My major coup

 

While I was stitching the 1st Communion piece I also remembered that another granddaughter is graduating from high school this May and I probably should stitch something for her too. And maybe I should start thinking about it now.  But then I put that idea quickly on the back burner…

But a few weeks ago I was having lunch with friends and they wanted me to go by  a needlepoint shop in the area to see some finishing they were picking up. So off we went. While I was there, it was mentioned that I had stitched a 1st Communion piece and I showed the picture in my phone. I also mentioned I had a granddaughter graduating from a local high school. One of the owners mentioned that they paint the cypher for that school in two styles…Oh pleaseeeeee let me look. And yes here was what had been mulling around in my head… I asked if they could have this painted on 8 x 8 inch canvas and leave off the circle outline…sure thing. They took my order and then put the original canvas with it to send it to the painters. I thought this was strange; wouldn’t the artist have a master?

I was still at the shop visiting with friends and I learned that this shop also has an outreach program. The needlepoint shop supports “100 Jobs for 100 Moms” program and has hired women to hand-paint canvases four days a week. What a great idea…

So know I am going to get a canvas with major part of the designing already completed (I will not have to re-invent the wheel) and then I can personalize it for my Granddaughter. And you know what, I’m sure she will appreciate this even more knowing that we helped someone less fortunate in the process of making her special memory.

I love my local shops, they both carry a different variety of things, the help is good, stitchers are friendly and they both have outreach programs. Do visit your local shops often.

I’m thinking about beading the cypher; could use the three beads from Mr & Mrs. I think I might discuss this with the graduate, maybe she would like it finished with her tassel. Ummm—that would give me more time too. I’m liking this better all the time. I will keep you posted on the progress of my graduation gift.

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

ttfn…sue

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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

Friends, Stitching and the holidays

I read somewhere (not sure where) that today is National Stitching Day…so I hope everyone gets to stitch some today.

Since this week and week-end are big religious weeks for me and many of my friends, I want to take this time to wish everyone a Happy Easter and a blessed Passover.

And on this same train of thought I want to take this time to thank all of you for being my friend. I have been giving this a lot of thought this week and each of you contributes in some way to my stitching success.

17-04-14 lunchOver the past year I have been stitching with friends at their homes, at shops and guild meetings. I have learned that we all do not stitch the same way. Some of us use stretcher bars and others will never use stretcher bars; some of us strip threads (when applicable) and others have never heard of this method, nor do they want to do it after you explain it. BUT…17-04-14 sitching anone of this makes any of us less of a stitcher! We enjoy what we do, we enjoy the process that works for us, we are happy with our stitching level and most of all WE enjoy the time we share and the company.

The women I stitch with influence me the most! They are designers, teachers and enthusiastic  stitchers whether they know it or not. They have creative minds and I learn from them every time we stitch. We are like a team, they support and encourage me and I hope I support and encourage them too.

The other day, one of them showed me a canvas she had painted from a line drawing…First canvas she ever painted, it was very good. There were a few places she had drawn between the lines but for the most part it was painted on the threads correctly, she will have no trouble stitching this. I was very impressed, I know I can’t do that well.

We all offer ideas for threads and stitches, we share recipes, talk about our families, and generally just have a good time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a new stitching and computer tool. One of my friends is concerned about my health…she bought me a timer so I do not sit for more than an hour at a time. (I am supposed to walk for my knees every hour) It also reminds me to take a drink of water…I never drink enough water either. At first I sat the timer across the room, thinking I would get up and reset it, but that didn’t work…I just ignored it and another hour would go by…So I have it sitting next to me whether I am computing or stitching and I am more aware of it. I hear it ticking for 55 minutes and when it rings I hear my friend say, “Walk!”

My friend has an alternative OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmotivation; she wants me to name her in my will to inherit my needlework. I always thought she meant my stash, but after she gave me the timer she said she was thinking about my health and wanted me to live “a long and productive life.” It dawned on me, she wants me to do the stitching too. Smart lady, Thank you Margaret, it’s time for me to get up and walk.

Happy Easter and Passover to all my friends…Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today and all week-end!

ttfn…sue

I’m finally Back to full speed

It has been 3 months and 1 week since I had my knee replaced and I am truly sorry it has taken me this long to get back to this blog. Truthfully, it had little to do with my new knee, other than the fact that I feel so well I just go-go-go. In a nutshell; I had zero pain after the surgery and rehabbed like it was nothing…I could hardly wait to be able to go all the places I had been putting off because of my bad knee. I overdid sometimes but the aggravation of being slowed up was worse than the pain, so I just kept pushing through it and still do sometimes.

20160628 Temari Basket of FlowersI did have a brief period where I didn’t want to stitch or do anything but I think that was related to the pain meds and I got rid of them the first week, but it still took a couple weeks for the fingers to want to pick up a needle. I fought this at first and then someone (retired Psychiatrists) told me that I should not fight it but find some other hand thing to do and it would bring back the stitching quicker.  So I practiced my knitting (Just learned this 20160628 Temari KUart last winter… would love to get good at it but do not see any Peruvian sweaters in my future and I do not need another stash!) and made a couple Temari Balls. Sure enough the urge return and I finished a couple painted canvases I had put aside to stitch while recovering…

 

And that my friends is what I have been doing the last three months; rehabbing, going and stitching, the trifecta of my dreams. Maybe this winter will have other knee replaced and then lookout world I will be completely bionic and able to go twice as fast as I do now.

Three months off has afforded me a lot to blog about and more finishing too…so without more health news lets get started. I’ll be back tomorrow with finishing for lighthouse.

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

ttfn…sue

Thanksgiving and Blue Bird finished

This is Thanksgiving week and I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for all of you who visit my blog too, it makes it fun to write when you know someone is taking the time to read what you have to say. Anytime you would like…chime in, just leave me a comment. If it’s a question I will try and answer you quickly and if I don’t know will ask around and see what I can find out for you.

2015-11-24 BB a need stitchesAnd this week I am so-o-o-o thankful that I am finished with the Melissa Shirley Blue Bird. The last thing I needed to do was fill in around all the flowers that have empty canvas threads showing with the Silk ‘n Ivory. I need to block and finish finish. I 2015-11-24 BB b stitchesdon’t think that will happen until after the first of next year.

I looked at all the pieces and decided that even though there are a few ribbon stitches I really
reverted back to the tried and true French Knots, Satin Stitch 2015-11-24 BB alland Woven Stitch. Stitches I was familiar with and could do without much though. Ribbon work with Silk Flowers I can see is going to take more study.

This is the time of the year I begin to reflect on what I have and have not done this year. And so far my incomplete pile is growing larger than my completion list. I have gotten many needlepoints pieces stitched, just haven’t finished them up. Maybe this will be my goal for 2016… I’ll have to give this some thought.

For now I will leave you with pictures of a few of my completed birds fitting for this week. May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday will be joyful and merry and safe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeed

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue

Lost my stitching buddy…Violet Angel


Monday, I lost my stitching buddy and so have spent little time stitching in the stitching nest (have been stitching temari balls in the family room.)

Her official name was Violet Angle, violet/purple is Josh (grandson’s) favorite color and he got to name her since she was really his trick or treat gift 16 years ago this month. We called her Angel, since a yellow tabby called Violet might have given her identity problems and God knows she was nuts to come into this crazy household anyway.

She was a true tabby and she either loved you to pieces or wanted nothing to do with you…and she hated the vet! I had never seen a spiting cat until we took her to the vet the first time. She went into the cat carrying case a cute 8 week old kitten and came out at the vet’s office a spitting, growling angry yellow cat. Vet even commented, “You have this cat around children?” We assured him this was not our kitten and so after the exam he put that angry cat back into the carrier and when we got back home our sweet angle walked out, purring and rubbing up against us. That remained her attitude right up to her last day; she either loved you or wanted nothing to do with you… although over the years she learned to just hide rather than make a lot of noise.

14-01-23 sick deskShe loved to sit and watch me whatever I was doing. And her best times were ironing days and stitching times. On ironing days she would lie on the floor by the cord so it would brush over her as I moved theiron. She never batted at the cord just used it as her personal rubbing tool.

Stitching time was by far her greatest joy. She knew about the time I would be heading to my stitching nest and would wait patiently on the arm of the chair and wait for me to show up.  She would sit patiently until I got everything situated to stitch and would then find her place on my lap to begin her naps.  She was just interested in keeping my lap warm and occasional scratching behind the ears. She would adjust her sleeping position so that my under the canvas hand would stroke her as I stitched.

2015-10-13 Angel bShe was the best stitching cat I know; she was so courteous about leaving threads alone but would wake up from an apparent dead sleep to let me know I dropped a thread or stitching tool. She would wake and look down at the misplaced item as if to say,
“Let’s get this picked up…you are disturbing my naptime.”2015-10-13 Angel c

Angel, you will be missed; my lap will be cold in the winter and now I will have to keep track of my own stitching tools and threads. I know you are looking for the purr-fect stitching cloud for us and romping with all the other stitching cats that are there to share their people tales; but don’t pick up any bad habits…my threads are still off limits.

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

ttfn…sue

2015-10-13 Angel d