The Tale of Three Sunflower

These three little sunflower canvases have been lying on my desk for a couple years and I guess I never blogged about the original design either.

About 2 years ago my guild asked me to stitch a free Laura Perin design. I thought it was a Rainbow Gallery freebie but when I went to look for it to give credit I could not find on either Rainbow Gallery webpage (https://www.rainbowgallery.com/) nor Laura Perin (http://www.laurajperindesigns.net/index.html) webpage.  And I’m sorry but I don’t even remember the title of the design.

The guild also wanted me to offer alternative ideas in beading for the center of the sunflower using beads; one guild member called it “messy beading.” Since I didn’t know what “messy beading” was I stitch the design as diagramed and then stitched three other center designs in the beading techniques I was familiar with. I liked all three methods of beading techniques; each technique creates its own look and I can see using in on different canvases for a special effect.

I use Miyuki beads whenever possible, Toho are also excellent beads too. I use mostly Miyuki because that is what I started with and although the beads may be intermixed, there is a very slight size difference. There are many seed beads on the market and they are not all equal; I would stick with Japanese seed bead Manufactures, Mill Hill or a source I knew I could trust. Beading is a whole blog(s) unto itself so I will just say if you are starting beading, buy one manufacturer and stick with them. I will also add an addendum to this if you buy a kit, don’t throw the beads away, use them. We will assume that whoever kits the project uses the best beads available for the project; if you find this to be untrue then substitute your favorite beads for the project.

The first sunflower used round 11/0 seed beads and made loops of beads. This is the technique I would call “messy beading” you string several beads on beading thread and make loops. I like this technique, but it will catch easily and so be careful where you use it. You could secure each loop so that if one loop breaks they all won’t come unraveled.

 

The next sunflower technique is similar to “French knots on a Stick” but they stand straight up; it could be considered another messy beading technique. It is another technique that will catch easily and so you might want to secure each spike so all will not unravel. Although you can’t see in this picture, nor can you see looking straight on the sunflower I stitched this using two different beads (see diagrams). On the four corners I used a small bugle bead topped with a seed bead. The rest of the beading was stitched using all seed beads. I didn’t think of this until just now but using different lengths of bugle beads would make an interesting effect.

Note: I did not secure either of the above but I am not using where they might be snagged.

And the last sunflower was stitched in basketweave using cylinder beads. It is just basketweave adding a bead to each stitch. What makes this technique special are the beads; they are cylinder seed beads; Miyuki names theirs Delica beads, Toho’s are Aiko, and Mill Hill are Magnifica. I guess you could use regular seed beads but I’m not sure the technique would stand out like it does with the cylinder beads.

I found this Basketweave technique from Associated Talents in their stitch guide section (http://www.atneedlepoint.com/CanvasLookup.asp?Category=Guides). I wrote and asked if I might use this and the owner graciously gave me permission. Since there was not a diagram of this technique I created one. Basketweave done with Delica beads (cylinder beads) is sooooo cool; the light refraction really looks woven.

 

 

 

 

 

Okay so that’s why and how I stitched the three little sunflowers….BUT since then these three beaded canvases have been on there little wooden stitching frames were just lying on my desk area gathering dust. The large one is put away waiting for the black box I haven’t found yet; and if all else fails I have a black frame in my stash that will work.  One day I did find a black shadow box frame that I thought would be great for them but I didn’t have a mat cut just bought the frame.

And then this January Kimberly Smith posted this fabulous finishing technique for pictures using beads and I knew that my sunflowers had just been waiting for this method. I am so excited about a new way of finishing I learned from Kimberly Smith; you can find the complete instructions here: http://akimberlydesign.blogspot.com/2019/01/sharing-techniques.html

I followed her instructions and the only things I would suggest are:

 

Start away from a corner; it seemed to make the corner beads lie smoother when you turn the canvas.

 

 

Watch for loops of unruly thread when beading…fix immediately! You don’t want unruly threads coming loose and have a hanging bead later.

 

 

I wanted no grin through or as little as possible…I didn’t think about this until I had already finished one canvas so I was very careful about marking that canvas. But with my trusty Copic black marker I darkened the canvas to minimize the white grin through. I also bought a piece of black core foam board since I didn’t want any white to be seen.

 

 

I thought the hardest part was getting the three little sunflowers in the frame evenly…But unless you have more than one canvas in a frame this should be no problem.

 

There are two questions I forgot to ask: (If you are reading this please comment or I’ll add an addendum later when I find answers.)

  1. Is there a limit to the size canvas you can use this method?
  2. My canvas was even count and so the corners came out even. How do you compensate for odd count canvas?

NOW I have another finished needlepoint…Yeah! One down many to go….

Hope you all had a Bang up 4th of July.

Thank You for stopping by.  I hope you have time to stitch today and every day.

ttfn…sue

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

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

Burrrrrrrrr: Ann Strite-Kurz More catching up…

ED Note: I was out of my blogging phase when I stitched this and so pictures are incomplete…I am trying to be better now that I am back to blogging about taking pictures as I stitch. But sometimes I get carried away and forget…

After I finished Mr & Mrs I took a couple weeks off and just did knitting or Kumihimo…anything without beads. But one day I was looking through my stash and came across this piece. I have always loved it, it is an adaptation of a Charlie Harper print and I love Charlie Harper prints.

Ann-Strite Kurz (https://www.annstritekurz.com/ ) has always been one of my favorite teachers. If you read Ann’s resume it is very impressive…she is one of those teachers who has forgotten more than some of us will ever learn.

I own many of her books and I follow her article every month, Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways, in Needlepoint Now (https://www.needlepointnow.com/). Our guild had her teach an applique class one time and I loved it; I still use the techniques I learned in this class.

I love her work but was never able to get into one of her classes at ANG national seminars…My luck of the draw never seemed to work and most of her classes seemed to go to lottery.

Somewhere along my stitching path I had acquired one of Ann’s teaching pieces, Br-r-r-r-rdbath, (probably a stash sale or someone gave this to me). It has been one of my favorite pieces for a long time and had been waiting it’s turn in my stash, so I pulled it out…time to do an Ann piece.

Ann’s books are so well written that I knew her instructions would be no less and they were everything I expected them to be…excellent. Ann’s instructions and diagrams are some of the best. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into…I was looking for a fun easy stitch but this was going to be a learning piece. But you know what I have always loved this piece so it became my at home project.

First you basted guide lines on the canvas and then I started the design…

First you stitch the Smyrna outlines (dotted lines in picture)…then you started the border designs. The borders (A & B in picture) are truly a lesson in “Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways”! If I remember correctly, there were at least four steps to each border and then BEADING. Remember I said I was trying to avoid another beading project? Well at least you waited until the design was completed to add beading maybe I would recover from the Mr & Mrs beading.

 

Then I started the design part of the piece and every area was a review of a previously learned skill or an adaptation Ann has created to enhance this design (area C the birdbath.)  I loved stitching this piece…okay maybe love is a strong word but I liked the challenge it presented. The leaves (D in picture) became a challenge for me and then I decided, this was my piece and I was stitching it for me and so if the leaves were giving me a fit I needed to adapt and overcome. The leaves became my change to the piece; I had stitched the first two (D in picture) as instructed and was having a devil of a time, so the rest of the leaves are my adaptation of the instructions. This was my fun relaxing piece and I was keeping it that way. I’m the only one (and now you too) that notices that the leaves are a bit different …but then aren’t all leaves in nature different?!

 

The body of the bird was a relaxing stitch, nothing I didn’t know how to do. But the wings were my next challenge. I love the look of Blackwork but it is really a technique you have to study to be really good at it. Ann’s instructions were wonderful and easy to follow. I made a couple mistakes but Blackwork is a technique some spend a lifetime perfecting. If you would like to pursue this technique, there are several books written about this technique. Here are the ones I have in my library:

Ilse Altherr; Reversible Blackwork, Book 1 and Blackwork & Holbein, Book 2

Becky Hogg; Blackwork RSN Essential Sitch Guide.

Marion Scoular; Why Call It Blackwork?, Folio of Blackwork Patterns

Ann Strite-Kurz; The Heart of Blackwork

Leslie Wilkens; Blackwork Made Easy;

Jane Zimmerman; Blackwork Embriodery Patterns, The Art of English Blackwork

By the time this piece was completed and I was ready to start the beading, I had decided that I would add the sequins (you use a bead here to attach the sequins) but the border was going to be sans beading. I liked the look and I was not into that much beading again.

So here is another project under my belt and it is also in a ready-made frame. I really do like framing  pieces when I can do it myself, and then they don’t end up in my to finish later pile. So another project is completed but I still have more to catch up and then maybe by summer I will be back to finishing projects or sewing.

BTW, if you really love Charlie Harper designs, the Meredith Collection (http://themeredithcollection.com/) has them in needlepoint;  you can see them at The Meredith Collection: http://themeredithcollection.com/collection/charley-harper/needlepoint.

When I get caught up on some of my stash, I will add to my collection here.

 

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

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