Day of THE Green

I would be remiss if I did not wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day…So Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Our corn beef has been smoked (thanks to #2 son) and my Irish cream is chillin and our mantle is decorated:

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(L-R)   Radco ornament (one of two)

Kathy Schenkel March Santa (http://www.kathyschenkel.com/)

Joan Lewis March Nutcracker (http://www.joansneedlepoint.com/)

My Celtic Origins Shamrock piece: search my blog for “Celtic”                                                                    (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/)

Lego Leprechaun

Wooden box Irish Hex

Dede March snowman (http://www.dedesneedleworks.com/index.html)

Leprechaun (sorry do not remember painter) but I do remember it was a monthly piece

Harp Lager beer Tap

Anne Stradal:  Leprechaun(http://www.absdesignsonline.com/)

AKA Toppy: search my blog for “toppy” (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all my needlework but I really love my Lego leprechaun. He was built by #1 son and his son, Cooper. I get to have him on the mantle in March and then he goes back to Cooper’s room for the rest of the year. Isn’t he the cutes?

And my other non-needlepoint, BUT still handcrafted is my Irish Hex box. Years ago we were traveling in Pennsylvania and I kept seeing these hex signs on buildings (mostly barns). But it didn’t register how large they must be (remember I was OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtraveling with three young sons and a husband in a car and no needlepoint…I was a bit brain impaired) and I kept telling my husband I wanted one. I think out of desperation (he was going a bit nuts with the boys in the back of the car too) he finally found a place that sold hex signs and other things. Needless to say when we pulled up I realized they are huge and soon found out that a hex sign was not coming home with us (they would not trade us one hex sign for three boys…wonder why)  But they had a couple books on hex signs and of course books jumped right into my hands. Once I returned home I decided to paint some hex signs on smaller items and I loved the folklore  attached to the Irish Hex sign: The Irish were camped with other Pennsylvania troops at Valley Forge (yes during the Revolutionary War) and the Pennsylvania Dutch would tease the Irish. So the Irish made this hex sign and would taunt the Pennsylvania Dutch with this chant:

Hurray for the Irish

We’re not very much

But a damn sight better

Than the Pennsylvania Dutch.

And so today I leave you with this Irish Blessing for friends:

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

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

Finishing, fininishing and more finishing

I had a productive week-end…changed all the seasonal decorations and finished needlepoint. Life is good!

But I did have a scare last Friday or maybe just leprechaun being a leprechaun. I was getting out the St Patrick Day decorations when I remembered my leprechaun, Torin Ailfred O’Patrick, AKA Toppy.  Toppy had not become a well-rounded leprechaun last year (you can see & read about him under Categories>Projects> Leprechaun, right side of blog); so I went looking for the little guy.  I thought I knew right where he was resting, but could not find him. I thought of a few other places Toppy might be and so set out to locate the little fellow. After checking all the spots I thought Toppy might be hanging out, I began to wonder if this little leprechaun was playing games with me because I did not get him finished last year; leprechauns can be mettlesome little fellows. So after about an hour of checking everyplace I could think I might have put him for safe keeping I decided to get a bunny out to finish…yes I have a box of UFO’s.  And I guess Toppy decided that it was more important to make the mantle than to play mind games with me because there he was right there on top of the pile, flat but smiling up at me. Now before you think, senile old woman, let me assure you that leprechaun WAS NOT on the top of the heap when I first looked. I may be senile but not blind too. Anyway Toppy became well rounded and proudly took his place on the mantleToppy

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI remembered some buttons I had stitched. And I had found a craft box of beads and old jewelry I remembered my mother wearing but had either been broken or were so out-of-date. So I repurposed the crystals, beads of other jewelry and beads into a new St. Pat necklace. Had to go to craft store to get 2 inch eye pins to make the dangles and jump rings to attach buttons.

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And since I was going to the craft store, decided to see if I could find 2 ready-made frames and have mats cut to fit two Celtic knots I stitched for another project. These were couching experiments for a larger piece and I decided tOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAo just frame them too. Found frames and my Hobby Lobby cuts mats on the spot if they have the matboard, so I had two more projects to finished.

So this past week-end I spent finishing needlepoint. I now have this great feeling of accomplishment plus it was easy on my pocketbook.

I don’t mind finishing but it is not my favorite thing to do. It makes me appreciate those who do finish most of my needlepoint.  I would never tackle a pillow; I would have dog ears for sure. I can manage a simple stand up, an ornament and sometimes simple stuff. But it never ceases to impress me at how creative finishers can be.

And framing I seldom try, I think framing is harder to do yourself…I have made frames (at a frame store designed to help you make your own frames)  but my corners were really not very good. And cutting mats is an art unto its self, especially if you hand cut them. . My Hobby Lobby had a computer cutter, it is pretty awesome. I can do the simple stuff but bigger pieces will always go to the framer.  And my needlepoint framer, Richard is a special guy; he has an eye for the best look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAED Note 3-8-13: ops something happen to the picture and I just noticed it. This was my first attempt at making jewelry but I think I could get into it. I ordered a catalog from Fire Mountain Gems ( http://www.firemountaingems.com/) and watched a couple tutorials.  I would really like to make a few more pieces, but I don’t want to start a new media full scale.

I have bought a bunch of roving and tools to try and make felted figures. I made a ladybug last year but haven’t tried anything since then. I also would like to make more Ukrainians eggs (Pysanka) but I think that needs to be a class project, this is an art that has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. I’m guessing this is not something you learn on the internet, although if you Google Ukrainians eggs (Pysanka): (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pysanka) pages of info will be at your fingertips. But I still don’t think you buy the supplies and start.

BUT my favorite thing to do is stitching needlepoint and temari balls. And I need to get back to it.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch 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

With a sparkle in my eye and a smile on my face

I, Torin Ailfred O’Patrick, Toppy for short now have a smile on my face and a sparkle in my eye.

My mouth is a series of red Cross Stitches over one canvas intersection filled with white Continental stitches for my pearly whites. Great grin, n’est-ce pas? Also every get a hair in your mouth…obviously I have picked up a doggy hair. I know it will be removed now that everyone can see it. But it sure is annoying!

My nose are Gobelin stitches over the Basketweave, the center two longer Gobelins were stitched twice to add move height

I like my cheeks too; they are padded Gobelins with a darker pink floss. The padding is stitched first in Basketweave followed by horizontal Gobelins. I look like someone just pinched my cheeks.

But my eyes say it all! Yes, I’m winking at you with my Gobelin stitched eyelid. I still need eyelashes but then I need a canvas full of hair too. But my green eye is sparkling; four little Continental stitches in black and white surrounded by a Kreinik 008 green Jessica. When stitching a Jessica don’t forget to tuck last stitches under previous stitches; otherwise would have a spiral eye and look like a pirate instead of the noble chief I am.

This week-end I am getting at least a shirt coat and maybe pants…Aren’t you glad I’m a painted canvas, otherwise I might be x-rated.

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

Torin Ailfred O’Patrick and Faces

I decided that my little leprechaun needed a name, so I looked up male Irish names and Torin Ailfryd O’Patrick was born. His name means: Chief (Torin) elf counsel (Ailfryd) of noble descent (O’Patrick) or Toppy for short.

I try and remember to take a picture of the canvas I am stitching to use for reference only; after I am done stitching Toppy I will take another picture for my stitched piece notebook. I have been trying to keep track of what I stitch and have been cataloging pieces I find that are not in my files. I wrote about this a couple years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/keeping-track-of-needlepoint/). New needlepoint canvases have a stitch guide to go with them, some have stitches others have just the threads I used listed.

If a needlepoint canvas has a face I usually try to start by stitching it first. Faces give the piece personality and also can give a clue into how the rest of the piece is going to be stitched. I think needlepointing faces can be daunting especially when trying to make the face appear realistic; and I think Basketweave & Continental are best suited to either realistic or interpretational stitching of faces. I have seen a Long & Short stitched face that was lovely; it was executed in 1 strand of silk and I doubt that any stitch was more than 4 threads in length. But for the most part I feel Basketweave and Continental are the best; and very realistic complexions can be stitched using one of several thread blending techniques. Sometimes it is best to stitch the entire face and then stitch the special features over this base; other times stitching the features within the face are more desirable; each canvas should be judged on its own.

The first angel is a Gay Ann Rogers (http://www.gayannrogers.com/site_2/Home_Page.html) tree topper and her face is stitched very simply with just eyes and mouth stitched also; there is no shading, outline or detail.

The next angel’s face is a Brenda Stofft (http://www.brendastofftdesigns.com/) angel class, taught many years ago but such a classic. It is difficult to see in this picture but her shading is delicate and realistic. She was stitches with 4 colors of floss, all in Basketweave and Continental: #1 outlined her face, neck, chin and tip of her nose, #2 filled in on either side of the nose and up into the eye area and also under her chin, #3 was stitched with a needle blending technique using two colors of floss just to give the suggestion of blush cheeks, #4 was the remaining parts of her face.

This Lee  (http://www.newleesneedlearts.com/) Geisha canvas was a real challenge. I wanted her to be as realistic as possible and to have the ivory complexion of the geisha. There are 5 colors of silk floss mostly stitched in Basketweave and Continental with an overlaid and outline stitch: colors 1-2-and 4 were so close in value that I barely could tell them apart when not in their original skein.  #1 is the lightest of the silks used on her face; #4 I knew I was going to outline the face but I also wanted the chin to be defined but not by an outline stitch, so there are continental stitches along the chin area that are thread  needle blended of colors 1 & 4; color #2 is under the chin; #3 is the cheek area and is the same value as color #5 but with a pinkish tint to this color family; # 4 is the outline used around the profile of her face and one stitch into the chin area before the tent stitches were used to suggest the rest of her chin; and #5 is the darkest of the flesh colors stitches over the Basketweave to suggest her lowered eyelid.

Ready –to Go Santa (Beau Jeste canvas/class and another fun face) He just has two colors #1 for basic face and #2 outlines nose and is also used for his cheeks. If this had not been a class, I might have overlaid his nose area with #1 in a horizontal Gobelin.

Back to Toppy’s face. I am stitching his face in Basketweave; stitching over his closed eye, eyebrows and nose areas; his open eye cheeks and mouth are left unstitched. Later this week, Toppy and I will be back with a sparkle in his eye and the details of his face.

Do you name your canvases? So how do you approach stitching canvases with faces? I love hearing what other stitchers do to make stitching their canvases more personal.

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

P.S Happy Valentine’s Day too.