Let it Snow

You cannot pre-write a snow blog, so this one is off the cuff. Even my Lucy would not go out without her coat and she was none to happy about this, but her legs were crossed and her brown eyes were turning yellow. She wasted no time and you can tell by the look on her face she was none too happy that I thought a picture would be cute.

This is definitely a sit by the fire, have hot tea, take a nap, play on the internet, read the blogs and stitch day.  We are expecting 5 to 8 inches expected; we have 5 inches already and it is not stopping until tonight. Oh well, it’s the first really big snow of the year, I have tea and stitching…I’ll survive and I’m not complaining…last year was our 20 year big snow year so I’ll just put the teapot on and live through this snow and the next two really cold days. I also have Tortilla Soup I fixed for the Family Sunday dinner yesterday and soup is always better the second day! So I’ll fix a salad and dinner is done.

Hope everyone has time to stitch today (and stay warm)!  ttfn…sue

P.S. Lucy has found her spot for the next few days.

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Odds & Ends

I have mentioned several projects and never finished up on them. So today is my catch up day.

3rd Eagle has already flown my coup and is happily perched at his new home with #3 Eagle Grandson  AJD. At his Eagle reception it was noted that the next one is possibly 10 years away…I may not live that long (no, there is nothing wrong with me today…but only The Big Guy knows when my time is up) so, I have decided to stitch the remaining three possible candidates and have them preserved like a wedding dress and then when the time comes, someone will add the year and have it framed. I’ll keep you posted on this progress.

Namesake Granddaughter piece also has gone to it’s new home. She is such a good girl (must take after her namesake), she slept through the entire baptism, nary a peep (not her namesake). 

And Lucy is finally hanging on the wall. I showed Lucy her picture and she growled at it…must mean she thinks it looks like her. I Love Lucy!

I took a class from Sue Reed the 3rd weekend in April and have finished stitching the piece. I lent it to a friend that was unable to attend the class so she could get an idea of what the piece should resemble. I have not decided how to finish the project, but am leaning to a pillow.

AND I completed Eagle #4 and will take it to the cleaners to have packaged & preserved next week. I thought I would do #5 and #6 too but decided that I burn out when I repeat stitch and #6 might not look too good. So…

I need to take time off from projects that have to be completed, stitching eagles and do something else. So I am completing my Deborah Forney HO-HO-Ho Santa (http://www.deborahforney.com/) . Another class I took last year and haven’t stitched on since. I am following the instructions and stitching each section top to bottom. I think there are a couple of places I will do something differently but so far straight from her teaching guide to my canvas. Something for me unless I decide to give it away.

ttfn…sue

Starting 2010

We are 12 days into 2010 and I am just getting around to posting. This year I am going to make no promises about how often I will post. I seem to get bogged down in self-inflicted promises to myself.

2009 was a good year and a bad year. Seemed like everything would go along just fine and then the bottom would fall out.

Nov 1st was one of the blackest days of the year. My friend Patty Morrison unexpectedly passed away . Patty was my needlework finisher and friend. It was quite a loss to her family and friends. Patty had the most infectious smile, bright outlook and happy attitude that you could not help but be uplifted by her even if you were just talking to her on the phone. It was a loss that will be felt throughout this needlework community for a long time. I will never pick up a gold thread again and not think of Patty; her company name is “A Thread of Gold”. Her friend and assistant is going to carry on and that is a complement and credit to Patty.

Started out 2009 with computer problems and ended 2009 the same way. This last episode fried the hard drive…bad news…but… good news…I was backing up the hard drive when it happened and so far looks like hopefully 95% of my data was saved. I have encountered a few problems but so far nothing I can’t repair or redo. And I found a computer angel who didn’t charge me an arm and a leg just to look at my computer and then turn it on at an hourly rate. He was so considerate too. Called me with 2 hours of having my baby and gave me the preliminary diagnoses and kept me informed every step of the way about what he was doing and the approximate co$t. I never realized how dependent I have become on this baby to keep me informed, connected and entertained. Now she is home, better than new (she got a memory enhancement too), and is  appreciated more than ever and I have a new angel in my life.

Since Dec24, we have had nothing but snow and cold, cold & snow… I do not mind the white stuff within reason, and as long as it is white and not dirty gray. I would prefer it came and went in small increments of 3-6 inches at a time but this winter it has been 3-6 inches on top of 3-6 inches and still more 3-6 inches. AND if it hasn’t been snowing, it is colder than…well I’ll let you file in the rest…cold and windy, with wind chills in the negative double digits. Here is a picture of my patio over the week-end.

With the wind and the cold it was hard to keep me and the house warm. I even had to get gloves so I could stitch…

 

And Lucy, well Lucy had her own way of dealing with the cold…

You want me to go where?

She gave Stewey at Spinster Stitcher (http://spinsterstitcher.blogspot.com) a run for the blanket. I don’t think she came out of this blanket more than three times a day for three days. And when she did come out the look was too much, I really think she expected me to go outside too (Thank goodness for indoor plumbing) and I know she would have preferred me to spoon feed her. I tried to explain to her that moving around kept your blood moving but I don’t think she believe a woman sitting next to a fireplace, under an electric lap robe with fingerless gloves stitching or reading and sipping warm tea. Oh well, it is a Mom-my-lism (Things your mother used to say, that you are NEVER going to repeat to your children): “A case of do as I say and not as I do”.

We all have survived and yesterday it was a sunny 30 degrees…felt like the tropics of January. Today we are back to gray and 20 degrees…too many people must have been doing a happy dance and getting out of their cabins. But it is double digit degrees in the positive and no white stuff.

And that is the last few months in a blog post. My family all live close (sometimes too close) and are all relatively healthy. My computer is back in the pink. These are all blessings and a great way to start the 2010 New Year and my third year blogging.

ttfn…sue

How I Random Stitch

dog #1 starting pointsBefore I ever stitch, I Goggle pictures of animals if I am not familiar with the animal to see how nature makes this animal’s fur/feathers grow (I did this for the eagle, Leopold, (more about these later) and I had the original picture I used to have Lucy painted). I look at the canvas and get an idea of how I want the fur to I look and visualize the stitched piece.  I visualize how I think the areas move or change and I begin to divide the areas into sections. You could make a copy of the canvas and draw lines on the copy to help if you are not a visual person. I look for starting points in the pictures; ( See the top drawing at left: everything somwhat radiates from dog #2 direction of furthe red dot but the red T are some of the parts in the fur…just like the parts in our hair.) Then find the best starting point on my canvas. Sometimes there is more than one starting point and sometimes it is not a point but a line or area. There is no one correct way…ever had a bad hair day?! (second drawing are suggsted stitching lines )  Then Unlike the diagram I am showing, I work in small sections. I will randomly pick an area and stitch the first line of fur (for our discussion the purple stitches shown on the diagram) then I will stitch the blue stitches. I fill in this area or sometimes will do several of these divisions (see Lucy picture yesterday); dog #2 direction of stitchingthen I fill in these areas. I save the single overstitches until large areas are completed; then you can see the areas that need a different color or need to be lighter / darker.I try to make all the stitches work as I am stitching but I have done my fair share “Frog Stitching.”  I have even taken complete areas out, but like any technique, the more you use it the better you get. But the beauty of Random Stitching is that if you have the general direction of the fur correct, you can add subsequent layers of additional color to help make the fur realistic.

 

I do Random Stitching a bit different, but does that surprise anyone who knows me.

  • Long & Short  for blog #1: I use a Chenille needle (I use a Chenille needle for much of my stitching, but this is another day’s blog). Chenille needles are sharp and will pierce not only the threads but the canvas as well.  #2: And I stitch from the lower to the upper (clean hole to filled area.) I do this so I can change the direction of the line and still connect to previous stitches. Notice I did not say filled hole, you may not be using a filled hole…I have even been known to pierce the canvas threads if need be. I usually use a minimum of two strands/plies of thread when I am stitching the base layer and I try to split these strands/ plies as I stitch. The base of my Random Stitching is done the way diagramed but then the stitches on top are randomly stitched and can come up anywhere and go down anywhere.

     Another secret is the thread. I use mostly Epic yarns for my fur (http://www.epicyarn.com/index.html ). I have also used Felicity’s Garden and Newport Harbor threads from Rosebud Designs (http://www.rosebud-studio.com/yarn-menu.htm). All these threads have dyelot changes but when you are doing Random Stitch this doesn’t matter as it would if you were stitching a background with this thread, you want the subtle changes of color for fur.

     This is a brief general method of how I stitch Random Stitching. My best advice, jump in and try it, practice, practice, practice. Next blog I’ll show you some of the feathers and furs I have stitched.

    ttfn…sue

  • Week-end Stitching

    LucyFriday I was looking for something in my den and found “Lucy.” I had not forgotten about her…hard to do since she is at my feet all the time…but her needlepoint had just gotten put aside …out of site out of mind. All that was left to stitch was Lucy’s fur…so this weekend I stitched lots of Lucy.

     I am one of those people who like to do “Long & Short” stitch. Some stitchers are put-off by the term “Long and Short” Stitch, others go into stitching shock at the mere mention of this stitch…the only thing worse would be to tell these stitchers to use Marlitt. I learned very quickly to avoid the L&S words whenever possible, instead I prefer “Random Stitching or Directional Stitching.” These terms do not seem to strike terror in the eyes of stitchers; their eyes do not glaze over and sometimes you can even get them to try the stitch before they realize that this might be the dreaded L&S.

    I also think that Random Stitching is one of those stitches you have to be in the mood to stitch. If you are up tight (been there) or tired (been there too), you may not be open to the creative free spirit needed to stitch Random Stitch freely.

    Bk Creative NddlptOne of the best books in my library about creative free stitching  is Robert Cates’ book: Creative Needlepoint.  I bought this book many years ago at an ANG Bookstore but I have seen it on Amazon at different times.  I loved the way he stitched his designs freely and experimented with threads, textures and stitches. He bent the rules and colored outside the lines!

    So this week I am going to blog about Random Stitching. I’ll show you my method of stitching,  how I decide where to begin and  I’ll also show you some of the different pieces I have stitched.

    ttfn…sue

    Lucy is back

    09-lucy-pawsPoor little Lucy got lost in the shuffle. That and the fact that I hit a stitching block. See her paws? Well they were driving me nuts, I think I took them out 3-4 times. I decided to put her up and wait to see if this last stitching would not bother me as time passed. Time passed, 4 months and the Lucy canvas had worked her way to my workroom. Remember I said you can almost tell what date it was by the pile…Lucy is about September. Anyway I found her and she is now residing on the family room mantle to remind me she is around. I have decided her paws are fine and have begun to stitch her head. I have stitched her lower lip and dark lines by her eyes. Random stitching (aka: Long and Short) is one of my favorite things to do, especially animal fur. I love the way the animal comes to life on the canvas.  I’ll try to find pictures of two of my favorites and post soon.

    Today, I am off to the doctor…nothing serious just want to have something checked out.

    ttfn…sue

    Lucy has ears & eyes

    Lucy eyes and ears 3 Lucy eyes and ears 1 Lucy got eyes and ears this week and in fact has some of her legs stitched now. But for today’s post I want to talk about her eyes and ears.

    Lucy’s eyes are stitched with DMC floss in basketweave whenever possible; otherwise it is a continental stitch when necessary. And yes, I carried the threads from one eye to the other…I measured it’s less than 14 threads and since she is painted on 18 mesh canvas that translates to less than one inch…and I’d have done it anyway.  Although her pupils appear to be black they are stitched with 6 strands DMC floss #3371 and 1 strand of Kreinik Blending Filament: #005HL Black. I try to remember to do this to all my eyes, it adds just a tad of sparkle in certain light. The outer eye color is 6 strands DMC floss #3860 and the small areas of white are 6 strands DMC floss #822. White and black floss seemed to stark and so I frog stitched and re-stitched them again.   Around the outside of her eyes I did a stem/outline stitch using  1 strand Epic #201 Earth. When I finished stitching her eyes I thought she looked a bit bug eyed, but then she is a bit bug eyed  and I think when her fur is stitched , it will tone these eyes down.

    Lucy’s ear were stitched in a random basketweave, shading these areas using a needle blending technique. Her ears are stitched using 6 strands DMC floss. I started with her inner ear using the lightest pink color DMC #754. Next I added several stitches using 3 stands of the lightest pink color DMC #754 and 3 strands of the dark pink DMC #3859 blended in the needle. I did not lay these threads because I wanted them to fall as they would. I completed the inner ear pink areas with 6 strands of dk pink DMC floss #3859. I next outlined her ears with 6 strands dark cocoa brown DMC #3860. I filled the remaining parts of the ears with random basketweave stitches using three needles filled with:

    1. 6 strands DMC lt cocoa #3861

    2. 4 strands DMC lt cocoa #3861 and 2 strands dark pink #3859

    2. 2 strands DMC lt cocoa #3861 and 4 strands dark pink #3859.

    As I was stitching the ears, I wasn’t sure I was going to like them either…but then I am usually over critical of my own stitching. I do hate to “frog stitch” and so usually have been able to talk myself into a wait and see attitude. When I finished stitching these area I set her away from me and just looked at her. Now I think these areas are going to work…and of course I am stitching another area so I am critical of the new area now…

    Until next time…ttfn sue