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

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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

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

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