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

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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 do you keep multi crafting irons in the fire?

“…but for now I have not given up needlepoint, so I am off to stitch although I should practice knitting too…no needlepoint today. ”

I wrote this March 16th and even though I did go needlepoint I kept thinking about the other projects I have in the works and especially my knitting. I will never get any better if I do not practice….

I wonder, how do you handle multi crafting? Do you assign time by the day, week, project or do you do whatever suits your fancy? Do you have stitching groups you attend…knitting, beading, needlepoint; guilds you are an active member (what’s the use of joining if you are not active.); or even more classes?

I go once a week to a beading gathering, a needlepoint gathering, I am a member of a needlepoint guild. I was a member of a Fiber guild but they meet on the same evening as my beading and needlepoint groups and if I do both beading and needlepoint I am done for the day, so I dropped this membership for now.

I sometimes get overwhelmed by all the things I want to do and I have enough stash in several medias (see: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/do-i-have-stash/) keep me busy in this lifetime and maybe two others.

I would love to hear from you and how you handle this needlework dilemma and I think I will post this on Facebook’s Needlepoint Nation (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeedlepointNation/). If you don’t belong, you should, it is a wealth of information and enabling.

BTW, Friday….March 30 National Stitching-In Day. Why don’t you start now and plan to go stitch somewhere?

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

ttfn…sue

Class Instructions, Stitch Guides for Canvas & Charted Counted Stitch Guides.

Editor’s Note: If you do not like soap box stands do not read this post.

At some point in your creative endeavors you are going to receive written instructions of some sort; from a teacher, friend or instructor. They can be free as in a hand drawn on a piece of paper or instructions you pay for, a complete set of written instructions for a class or a canvas, etc. Some instructions, like Counted thread can be as simple as a set of diagrams or as complex as complete, step by step instructions.

All the above are not equal, some instructions are better written than others, some will have mistakes but the one thing they all have in common is that they are COPYRIGHT protected.

Simple put, this means you should only use them for yourself! You should not sell them, give them away, share them and any form…this means no copies, nor hand drawn copies of someone else’s work!

When you have finished the project or class, dispose of them properly. Keep them all or in part as a reference for yourself; or throw them away. You purchased these instructions for your use not for other people. You paid for the instructions, is your friend paying you?…still illegal!

When you pay for instructions, you are paying for that person’s creativity. You are paying the shop to keep the lights on and to carry the things you like to stitch. You are paying for a lot of little things that keep designers designing and shops selling.

At the worst ….Would you like to be robbed; because that is what you are doing? You are taking livelihood away from the designer. I know designers/teachers whose stitch guides and instructions are a main part of their income; it is not a hobby or sideline.

How would you feel if you stitched a canvas, gave it to a friend and less than a month later your gift was for sale online, at a yard or at your local resell shop? That’s a similar feeling designers, teachers and shop owners feel when they see these things for resale.

I mentioned a couple blogs ago that I am working on a sale for my guild…I will not accept (and I will throw away) any instructions from classes that have been taken by guild members that do not have the complete kit or stitch guides for canvases that do not have an accompanying canvas. I personally have a problem with class teaching pieces , just because of all the little things you learn in class that may or may not be covered in the text. The “pearls of wisdom” the teacher shares with the class. I know that my Contemporary Forrest Necklace (last post) ttps://sudukc.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/5462/ would have been a bit easier had I physically been in the class with Catherine Jordan.

I would really like not to accept anything but books, but I know that is pushing the envelope for a non profit.

Just be mindful of Copyright and please do not sell something you have already had the creative use of…And if you would like to read more; Ruth Schmuff’s blog offers a designers point of view: https://bedeckedandbeadazzled.com/2018/02/copyright-2/

Putting my soap box away for now. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

 

ttfn…sue

Creative Dry Spells

I think I can safely say I have suffered from “Creative Dry Spells” in all forms of my artistic endeavors. It is like being in a depressed mood; you know it will pass but it does not make it any the less painful. They are not fun, nor can you talk yourself out of them; the best thing to do is ignore them for a day or two and then try to work thru them or just do something else like cleaning (ugh) or cooking. Cleaning should convince you to be creative real quick and cooking can be creative also yummy if you bake or make desserts.

I read somewhere (probably another blog but I forgot to write down whose blog) some ways to get the creative juices flowing again. I have adapted them to needleart thoughts:

  1. Spend some time with your stash
  2. Finish a UFO or several
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish:
  • Designers/teachers have deadline
  • Finishing deadlines
  • Work under pressure
  1. Just keep active.

Sometimes any of these are easier said than done depending on how “dry” you are feeling.

Sometimes spending some “me time” with a cuppa and your favorite needlework books and/or magazines can help. I love my books and looking through them may give you an idea of something to stitch, a technique to try or maybe you will just relax and look at the pictures.

Sometimes no matter what you do nothing speaks to you; then it may be time for some artistic needlework enhancement. In other words, a trip to your local needlework shopS (sometimes it takes more than one). Going to your favorite places is good for two reasons:

  1. It may spark your creative juices with something as simple as a new thread for that project you saw in your stash. You may find a new canvas that speaks to you and if all else fails…
  2. You are at least spending time with other creative people and this is good. They may remind you of a canvas you have at home that you were really dying to stitch just a few weeks ago. They may show you a new technique they are working on, a new stitch, a new thread, or maybe just give you a smile that will brighten your day.

And if you are lucky enough to have more than one shop in your area you have that many more chances to get those creative juices flowing…whatever it takes to spark those fingers. And if you are really lucky, maybe you can sit and visit with others. You don’t have to be stitching something, you can just visit. I visit a group(s) and not everyone is stitching needlepoint, some are knitting, some are stash enhancing, and others have just come by to visit.

And we learn from each other and the more diverse and wide our circle of creative friends is the more we learn…there are no limits to creative thoughts. Attending guild meetings, having stitch-ins, maybe just going for a cuppa and stitching there. Just think for a minute about threading a needle; you know people who:

  1. Thread a needle with the end going immediately through the eye of the needle
  2. Bend the thread over the needle and then thread that bend through the eye of the needle.
  3. Pinch the thread tightly between their thumb and index finger and saw the eye of the needle onto the thread
  4. Wet the end of the thread and place thread through eye of needle … or
  5. Use a needle threader.

None of these are wrong, None is better than another…it is what works for you. But if some needle artist is having trouble threading a needle just being around other needle artists may give her the idea she needs to thread her needle. I know that is pretty simplistic but you get the idea.

If you don’t want to tempt you credit card, watch a love flick, visit an art gallery, visit a park, just take a walk. Anything will do to keep you from sitting and brooding about the “dry spell”.

I have two artist friends that seem to ward off  dry spells by drawing every day; they have notebooks of their works. I am not that disciplined and that’s probably why they make a living at their art and my art just keeps my sanity.

One of my friends tries to go out and about every day to see inspiration. He will draw and paint in his notebook people and places around him. Recently at an art fair, I ask him if I could see his journal and he shared it with me. He was in a mall at an art fair, yet found the time to capture the other artists around him. Each entry has the day and date of the week (he told me it was like his day planner). Not only was there an image of his fellow artists but a small drawing of the type of art they were showing. WOW! I spent several minutes looking through his diary and it was such a privilege; I felt like he not only trusted me very much. He had let me see into his soul; it really was a special moment. I did not read his thoughts but just looking at the pictures he had drawn. I left his booth maybe not inspired but feeling sooooo uplifted.

My other artist friend is a former art professor and he lives close to his former university. You can visit him anytime he is in town and he will listen to you and then in his own magical way give you some thoughts to ponder. He never gives you “his answer” because then you would not be working through your problem. Once a week, when he is in town, he holds “tea time”; an open date to just visit with others of like mind, have tea and discuss whatever comes up, such an enlightening way to give so much insight into so many things. It is no wonder all he asks is for you to RSVP your attendance; these events are attended by friends, former students and students who have heard about him through their professors. And even though it may be a crowded place on occasion, you always come away feeling inspired and more than that hopeful, optimistic.

So, I think I will be off to look at my stash and maybe it will trigger something.  I hope you are not having a creative dry spell but if you are, join me by going through your stash and let’s see what happens.  I really hope you can just go stitch and have fun.

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

ttfn…sue

Feb 8th: Feast of Hari-Kuyo

Bloggers and diary writers are left brained.

No apologies, no excuses…I am just totally right brained and when my left brain does click in I don’t think about blogging. I do get messages that some of you out there are still reading my blog and I thank you.

Today I got two emails from a friend in NC, Pam B:

Greetings from NC.  I first learned of the Festival from your blog.  This year I shared it with my local ANG chapter and they too were charmed by the idea.   I am wishing you well and remembering happy stitching times…

and a second email:

Yes, please do get back to your blog!   I miss it and I know that others do too.   I actually had it set up to send me an email when you had a new entry and I often refer to it for how to’s and encouragement to learn new skills.   No guilt — but do come back to us!

 Thank you Pam, it jolted me into the present and a whole bunch of guilt. I have really been remiss in sharing with all of you my stitching friends.  I am sorry and will try to do better.

2018 well loved and used needles

I had been stitching last week and broke a needle, so when I put it in my broken needle bottle I remembered Feb 8th is the Feast of Hari-Kuyo.  I even had the thought that this would be a good day to try and start blogging again. So today when there were two consecutive emails, the first from a Temari friend reminding us that today was the Feast of Hari-Kuyo followed by the second email from my friend Pam. I decided to stop whatever I really wasn’t doing important and to blog. (yes, it does take me getting hit by a two by (four) email to get my attention).

I had been reading the first email that had a link to Wikipedia Hari-Kuyo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari-Kuyo) first and was researching this: “Threads of the five Buddhist colors were used with the needles”. I brought up a sight that listed these colors and their meaning:

Five Main Buddest Colors: “Pancha-varna in Sanskrit” means Five Pure Lights

Order of colors (Blue-White-Red-Green-Yellow) should be either top to bottom or left to right. In top to bottom order, it is to spread good fortune, peace, sympathy and wisdom.

Also look at chart on Five Wisdom Buddas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Tathagatas)

ED NOTE: Can you tell how deep I get into things…no wonder I never have time to blog…

Meanings:

Blue: Purity & Healing

Buddha: Akshobhya  “Immovable One” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akshobhya)

Represents consciousness as an aspect of reality.

Body Part: ears

Element: Air (sky & space)

Meditation: helps transform anger into wisdom

White: Learning & Knowledge

Buddha: Vairocana

Body Part: eyes

Element: water (air & clouds)

Meditation: cut delusion of ignorance to wisdom of reality

Red: Life Force & Meditation

Buddha: Amitabha

Body Part: tounge

Element: fire

Meditation: transforms delusion of attachment into wisdom of discernment

Green: Balance & Harmony

Buddha: Amoghasiddhi

Body Part: head

Element: nature (water)

Meditation: transforms jealousy into wisdom of accomplishment

Yellow: Rootedness & Renunciation

Buddha: Rainasambhava

Body Part: nose

Element: earth

Meditation: transforms pride into wisdom of sameness

These are my needles wrapped for Hari-Kuyo

needles

After about an hour into this first email tangent I returned to my emails…and there was Pam’s email. So I figured it was a “sign” and so I stopped reading my emails and finished wrapping my broken needles so I could blog about all this. I wrapped them in the five Buddhist colors. I put them in a pot in the back yard to bury when the ground thaws (winter and cold here.)

I took pictures, took time to semi get my thoughts together and voila, “Here I am” So now that I have started blogging again, I am making no promises. You can see from my desktop I have way too many irons in the fire and I just seem to juggle everything I want to do to keep my nose above water and I can get carried away on a tangent at a moments notice. I am going to spend some time looking at my blog and seeing where I left off and filling in some of the blanks. In a nutshell, this past year I have:

Not enough time…

*Finally learned to knit…I am a novice at this and have not progressed very well.

*Took up needlefelting, although I have not given this as much attention as it needs

Both of these art forms need practice and I just don’t give them the attention they need. But I do have a small stash to help guilt me into keep trying.

*Taken up beading and I do like this hobby in fact have now expanded

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

my stash to include beads

*Kumihimo both with and without beads.

*AND of course needlepoint. Needlepoint will always be my first love.

*Temari I still like these and need to make them more often

*And various other projects/ideas that are in my stash on buried on my desk.

& more stuff

*And last but not least the finishing of needlepoint I have neglected too.

As I said, I will go back and spend some time looking at my blog to see what I have been neglecting to share and to share some things I have been doing. I am not making any promises as to how often I will post but I do hope you will check back every now and then to see what I have been up to and what I am doing now.

Thank you Pam B for the kick in the backside…

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

ttfn…sue

P.S Dee hope you got an update! And thanks again for reminding me I was neglecting a nice part of my life.

 

Spinning plates and other things

Here I am again; behind…I have so many irons in the fire I look like one of those circus people spinning plates. I move from plate to plate and get nothing finished, BUT  I haven’t dropped a plate… yet.

“Well, that is stopping!” she said with her cold 1st cup of coffee sitting in front of her. You know you need to post when one of your followers (Thank you followers) writes you to be sure her notification of new posts is working.

So today I’m going to show you one of my spinning plates in action…Between my knitting classes, beading (Kumihimo and straight beading classes), and needlepoint I joined Two Temari programs and thought I could keep up. In the process of doing my Temari I pulled out my Temari notebook and…

Yet another thing to do!  My Temari notebook is in a sad state of affairs. It has my original Temari instructions from back in the 80’s. I hand drew all my Temari then.

Then I discovered my computer program, Canvas and re-wrote some instructions in the 90’s and early 2000.

And off and on (mostly off) I have played with yet again rewriting instructions. I am not big on the Japanese terminology in my instructions, but I have two references I keep handy to help me.

And so I started re-re-doing my Temari notebook. So far I have 21 pages done (first 3 pictures below)  and 3 Temari reference pages completed (last picture). My general instructions will be that general and my reference pages will show the specific instructions for that Temari. I guess as long as it makes sense to me, that’s all that matters but I would like to think someone could pick up my notebook and stitch a Temari of their own too. Maybe someday I will offer to let you all read it.

           

I have since come up for air and realized that some things must spin slower. I bowed out of the two Temari programs I signed up to participate in and have become just a lurker on these sites.

My knitting classes are over but I am still knitting…I bought yarn so I have to knit it. Right now I am working on a scarf…it has a few boo-boos but you only learn from your mistakes.

I am only going to beading classes every other week. It really is not an organized class, just a get-to-gether and learn. I do go to a class the 1st Sat of the month and will continue that.

I also am keeping up with needlepoint and go to a stitch-in on Wednesdays at local shop. I have just been doing this every other week too.

I have decided that my attention span is low…I go gung-ho for about two weeks and then I get bored or frustrated and I’m off to another project. I am self-diagnosed ADHD and will just have to learn to live with my erratic behaviors. I have decided when I get frustrated I am going to back off let it sit (right in front of me as not to get lost in the shuffle) and then come back to it another day. I will conquer this Temari notebook.  I have files on my computer of most of the temari I have made so I just need to keep at it.

And to my blogging friends, thank you for putting up with me I hope I bring you a smile or two and maybe even an insight now and then.

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

ttfn…sue

P.S Dee hope you got an update! And thanks again for reminding me I was neglecting a nice part of my life.