3D Finishing: Melissa Shirley Sewing Bird Part 2

Materials used:

Stitched and blocked needlepoint pieces
2 Copies of each stitched, blocked pieces
Backing fabric: I used two
Ultra-suede for the wings
Cotton for the rest: fat quarter would be ample
Batting: low loft for wings and body
Batting: craft weight for sides and body
Fiber Fill
Sewing thread to match fabric
Illustration board
Paper scissors
Glue
Cording
Usual sewing supplies

Like I said last week, the body gave me some trouble. I spent at least three days trying different methods, losing my cool, and becoming more frustrated.  I had thought I could finish these two pieces as I had finished the sides but trying to sew the lining to a hard piece of illustration board smoothly did not work.  So since I had cut out a first lining and clipped curves I trashed that lining and cut a second. I also tried to stitch the needlework to illustration board and it proved to be not only not smooth but bulky too. Luckily I had left a lot of canvas and all I had to do was trim a bit more.

I used a lightweight piece of batting (cut two for each side…you will use the other for lining)  to separate the needlepoint canvas from the illustration board and the since I had already somewhat clipped the curves I trimmed and clipped the canvas again and GLUED it to the illustration board.  This was about a three day project since I first tried to lace the needlework to illustration board; then I had to undo, fume, fume some more, cut another piece of illustration board, still fume, and then give in to the little voice that kept saying “glue.” I figure if I keep saying “glue” it will get better.

Truthfully I am not a glue person, but I also know most of my needlework is not going to the Smithsonian; most of my needlepoint will be lucky to survive two to three generations. I have one piece that is registered with the Smithsonian and that is my White House needlepoint stocking but in all fairness all White House collections are registered with them; they are the storehouse and inventory control for all collections.

So when all else fails…glue. Yes, I said glue, but I had already used all the other four letter words I knew and to keep my sanity and finish this project, glue was the answer. I glued the needlework to the illustration board.

The second piece of batting needs to be trimmed to be about an 1/8th inch smaller than the needlework.  Then I clipped the curves, pinned the lining to the batting, and stitched it in place.

 

Next I pined and stitched the linings to the front pieces.

Then I assembled the front piece to the side pieces and pinned together. Here is why the lining pieces are a bit fin30a inside of friendssmaller than the needlepoint. If you’ll notice on my friend’s piece the inside looks like the lining fits snuggly together, but it didn’t look stitched, just snuggly fit. So I made my linings just a tad smaller so they would fit somewhat like these too.  That was the easy part, next came stitching. I stitched the pieces together; sometimes I had to use my trusty third hand (needle-nosed pliers) to push or pull the needle between the threads of canvas. Stitching the angles and curves took some times and since I was going slowly this took another day.

Then I made a bottom for the stitching bird.  Again I had a picture of my friend’s fin33a bottom of friendsand I knew it needed to recede.  I cut a bottom and trimmed until it fit, covered it with lining fabric and stitched in place leaving the four corners unstitched so I could hide the ends of the cording in the bottom.

Made cording for the sewing bird; two long ones to go around large bird pieces and two small pieces to fin35b  together cord allcover the side ends. Pinned the side pieces on first and stitched into place; I hid the ends in the linings as best I could then sewed the large pieces around the bird hiding the ends in the bottom. Here is a blurred picture of the direction of the larger pieces of cording around the face of the birds. Again used my third hand a few times , but finally could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost finished ;-)!

 

Oh those #### wings. I thought I had a curved needle to sew these in place but my curved needle I think is an upholstery needle and will leave holes not only in the wing but the bird too. Need to see if what other curved needles are available. Thought about gluing them on but just could not bring myself to do this. So for now I have used  silk pins and pinned them in place for now.

Finally a finished sewing bird! Many hours, many choice words, a bit of glue and I have a stitching bird to add to my sewing tools collection. I also will have a fond memory of a stitching friend who is no longer with us, she loved birds.  And one more thing, this project took me less than a year to complete, I started August 5, 2015  and it is completely finished…trust me I have projects older than this still not yet stitched and more projects stitched but not finished.

Do you have unfinished stitching projects? Why? Did you lose interest in stitching? Or after you stitched it, were not satisfied enough to have it finished? This is probably another thought for a blog post. Send me your thoughts and I’ll mull this one around.

But the one thing I did learn from this project is that when that little voice in your head tells you you are in too deep…listen!  I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head that said, “Send it to the finisher.” I would have saved myself a lot of anger and frustration. And yet now that the project is completed I do feel accomplished…even if I would not do it again!

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

ttfn…sue

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3D Finishing: Melissa Shirley Sewing Bird Part 1

Materials used:

Stitched and blocked needlepoint pieces
2 Copies of each stitched, blocked pieces
Backing fabric: I used two
Ultra-suede for the wings
Cotton for the rest: fat quarter would be ample
Batting: low loft for wings and body
Batting: craft weight for sides and body
Fiber Fill
Sewing thread to match fabric
Illustration board
Paper scissors
Glue
Cording
Usual sewing supplies

20160712 a bird yellowI have contemplated how to finish this piece for weeks/months. I should have listened to that little voice in my head that said, “Send it to the finisher.”  But no I just kept looking at it and I had a friend who had stitched one (she sent hers to the finisher) and I figured I could manage this myself. Afterall it was just a stand up without the stuffing… and ornament in 3-D…I can do this.

I had it on the blocking boards for a long time while I mulled over finishing in my mind. Then I got brave and began the process. I mad two copies of each of the blocked pieces.  And then I plunged in…I felt like a kid jumping off the high dive for the first time. Once you get up your courage to climb that ladder you gotta go off the diving board; if you climb down…well you all know what that means when you’re a kid. So off I plunged…

Once I took the plunge it was a long way down to the finish; this project took me at least two weeks to complete. I would breeze right along and then I would hit a rough patch and it would take me a couple days to get through it. I’ll let you know as we go along where, when and why I became frustrated.

blockingI had blocked the pieces. Even though I had stitched the designs on Evertite stretcher bars I still block. I do know some people who adjust and tightened their Evertites and block using them too but I do not.   I use my Marie’s blocking board (if any one has one they don’t want, I will pay to have it shipped to me.)

I also made two copies of the pieces on the printer/copier for patterns. Remember copies of copies are a bit smaller, I think the standard is about 97-98% smaller; so when you make a copy of your stitching it is already a bit smaller.  And sometimes I use more than one copy and so I have a second in reserve in case I need it. It is hard to make a second copy once you have started or cut the first copy.

I started finishing the wings, they were easy; they were like a soft ornament.(see: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/finishing-ornaments-3-soft-ornaments/) I cut out one of the copies for a pattern of each wing. I colored the edges with my Copic pens (https://imaginationinternationalinc.com/copic/), I don’t like grin through.

I trimmed the canvas to within a 1/2 inch of stitching and clipped the curves.  I finger pressed to the back and used Clover clips to hold in place.  These clips come in several sizes, I like the green jumbos best (http://www.joann.com/clover-12pcs-jumbo-wonder-clips-neon-green/14789036.html). I buy them at JoAnns with my $$ off coupons.

 

I stitch the canvas to the back with a double waxed sewing thread. Always wax your thread…it makes it stronger and it keeps it from twisting and knotting.

I used a small piece of ultra-suede I had to back the wings; I used each stitched wing to cut a backing fabric. I marked the stitched needlepoint onto the wrong side of the fabric and clipped the curves. I cut two pieces of low-loft quilt batting using the patterns I made for the wings. I used one of the quilt battings to stabilize the backing fabric and to give me something to fold the ultra-suede back onto and it also gave me something to baste the fabric in place.

Then I sandwiched all together: needlepoint second batting and backing and pinned together. I stitched the wings. I also decided that there was not enough dimension to the wings so I stuffed them with fiber-fill. I didn’t think I filled them too much but they proved to be a problem later on.

I also made a small cording, joined and stitched it around the wings…The wings were completed and truthfully I think this took me a couple days, but they were no problem.

Next I finished the side straight pieces; one short and one long…these had the decorative flowers stitched on them. I used pretty much the same method I had used finishing the wings without the fiber-fill.

Using the patterns I cut batting for large and small side pieces. I cut the needlepoint to within 1/2 inch of stitching.

I finger pressed the edges to the back mitering the corners around the craft weight quilt batting, pinning in place.

Using a double waxed length of sewing thread I laced the sides together,  starting in the middle and working toward ends and stitching the mitered corners.

Then I cut backing fabric 1/2 inch larger that the needlepoint. I finger pressed and pined to be just slightly smaller than the finished needlepoint. I pressed this in place with my new gadget I purchased some time ago to help with finishing. It’s a Clover Mini Iron with all sorts or attachments. It has a large and small iron head, a ball head (I think for curves, a long thin head (probably for corners and a cutting knife. And I doubt I will ever use the cutting knife since I do not want to gunk up the iron for finishing.

The reason that I stitched these slightly smaller than the needlepoint is because when I assemble the pieces together I am going to join them together through the needlepoint and therefore the lining needed to be slightly smaller because it will be inside the bird.

I stitched the backing to the needlepoint using a single waxed thread.  These pieces went quickly and I thought I was on a roll; then finish came to an abrupt halt.

The bird body gave me some trouble and so if you don’t mind I am going to continue this saga next week., otherwise this post will be way toooooo long. I can give you a hint…I did finish this bird but it took me the better part of a week, a few well-chosen words and a do over. But for now…

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

ttfn…sue

Thanksgiving and Blue Bird finished

This is Thanksgiving week and I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for all of you who visit my blog too, it makes it fun to write when you know someone is taking the time to read what you have to say. Anytime you would like…chime in, just leave me a comment. If it’s a question I will try and answer you quickly and if I don’t know will ask around and see what I can find out for you.

2015-11-24 BB a need stitchesAnd this week I am so-o-o-o thankful that I am finished with the Melissa Shirley Blue Bird. The last thing I needed to do was fill in around all the flowers that have empty canvas threads showing with the Silk ‘n Ivory. I need to block and finish finish. I 2015-11-24 BB b stitchesdon’t think that will happen until after the first of next year.

I looked at all the pieces and decided that even though there are a few ribbon stitches I really
reverted back to the tried and true French Knots, Satin Stitch 2015-11-24 BB alland Woven Stitch. Stitches I was familiar with and could do without much though. Ribbon work with Silk Flowers I can see is going to take more study.

This is the time of the year I begin to reflect on what I have and have not done this year. And so far my incomplete pile is growing larger than my completion list. I have gotten many needlepoints pieces stitched, just haven’t finished them up. Maybe this will be my goal for 2016… I’ll have to give this some thought.

For now I will leave you with pictures of a few of my completed birds fitting for this week. May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday will be joyful and merry and safe.

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Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers: Rest of the Flowers

Please keep France in your thoughts and  prayers. Our world needs more peacemakers and less hate mongers.

I’m running a few weeks maybe a month behind in my postings verses my stitching. Most of these flowers were stitched during Major League playoffs and World Series but I can’t write that fast. I don’t know how some of the needlepoint ladies post almost every day…I’m lucky to do one a week. But that’s a whole other story.

2015-18-12 BB o stitch guide

2015-18-12 BB j green flower 1I started the green flowers (#7 Stitch guide above) by stitching all centers first in French Knots with yellow floss. Then around the French Knots I used blue #12 perle to make Cast on Bullion Knots. If you all have been following me for any time you will remember back in February I told you about the new needles I bought

(https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/). They have been lying around my stitching nests

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waiting to be tried. So I decided this was a good area to experiment with these not so new needles. I used the Chenille needles to make these Cast-on Bullions in the green flowers. Cast-on Bullions are different from Bullions Knots: Bullion Knots you just wrap the thread around the needle; with Cast-on Bullions you twist the thread like you were casting on stitches for knitting. Depending on how you do this casting on decides how the Cast-on 2015-18-12 BB d Cast onBullion will look. Casting on the same turn every stitch will make the bullion twist in a corkscrew like manner. Casting on every other turn will give you a more jagged turns. These knots were fun to do but time consuming. Then I filled in the green areas with Woven Plaited Stitch and then more Bullions in white perle. I think these flowers took me the four American 2015-18-12 BB e BullionLeague Games to stitch.

 

 

 

2015-18-12 BB f Cast on 1 2015-18-12 BB g Cast on 2 2015-18-12 BB h Cast on 3 2015-18-12 BB i Cast on 4

 

 

 

 

 

2015-18-12 BB k green flower 2The other green flower on the wing was French Knots and the Woven Plait …the Bullions had done me in by then. This flower was stitched with Kreinik green and Confetti pink, perle cotton and floss.

 

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Another night I stitched the large yellow flowers on a wing and small side piece. I used yellow silk ribbon again to stitch French knots on stick for the petals and then filled these in with either White perle (small side) or Confetti pink French knots and embellished both with pink beads on the white and green beds on the pink.

 

2015-18-12 BB m spider webAnd then I was down to the three small yellow flowers. I had cut too long a yellow ribbon and so I decided to make spider web flowers with
yellow and pink silk ribbon. I made the base out of perle. These were fun to stitch while
watching the Word Series.
Finally I was done with the flowers but still needed to go back and fill in blue areas around flowers with more basketweave. Next week is Thanksgiving and we will finish up the Melissa Shirley Blue Stitching Bird…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers: More Flowers

I am really not liking these flowers now. I think it is because I am ready to move on to other stitching and the blue bird has a bunch more stitching before it is ready for the finishers.

I was working on a piece at a time but that seems kind of counterproductive. I don’t seem to get into a rhythm, so I’ve sorta decided to work by color and get these flowers stitched.

2015-11-12 BB aThe pink stitches were first in this new method; there was just a single pink flower  (#4) on the large side piece. I stitched the green area in a woven stitch using #4
Kreinik Braid. Truthfully, this is a green no longer being produced, but I think this is an excellent way to use your stash and should I run out of #4 I’m sure I also have a spool of #8 2015-11-12 BB b pinkbraid and who but me is going to notice. In fact if you look at the pictures, the magenta Kreinik I used is Confetti Pink 042 and I believe this is one of the colors Kreinik is phasing out. I happen to love it and have it in every size so if I ran out I used another size. I have even been known to twist ribbon in the needle to use as braid.

But back to the flowers…The border is a Freeform Satin using Neon Rays, so I had to lay the Neon Rays. But the center is my favorite. I love to do French Knots and so both the white and read areas are stitched in French Knots. I used the Confetti Pink 042 first and covered most of the area, then added a few white perle French Knots around the edges.
2015-11-12 BB d redThere are four red flowers: 2 large (#6: one on the wing and one on the large side piece) and 2 small red flowers (#5: one on the large side piece and one on a wing) I’m not wild about all the white around the flowers (see stitch placement picture) so sometimes I just stitch over these areas with the petal color. The small red flower is stitched using all French Knots (yes I am on a roll). I stitched from the center out with yellow floss, Kreinik Confetti Pink 042, and white perle; then added beads.

2015-11-12 BB c redAnd since I am on the French knot making roll, why stop? I decided that since I was not found of doing satin stitch, French Knots on a Stick would do nicely for the petals of the red flowers. In case you hadn’t noticed all the red flowers are really Confetti Pink, and guess what the Needlepoint Police have not shown up at my door yet…and if they do I’m not answering the door!  And yes the centers are filled with more French Knots using green Kreinik, yellow floss and pink beads.

Can you tell I’m losing interest in this piece? I’ll be back next week to finish up the flowers…I am bound and determined to be done with this piece by Thanksgiving…I have too many other canvases to stitch….not to mention the original ideas floating around in my head.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers: Loopy Ribbon

2015-11-05 BB us2015-11-05 BB blue

2015-11-05 BB hillIt’s been a hectic month around Kansas City. In case you haven’t heard, Kansas City Boys in Blue (AKA: Kansas City Royals) won the World Series. It was quite a month…I watched every game starting pitch to last out and one night it was late. But last Tuesday my husband and I headed out to see the Boys in Blue. We went to Union Station and staked out our spot and then we would wander around one at a time (didn’t want to lose our nest) to see the festivities. It was cool to be part of this; I don’t think I say one person without a smile on their face and blue was the color of the day. People watching is a fun thing to do.

Didn’t take my flowers with me but I am working on them…maybe now that the Boys in Blue are taking a vacation I can get some stitching completed.

2015-11-05 BB a loopI decided to try the loop stitch with ribbon. Thought that sounded pretty simple…I guess not or I need lots more practice. I didn’t like the way it looked and so after having it half way stitched removed it, threw away that piece of ribbon. It is true that if you remove ribbon you MUST start over with new ribbon. Silk ribbon is not forgiving and will show every piercing of the ribbon…just like Congress cloth. I  guess if you want the “Shabby Chic” look you could reuse the ribbon.

2015-11-05 BB ironI used short lengths of ribbon, 12-15 inches. I ironed each ribbon…

Side note: I can’t remember if I told you all this before or not but this is the coolest trick. I learned this from Lois Kershner (http://www.loiskershner.com/home) in a class she taught at out guild. She irons her stranded silks; it makes them lie smoother on the canvas. I decided to try it with the ribbon (honestly I think I read that you should do this in one of the ribbon books) but it takes the kinks 2015-11-05 BB b loopout of the ribbon. Then I decided that it might work for any thread and you wouldn’t even necessarily need to turn on the heat. So I keep this handy little tool in close to my stitching nest and I iron whichever thread I think necessary. I am also looking for a portable hair 2015-11-05 BB c loopiron…illuminating the cord would make it even handier.

I decided to do the loop stitch like a Turkey work stitch and then I could better control where the loop is going. It is definitely harder on the ribbon and it took a bit of yanking 2015-11-05 BB d loopsometimes to get the needle to come through the ribbon and canvas, even with the chenille needle.

What I have learned is that ribbon work is a technique unto its self and I am a novice at this and need a lot more studying and practice. I think the rest of the flowers I am going to stick to the stitches I really know. Many of these stitches are used with Ribbon work and some are even stitched with ribbon, but for now I am going to go with what I know. Later this fall and winter I will re-visit the ribbon work books and try again, but right now I have too many stitching projects piling up to do this technique justice.

I finished the ribbon loops and filled the center with French knots stitched with Kreinik braid.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers

Did you think I’d never get back to the flowers? So did I but here we go…

I read all my Ribbon books and decided for now to play it by gut feeling. I’ve gathered up many different types of ribbons type threads (i.e. Kreinik ribbons and Fyre Werks, Neon Rays, Sparkle Rays from Rainbow Gallery) and silk ribbons that were in my stash. The Ribbon books say the ribbon should fit the size of the ground and also the size of the flower being made. Common sizes (from smallest to largest) are 2mm-4mm-7mm and 13mm. All my ribbons are 4mm so I will be limited to their use according to ribbon books. Gathered these up too along with a few beads and metallic braids to add to the mix.

The first flowers I did were ruche ribbons. I found the word “ruche” spelled two different ways; one with a “c” and the other with an “s” and an accent mark over the “e”. I preferred the ruche spelling and so that is what we are using. The “s” spelling reminded me of rush as in hurry up and trust me rushing is not something you want to do when stitching these flowers.

For all the flowers I used a Chenille needle. Two reasons: 1. Wanted to pierce ribbon thread onto the needle and 2. thought if I had to pierce canvas threads would be easier to do so with a chenille needle. And most importantly, it worked for me…ALWAYS do what you are comfortable doing…if you force your needlework you will not like it. Remember this is supposed to be fun!

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2015-10-21 BB a rucheI did the small red flowers first using Neon Rays (nothing like jumping in feet first) for these red flowers. Neon Rays is hard to control without ruching it …so ruching it just made it more difficult to control.  So I just ruched the thread and piled it on the area and couched it down until I liked it. I added

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a bead and then moved on to the white flowers.  Thank goodness there were only two of these!

I realized I was in much too much of a hurry for this type of stitching; I was rushing the ruching!

2015-10-21 BB c rucheSo I took a deep breath and started the white flowers. I used Sparkle Rays for these flowers and noticed as I was pulling a thread of the
Sparkle Rays that this thread would ruche flat. So I decided to try and place in a controlled manner. I used other needles to place the ruched Sparkle Rays and then using 1 ply of floss couched the ribbon in place. I like this look and 2015-10-21 BB d rucheyou can really see how ruching works. I bet you can control ribbon like this too, will have to try different ways of doing this.

I finished the white flowers  with either green or gold beads. Oh btw, look out needlepoint police; I knotted 2015-10-21 BB e ruchethe ruched thread on the back. I wanted to be sure this thread didn’t come loose on either end. And since I am finishing it too, it is my piece I can do what I want!

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