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

Stich’n & Comput’n

For the past two weeks I have been frantically using my fingers to either stitch or write stitch guides; the tips of my fingers are screaming, “What is going on?”

It all started two weeks ago when I remembered I had a 1st Communion coming up for one of my Grandsons and I better get his gift because I wasn’t the only Grandmother looking for a gift.  I get these ideas in my head and then when I can’t find what I want I get frustrated; and that’s just what happened to me while I was shopping. I had decided to get him a statue of his name saint and couldn’t find one I liked. So I am now aimlessly walking around the store looking for something I do like. Finally decided to look for a card and that’s when inspiration struck.

14-05-08Comm pictI found four cards and one I decided would make a great needlepoint design and sure I could design and stitch it in a week. (My Guardian Angle must have been taking a short nap because it didn’t jump in to say, “REALLY????”…I am such an optimist sometimes. So I purchased 4 cards and a few other little things (the trip wasn’t a complete bust) and came home. Good thing my DH was driving because all the way home I was thinking about the design. And I could tell by the look on DH’s face, he thought I had lost my mind…I think if I had thought about it I would have too; but I had seen the cross immediately…so how hard could this be? By now my Guardian Angel was awake but so taken back she couldn’t so anything but keep those negative thoughts out of my head.

Once home I got out my trusty computer and scanned a copy of the card into the computer. I knew I wanted the design to be about 4 inches square. I had already decided that if I couldn’t find a frame to suit me I would make a stand up or an ornament; so I wanted the size to be smallish. 4 inches give or take would be a good size, that was 72 threads, give or take, on 18 count canvas..

First I did the lettering: Name, Church, date, 1st Communion. I have two go to alphabet books:

1. Rose Ann Hobbs; Designed Alphabets Book 1 (I have Book 1 and 2 and would love to find 2 and others she wrote)

2. B. Borssuck; 97 Needlepoint Alphabets

14-05-08Comm Step1 borderI used two alphabets: 9 high for upper case and 5 high for lower case. I played with the placement and once I got the lettering into place I knew how much design area I had to work with and if I was going to be able to fit the design inside lettering.

I had seen the stitches for the cross the minute I 14-05-08 Comm Step2 crosslooked at the card, it was just one of those fall into place moments (trust me this doesn’t happen often). So the next step was to see if the cross would fit and still leave room for the designs. So I plotted the cross.

Once the cross was in place I placed small pictures of the motifs in the spaces and started plotting stitches I 14-05-08Comm Step3 motifsthought I would use. This all came rather quickly and I did not second guess myself. My Guardian Angel was working overtime just keeping me on track; she already knew this design was divine inspiration and her job was to keep all negativity away from my thoughts.

Next step was to pull threads and I pulled way too many overdyes but I stepped OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback and pulled some go to DMC cotton solids too. I needed a Kreinik gold metallic that I had in various sizes. There was not time for a trip to needlepoint shop…and anyway we
only have one with a large variety of threads and it is OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby appointment. I could have called the owner and if she had what I needed she would have opened for me but I was already pushing the envelope and tried to find threads in my stash.  My thinking on the threads was I wanted to use threads that would wear well with young children…remember at this stage this design still had possibilities of becoming an ornament.

With threads pulled, canvas on stretcher bars, I sequestered myself in my stitching nest and started. Found in my haste I had made a couple spacing errors in the lettering but nothing that was going to throw the design out of line.  After the border was stitched I found the center of the remaining area and began the cross. The cross is my favorite part, I saw it from the minute I picked up the card and now it was stitching up just like I saw it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I got to the motifs…I had more inspiration. Why not try needleweaving for the challis…if it worked then I would needleweave the basket for the hosts too. My Guardian Angel by now was wide awake and pulling her hair out, how much could she do to keep this design on track? The challis worked out just fine and so I started the wheat. The wheat was stitched like the designed had planned but just wasn’t looking good but it would have to do for the moment. The hosts and basket were next and they too stitched up just as I hoped. The grapes I had seen as beads but at the last minute decided French Knots would be a better choice. Okay all the motifs are completed but the wheat has to be redone. It just looked awful and needed help. So I cut it out and went with a heavier thread and straight stitches instead of Lazy Daisy stitches. It looks much better and it is done..

All I can tell you is that it was divine inspiration and my guardian Angel was working overtime to keep me from second guessing myself…and to keep my fingers moving with needle and thread. I wish all my designing came this easy…

I found a frame and I have put the piece together and last Sunday one of my Grandsons received his own personal 1st Communion gift, a true gift from God. I blurred his name because I have a thing about kids names on the internet…especially little kids. Thank you God for this special project!

2014-05-08 GradThen in a misguided state of “You can do anything”, I decided to make a graduation needlepoint for his sister who is graduating from 8th grade this year. Border of course was easy…trusty alphabets. But that shamrock gave me a run for my needle. I had plotted it on the computer but for some reason was having more trouble with this design than the other; probably because I was second guessing myself. Then of course I did not have the right green ribbon for the cross, and none was to be found in town (I called) so I had to make an executive decision and I think I chose right. I had a multi green but I think it had too much blue; I like the gold better for the cross. But I persevered and this is her gift she will receive for graduation next week.

2014-05-08  Stitch guideAnd in-be-tween all this stitching I was writing stitch guides for pilot classes and the stitch guide for the 1st communion piece. And since I know this 1st Communion design was a gift from God (I on my own do not work this fast)…I want to share the design with everyone. If you email me: sudu@kc.rr.com, send me your email and I will happily send you a PDF of the design. I just ask that if you stitch the design you send me a picture.

All I can say is if the rest of my body worked out as much as my fingers have these past two weeks, I’d be in great shape. This week’s pace is a bit slower I have another pilot class to compute and always have something to stitch, but my fingers are not moving so fast.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day in May! ttfn…sue