The Tale of Three Sunflower

These three little sunflower canvases have been lying on my desk for a couple years and I guess I never blogged about the original design either.

About 2 years ago my guild asked me to stitch a free Laura Perin design. I thought it was a Rainbow Gallery freebie but when I went to look for it to give credit I could not find on either Rainbow Gallery webpage (https://www.rainbowgallery.com/) nor Laura Perin (http://www.laurajperindesigns.net/index.html) webpage.  And I’m sorry but I don’t even remember the title of the design.

The guild also wanted me to offer alternative ideas in beading for the center of the sunflower using beads; one guild member called it “messy beading.” Since I didn’t know what “messy beading” was I stitch the design as diagramed and then stitched three other center designs in the beading techniques I was familiar with. I liked all three methods of beading techniques; each technique creates its own look and I can see using in on different canvases for a special effect.

I use Miyuki beads whenever possible, Toho are also excellent beads too. I use mostly Miyuki because that is what I started with and although the beads may be intermixed, there is a very slight size difference. There are many seed beads on the market and they are not all equal; I would stick with Japanese seed bead Manufactures, Mill Hill or a source I knew I could trust. Beading is a whole blog(s) unto itself so I will just say if you are starting beading, buy one manufacturer and stick with them. I will also add an addendum to this if you buy a kit, don’t throw the beads away, use them. We will assume that whoever kits the project uses the best beads available for the project; if you find this to be untrue then substitute your favorite beads for the project.

The first sunflower used round 11/0 seed beads and made loops of beads. This is the technique I would call “messy beading” you string several beads on beading thread and make loops. I like this technique, but it will catch easily and so be careful where you use it. You could secure each loop so that if one loop breaks they all won’t come unraveled.

 

The next sunflower technique is similar to “French knots on a Stick” but they stand straight up; it could be considered another messy beading technique. It is another technique that will catch easily and so you might want to secure each spike so all will not unravel. Although you can’t see in this picture, nor can you see looking straight on the sunflower I stitched this using two different beads (see diagrams). On the four corners I used a small bugle bead topped with a seed bead. The rest of the beading was stitched using all seed beads. I didn’t think of this until just now but using different lengths of bugle beads would make an interesting effect.

Note: I did not secure either of the above but I am not using where they might be snagged.

And the last sunflower was stitched in basketweave using cylinder beads. It is just basketweave adding a bead to each stitch. What makes this technique special are the beads; they are cylinder seed beads; Miyuki names theirs Delica beads, Toho’s are Aiko, and Mill Hill are Magnifica. I guess you could use regular seed beads but I’m not sure the technique would stand out like it does with the cylinder beads.

I found this Basketweave technique from Associated Talents in their stitch guide section (http://www.atneedlepoint.com/CanvasLookup.asp?Category=Guides). I wrote and asked if I might use this and the owner graciously gave me permission. Since there was not a diagram of this technique I created one. Basketweave done with Delica beads (cylinder beads) is sooooo cool; the light refraction really looks woven.

 

 

 

 

 

Okay so that’s why and how I stitched the three little sunflowers….BUT since then these three beaded canvases have been on there little wooden stitching frames were just lying on my desk area gathering dust. The large one is put away waiting for the black box I haven’t found yet; and if all else fails I have a black frame in my stash that will work.  One day I did find a black shadow box frame that I thought would be great for them but I didn’t have a mat cut just bought the frame.

And then this January Kimberly Smith posted this fabulous finishing technique for pictures using beads and I knew that my sunflowers had just been waiting for this method. I am so excited about a new way of finishing I learned from Kimberly Smith; you can find the complete instructions here: http://akimberlydesign.blogspot.com/2019/01/sharing-techniques.html

I followed her instructions and the only things I would suggest are:

 

Start away from a corner; it seemed to make the corner beads lie smoother when you turn the canvas.

 

 

Watch for loops of unruly thread when beading…fix immediately! You don’t want unruly threads coming loose and have a hanging bead later.

 

 

I wanted no grin through or as little as possible…I didn’t think about this until I had already finished one canvas so I was very careful about marking that canvas. But with my trusty Copic black marker I darkened the canvas to minimize the white grin through. I also bought a piece of black core foam board since I didn’t want any white to be seen.

 

 

I thought the hardest part was getting the three little sunflowers in the frame evenly…But unless you have more than one canvas in a frame this should be no problem.

 

There are two questions I forgot to ask: (If you are reading this please comment or I’ll add an addendum later when I find answers.)

  1. Is there a limit to the size canvas you can use this method?
  2. My canvas was even count and so the corners came out even. How do you compensate for odd count canvas?

NOW I have another finished needlepoint…Yeah! One down many to go….

Hope you all had a Bang up 4th of July.

Thank You for stopping by.  I hope you have time to stitch today and every day.

ttfn…sue

My Stitching bird.

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I usually set the next un-stitched canvas I want to stitch out on stretcher bars so I can look at it as I finish stitching the last one. This usually gives me incentive to finish a canvas and not dawdle; but sometimes (usually) I get ahead of myself and stick the new canvas audition out to soon and it frustrates me that the canvas I am working on is stitching so slowly.

This is one of those pieces that had many side stories to it, or maybe it is just insight into my crazy thinking. At any rate, I will try and explain as we go…I am going to walk you through MY processing. It takes some turns and twists…so let’s get started. This canvas is painted on three separate pieces of canvas for easy of handling; so I have three canvases framed up and I am going to start the bird’s bodies first.

2015-08-05 MS Bird tear sheetThis Melissa Shirley (http://melissashirleydesigns.com//) canvas is another guild member’s canvas (Remember if you like this canvas ask your shop to see if the canvas is still available.)  She loved birds and stitched many of them…I have a couple turkeys she stitched but this was one that spoke to me, so I brought it home. I knew I wanted all the squares to be the same stitch: middle blue square are Reversing Scotch, lightest blue squares are Milanese; and dark blue squares are Byzantine.  The yellow bars are Slanted Gobelin and the little squares would be Smyrna Crosses. I had even decided to stitch the bird in Brown Paper Packages’ Silk n Ivory (http://www.brownpaperpackages.com/).

(1st twist). Yes, I know some stitchers think Silk & Ivory pills on 18 count canvas and it may; but I have never had this problem. I think if you are stitching something that is going to get a lot of wear (belts, purses, etc.); Yes, then you should think about using another thread. But remember any thread on a wearable garment will wear: perle cotton will lose its luster as will silk pearls, floss will not hold up to constant wear, and wool will pill too. So in my opinion, you should use what you like. Wearable stitching is not for a lifetime in most cases. Using Silk and Ivory on 18 count ornaments, standups and other decorative pieces works for me and I use it. The only problem I have ever encountered over the years is that large area of Silk and Ivory stitched in Basketweave tend to be tight (but I did it on this piece as you will see), but I have very little or no problem with decorative stitches. I do us a size 22 needle when stitching with Silk and Ivory, I think the larger needle opens the wholes of the canvas a tad more and helps the thread move smoothly through the canvas.

So I had pulled my threads (I originally intended to do the entire bird in Silk and Ivory and had pulled all the threads. Good thing I have my stash at hand…because the best plans usually change.)

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird square counts usedI don’t know why I picked a center square to start must have been Stitching Angel intervention, but somewhere I got it in my head these were not perfect squares. They are 16 threads to each square separated by 3 threads. But I made a mistake and stitched the Reversing Scotch Stitches over three threads instead of four. I could have taken it out but 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird scotch squarefor whatever reason (I hate Frog stitching) I kept going.  I assumed the squares were off, but if I added a fourth thread to the dividers I could continue…I later went back and charted the Reversing Scotch and I liked my mistake better, so I kept it. After I played around and decided this mistake would work there was another twist: I have decided to change some of 2015-08-05 MS Bird rev scotch used 2the threads.

2nd twist: I have a list from Kreinik (http://www.kreinik.com/) of the threads they are no longer stocking (some you can request others have been discontinued) and I had spent a day separating these out so I would not use them for designing. I had lots of 042 Confetti fuchsia; I had used it to teach a class years ago when I was in certification for teaching. I use discontinued threads only in pieces for my personal use. So I decided to take yet another twist…

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird copic marker3rd twist: A few years ago I discovered Copic pens (http://www.copiccolor.com and http://www.copiccolor.com/) and now I can’t get enough of them. While playing with the Copic pens and an air gun I realized I could color areas of white canvas to simulate any color canvas I could want to purchase…hummm…but that’s another story. But I have used them to color canvas backgrounds if I need a larger or different shaped background.  I wonder if I can change the color too?  So I stopped stitching and changed all the yellow to sorta pink so I could use the Kreinik Confetti Fuchsia.

So now I am back on track, well at least my track. I am stitching the blue squares and looking at the wings and sides too

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin aAnother turn came (not really a twist but a stitchers/finishers decision) when I went to stitch under the beak. Since I have been doing some of my own finishing I am more aware of these sharp, small turns that do not finish well. So here, under the beak I made another stitchers choice. See that one stitch that is unpainted, it went away; not the finishing there will 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin bbe easier. As you are stitching and you see this little opps, you can cover them with a stitch and finishing will be much easier

So for now I am stitching along on the blue bird bodies…I will be back with the sides and wings soon. .

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