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

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Voila another finished needlepoint piece

I finished, finished my shamrock piece this week and I really like it. Of course now I am siting twittering my thumbs. Not really, but it is a vision isn’t it…me twittering my thumbs?

And before I continue I am not endorsing any designer or shop nor is this a commercial for anyone designer or shop. I receive nothing from them but we all know it takes a community to get our designs from our mind to the finished product.

The design was a birthday gift from my friend, Joan Lewis (http://www.joansneedlepoint.com/index.htm ); she had painted it for a customer and I loved it, so she did one for my birthday. I’m not sure it is on her website but she will paint one for you.

The box is frosted glass box. Mine is forever old but I think you can still get from Framecraft in England or I did post online about them and these shops answered me that they have them in stock: (no prefered order…only the order I received them)

The Designer’s Desk; Pat or Donna; 216 James Street; Historic Geneva, IL 60134; www.designersdeskusa.com; email: ddesk1@aol.com; 630-262-1234; 1-800-377-8087.

Thistle Needleworks, Inc.; Judie, 1005 Hebron Avenue; Glastonbury, CT 06033; 860-633-8503; 860-633-1851 (fax); 800-NDLWRKS (635-9757) (out-of-state orders); ThisNeedle@aol.com; www.ThistleNeedleworks.com.

Threadneedle Street; Marianne Bergson, Owner; 75-645 Dempsey Drive; Palm Desert, CA 92211; (760) 340-0411; threadst@aol.com<threadst@aol.com>;

Step by step finishing:  I did it and I’m so proud of myself…finishing is not really my deal.

13-03-14 finish #3My box came with a paper insert template and so I cut another out of lightweight cardstock. I cut it about 1/8th inch smaller than paper template to compensate for the thickness of canvas and stitching.

I cut the canvas about 1 inch from the stitched design. I also cut a piece of lining (because I had used an open stitch and my cardstock was bright white…I wanted a softer look) I also cut a piece of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthin batting the size of my cardstock for slight padding.

I knew I was going to clip around the circle so I could turn tabs back smoothly;  so I basted the lining to the canvas next to the outside stitching edge of the design area. When I clip the canvas and lining the lining will stay attached to the canvas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA13-03-14 finish #4aI laced the canvas and lining to the cardstock starting at the top and bottom, then side to side and finally around the curves. I clipped my tabs as I went but you could clip the canvas and lining first and then stitch. How I stitched mine is numbering diagram on the right. (Even thought the picture does not look this way…some helpful elves clipped my original stitching after I had it wedged into the lid so I quickly redid in clockwise fashion…not sure I even got all the tabs second time.)

Pressed the metal liner (this came with my jar) in the frame. It locks the needlework in place and it 13-03-14 finish #5was difficult to get locked in place. then I attached the felt piece (also came with jar, but any felt or ultra-suede would do.) to give it a finished appearance…

And Voila another finished needlepoint piece.

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

Shamrock Bows

I am on a roll… Oh I just love it when I have a feeling of accomplishment, but I am ahead of myself… I had researched the technique, gathered the supplies (floss for padding and chenille needles for stitching) but was still not stitching the bow. I knew how I expected it to look but just wasn’t in the mood to tackle it. Have you ever been here? I knew it wasn’t because I felt  incapable of this technique; I just wasn’t in the mood. And I do think that you have to be in the mood to tackle certain projects.

I know I’ve heard that you can tell the mood of a stitcher by looking at her basketweave stitching…I believe this. I think anytime your mood changes, or your mind is someplace other than what you are doing. Example – Driving and daydreaming: Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden you realize you are further down the road than you thought, or already to your destination. Scary isn’t it? Or you have all the stuff to make meatloaf but it’s just not sounding like a meatloaf night to your taste buds?

Well, that’s where I was with the bow…I just wasn’t feeling it. Obviously wasn’t feeling it since I started the piece in January (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/shamrock-stitching/ ) and have stitched several things in between. I don’t like to think of it as procrastination because I knew it was in the stitching pile, I really was just not ready to tackle the project.  Last week I picked it up; I finally felt like I could tackle the project. I was still a bit leery that my stitching would not match what my eye was seeing, but I decided that I needed to attempt a start. I knew that if it went poorly I could cut it out; but I also knew I was going to be piercing canvas threads with my chenille needle and would be weakening the canvas. With a bit of trepidation I started. I did one side first and spent the day looking at it. While it did not quite match my mind’s eye it was not overly offensive to me either; I just had to give my mind eye time to adjust to the reality of the stitching. And of course, I think we are always overly critical of our own stitching.

I set it up on the shelf and walked away from it and did something completely unstitching related…reading my second love. And low and behold the affirmation moment happened…I was reading about art (okay so it is creatively related to stitching) but this artist was saying that we need to allow the right brain to see the beauty that the left brain is trying to tell us is not there. I immediately looked at the bow and knew it was going to be okay…not perfect but acceptable to me if I allowed it to be so. I finished stitching the bow the next day.

This is how I stitched the bow: I used a 7 ply silk to stich the bows. I outlined, padded and satin stitched the loops of the bow. The tails of the bow were horizontal Satin stitch without padding or outline stitches.

13-03-12 Outline of bowThe first picture is an outline of one bow loop.

Step 1: I used 2 ply to outline the loops of the bow.  I outlined both the outside and insid13-03-12 Padded satin Step1e of the loops.

Step 2: I used a cotton floss close in silk color to pad the loops. I tried not striping the floss but I knew even before 13-03-12 Padded satin Step2I began stitching this was not going to work so I striped the floss and used all 6 ply.  I laid the floss along the area and adjusted angles as I stitched the satin stitches.

Step 3: Stitched stain stitches with 5 ply silk.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Pierced canvas threads and changed direction as I moved around the bow.

The tails of the bow were stitched with 5 ply silk in a horizontal Satin stitch starting at the bottom and worked toward the bow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo the bow is stitched and I have learned to silence the left side of my brain and allow the right side to shine through. I like my stitching better…at least for this piece; but I know the left brain can’t stay quiet for long.

But this week-end I finished stitching my bow, maybe I will get it finished finish this week… and maybe two posts in one week. What is the world coming to?

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

Laissez les bons temps roule!

Today is Mardi Gras…

I’m still researching bows for the shamrock piece. Not really, I have researched and have three books marked…just not in the mood to start. Another not really, but I have in my mind how I want the bow to look but don’t know if I can stitch it the same way. In short, I am procrastinating. I have to be in the right mood to tackle some projects, especially those I have a vision of how the finished stitching should look. I want the bow to be realistic looking and the stitching to be very smooth, and full. Do you envision how a canvas should look? They say that this is why we do not like some of our work; we have envisioned how we think the canvas should look and yet we do not stitch it the same way. I have another month until St Pat’s Day, hope inspiration hits me before then.

Bones, the Guild piece from a few posts ago has been passed on.

I needed a canvas for Super Bowl…one that was fairly simple and would not require my undivided attention…I think because Super Bowl was in New Orleans I was more attracted to all the activities. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities…but I think it is a young person town. You have to be young to eat, drink and be merry 24/7 for days on end and let’s face it New Orleans is a eat, drink and be merry town! And in my younger days, I could eat, drink and be merry with the best of them, but today I am a little more reserved. I still love the food and I don’t know how you can be unhappy in a town that is always partying, but I have my limits and so fix’n some Cajun food and watching from my “easy” chair was the best “big easy” do this year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd what a better canvas to stitch than Nick, my Mardi Gras man. On her website Kathy Meyer (http://kathymeyer1.tripod.com/kmdesigns/index.html) calls him a Beatnik, but he is definitely my Mardi Gras man. I’ve had Nick for a few years and he’s always been my Mardi Gras guy. For those of you who do not know Mardi Gras is only on Fat (gras) Tuesday (Mardi) before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. BUT carnival started in January on the 12th night and was only set aside last week for Super Bowl. And by last Tuesday after SuperBowl, the krews were readying themselves with costumes, throws (beads, cups, doubloons and all sorts of goodies) for the parades that happen almost non-stop through Mardi Gras. Oh, to be young again…”throw me somethi’n Mister!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANick was the canvas of choice for Super Bowl and he was fun to stitch. Basketweaved top part of his face with a light green silk floss (remember the colors for Mardi Gras are green, gold and purple). His beard is a loosely stitched basketweave with green and gray silk floss and them I took a needle and ‘fluffed” or picked at the stitches to give him that 5 o’clock shadow look. All of his OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhair, eyebrows, beard and mustache are Petite Peluche stitched freely in slanted Gobelins. His eyes are padded Satin with an outline stitch and Turkey Tufted eyelashes. I was going to clip the Turkey Tufting but thought it was cute left loopy. He was topped off with a purple beret OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstitched in a stitch using perle cotton and #12 Kreinik braid: #070: Mardi Gras (http://www.kreinik.com/).

I opened up his body to add a wire frame to give him a spine (you have to have a spine to play at Mardi Gras) so he can play with his beads and doubloons…after all you can never have too much fun at carnival/Mardi Gras.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIsn’t he cute? I just love him. He’s been finished and swimming in my from my Carnival/ Mardi Gras days on my desk this past week.

He has a buddy I stitched a long time ago for Halloween. I’m not sure what his real name was (and I don’t see him on the website) but I called him OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalter, the wizard witch. I love the doll eyes and I think I added the moon to the hat…But his nose is his crowning glory! It is needleweaving (buttonhole stitch) over padding using glow in the dark Kreinik braid (http://www.kreinik.com/). And then I made warts using pony beads and Peluche from Fabulous Fibers (http://www.fabulousfibers.com/Default.asp). He also has wire added to him and he usually sits with my other witches at Halloween holding a tiny beanie baby toy from a McDonalds Happy Meal.

I would really like the heart one shown on Kathy’s website too but I don’t see it listed…Oh I hear my credit card squaking…”Use me, use me.”

Today is Mardi Gras so: “Laissez les bons temps roule!” (Let the good times roll!)

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

ttfn…sue
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P.S. This is the rest of my Mardi Gras display. Bought the masks in New Orleans years ago and I love them, some of my throws, my hat and my Mardi Gras Throw bag (partially seen on far right with pom-poms). I even have a No Parking sign that the police chief of Meterie in Jefferson Parrish sent me, it hangs in my hallway year round.

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Shamrock Stitching

Since my last posting, I have been to the eye doctor and she told me my eyes are the same as last year and I am good for another year. That is good news since my eyes are as important to me for stitching and computing too.
I have been stitching in my spare time, of which sometimes I think I have precious little. But every day I try to do a little bit, it keeps my sanity.
I am working on several things, some are further along than others and some are still in the “mulling over in my mind” stage.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne is a small piece, shamrocks with a pink bow, my friend Joan Lewis painted for me several years ago. Joan and I worked together at Two the Point for years and now she has a website with many of her original designs (http://www.joansneedlepoint.com/index.htm ) She’s another one of the talented inspirations in my life.
13-01-25 wovenI started the background with one of my favorite stitches, the Woven or T-stitch (just depends on whose book you are using.) I like this stitch as a background stitch; it seems to recede and remain in the background when with a thread that is the same color and the size of the thread is smaller or equal to the canvas thread size. This stitch can be worked two ways: diagonally, which I prefer, but then I like any stitch that can be stitched diagonally…I think it helps reduce the distortion of the canvas, or the stitch may be executed in rows. Notice the pink and blue on the diagrams…these are the stitch on the back of the canvas and they influence the look of the stitch on the front of the canvas. The difference is not noticeable when using a thread that is the same or similar to the painted portion of the canvas or the canvas color. 13-01-25 woven 2Where it would make a difference is when the stitch is executed in rows and the thread is a contrasting color or even a different value of color; remember color effects color! The diagonal method of stitching seems to hide the back part of the thread behind the canvas threads more but a contrast of color or value change will affect the stitch appearance, but maybe not as dramatically as the row method of stitching.
I soon realized I was going to need a place other than the outside border to begin, end threads and turn for new row; so I stopped the Woven stitch and stitched the shamrocks.

13-01-25 rhodes variation shamrock 1Each shamrock petal is stitched in a Rhodes stitch adapted to fill the petal area. I first decided the outlines of each petal (segments) and the order to stitch (could determine which petal appears to be in front of another petal.) Notice that the petals diagramed here have double stitches (two stitches using the same space); not all petals will have these but some may. When I was deciding the order to stitch each petal, the only rule I made for myself was that the last stitch (top stitch) should be as close to the center stitch as possible. As I was diagraming this stitch I noticed a place where I could stitch differently (petal 1) or were I might need an extra stitch to fill the area (petal 2 & 3). The second diagram 13-01-25 rhodes variation shamrock 2shows how these would look if I made these changes (I didn’t think petal 2 would looked better or worse.) Each shamrock was stitched using this method and so no two shamrocks are alike ( oh just like nature).
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am also showing you the back of my canvas so you can see how I used the shamrocks as turn around and places to bury background thread. I have a friend who says that if you are close enough to her work to see her mistakes you are too close. And you should never look at the back of a stitchers work unless she offers to let you see it and never ever make a comment about the condition of the back…this stitcher has allowed you a glimpse into her most sacred self… Please be kind.

Now I am back to the contemplating and research stage again for the bow. I can visualize how I want the bow to look and I think I have seen this technique for the bow in one of Helen Stevens’ books I read last year and maybe an Inspirations magazine. Off to my library to look…

Never fear I have something else to stitch while I do this!

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