Henny Penny

Henny Penny is one of my take-a-long projects; a some small project I can grab if going in the car, to meeting, to doctor appointment. I got her after a friend in the guild passed away and her family had an estate sale. I know I am kind of slow sometimes but when I first got her I was not sure what I was going to do with her, I didn’t see her as an eyeglass case…was thinking picture / pillow insert. But then while stitching her I lost my sunglass eye case and voila here was my new one…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI stitched the background using four shades of ThreadworX blues and “puddled” the stitches. I believe the term “puddle, puddling” was originated by John Waddell (http://johnwaddellneedlepoint.com/index.html) referring to using an overdye and placing a random block of color in one area by placing all the stitching of one color in the same area rather than just stitching in rows (horizontal, vertical or diagonally). I am showing you the back so you can see OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhere I carried the threads from one area to the next (some marked with black ovals) My puddling was not bad but then I also tried Anne Stradal’s (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) method of blending one color into the next with a few random stitches places in the next areas. This was not as successful especially at the top around the head. Sometimes one technique is enough…the KISS principle Kept It Simple Sue.

 
But it is an eyeglass case and unless the Smithsonian contacts me soon that they would like this piece of stitching memorabilia it probably will not be in use in 5 years. Yes, some stitching does have a shelve life and some that should not have a shelf life do too…I have a thing about seeing finished needlework at Estate Sales, flea markets, and thrift stores (my blog: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/rescued/). I try to avoid these encounters as much as possible. I know our families probably will not want all out addictions but they could offer them to our friends, their friends, and just give them away at the next garage sale before sending them to the thrift store. The thrift store seems so homeless and that tugs at my heart…I don’t visit animal shelters either. But I digress (yet again) this is a whole other blog.

 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyway I did the background first and then stitched Henny Penny. Notice how I made sure Henny covered the background. Henny was a fun quick stitching piece; but then I got a bee in my bonnet as how to finish. My bank gives away these lovely OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAeyeglass cleaner towelss and they are pretty big (5×8 inches). So I headed to the bank office and of course they were out…so I just kept asking until in sheer frustration they ordered them and I got a few…let’s just say I can do a couple more eyeglass cases should I so desire…And I intend to stockpile a few more, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnever know when they might decide this is too good a deal to continue.  I finished the eyeglass case by lining it with the eyeglass cleaners from the bank and so every time I put my glasses away they at least get the fronts wiped off. And I can pull out the lining and clean glasses, computer screens, tablets…you get the idea. Someone asked me about washing I guess you could hand wash and then when it is dry spray with cleaner stuff and let re-dry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anyway that’s one of the many irons in my fire that can be removed…a finally finished project. I wish I had more FFPs than Works in Progress (WiP)…because some days I feel really overwhelmed. But today I am off to work on the Value of Gray, sit outside on this beautiful fall day and read some of my favorite blogs.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to enjoy this beautiful fall day and stitch today!
ttfn…sue

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Different Threads

Liam…another project stitched… and a disclaimer…If the designer suggests threads I would use them…she probably has spent a good deal of time choosing these threads. That said, let me show you what happens when I don’t follow my own advice.

Anne's piece

Anne’s piece

Anne Stradal (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) at ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) stitched Liam this way, it is her design.

I stitched my Liam with these threads.

I used the same stitches but I decided to use threads in my stash rather than purchase new ones. I used

My Liam

My Liam

some threads that are out of production but thought they would work.
The only area that did not work for me was the scarf. My thread choice was not variegated enough to make the stitch show direction. The swag of the scarf should show a horizontal direction/pattern while the ends should be a vertical direction/pattern. I will just have to outline the horizontal swag of the scarf to delineate it more.

Anne's in B&W

Anne’s in B&W

mine in B&W

mine in B&W

But for the most part my threads did work; mine are darker thread choices but the values changes are the similar and they work; look at the black & white photos. The jackets are the lightest value with the lapels being slightly darker than the jacket but lighter than the rest. The pants and the next darker value, followed by the scarf and then the outlines are the darkest value. Anne’s has 6 values in her piece and mine only looks like 5 values; my pants and scarf are the closer in value, but both work…Anne’s is just more correct.

Learning to check values in a piece is a good thing to know. You can do this with your phone camera or digital camera (most have a black & white setting) or a copy machine will work too. It is a good tool to use when choosing your threads for a painted canvas. Lay the threads on the canvas close to the areas you will be stitching; take a picture of them using the black and white setting on your camera or lay them on the copy machine to do the same. If the values of the threads are close or right on to the painted canvas the threads will work.
If while you are stitching something doesn’t please you or look quite right, take a black and white picture and check the values of the colors being used. If a color is off it is most likely the value of the color and not the color…the value of the color will either blend with the other choices or stand out as too light or dark. Value choices are the biggest mistake we make when using color.
On a completely different though…I hope all United States citizens have a Happy 4th of July and for those of you across the ponds from us, have a great day. And may we all get to stitch today and all week-end …Thank you for stopping by today!

ttfn…sue

My plate broke But I am back…Toppy too…

I am so sorry I have been gone for a couple weeks but my plate finally broke and I just had to let some things go. I have a huge project on my desk right now, but yesterday I felt like I had gotten a grip on it and I could breath.

And to compound things I also got an infection and the medicine almost did me in…this is truly a case of the cure was worse than the disease! I am allergic to penicillin but the doctor assured me it was a new variety and so I tried it. Gave me a shot in the office and I had no adverse reaction, so I took the prescription. Three days later I my stomach was churning and my head pounding so hard I thought some kid was sitting outside my house with his “bass woofers” turned up. Stopped that prescription, called the doctor, he sent a second prescription…took one pill and that was it. I was NOT going to die from the cure! No more meds…if the infection comes back I will deal with it then. This all happened the week-end of St. Patrick and last Saturday (March 24th ) was the first day I felt normal.

Needless to say, Torin Ailfred O’Patrick was not well rounded for St. Paddy’s day. He was finished stitching, BUT flat.  He  was finished before I hit rock bottom and was headed for the finishing table but only made it as far as the mantle to share his space proudly with the navy (one grandson) on the mantle). Toppy knows next year he will be a well-rounded leprechaun.

Toppy got His finishing touches; gold buckles and buttons …buttons were upright cross/French knots: Small horizontal straight stitch and vertical French knot,  a nice filling stitch.

Remember the marks I made at Toppy’s shoes? This was to remember where the shamrocks had been and I couched shamrock sequins.

Toppy’s bag of shamrocks is needleweaving. First I basketweaved his gold bag , then couched shamrocks and over that needleweaving using a buttonhole  stitch. Start at the bottom with straight stitches and then buttonhole up to desired size adding and reducing stitches as needed. This stitch is worked from left to right; just sink thread on right and carry back to left side. The detached buttonholed may be worked first and then the embellishments just placed in the buttonhole bag.

Toppy wanted his mustache and hair to be his crowning glory. I filled his beard with directional straight stitches and overstitched them to give a fuller appearance; I even filled in the mustache area. Over these stitches I did two very long bullion knots for his mustache and couched it into place.

And his crowning glory…over 1000 French Knots…TMI(too much info)?  That’s just the guess-tee-mate because I piled them on just to give him a thick set of curly locks.

This is my temporary desk piled high with 5 Fed EX envelopes delivered to me during my melt down…I worked when I could and had most completed in time but Tuesday was the first day I felt almost caught up .

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Too many irons and Toppy too

You know for a woman who hates ironing I have a lot of them in the fire right now. I have not taken a stitch all week except on the computer. I forgot to post on my blog last week and so now I am feeling behind and I am sorry that poor Toppy has taken a back seat to other things.

But Toppy has duds and is feel’n mighty proud…and now he has shoes, sock and a hat. From a week ago and he will get hair and other stitches this week (I hope)…Then I hope I can remember not to leave him on the finishing table until 4th of July (my usual handling of needlework.)

From the pictures you can see that I should not be stitching with a cat and dog close by…not sure who is the culprit… but Very Velvet is a magnet for pet hair. And since we have had no winter to speak of the animals at our house have been shedding all winter, than goodness for lint rollers!

Toppy’s socks are linen thread overlapping cross stitches over two threads. I covered the shamrocks…you will see why later…

I needed some extra black rows for Toppy’s shoes (yes, he has lifters)…I added the two rows using my new favorite marker: Copic sketch (http://www.copiccolor.com/) (http://www.copicmarker.com/). More about these later…I’ll put them on my to write about list…they are too cool. I also added two rows to his hat…not for stitching but for finishing. Sometimes when you turn the canvas you get a grin through and this will help minimize grin through. But that’s finishing and I’m still stitching. And tose little straight lines under the shoe areas are marks for the shamrocks.

Toppy’s shoes are stitched with Rainbow Gallery Patent Leather…the real one. This thread is pricy and breaks easily (see previous blog on how to work with delicate threads: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/dressed-to-the-nine/) …But is worth the effort…sorry Sister Ann Marie (aka Sister SAM), she did not like patent leather shoes (old bad joke). You should stitch with short lengths no longer than 12 inches; must lay this thread front & back (see picture left) Even Rainbow Gallery recommends laying this thread front and back {http://rainbowgallery.com/JaysTips.html#20}); and straight stitches are best for maximum effect. I have always stitched Patent Leather in Gobelin Stitches and I lay it front and back always! That’s why I added two threads to his shoes I needed at least two threads for the Gobelin stitches under and over the gold buckles. Patent Leather is so classy and well worth the effort..sorry Sister SAM.

I also used Patent Lather for the belt on his coat and two horizontal straight stitches in his hat.

Toppy’s hat is stitched mostly using Very Velvet. The body of the hat is stitch in brick stitches, stitched on the horizontal. The brim of the hat is Continental stitches stitched 2 directions and the brim is filled with a Gobelin pattern fill. I stitched the Continental stitches with short lengths (12 inches or less) to minimize the wear on Very Velvet thread. I added the cross stitch (over 1 thread) buckle and one horizontal straight stitch.

I think I have added all the gold with Kreinik #8 Braid (http://www.kreinik.com/ ) where gold needs to be. I usually keep a needle threaded on my magnet with Kreinik to add these small embelishments as I go. This week I will try and do the gold bag also.

I will try to better this week but I still have a few hot irons still needing attention (Hint: hot irons = new class projects for stitchers). Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Dressed to the nine

Before I begin I want to insert a couple personal comments.

This week Jane over at Chilly Hollow’s blog (http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/) wrote about my blog. What an honor that was, Thank you Jane. I noticed an increase of traffic to my blog but did not realize what was happening until I read Jane’s blog later in the morning. Needless to say, had I more visits to my blog than ever. Thank you Jane. AND Thank you to all of you who took a few moments to visit and read my blog, I hope you will return.

I also had this comment from Deborah Hubbard from South Africa (it is posted to the blog too) but I thought it worth quoting…

“You might like to know that here in South Africa we use the word (not name, but hey) Toppie (with a long aw sound) for an old gentleman. Usually a pleasant one, but it’s also a good word for muttering under your breath if the driver ahead of you shows signs of strange behavior! Either way, it’s perfect for a leprechaun, and I’m pretty sure he knows that and somehow suggested it to you …”

I did not know this but I’m sure Deborah is correct and Toppy picked his name…he just has that look about him.

Okay back to Toppy…

Last week-end Toppy got duds…His shirt is a windowpane pattern stitched in Continental & Basketweave stitches using linen threads. First a dark green outline was laid and then filled with the white. Notice that the pot of shamrocks is being covered, BUT they  will return (that’s the main reason I take a picture of canvases before I start stitching…at my age I could forget what was there or just because sometimes on larger canvases it takes time to start adding the embellishments.)

His suit is Velvet, so soft but requires a wee bit o’ patience to stitch. Very Velvet threads need to be cut short, really no longer than 12-15 inches…a good quick measuring tool is from fingers to elbow. Use a larger sized needle, this will help open up the holes of the canvas and allow the thread to pass more quickly with less friction. Place the needle a ½ inch onto the thread and DO NOT move around in the needle. The pictures on the right show how thread will wear.  Sometimes the thread will break and then the needle needs to be moved in another ½ inch.

Toppy’s jacket is stitched in Mosaic stitch. Notice the letters on my jacket (A-B-C-D). This was the order my jacket was stitched in case one card of Very Velvet did not allow my entire jacket to be stitched. There did not appear to be a change in dye lots but sometimes these subtle variations do not show up until after stitching is completed. Should a new card have been needed it would have been used in ALL of area D.

There is a psychological reason for this…we read words from left to right and we also usually scan pictures from left to right. If the thread needed to be changed and there had been a slight variance in the dye lot it probably would have be skimmed across and areas C & A would have been the last the eye would have scanned and since they are identical the mind would have dismissed the first B-D variance.

The sleeves are padded Horizontal Gobelins. The padding of the sleeves was done with the Very Velvet but #5 perle coton could have been used for the padding to conserve thread usage. See how the sleeves stand up off the jacket?

The pants are also Very Velvet but a darker green and they are stitch in Diagonal Gobelin. You would also stitch these in a special order if using 2 cards of threads. In this case the two outside areas would be stitched first because when finished they well be adjacent to each other. The two inside areas are separated by other stitches and will show less change.

The ideal thing is to not to run out of thread or to have to use threads from two separate cards. Buy enough thread to stitch a piece at the same time! AND this WILL NOT work for obvious dye lot changes in threads. But occasionally it will happen that you have to use more than one card of a thread and if you cannot use either a needle blending or stitch technique to blend these threads together this is another way to minimize the subtle changes that might occur. This only works IF the dye lot change is hardly noticeable or if you are unsure that the cards were purchased at the same time. Remember not to place two different cards of threads adjacent to each other or where they will touch when finished. Also try to place in the most inconspicuous areas. Toppy’s sleeves would have been the best area to change threads  since the stitch also changes and “the mind” would have probably attributed this small color change to light play on the stitches.

So now Toppy has duds and is feel’n mighty proud…next socks, shoes and a hat, then he’ll get some hair too.

Little long today…but

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue