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

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Sorting out and other stuff

My Computer is back from the computer hospital…Over 1000 viruses but none that spread, they were all mine, tracking my every move. My doc said if it was any consolation, his mother had over 2000 and some of hers were spreadable. Well now Facebook, Amazon and Google are going to have to start over on what they send me and I’ve noticed I see more of my friends posts than I was before my computer got treated. My computer doc also said probably should not wait 8 years to do this again, at least every two years. Maybe I can find a grandchild interested in this field of work…there is always a call for computer engineers’ and seems like there will be in my lifetime. Anyway my computer is home and I’m back in business.

This last two weeks I have spent trying to organizing my stash (translation: moving one pile of stash from one place to another.) I thought I was pretty organized but am finding that not so much. I have found needlepoint stuff with other stuff and vice versa. Not really that bad, just like cross stitch and needlepoint, but occasionally have found needlepoint with knitting… I think that is a Freudian hint…knitting will NEVER replace my needlepoint. I have a lot more sorting and getting rid of to do…I really am trying to downsize.

All this organizing got me to thinking and I’m only throwing this out there not as an excuse for not blog often but as a matter of fact…There are only so many hours in a day. I’ve said all along, I need to have cloneSSSSS, yes multiple me’s (no comments friends). I like to needlepoint, bead, and crochet; sewing, finishing my needlepoint, felting, making Temari balls and attempting knitting. Now if you’re counting that’s eight things I like to do; if I give a couple hours to each (you all know you cannot get much done in 1 hour. And I’d like to sleep six or seven hours, so if I give two hours to each project and sleep six hours I have used up the day. And we all know two hours turns into one day or more for each project…so you get the picture…I need more me-s.

But this last week I did come across a few cross stitch charts lingering in my needlepoint stash; I had these visions of converting them to needlepoint. I have finally decided this probably is not going to happen with all the other projects I have in mind and so I am going to list them online for sale in a couple weeks. If anyone would like a preview, drop me a comment and I’ll send you a goodies list with pictures. You can have first dibs.

 

I have so many projects in various stages of completion that I meet myself coming and going.

Felting: no project in the works but supplies and ideas abound

 

Beading: Take you pick I have projects in various stages of completion

 

Crochet: one of a couple projects

 

 

 

 

Knitting: still at the dishrag stage….but have yarn stored for other projects

 

Temari Balls: Always have one of these going for left over threads. I make lots of sampler balls…left over threads; not enough for another project but too much to just throw away. What can I say I’m Scotch.  The surprising thing is when I offer to give one to someone; they pick the sampler balls over one with a design more often; so I have very few sampler balls in my collection. The picture shows two on right in progress and two on left are only two sampler balls I have completed right now.

Sewing: need to repair a few things too.

 

 

And my Needlepoint…have two projects in the works right now. I need to concentrate on getting some of them completed so I can move on to others I can’t wait to start. There are so many things I want to stitch and every time I go to the needlepoint shops to stitch I see more. This is just half the closet and doesn’t show the ones stored flat. I am by no means going to die with the most but I won’t die with the least either. I have to keep enough on hand since my family (all male) say when I die, they are just going to find a refrigerator box and line it inside and out with my projects before they put me in.

…And then there is the finishing on and off the blocking boards. I need to lock myself in the sewing room and not come out for a month.

And add to all this, I do like to blog, I think it is so important that we share our knowledge. So if any of the above interests you just let me know and I will blog more about that craft. And if you want to see my list of cross stitch leaflets about 25) before I put them online next week, drop me a note; I’ll send you a PDF file… don’t forget your email address or you can message me through Facebook too. .

Until my next post…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

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

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