More on 1st Communion crosses

I have done three 1st Communion Crosses, each is a bit different, but I still planned them all out on graph paper before stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

I plan out on graph paper the name and design before I begin stitching. I use an alphabet that is 9 stitches high for uppercase and 5 stitches high for lowercase letters. Whatever method of framing you decide to use, your design MUST be planned on graph paper.  Plan your design out first on graph paper, remember to allow for open space around the design area I usually figure 5 threads on each side for this type of design….although you usually are going to get extra space by choosing a standard mat..

I count the lines of the graph paper (each line represents a thread of canvas)  and divide by the needlepoint canvas thread count to see what type of design I might be able to use; i.e. square or rectangle. This will also let you know if you can use a pre-cut mat and frame (my favorite). If I had a long name  I might consider making a rectangular piece from the start

For example: a name like Christopher Robin is long…by my quick calculations this rectangle stitching would need minimum 87 by 105 threads. This translates to 87 divided by 18 count canvas equals 4.8333 inches of 5 inch opening and 105 threads divided by 18 count canvas equals 5.833333 opening or 6 inch opening , Since standard mats usually are 5 x 7 inch openings. I would be look for a shadow box frame with a precut mat with a 5×7 inch opening or find a frame I liked and have a 5 x 7 inch mat cut to fit the frame.

The best method is to have your piece stitched when you go to look for the frame. If you are lucky you will find a precut mat and frame; otherwise you may have to have a mat cut to fit a premade frame. But remember sometimes this still does not work and you are going to have to bite the bullet and the piece custom framed. EDNOTE: If you are planning to  enter a piece to be judged, then you MUST have the piece custom framed. …There are framing rules too, maybe not rules but guidelines or ratios of mat size to frame size…Your framer will know these, I don’t; I just know if I like the way it looks matted and framed.

 

Other things I did to make stitching easier for me:

I tent stitch the grape areas first. This gives me an idea how they will look and it is easier to remove tent stitches than it is French or Colonial knots. Then when I stitch the grapes if I am using an overdye I use the puddle stitch technique to stitch the knots. I learned this from John Waddle years ago and blogged about it once but I will repeat it since it was years ago that I wrote about puddle stitching.

Puddle stitch method:  

I do not cut the overdye thread in this instance (some overdyes are pre-cut but the method is the same.)

Here is a graphic of a length of an overdye thread; I have numbered each segment with an arbitrary number of stitiches (10-8-12-6-etc…). Notice that there are three circled 10’s; these are the beginning of the repeat. The numbering has no significance in puddle stitching other than to show the repeat and the number of stitches I arbitrarily assigned to each area.

The next graphic shows this overdye thread stitched in Continental Horizontal rows (top left), Basketweave (bottom left) and then puddle stitching on the right. I attached the sequence numbering to all these so you could compare to the first graphic and follow he sequence of stitching. The puddle stitching is a bit hard to follow but you can and there is no method to this it is just a random thing.
Puddle stitching is nothing but a group of stitches randomly placed together to form a puddle of color. You could call this method a glob, blob, whatever you choose to call it…but then it would have to be glob stitching, blob stitching and I like puddle stitching best. Remember this is not my technique I learned it from John Waddell (http://johnwaddellneedlepoint.com/index.html)  in his Fun with Overdye class.

If this has confused you more I am sorry but just drop me note and I’ll see if I can do better or take a class from John, he’s really good or maybe your local shop can help you.

Making a twist:

I sometimes make a tiny twist of usually 2 ply floss to be the stem of my flowers or in this case wheat.

I showed how to make a twist here: (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/all-twisted-up-making-cording/) and this twist is the same but it is only an 18 inch length of thread so I usually just twist between my fingers.

Once the twist is make I use a larger needle. I thread the twist into this needle to start stitching. I bring the twist to the front of the canvas leaving the knot on the backside…I know the rule about knots and needlepoint but there are exceptions to every rule.

I’m showing you the back of the my stitching because that’s where all the work can be seen! The free form shape in picture is my beginning knot. The rectangle is the line I couched the twist on the front with second needle using 1 ply floss. And the circle is a picture of how I end this twist.

Ending the twist depends on if there is enough twist to use again. If there is enough twist to use again make two overhang knots as shown in picture and cut between them. This will help keep the stitched twist from becoming lose and it also keeps the remaining twist, twisted. If there is not enough twist to use again just make an overhand knot and clip, leaving the knot on your canvas.

 

Over the years I have stitched three 1st Communnion Crosses and I have a PDF version of the first cross instructions but have also included information on all three in this newly revised edition. If you are interested, email me (sudu@kc.rr.com) your email and I will send to you a copy; be sure and put 1st communion in subject line or it might go to my junk mail.

I think that’s it for today…but I did score a major coup this week and I’ll tell you more about that next week…

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

ttfn…sue

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1st Communion: Number 3

Another deadline met…

After I left my blog post last week I went into design and stitch mode. I have already stitched two other canvases for her brothers but I wanted this one to be a bit more feminine. I also wanted it to fit into the same frame as the others because it comes with a pre-cut mat and all I have to do it stitch and frame. The first one is here: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/category/project/first-communion/

And the only difference between the first and second was the size of the cross. I’ll share more about these three crosses next week when I can think a bit clearer. So please wait to ask me for the PDF version until next week so I can tweak the instructions.

First I re-designed the cross and then I auditioned threads…

 

some made the final cut others did not…And the threads that made the cut don’t always get the job but at least they are around if needed.

 

I made some notes, marked the center of the canvas and began stitching.

 

I made a template of the opening size of the mat so I can make sure the lettering fit…If it didn’t, I would have started over. I stitched the cross first, and then made sure the lettering was going to fit around the cross and within my template dimensions. I was stitching the lettering, going along just fine until I stitched the last side. I needed to move the stitching out one more row. Frog stitching…ugh! Lucky I start in the middle and work to an edge. Trust me this was just luck but to be on the safe side I did leave out a space between day and year and when I stitched April I was prepared to scrunch the letters here too.

 

I used the template to be sure the lettering was going to fit my opening. Yeah it does and so now I was on to the wreath design around the cross. Again I made a round template for the wreath and basted a curve in each quadrant. I started with the hosts and once they were in to my satisfaction, I started with the lower right quadrant…added the grapes to one quarter, then the wheat. I did the second quarter and then finished the other two at the same time, first stitching the grapes, then the wheat.

Again, I was not the brightest light bulb in the package. Somewhere in the back of my design training I remember someone telling me that if you are right handed and you are trying to do mirror images, it is easier to start with the left side and then finish the right side. Has something to do with your brain and the your predominate hand…the coordination factor. Needless to say I hadn’t done this for the first two quadrants

 

Once my finishing was completed I needed to frame the piece. Since I stitch on a frame, I had little distortion and I didn’t need to block the piece. So first I cut the piece to the size of the mat and then I trimmed away more to give me room to add a lining fabric behind the canvas. I also cut a lining fabric the same size as the needlepoint canvas.

 

I use double faced tape, I buy it at the art store and it is archival safe. First I apply the tape next to the mat opening, I removed the protective covering and I place it over the needlepoint centering as I went. Once I am satisfied with the placement I finger press in place. I apply a second round of double sided tape around the edges of the needlepoint canvas and place the lining fabric over this, pulling the lining taut as I go. I finger press the lining on the tape, trim if necessary and then I place

archival art tape over the edges to finish off and hold all in place. I place the matted design in the frame and now all I need to do is wrap for Sunday.

 

Finished by the skin of my finger.

 

Next week when I have a little more time I will give you some details of how I stitched this piece and also ideas on how to design your own piece.

 

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.  I am stitched out; so I am going out to enjoy the spring weather we are having, it’s not supposed to last. Last Sunday we had snow…nothing much but it was cold. I was stitching so it didn’t bother me, but this week has been nice and then it is supposed to snow again Sunday…what’s with Sundays and snow in April?

 

ttfn…sue

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

 

 

Olympic Rings

While watching the Olympics this week-end I remember I always stitch the Olympics rings for someone during the Olympics…guess I’ll stitch a couple of these for my two great grandchildren.

I have a chart for this. I will post here but if you can’t get a good copy send me an email and I will send you the PDF files. I can’t sell the design but I can give it away.

 

 

Hope you like these and if you want to read about the other posts I have written on the Olympics…here they are:

https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/olympics-needlepoint/

https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/olympicrings/

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

ttfn…sue

 

Melissa Shirley Wicked: final thought

See what happens when I get busy or distracted. I had been writing this post for the week of May 15-20 and I got distracted or sidetracked and now here it is almost Memorial week-end and I am just coming up for air. So here is the final thoughts on Wicked…

After the stitching is completed then the piece has to be finished. I know I have been showing how to finish needlepoint but last year I was not up to the task of finishing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…Seriously, I can do ornaments and some other little stuff but really haven’t had the time to try the biggies. One day I am going to try a pillow and a purse but for now I’m going to send big pieces to the finisher. I can’t even find time to sew a button on, let alone make a blouse or finish big needlepoint or for that matter any needlepoint.

 

I knew where I wanted to hang “Wicked” and how I wanted it finished. I drew a picture for the finisher and once the material was purchased I sent it to her to do her magic.  I was very pleased with the way it was finished and I love to see it hanging at Halloween.

To some people finishing a piece of needlepoint is easy; they take it to a trusted shop and have it finished. Not me, I agonize over finishing. As I am stitching I can see the finished piece, I get these pre-conceived images in my head and then I feel like I need to look for the material to finish the project. Nice for me I know the finisher and I can as her if my idea will work. If she says yes, then I’m off to look for material.

 

Now, let me give you the advice I seldom ever follow but every finisher I know will tell you is the truth.

You should buy the fabric for finishing before you ever start stitching.

I know, seems illogical to me too, but remember we are limited by out thread choices and the fabrics we choose to  finish our pieces are limited by their color choices. Now I will admit if you go to Hamilton Mo or any large quilt shop, you should be able to find a fabric. But what if you want a velvet or moiré for that Christmas stocking you are spending hours stitching? There is a world of difference between DMC 666 red and DMC 321 or 498 red. And fabrics only come in certain colors. And yes, you could use green for the backing and lining, but there are different greens too. So, if you want as perfect a match as you can get; sometimes it is important to buy that fabric first.

And while we are talking “you buy the fabric”; remember that if you want self-cording you need extra fabric. Self-cording is cut on the bias of the fabric and will require more fabric. Just as local needlepoint shop or finisher how much fabric you will need to finish your piece.

 

And some shops stock fabrics for finishing, so ask before you head all over the countryside looking for that perfect fabric. Some finishers have fabrics stockpiled and if you ask the shop you use, they probably can tell you which red would be best on that stocking or they can ask the finisher for you.

 

I’m lucky we have several very nice fabric shops in the area. Sarah’s in Lawrence (http://www.sarahsfabrics.com/), and several quilt shops in the area, plus Hamilton, Mo (https://www.missouriquiltco.com/). I’ve been to Hamilton twice now and while it is both eye candy for the imagination it can be overwhelming also. Hamilton is quilt town in northern Missouri, aka Missouri Quilt Co; Google it or read my post from last year…

 

A word about finishers… Have you ever wondered why so many shops guard their finisher’s name so closely? The real reason is that they are not trying to keep her a national secret, they are trying to protect her from the thousand calls she would get during busy times of the year asking, “Is my ornament finished yet?” And that is why finishing deadlines are so early. I think a finisher told me one time she finish over 1000 ornaments for Christmas and that didn’t count the stockings. Keep in mind blocking boards can only hold so much and sometimes pieces need to be blocked more than once and sometimes needlepoint even needs to be cleaned before blocking may begin. (This is another blog…but stitching in the hand vs stitching on a frame does have its drawbacks as well as its advantages…I will put this on my list of things to write about.)

 

Back to “Wicked”… I found the fabric and Batik at Hamilton and bought it. Brought it home and took it to the shop for my finisher to pick up (No, just because I know her doesn’t mean I don’t have to take it to the shop. My finisher will not accept pieces except through the shops she does finishing.) I took the piece about mid-May and I got it back about mid-August.

 

What took so long? Mine was not the only finishing in line. Mine had to be blocked, just like the rest and maybe twice I didn’t ask; and it’s a pretty big piece so it took up some real-estate on the blocking board. Mine also only had the green material supplied, so my finisher had to get the black for the inset, thread and even the interfacing. I could have purchased the black but I didn’t think about it at the time and she suggested this after she saw the piece…that’s another reason you use a finisher…She’s seen enough pieces to know what looks best even when you limit her by you pre-conceived finishing. And I had no idea what interfacing she would recommend. So see, Finishers do more than finish; they make your needlepoint look just like you want, and they know from experience what works best.

When “Wicked” returned home, it was just what I envisioned and more. I hung it and hated to see Halloween come to an end. I sometimes think I stitch long hours for a piece that only is displayed for a short time but I like it and it brings a smile to my face. And I hope it will be around for many years to come, maybe even one of my Grandchildren will want it when I am gone. Sometimes I get it out in it’s protective bag, and hand it on the door of my office just to look at it…it makes me smile.

Oh and before I forget; what do I do with the stitch guide after I complete stitching the canvas? I destroy it; it is a copyrighted piece of work.  And in my opinion, stitch guides should not be bought or sold without the purchase of the canvas! I have done two or three stitch guides for canvases and I will not sell them to individuals only to shops where I assume the canvas is purchased.

I know a stitcher who saves her stitch guides as a reference and that’s fine but I don’t want all the extra paper. I might make a note in my computer or my stitch notebooks I keep about a technique, stitch pattern or stitch but my stitch guide goes to the trash. I do not share it with my stitch friend who bought the canvas only because she liked mine. I destroy it. Enough said…my soap box stand for the week.

On another note…my family is having a garage sale…no needlepoint but I do have needlepoint books I have accumulated over the years. I will list them here next week with cost and then I will put them on Needlepoint Nation Stash after that.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today and over the holiday week-end. AND please don’t forget to honor those you know who are serving or have served in our military. Without these brave men and women we would not enjoy the freedoms we take for granted.

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Embellishing

Over the week-end went to a bead show, bought some beads for projects (like I need more projects), but like I say want has nothing to do with need., so I indulged myself. Funny thing is when I got home I remembered I had purchased a bead project last year. But do you think I have found where I put that project? A blog all of its own! I’ve looked a few places but still haven’t found it, but it will turn up…maybe much later. Anyway had a good time at the Bead-Blast.; look forward to next year.

Also went to out 1st art fair of the year. Brookside annual art Fair was this week-end (http://www.brooksidekc.org/art-annual) 32 years and I bet I have been to most. It is just a fun way to spend the afternoon or evening. There is always something to see and I usually come home with something too. This year I did not get anything but the art was very inspiring and my two favorites were Gwen Bennett’s Feather Art (http://gwenfeathers.com/)…these were beautiful. And after I got home and read about her art was even more impressed. And my other favorite was Julie Powell Beading (https://www.juliepowelldesigns.com/)…I will never be this good. Two reasons: My first love is needlepoint and I just don’t have the time or patience.

But it was a beutiful week-end (no rain) and we had fun.

I left most of the attachments, bullion knots and all the beading to the very end, I didn’t want to take the chance I would catch other threads on them and either snag the thread or worse still pull the embellishment or bead out of whack.

I have several Bullion knot needles I got from needlework shop. Colonial Needle distributes them and I blogged about them a couple times (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/ ) or (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/category/needlework-tools/needles-needlework-tools/bullion-needle/). These needles are a size 20 and so they make a pretty good sized Bullion Knot.

I started with the Letter “K”. I decided the Bullion Needles were too large for the curly-q on top of the pumpkin and the bird’s feet, I used a #24 Tapestry needle. I stitched the curly-q before I stitched the birds feet; it is a very long bullion and I gave it a twist or loop.  After curly-q I added the bird’s feet, more Bullion Knots that I stitched over and around the green curly-q, still using the #24 needle. I left the curly-q above the bird’s wing and the wing to apply later.

I stitched the red veins for the eyeball in Bullion knots using the long Bullion needles I stitched these into a center whole that I had enlarged with and awl (or larger Tapestry needle) to accommodate the eyeball I would attach later. Notice these veins go over the outline of the letter

Next Letter “C” and the legs of the spider. I used a #24 needle here too as I wanted the legs to be small.

And finally the Letter “I”, this had almost the whole top half of the letter unstitched. Using a Bullion needle I made a short Bullion for the top of the pumpkin at the bottom of the “I”. Then I made Bullions using the Bullion needles and made them looser than normal so they looked like curls. I made some at the top of her head too and these I made tighter so the brim of the hat could lay over them.

Then it came time to tackle the hat and flower on the Letter “I”. The hat was a padded ultra-suede applique with beading. I decided to applique the hat and only to tack the brim at the left side outside the letter and the right side on the tip also. The right side is also held in place by the flower. Next I did the ruched petals of the flowers using a flat braid thread and pulling one of the plies.  I left the hat beading and center of flower until I was finished with all the letters.

Two of the areas had a memory wire thread applied to the canvas; the pumpkin in the “W” and above the bird in the “K”.  Memory wire thread is a thread with a fine wire hidden within it; some wires the wire is like one of the plies and other wire threads are wrapped wire with thread. I don’t know that one is any better than another, this was the first time I had used them. My only experience with wire before had been to use in finishing to make an ornament bend, so it looked like ribbon candy.  First I cut two 3-4″ pieces of the memory wire, then I wrapped them tightly around a small knitting needle. I could have used the Bullion needle, a #18 or 20 Tapestry needle, or even the end of a laying tool; just anything that would coil the wire. On one end, I pulled enough back out straight to tie an Overhand Knot close to the coiled thread at one end; I also placed a small drop of Fray Check on the end to keep it from coming loose. I threaded a #26 needle with 1 ply of matching floss (you could use matching sewing thread) to secure the wire in place on the front of the canvas as well as to secure the tail to the back of the canvas.

To place the wire on the pumpkin on the “W” and above the bird on the “K” I used an #18-20 needle or laying tool.  I opened a space in the canvas to plunge the open end of one of the wired threads to the back of the canvas. I pulled the wire to the desired length and secured with at least one couching stitch on the front; then I turned the canvas over, left about an inch and half, cut excess and tacked the remainder securely to back of canvas.

Beading: There were two types of beads on this canvas; regular size 11 or 15 seed beads and then glass eyes on long pins. Go to Etsy and search for glass eye beads on a long pin, they come in all sizes and colors. Here’s one place: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWoolenWagon?ref=l2-shopheader-name. I’m sure you could find even the one used for the eyeball in letter “K”; I had smaller green one for the cat’s eye in letter “W”, larger green pair for the witch in letter “I” and amber ones for a bat in letter “D” and a solid black one for the bird in letter “K”.  These all came in the thread kit, so I don’t know the sizes. You were to place these in the proper place through the front of the canvas, with needle nose pliers bend the wire down into place and the secure with thread on the back. Since I had never done this before I was a bit apprehensive…I didn’t want to get into the wrong place on the front, break a pin bending it on the back, or after I secured to back finding the bead looked wrongly placed on the canvas. You guessed it, I left these until I could do nothing else.

I first did all the stars on the letters, then the bat eyes on letter “D”, and the skull on the witch’s dress on letter “I”. For the stars, bat eyes and skull I used the double thread, lasso method. I referred to the unstitched pictures of the canvas for placement of the stars; I did move a star to the nearest over one stitch of the Nobuko so I did not disturb the over 3 stitches. The other beading was on the letter “I” were the center of the flower, and it was just piling beads up to make a center. Then there were the beads on the hat, they were supposed to be Peyote stitched but at that time I did not know how to Peyote stitch (I just learned last week); so I just strung five beads by row and stitched them on the hat.

 

And then I attached the wing of the bird. I attached it at the top, poked the wires through the canvas ,  bent the wired down and secure with thread to stitching on the back. Then on the front I bent just a bit to give the curve of the wing.

 

 

When there was nothing left but the glass eye beads I tackled them I started with the cat in letter “W” because I figured if I broke this bead I could use a metallic braid and make a French knot. Then I did the bat in letter “D” and the black eye in the bird of letter “K”, same thinking here. By know I was pretty sure I could do this and so I did the witch’s eyes letter I and then the big eyeball in letter “K”. They all turned out well, the big eyeball has a tendency to flop but I’m the only one it seems to bother.

 

 

And “Wicked” was stitched!

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

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Fun stuff

You should know that stitching does not happen overnight. I probably stitched on the background and letters for a good three weeks and maybe longer since I know it got boring. Big projects like Wicked are home projects; you just don’t pack these up and take them to a 2 hour stitch-in…at least I don’t. I like to have them set up in my stitching nest and it is usually the one in my bedroom, where I can get away and just stitch. These times always remind me of the old Calgon commercial….”Needlepoint take me away!”  I have my TV with recorded shows and my needlepoint, who could ask for anything more?

I usually have small projects (anything smaller than 12 x 12 inches) that I can take to a stitch-in or stitch downstairs in the family room stitch nest. Sometimes these are just my doodle canvas to audition stitches for the big project or another piece. And then there is the computer work that I often let get away from me…my own that is. If I have a teacher’s work I keep on top of these…they have a schedule and so do I. We all have deadlines and other things to do in our lives.

I really like Melissa Shirley’s “Wicked”…I guess, otherwise why would I stitch it?  I can’t imagine buying a piece of needlepoint I didn’t like let alone stitching one. Now that’s not to say that while stitching a piece of needlepoint I have not become less enamored with it. But I don’t think I have ever abandoned a piece of needlepoint; I even completed a notebook class.  (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/wilanna-bristow/) Wilanna Bristow, my first ever seminar teacher, even told me she had never seen one completed.

I have taken a technique class at seminar that I knew I was not taking for the piece, but to learn the technique or a class from a particular teacher; and I knew I would not complete the pieces after class but I stitched on them during class and kept all the information and samples in a notebook. The remaining supplies I incorporated into my stash.

But this is a whole other blog post; see how I can get sidetracked? …so lets get back to “Wicked”

Again I started with the “W” and moved right. I left all the beading until the very last but I’ll tell you about that as we go along. All the little white circles on all the letters are beads representing stars. All these were left until “Wicked” was stitched. More about beading later.

I am not going to tell you specific threads, because I feel that is part of the stitch guide and should be protected by copyright. The stitches are also protected by copyright …not the stitch but their use in this project. But since you can see the stitches in the picture I will use names.

Letter W: I started with the moon. It is lightly padded with a stranded thread (I may have gotten the padding thread from my stash) and then stitched over in Diagonal Gobelins with a thread that had some glitz. I outlined the moon also, since the cat was stitched with a black furry thread and did not want to be dragging this into the moon.

I padded the vertical slates of the fence and the center of the pumpkin only before stitching over them with the appropriate threads. I used the same thread to pad the areas as I used to stitch them.

The cat called for a stitch that to me seemed more difficult to do with the furry thread so I changed it. I used a brick stitch for the cat’s body and random stitches for his tail.  I also used a stranded thread to stitch the two fangs on the face, I though a furry thread was not needed and another thread would make them look more like fangs. On hindsight, who was going to notice this but me? You would have to be too close to the canvas to notice this, but what can I say…it was my choice and at the time it felt right.

I left the cat’s eye (white square) and the curly q (rectangle on picture) on the pumpkin for later. I did use a highlighter in the stitch guide to note the areas I was leaving to do latter. It is easy to miss these details once you have stitched a large project. It has taken a long time to stitch and you are excited to get it finished and may even be stitching on a date deadline, so it is easy to overlook a small detail that will bug you later on. Just mark the stitch guide or keep a notebook handy to make notes.

I outlined the “W” after I finished all but the final embellishments.

Letter I: This was one of the three most difficult letters to stitch. It has a lot of details and several different techniques required.

I stitched the “I” in the following order, although I think the stitch guide started at the bottom and moved up… I stitched from lightest thread to darkest thread for the larger areas and left padded area until last. I Basketweaved the face, stitched Witch’s dress, coat, and then the pumpkin. The pumpkin is self-padded in the center section only. I stitched the details on the face and the nose, leaving the eyes for later (white rectangle). I left the hair (white rectangles), hat (white triangle), beading on hat White oval) and flower (white circle), skull beading (white oval) and the curly q (white rectangle) on the pumpkin for later. I have not done much applique, so I had to build my confidence up. The beading suggested was not a method I was familiar with so I had to decide whether to learn this or do something else. And the flower I knew how to do but it couldn’t be stitched until the hat was in place.  I stitched the outline of the letter “I” even though the top was not completed. Then I moved on to…

Letter C:  I outlined this letter before I began the details of the stitch design. This is one of the major changes I made to the piece and one of the easiest to stitch. The curves of the spider web were supposed to be beaded, but I didn’t do this. I stitched the spokes of the spider web first with a shiny braid and then couched the curves with the same thread using  a thinner matching thread to couch (I either had both threads in my stash or purchased them). I couched the long line the spider was hanging from last. I used the unstitched picture as a guide but since the entire letter C was stitched in Nobuko, no black lines were showing except the thread the spider was hanging from and the spider and the background had been stitched over these too.  So everything on this letter was surface applied. The spider was supposed to be beads also but I stitched the body in a Cashmere Stitch and later stitched the legs in Bullion knots. I left the stars (white circles) and spider legs (white rectangle)  until later.

Letter K: Another difficult letter. Again stars (white circles) are stitched later. I really had to think about this letter and how I was going to stitch it so I took a few days to live with the letter and look at it closely. By “living with the piece” I mean I leave the needlepoint up in the stand and uncovered, so I can see it while I am working on another piece, sitting down to study the piece, or just walking by the needlepoint. I had to decide the order I wanted to stitch and if I wanted to do it like the stitch guide suggested or whether I was going to add my own stitching to the piece.  I even thought about moving on to the letter “E” but it was also presenting its own difficulties and I wanted to save the letter “D” for last because it was easy. So after living with the piece a few days and really looking at all three letters that were giving me some difficulty (I-K-E), I came to some decisions. I made notes and checked the kit to be sure I had the things I needed and then began to stitch again.

I decided to stitch the bird first.  There were three stitches suggested for him, his head was Basketweave , I did not like the Basketweave on his beak so I stitched long slanting stitches over these to a point for his beak. His body a Cashmere pattern and his tail a straight stitch pattern. I stitched his pretty much as suggested but I did cover more of his body than was suggested because I had decided to make the wing a stumpwork piece. I also couched the black line from tip of his beak to the large eyeball bead using the black braid I had used for the spider web in letter “C”. I left bird’s eye to add later (white square)

The wing took some thinking about but and I decided to do it more like a stumpwork attachment than what was suggested. The suggestion was a second canvas finished like a small ornament and attached along long top side to main canvas by sewing The wing was stitched on a separate piece of canvas, I outlined the wing in satin stitch over a wire that I used later to attach wing to canvas. I also could bend the wing to give it more dimension.  I striped the canvas threads back to the stitching and wove them into the backside and covered these canvas threads with a piece of ultra-suede with an applique/sewing method. The wing was saved to attached later.

The pumpkin is self-padded with the same thread. If this piece had not been kitted I would have used floss or perle cotton to pad but I had a bunch (3 skeins). I outlined the letter but left pumpkin curly-qs, eyeball veins, birds feet and wing application for later (white rectangles and oval).

Letter E: I made more changes here too and even left some elements off. The easy part were the logs at the base of the letter. Before I did anymore I outlined this letter. Next I tackled the caldron; I would have to say the applique of the caldron wasn’t that hard. It is a padded piece of black leather but I did not put the metal handle on the caldron nor the lip of the pot. I didn’t think a handle was necessary and the pot was boiling over so you wouldn’t see the lip. The boiling and steam were a challenge I ruched the Flair for the boiling portion and I tried the technique suggested for the steam but didn’t like the way it looked.  I took it out (what a pain). Since I was trying to cover the painting error; I wanted to be able to manipulate the thread. So I couched long lengths of Flair twisting as I applied for steam.

The flames were the hardest, didn’t care for the fiber given for this, Flair didn’t work so I tried a glitzy ribbon. I stitched Turkey Tufting with glitzy ribbon threads and then frayed ribbon with a sharp needle. I like it better than the other ideas, but I’m still not happy with it. I will say, when I finished stitching this letter the only thing left were to embellish with the stars (white circles).

Letter D: Always good to have an easy part to complete stitching or almost complete stitching. The D and C were the two easiest of the letters. Small bats at top of D were Basketweave and larger bats (lower part of D) were Basketweave faces and Directional Diagonal stitches.  I outlined the letter “D” after I stitched the bats.  I left the stars and eyes of the bats to bead later (white circles, ovals and rectangle).

Next time we will do the embellishing.

Later today I’m off to our first art show of the season and always one of my favorites. I may even get dinner and ice cream.

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

ttfn…sue