and two half flowers. If I get the three full flowers in and have at least the better part of a half flower on each end I will be happy. I’m off to compute the rest of the flower and try stitching one to see how it looks. Hope this doesn’t turn into a brain blocker for me.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch everyday! ttfn…sue

Mom and Me border

Oh Mother Nature is toying with us…the weather is getting to feel more like spring than the depths of winter. Must try and get outside in the next few days as I know this is just a tease. Saw a cartoon this week that showed two lions, one coming, one going and roaring all the way and this little lamb between them; and the caption was: lamb saying, “Can I say something?” Hope this isn’t true since March roared in…I’m hoping it lambs out.  Garfiels said it all this morning: “It’s been a LONG winter.”

14-03-07 M&Me border chartBut stitching time is great. Worked on Mom and Me border for the past week and am almost finished. Here’s the chart I developed for the corners. And the border is set; all I have left is a bit more purple and most of the green. It takes longer since I am laying the RG Petite Sparkle Rays thread on both the front side and back side of the canvas. This takes more time but I think with the ribbon type threads it makes for a smoother appearance. Sometimes when I work with these ribbon threads I think when they turn on the backside you get a bit of a different light play on the thread and I sometime can see the edges curl. It may be just me, but when this happens and I go back and look I can usually see on the back where the ribbon thread has twisted.

And wouldn’t you know it the Kreinik braids I choose to use are two of the ones being retired. In case you have not heard, Kreinik (http://www.kreinik.com/PDF/special_order_colors_release_2014.pdf) has designated 43 colors as “Special Order” colors. Oh well I am sure there are other colors that will work just as well and maybe if you are planning on stitching this piece, you have these in your stash. But this is often the story about many threads used in designing…by the time we get the designs/stitch guides to production a thread can be discontinued.

I’ve always said if you do not like a thread or color that is chosen or used in a stitch guide, change it; same goes for a stitch. There are other threads that will work just as well and some are from the same manufacturer. Threads and stitches can be changed…IT IS YOUR PIECE!

14-03-07 M&Me borderBack to Mom and Me…as soon as I finish the border am going to stitch Mom and me bunnies. And I am playing on the computer to figure out the flower pattern I want to use below the bunnies. I know the width and am guess-ta-mating the height.

But for today I need to get outside and enjoy the day…Long spells of freezing cold temperatures have affected me more than Cabin fever…need to feel that warm sun on my rosy cheeks and the warm breezes beneath my feet.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today! And if the weather is nice where you are, get out and enjoy it…winter has been awful everywhere! ttfn…sue