Happy Birthday Friend and Thank you Friend

I can share this with you today; the gift has been delivered and you will see it  was a surprise and well liked. I’m sure everyone has a friend that is difficult to find a gift to give them, but this is not only about my gift receiving friend but also about my new beading mentor and friend.

I have been very fortunate in my life to have met a handful (maybe a dozen) of people who I consider mentors or inspirations to me. To be a mentor or inspiration to me just means that I want to listen to them lecture, teach, or just watch them create…and I always hope some of their creativeness falls off onto me AND I always learn something from them and I treaure their friendships. This is true of every teacher and mentor I have met and interacted with…all except one.

Cath Thomas is a bead designer and she lives in Switzerland. We have never met in person, but I not only consider her a mentor but also a friend. Let me tell you how we met…

Back in March I happen to be online when Cath posted a picture of her Octavio.

Cath Thomas Octavio

Cath Thomas Octavio

Immediately my friend sent her a message: “Is there a pattern for the octopus? I would like the instructions.”

Cath: “No I’m sorry, very difficult and just haven’t had time to write them. There is an article on my blog, https://samohtac.blogspot.com/2018/05/meet-octavio-or-how-to-take-design.html

My friend:  “Can I purchase the octopus?”

Well I knew the answer to this and so I immediately sent a private message to Cath, explaining who I was and how I knew my friend and that I would love to tackle this project to give to her for her birthday. Cath responded and said to give her a couple days and she would send me some pictures and notes. She also suggested I purchase her design “Tulip Tassel” from her web shop https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/.

Over to the web shop I went and immediately knew this was meant to be. I was working on a beaded rope that was just getting longer and longer with no intended use. But when I saw the tulip I knew that this was going to be my focal point for the rope. I immediately purchased “Tulip Tassel” downloaded and printed a copy.

I read the instructions and knew I had just crossed over from a novice beaded into deep water; I felt like the kid who barely knows how to swim and finds herself in deep water. I knew this was going to be my first really hard challenge, but I gathered up beads and tried making a tulip. Took it apart and started over again…several times. Finally, for some reason I tried using a dowel I had in my tool box and voila it worked. I made my first tulip. I knew I needed to make another and since things usually work best in threes, three tulips was my goal. Amazingly I had the three tulips completed and the necklace completed in time for Easter, April 21,2019.

In the meantime, Cath had sent me notes and pictures. I had compiled all in a file, printed them, read them AND knew I was in way over my head.

Yet, I persevered. I decide rather than order beads online, sight unseen I would buy locally. This would prove to be my first good choice…if I ran out of beads I could just pop over to the bead shop and resupply. Andrea, my bead shop owner (https://beadboutiquekc.com/) helped me pick out beads and I was on my way.

On my way is a relative term, since I had no idea what I was undertaking. I was lucky, my friend had no idea what I was up to and was living in Florida. I was bound and determined to try to make this for her and so…about Mother’s Day, May 12th I took the plunge. Working the tulips had been a big help but they were in different colors and easier to keep track of the correct order…all these beads were pink. After a couple false starts I finally got the hang of it and was comfortable stitching the head. I even got the eyes in the correct places and she didn’t look cross-eyed .

Wrong size

Then came the legs. Cath had said each leg had taken her about 8 hours, that meant one or two days, maybe three for me. This also took several days because I can’t look at pictures correctly. The legs are 6 beads stitched in a Herringbone round for most of the leg; one end tapers off to a point and the other will be enlarged to connect to the head and beak.   I didn’t see or read this so my first leg was too large, and never curled like it would when stitched correctly.   My second leg was beaded incorrectly and as I was about to write Cath and tell her I gave up; a light went on. I was on my leg making journey. Each leg did take me several hours and I knew there would be more to come…I had decided not to add the suckers until after I had joined the legs to the body thinking I wouldn’t be catching the thread on them.

 

I had a deadline July 25th and so I stitched on. I would look at the head and had decided the legs would be joined in two groups of four. I decided I needed to stitch the beak in its ring so I could get a better visual in my mind of how the attachments would work. My beak is not the way it should have been beaded but it was beaded.

By July 4th I was beginning to feel the deadline fast approaching and I was nowhere near ready to assemble. I put everything else aside (housework included, but that was the easy part) and morning until night worked on the octopus. All this time I am sending updates and emails to Cath. Her patience is amazing and her advice invaluable!

As I was finishing the legs I was formulating a plan for assembly and I received an email from Cath saying the beak was not connected to the head. My first reaction was “WHAT!” Not connected, whoever heard of a mouth not connected to the head! After much though and looking at my parts I knew I had to make a decision. I decided I had in my mind seen the

beak connected to the head and the legs connected to both, so I went with it. I stitched the first leg on and it seemed to act okay (flow freely), so I continued. I did realize that not attaching the suckers before assembly was a mistake so I stopped attaching legs and attach suckers to with a 1/2 inch of the ends. I remembered reading in Cath’s notes that she attached more suckers after she assembled all the legs.

I finished my Octavio late July 23rd, two days before I was going to give her away to my friend. I bought a box, sent pictures to Cath and received the nicest complement ever. It brought tears to my eyes and still does!

Takes breath away! I swear, when I saw the first picture, I was moved and really sighed of happiness! You can be really very proud! It is just perfect!

I am very much looking forward to seeing your photos, and to learn what your friend thinks about it.

A huge bravo! I’m truly proud of you, of me, of us!

I will treasure my friendship that I have built with Cath through emails forever. Cath is a remarkable woman and bead artist. She designs constantly, shares her gifts with others and moderates three beading groups on Facebook:

Cellini Peyote Freaks (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2158100991128070/?ref=group_header)

From Petal to Pod: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/PetalToPod/?ref=group_header)      International Bead Week            https://www.facebook.com/groups/internationalbeadingweek/?ref=group_header

She has a blog (https://samohtac.blogspot.com/)

And a store (https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/)

Thank you Cath; I forever in your debt.

Please keep Cath in your prayers, she is having some health issues and prayers are always helpful. Thank you!

And before anyone askes, I cannot share more than I have here about Octavio. She is not my design and without Cath’s permission I have shared all I can.

And my friend, well I think she was as surprised as I have ever seen her and I know Octavio will have a great new home.  Happy Birthday,Nancy!

And that’s why we create. For the friendships we have, the friendships we make; so we can share our time, our talents and our gifts. Thank You for stopping by.  I hope you have time to stitch today and every day.

ttfn…sue

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

I’m going to try this yet again

My Grandmother and Great Aunt watched the soap opera “As The World Turns” faithfully; I do not have to watch a soap opera, my World is a soap opera or at the least a whirlwind. Now is could be that my world is turning at the same speed and I am getting slower and older but  I have two new knees and I want to get my money’s worth out of them before their warranty is up.

So no apology for not writing for a year, just know I have been moving and learning and having a whole lot of fun along the way! I will spend some time re-reading my blog and try not to bore you with re-hashing things and I’ll take lots of pictures. So if you see something in one of the pictures you’d like to know more about just ask.

In 2012 we combined households with oldest son and his family. It was a good experience and I would not change a minute of it but the time had come for us all to move on our separate ways. The two grandchildren at home have grown and are more independent every day, we all have different interests and different schedules. So we are empty nesters again (November 2018) and thinking seriously what and how we want to spend the next years.

I have spent the last few months putting house back in my order. I have been sorting thru things with the idea of downsizing, I have looked at all my holiday decorations with the idea of keep or let go. Of course no decisions have been made yet, we need to think about where we want to move (I will never want to do this again), so I want to take it slow but move forward too. I will ask the kids if there are things they would like to have but that does not seem likely as the next generations are minimalists. So I see a great multi generation sale in my future.

I have been thinking about my art/craft belongings and have decided to start going thru my needlework stuff and downsize them too, although I see this as a minimal downsize. If it comes to a tea set or my needlepoint books….well, I hope someone in the family wants the tea set it is nice and has some history. I do have some books I am will to part with, not because I don’t love them but I may have two of them and in some cases I have moved on from that technique or I will never get around to trying.

Anyway, I am going to take my computer into the computer doctor to get it a full check-up and then I will proceed like I never left and hopefully I can keep my blog  up to date.

But before I leave I want to tell you about an exhibit you should put on your calendar, especially if you live close to Kansas City. The Liberty Memorial WWI Museum (https://www.theworldwar.org/) has a special exhibit going on until Sept 2nd, 2019; Color of Memory, Fabric Art of WWI. I was privileged to go to a class last night that allowed us to see this exhibit and also to make a postcard (2019 version) of those made in WWI. Since I have one of these postcards (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/my-birthday-present/), it was a treat for me and now I have two postcards to display from Memorial Day until Labor Day when I exhibit my R-W&B collection. So if you are in my next of the country, don’t miss this exhibit; and enjoy the rest of the museum too, it is our history.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for being patient with me. See you soon.

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

ttfn…sue

Summer Fun and Still Recovering from Guild Sale

My local guild had a stash sale last month and I am still recovering from it, I offered to chair the sale. The guild had another sale two years ago and I was part of that one too, so I knew what to expect…sort of. Now I am sorting, taking pictures and writing descriptions of about 50 + items to list for sale on the internet.

Preparing to sell online is a big deal. MUST take a picture of the entire canvas, close-ups also and if stitching has been done, a picture of that too. Pictures needed also of a stitch guide, if available and an optional one of the materials list. The materials list is a must if threads are included and then you get to lay all the threads out, check against materials list and make notes of missing or substitutions, and of course a picture of the threads.

It takes about 30 minutes per item to get all this done if there are threads involved. I think about one third of the pieces I am doing have stitch guides and threads….Some I already know from the previous owners are not complete and so I am going to list without threads and some lucky recipients will get a surprise when I include the threads I have for their purchased piece (there are about 5 of these).

I have also started practicing in the mirror 3 times a day, not to raise my hand above my head and to say the word “No” without following it up with “problem” when I go to guild meetings this fall.

It is summer and I run around a lot, so if I miss a week or so I am sorry but I will try to do better than I did last year and not show up for months on end…But we all know how I over extend myself.  But I love what I am doing and summer is such a fun time to get out and about. And I have great friends who keep me moving and learning new things , as well as enhancing my stash and “2-it” projects.  I am stitching at least twice a week with friends and going to beading once a week, not to mention the “2-do” on my desk and the “want 2-do” in my stash. Plus I am still trying to conquer knitting and am crocheting a shawl as my fingers type, not to mention the beading I have in another bag….

…and then there is the new phone I got last week that I need to learn more about.  My last phone I never did learn what all it would do and now this new one is 5 versions later…I have vowed to learn more about this phone than my last one. You’d think by now this phone could call me by name and tell me everything I need to know….and keep me on track and out of trouble…

I hope everyone has great plans for the holiday week-end; I am drinking iced tea, sitting on my patio (if not to hot or buggy) and stitching something.

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

ttfn…sue

Burrrrrrrrr: Ann Strite-Kurz More catching up…

ED Note: I was out of my blogging phase when I stitched this and so pictures are incomplete…I am trying to be better now that I am back to blogging about taking pictures as I stitch. But sometimes I get carried away and forget…

After I finished Mr & Mrs I took a couple weeks off and just did knitting or Kumihimo…anything without beads. But one day I was looking through my stash and came across this piece. I have always loved it, it is an adaptation of a Charlie Harper print and I love Charlie Harper prints.

Ann-Strite Kurz (https://www.annstritekurz.com/ ) has always been one of my favorite teachers. If you read Ann’s resume it is very impressive…she is one of those teachers who has forgotten more than some of us will ever learn.

I own many of her books and I follow her article every month, Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways, in Needlepoint Now (https://www.needlepointnow.com/). Our guild had her teach an applique class one time and I loved it; I still use the techniques I learned in this class.

I love her work but was never able to get into one of her classes at ANG national seminars…My luck of the draw never seemed to work and most of her classes seemed to go to lottery.

Somewhere along my stitching path I had acquired one of Ann’s teaching pieces, Br-r-r-r-rdbath, (probably a stash sale or someone gave this to me). It has been one of my favorite pieces for a long time and had been waiting it’s turn in my stash, so I pulled it out…time to do an Ann piece.

Ann’s books are so well written that I knew her instructions would be no less and they were everything I expected them to be…excellent. Ann’s instructions and diagrams are some of the best. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into…I was looking for a fun easy stitch but this was going to be a learning piece. But you know what I have always loved this piece so it became my at home project.

First you basted guide lines on the canvas and then I started the design…

First you stitch the Smyrna outlines (dotted lines in picture)…then you started the border designs. The borders (A & B in picture) are truly a lesson in “Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways”! If I remember correctly, there were at least four steps to each border and then BEADING. Remember I said I was trying to avoid another beading project? Well at least you waited until the design was completed to add beading maybe I would recover from the Mr & Mrs beading.

 

Then I started the design part of the piece and every area was a review of a previously learned skill or an adaptation Ann has created to enhance this design (area C the birdbath.)  I loved stitching this piece…okay maybe love is a strong word but I liked the challenge it presented. The leaves (D in picture) became a challenge for me and then I decided, this was my piece and I was stitching it for me and so if the leaves were giving me a fit I needed to adapt and overcome. The leaves became my change to the piece; I had stitched the first two (D in picture) as instructed and was having a devil of a time, so the rest of the leaves are my adaptation of the instructions. This was my fun relaxing piece and I was keeping it that way. I’m the only one (and now you too) that notices that the leaves are a bit different …but then aren’t all leaves in nature different?!

 

The body of the bird was a relaxing stitch, nothing I didn’t know how to do. But the wings were my next challenge. I love the look of Blackwork but it is really a technique you have to study to be really good at it. Ann’s instructions were wonderful and easy to follow. I made a couple mistakes but Blackwork is a technique some spend a lifetime perfecting. If you would like to pursue this technique, there are several books written about this technique. Here are the ones I have in my library:

Ilse Altherr; Reversible Blackwork, Book 1 and Blackwork & Holbein, Book 2

Becky Hogg; Blackwork RSN Essential Sitch Guide.

Marion Scoular; Why Call It Blackwork?, Folio of Blackwork Patterns

Ann Strite-Kurz; The Heart of Blackwork

Leslie Wilkens; Blackwork Made Easy;

Jane Zimmerman; Blackwork Embriodery Patterns, The Art of English Blackwork

By the time this piece was completed and I was ready to start the beading, I had decided that I would add the sequins (you use a bead here to attach the sequins) but the border was going to be sans beading. I liked the look and I was not into that much beading again.

So here is another project under my belt and it is also in a ready-made frame. I really do like framing  pieces when I can do it myself, and then they don’t end up in my to finish later pile. So another project is completed but I still have more to catch up and then maybe by summer I will be back to finishing projects or sewing.

BTW, if you really love Charlie Harper designs, the Meredith Collection (http://themeredithcollection.com/) has them in needlepoint;  you can see them at The Meredith Collection: http://themeredithcollection.com/collection/charley-harper/needlepoint.

When I get caught up on some of my stash, I will add to my collection here.

 

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

 

ttfn…sue

More on 1st Communion crosses

I have done three 1st Communion Crosses, each is a bit different, but I still planned them all out on graph paper before stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

I plan out on graph paper the name and design before I begin stitching. I use an alphabet that is 9 stitches high for uppercase and 5 stitches high for lowercase letters. Whatever method of framing you decide to use, your design MUST be planned on graph paper.  Plan your design out first on graph paper, remember to allow for open space around the design area I usually figure 5 threads on each side for this type of design….although you usually are going to get extra space by choosing a standard mat..

I count the lines of the graph paper (each line represents a thread of canvas)  and divide by the needlepoint canvas thread count to see what type of design I might be able to use; i.e. square or rectangle. This will also let you know if you can use a pre-cut mat and frame (my favorite). If I had a long name  I might consider making a rectangular piece from the start

For example: a name like Christopher Robin is long…by my quick calculations this rectangle stitching would need minimum 87 by 105 threads. This translates to 87 divided by 18 count canvas equals 4.8333 inches of 5 inch opening and 105 threads divided by 18 count canvas equals 5.833333 opening or 6 inch opening , Since standard mats usually are 5 x 7 inch openings. I would be look for a shadow box frame with a precut mat with a 5×7 inch opening or find a frame I liked and have a 5 x 7 inch mat cut to fit the frame.

The best method is to have your piece stitched when you go to look for the frame. If you are lucky you will find a precut mat and frame; otherwise you may have to have a mat cut to fit a premade frame. But remember sometimes this still does not work and you are going to have to bite the bullet and the piece custom framed. EDNOTE: If you are planning to  enter a piece to be judged, then you MUST have the piece custom framed. …There are framing rules too, maybe not rules but guidelines or ratios of mat size to frame size…Your framer will know these, I don’t; I just know if I like the way it looks matted and framed.

 

Other things I did to make stitching easier for me:

I tent stitch the grape areas first. This gives me an idea how they will look and it is easier to remove tent stitches than it is French or Colonial knots. Then when I stitch the grapes if I am using an overdye I use the puddle stitch technique to stitch the knots. I learned this from John Waddle years ago and blogged about it once but I will repeat it since it was years ago that I wrote about puddle stitching.

Puddle stitch method:  

I do not cut the overdye thread in this instance (some overdyes are pre-cut but the method is the same.)

Here is a graphic of a length of an overdye thread; I have numbered each segment with an arbitrary number of stitiches (10-8-12-6-etc…). Notice that there are three circled 10’s; these are the beginning of the repeat. The numbering has no significance in puddle stitching other than to show the repeat and the number of stitches I arbitrarily assigned to each area.

The next graphic shows this overdye thread stitched in Continental Horizontal rows (top left), Basketweave (bottom left) and then puddle stitching on the right. I attached the sequence numbering to all these so you could compare to the first graphic and follow he sequence of stitching. The puddle stitching is a bit hard to follow but you can and there is no method to this it is just a random thing.
Puddle stitching is nothing but a group of stitches randomly placed together to form a puddle of color. You could call this method a glob, blob, whatever you choose to call it…but then it would have to be glob stitching, blob stitching and I like puddle stitching best. Remember this is not my technique I learned it from John Waddell (http://johnwaddellneedlepoint.com/index.html)  in his Fun with Overdye class.

If this has confused you more I am sorry but just drop me note and I’ll see if I can do better or take a class from John, he’s really good or maybe your local shop can help you.

Making a twist:

I sometimes make a tiny twist of usually 2 ply floss to be the stem of my flowers or in this case wheat.

I showed how to make a twist here: (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/all-twisted-up-making-cording/) and this twist is the same but it is only an 18 inch length of thread so I usually just twist between my fingers.

Once the twist is make I use a larger needle. I thread the twist into this needle to start stitching. I bring the twist to the front of the canvas leaving the knot on the backside…I know the rule about knots and needlepoint but there are exceptions to every rule.

I’m showing you the back of the my stitching because that’s where all the work can be seen! The free form shape in picture is my beginning knot. The rectangle is the line I couched the twist on the front with second needle using 1 ply floss. And the circle is a picture of how I end this twist.

Ending the twist depends on if there is enough twist to use again. If there is enough twist to use again make two overhang knots as shown in picture and cut between them. This will help keep the stitched twist from becoming lose and it also keeps the remaining twist, twisted. If there is not enough twist to use again just make an overhand knot and clip, leaving the knot on your canvas.

 

Over the years I have stitched three 1st Communnion Crosses and I have a PDF version of the first cross instructions but have also included information on all three in this newly revised edition. If you are interested, email me (sudu@kc.rr.com) your email and I will send to you a copy; be sure and put 1st communion in subject line or it might go to my junk mail.

I think that’s it for today…but I did score a major coup this week and I’ll tell you more about that next week…

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

ttfn…sue

1st Communion: Number 3

Another deadline met…

After I left my blog post last week I went into design and stitch mode. I have already stitched two other canvases for her brothers but I wanted this one to be a bit more feminine. I also wanted it to fit into the same frame as the others because it comes with a pre-cut mat and all I have to do it stitch and frame. The first one is here: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/category/project/first-communion/

And the only difference between the first and second was the size of the cross. I’ll share more about these three crosses next week when I can think a bit clearer. So please wait to ask me for the PDF version until next week so I can tweak the instructions.

First I re-designed the cross and then I auditioned threads…

 

some made the final cut others did not…And the threads that made the cut don’t always get the job but at least they are around if needed.

 

I made some notes, marked the center of the canvas and began stitching.

 

I made a template of the opening size of the mat so I can make sure the lettering fit…If it didn’t, I would have started over. I stitched the cross first, and then made sure the lettering was going to fit around the cross and within my template dimensions. I was stitching the lettering, going along just fine until I stitched the last side. I needed to move the stitching out one more row. Frog stitching…ugh! Lucky I start in the middle and work to an edge. Trust me this was just luck but to be on the safe side I did leave out a space between day and year and when I stitched April I was prepared to scrunch the letters here too.

 

I used the template to be sure the lettering was going to fit my opening. Yeah it does and so now I was on to the wreath design around the cross. Again I made a round template for the wreath and basted a curve in each quadrant. I started with the hosts and once they were in to my satisfaction, I started with the lower right quadrant…added the grapes to one quarter, then the wheat. I did the second quarter and then finished the other two at the same time, first stitching the grapes, then the wheat.

Again, I was not the brightest light bulb in the package. Somewhere in the back of my design training I remember someone telling me that if you are right handed and you are trying to do mirror images, it is easier to start with the left side and then finish the right side. Has something to do with your brain and the your predominate hand…the coordination factor. Needless to say I hadn’t done this for the first two quadrants

 

Once my finishing was completed I needed to frame the piece. Since I stitch on a frame, I had little distortion and I didn’t need to block the piece. So first I cut the piece to the size of the mat and then I trimmed away more to give me room to add a lining fabric behind the canvas. I also cut a lining fabric the same size as the needlepoint canvas.

 

I use double faced tape, I buy it at the art store and it is archival safe. First I apply the tape next to the mat opening, I removed the protective covering and I place it over the needlepoint centering as I went. Once I am satisfied with the placement I finger press in place. I apply a second round of double sided tape around the edges of the needlepoint canvas and place the lining fabric over this, pulling the lining taut as I go. I finger press the lining on the tape, trim if necessary and then I place

archival art tape over the edges to finish off and hold all in place. I place the matted design in the frame and now all I need to do is wrap for Sunday.

 

Finished by the skin of my finger.

 

Next week when I have a little more time I will give you some details of how I stitched this piece and also ideas on how to design your own piece.

 

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.  I am stitched out; so I am going out to enjoy the spring weather we are having, it’s not supposed to last. Last Sunday we had snow…nothing much but it was cold. I was stitching so it didn’t bother me, but this week has been nice and then it is supposed to snow again Sunday…what’s with Sundays and snow in April?

 

ttfn…sue

How many projects do you have going? and stands.

I try to have two projects going at a time; one large and one small. The large project stays at home and usually is more involved than the smaller projects; but it is not always more involved. Sometimes it is just the size of the project that keeps it home; usually anything over 12 inches, beading or a new or difficult technique is considered a home project.

 

My small projects or take-a-long projects as I like to call them are just that, projects I can take to meetings, stitch-ins, just wherever I go. They don’t have to be ornaments but they do have to be small and not require special attention. I like to visit at stitch-ins and I don’t want to have to think about what stitch I am going to put where or how to execute a technique. I also don’t like to tote around stands, lights, etc. unless I am taking a class.

 

office stand

stitching nest

I have several floor stands (all have been given to me) and two are set up to stitch at a moment’s notice in one of my stitching nests. I also have a stand that I take to classes if the teacher requests you use a floor stand, although I prefer to take a lap frame or frame weight

 

 

travel light

I have lights at all my stitching nests too and a travel light too. (Editors Note: I have heard that stitching seminars now prefer you have a battery powered light for classes; so I have one of these too. I also hear there are rechargeable lights out there and also battery packs that may be carried to classes to use. I know nothing about either of these, you will need to check with someone who is a regular seminar attendee for which is the best.)

 

 

weight collection

My favorite stands to use on the go are either frame weights or

used most

lap frames. When I need something to hold my needlework I have frame weights of all kinds. At one time when I attended seminars regularly I always purchased the local frame weight as a remembrance of my fun times learning something new; but I have my few preferred frame weights. These frame weights hold my small take-a-long canvases and are not cumbersome to carry around. They fit in my stitching bag and aren’t that heavy to carry around.

 

small K’s lap frame

I also have lap frames, they are K’s stands (http://www.kscreations.com/); I’ve had them forever and I love them. I have a standard and a small size, they work well for me and I use the smaller one more than the larger one. I also found magnets

Magnets

I placed in the screw holes so I don’t have to have magnets on my canvas (but I do that too).  I also have scroll attachments for these too, although I can’t tell you the last time I stitched on scroll bars. And if one of my other floor frames ever

K’s Stainless Steel Floor stand

gives out I am going to buy a K’s Stainless Steel Portable Floor Stand (http://www.kscreations.com/floor_metal.htm). You can order one from your local needlepoint store or I got an email this week from Be Stitched Needlepoint shop that they have several on sale: (https://bestitchedneedlepointshop.com/products/ks-creations-ball-swivel-metal-stand?variant=30593203274) No, I don’t own stock in this company, I just love my other K’s stands and they have been around forever. And when I asked permission to capture picture from K’s website, they wrote to give me permission and added that the K’s Stainless Steel Portable Floor Stand has a lifetime warranty.

 

I try to keep my stitching needs simple and I don’t like to carry a bunch of stuff around…especially when I am stitching and socializing too. I want my Take-a-long stitching to be easy to pull out wherever I am and I have even been known to carry a piece in my purse. My grandmother used to say, “Ideal hands are tools of the devil.”… so I stitch.

uh-oh! Remember from Creative Dry Spell remedies (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/creative-dry-spells/) … #4 Finishing deadlines and Work under pressure. I just remembered I have a project that has to be finished by April 15th…so if you don’t hear from me next week that is the reason…Granddaughters do not understand late. Opps! But at least it gives me my next blog…

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today; I know I will be stitching …today and every day until my project is completed and framed.

ttfn…sue

Mr & Mrs canvas designed by Raymond Crawford

Today is March 30 National Stitching-In Day so what a better way than to talk about my last big needlepoint project. I started this project last spring March 2017 but could not share because it was a present for my grandson and his bride on their first anniversary. I had seen this Raymond Crawford (http://www.raymondcrawford.com/) canvas before they were married and with my new love of beading I knew I would have to bead this project. I would guess it took me six months to completely finish this canvas. Beading needlepoint is a long process and why I chose 18 count when 13 count was available I’ll never know.

First I had to find the right beads and I first purchased 11/0 beads for the project but they were too big so back to square one and size 15/0.

 

I stitched every bead twice in Basketweave style. Why Basketweave? I did not want to stitch Continental and have the canvas warp; I knew blocking would have been impossible. So I took the extra time to stitch Basketweave beading. I used a double strand of beading thread that I had stretched and waxed. If you don’t stretch your beading thread over time it can become loose and your beads will droop; also strech thread before waxing. I stitched every bead twice to secure each bead in place (see diagram). I also started every letter on the right side so my basketweave was always being stitched into a previously work hole. I did this for two reasons: I wanted all the beads to slant same direction and  I was very careful not to pierce thread from previous row. Here are two or more days of stitching on the &, some days I only got in 10 to 15 beads. Beading is a long arduous process for me;  it was tiring on the eyes and also just a slow, labor intensive process.

 

 

 

 

When I went to stitch the border I noticed on the left there was one empty thread between the M in Mrs and the start of the border, but on the right the & was right next to the border (no empty thread.) This bothered me so I just decided to I stitched the border one thread further out. It wouldn’t show because I planned on stitching all the background with silk. I also changed the direction of the border stitches at the center of the design area; this allowed me to stitch around the corner without compensation. As I recall, it was not an even count divide , so I always try and make the

odd count to the right of center and/or lower of center. I don’t remember if both counts were off or just the left –right borders (top & bottom)   I used Kreinik #12 braid in 3 colors: 221, 202HL and 102 and the stitch was a Diagonal Gobelin over 2 threads.

I stitched the background last in basketweave with 4 ply Rainbow Gallery Splendor S800.

It seemed like it took me forever to stitch, but I love they way it looks finished. I had a mat made and   framed it myself and it now is safely residing in Michigan.

When I gather up another project I did for my guild I will share the different methods of beading needlepoint with you.

After I finished this project, I thought I would swear off beading forever…but forever is a long long time. 😉

Have a blessed Passover or Happy Easter.

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

ttfn…sue

 

 

Beading and Kumihimo

After our herringbone bead sampler class at Florilegium, my friend Nancy and I set out to discover what KC had to offer in bead shops and like any specialized needleart stores in our area there are few. We ended up finding a home at Bead Boutique KC (http://beadboutiquekc.com/) or (https://www.facebook.com/BeadBoutiqueKC/). Andrea is the owner; expert beader and enabler…just look at my stash.

 

We came away from our first visit with an easy leather stringing project; we could make a bracelet and scissor fob. And of course we ordered more to teach all our friends and grandchildren. It is a fun easy project; I have even done this with my Granddaughters. I made all my Grandsons a fact similar key-fob of a Boy Scout totem they wear when joining the tribe of Mic-o-say (https://www.hoac-bsa.org/tribe-of-mic-o-say) at H. Row Bartle Scout Reservation (https://www.hoac-bsa.org/bartle).

 

We set up a private class and learned Peyote: even-count. We signed up for a Basics of Beading meetings on the first Saturday of the month to learn different techniques from a basic beading book, Mastering Beadwork by Carol Cypher. We all bought it and a few others and more beads. We made a square of even-count peyote but I have to have an end result, so I looked through the two new books I decided to make beads.

 

There are two types of peyote beads: zipper and in-the round. I mastered the zipper method. And what do you do with 30 peyote beads; you make a bracelet. I also learned the ladder stitch for joining the beads, how to make a beaded clasp and a Pequot edging; not bad for a first project.

 

Our next class was an odd-count Peyote class. We made an American flag and I used size 8/0 beads because I was still trying to limit my stash accumulation. And I was also unsure of my ability and 8/0 beads are easier to do than 11/0 beads and definitely better than 15/0 beads, especially when learning. I hang this on a stand with all my other flags.

 

I have been very neglectful in attending the Basics of Beading 

meetings and need to get back into them; but before I became so lazy and weather became cold I did attend Double-sided peyote diamonds project at the Basics of Beading meeting. My color choices were too close and it is hard to see the changes. I have these diamonds but haven’t decided how to use them yet.

 

In the meantime I had finished my herringbone sampler we had learned at Florilegium and Andrea suggested rather than buying more different beads I buy just buy size 11/0 in a matte black and finish this necklace. Well, it took me a couple months but I finally had two bead projects under my belt. Someday, I am going to buy or have enough beads to make a companion piece like the one in Bead Talk.

 

Then we found Kumihimo with beads. We had learned basic Kumihimo from Gretchen at Florilegium,  but this added beads. Several books later and a stash of beads and we were off and Kumihimo beading.  I started off with a red beaded necklace that I was going to use some of the leftover beads from my even-count peyote RWB bracelet but haven’t done anything with the R-W& B beads yet. Maybe I’ll get back to doing something with the R-W&B beads since it’s almost that time of year again; but I finished the red necklace before to Christmas.

 

But before I finished the red necklace I made a Kumihimo with Magatoma beads scissor fob. After I had strung most of the beads I noticed these beads have an up and down to them….but at this point I didn’t care. I thought I had been careful to sting them all going the same way.  Let me preface this, depending on the look you are going for; if you string all the beads in the same direction, one way the beads will lie down like hair or scales of a fish, the other direction they will stand out and if you do a random stinging you will have a completely different look.  Mine all laid toward the bottom of the scissor fob like fish scales…but trust me, it was pure luck.

Last fall the group had planned another beading class; it originally was designed to be a necklace but Andrea thought it was to not pliable enough to be a necklace and so she had made them into two inch beads and put them on a chain. I have finished my twisted peyote beads and have to pick a chain but in the meantime decided to make a bobble for my red necklace to wear at Christmas. I chose green beads and in a couple days had a twisted peyote bobble to wear on my red necklace. It is easy to get on and off so I can make others (remember the R-W&B beads

 

 

 

 

I also have bought Kumihimo books by Karen DeSousa and she has a twisted bobble with a twist. I was making it for St. Patrick’s Day but after I got it finished I noticed it is so similar in color to the one I made at Christmas; and I think it will be difficult to slide this one on and off a necklace; so I see more beading in in my future.

I have accumulated so many to do projects not to mention the beads and books with so many ideas I like that I am now a bead addict too. I have accumulated I had to get another bookcase for my overflowing library.

I believe this sort of fills you in on the last year and half of my creative life; now I just need to find the time to do all these creative projects and the ones running through my head. I do have a few others to share but I think my next post is going to be needlepoint. It is my main love and I do have several needlepoint projects to share with you.

 

Don’t forget March 30 National Stitching-In Day.

 

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

 

ttfn…sue