This week I played with Temari Balls.

I belong to a couple groups online and one is doing a beginning study. While I have been doing Temari Balls for a long time, I do not consider myself anything but a beginner. I think in order to advance you should work at the art regularly and I am sporadic at best.

I can do most of the simple divisions and some of the complex divisions. I am not at all familiar with the terminology, especially the Japanese terms that true Temari artists use. I call a ball stitched with spindles and “spindle Temari”; while a true Temari artist calls this “Tsumu kagari.”

But I like to keep my beginning skills up and so every now and then I join in rather than just lurk all the time. If you would like to explore the two sites I frequent most, here they are: they just recently changed web hosts and I think you have to ask permission to join but that should not be a problem.

Temari Challenge for Everyone: https://temarichallenge.groups.io/g/Main

Temari Talk Companion group to Temari Kai (see below)  https://talktemari.groups.io/g/main

 

And here are the Temari sites I explore most:

Barbara Suess: http://www.japanesetemari.com/index.html

Temari Kai: http://www.temarikai.com/

Temari Obsession: http://www.npcdesign.com/index.html

This study (Beginning Basics) appealed to me because it was the perfect opportunity to explore some concepts that I had been tossing around in my head while also honing my beginning skills and practicing stitching  a spindle.

In my Temari Ball mind I have wanted to play with DMC #3 and #5 perle cotton to see the differences in making a ball. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore this concept.  I learned that two rounds of stitching with #5 perle is about equivalent to 1 round with #3 perle. It is kind of an eyeball adjustment and a judgement call but at least I have an idea now.

 

In the past some of my spindles seem to pop out of place and now I know why. I was not allowing enough space between the stitches. I have decided that a good rule of thumb for stitching spindles is that there should be at least the diameter of the thread between stitches. And if you lay the thread where it should be placed you can see where to take the next stitch. Following these personal observations, my Temari spindles turned out very well.

 

Another thing I gleaned from this study is that if you are using more than two threads of the same color from one source, make sure they are the same or at least compatible. I used #3 and #5 perle in three colors: the white and dark blue were the same but the light blue was two different colors (even though they were the same number). When placed next to each other under a bright light, one had a blue-green cast while the other was a true blue tint.

 

I also experimented with stitches at the pole points. This one I used a Smooth Spider Web stitch.

I also tried using a double silver thread and twisting it in the needle before stitching. Both of these experiments worked fairly well.

This was a fun experiment and I considered it a great learning experience, so  I am going to try and continue following along and practicing…never know I might consider myself an intermediate Temari Ball stitcher when I get.

I am going to get back to needlepoint and I have been stitching. I’ve been stitching on a secret project but I did take pictures and so when it is completed and given as a gift I will post all about it. And as a matter of fact going to do another one as an experiment. More later.

Would also like to get back to finishing needlepoint as it is mounting up. And I haven’t told you everything I did last summer and this summer is already about half over. I made a list of things to write about and I don’t think I’ve covered more than a couple….see how I get distracted. Okay off to finish another non needlepoint project….but next week I will share needlepoint.

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

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Embellishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

And “Wicked” was stitched!

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

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Fun stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time we will do the embellishing.

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

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

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley “Wicked”: Background & Letters

The first thing I did before stitching was to read the stitch guide and refer to the canvas. I wanted to be sure I understood everything before I began stitching. As I read I found several things I thought I might have to change but I didn’t make any notes and kept an open mind. I did make notes on things I wanted to remember to do.

Letter W

W: I outlined the areas that the stitch guide noted would be outlined. I even made a little asterisk mark at the points of the moon to begin and/or end the outlines here for a crisp point.

Fangs: I also marked those two stitches on the cat that looked out of place…it took me awhile but after looking at them quite a while I decided they were fangs and not mis-painted canvas.

Curly q on pumpkin: stitch guide said to stitch over this area.

Letter I:

I:  Only the top part of the I was Nobuko stitched. I showed the outline around the letter Nobuko was stitched over petals of flower on hat and over hair. Only the center of the flower was left not stitched in Nobuko.

Also made note that skull was last thing on this letter to be stitched.

Letter C:

C: was the easiest letter to stitch; everything was stitched and the spider web was to be couched over these stitches later. The letter was also outlined.

Letter K:

Outlined again and the eyeball and the green curly q (I would have missed had it not be mentioned in the stitch guide…colors were too close)

Letter E:

Outline letter. The steam is stitched over and noticed a mis-painted area in the E

Letter D:

Outline letter. Another straight forward letter, bats are either Diagonal Gobelin or Basketweave.

 

Then I began stitching. Like I said before I was happy that the boring part was being stitched first…not boring but mundane.  I always try to stitch some of the background as I go because if you leave it until last it seems like it takes forever! I think it has to do with all the creative stitches have been completed and in your mind you may already be thinking about that next canvas you are going to stitch. Backgrounds can be sooooo mundane and sometimes because of this you will make a mistake and if the background comes around to meet itself it can be off and depending on where it meets can be disastrous. Sometimes if you catch it you can fudge the background and get it to work but if there is a definite horizontal and vertical line it can be difficult.

Background: This background had its challenges. I decided to center each area of the yellow and orange backgrounds because there was the black bar between them.  The orange background was the negative stitches of the yellow background, so I wanted the horizontal lines to match up but the vertical lines did not necessarily have to be continuous. The black divider between them would soften this difference. BUT I thought maybe the Black crosses could look off if they weren’t at least somewhat the same. So if you look at the W-I picture you will see a 1 by the third from left black divider; it is the only one that mostly goes from top to bottom.  I stitched that one first so the others I could sort of match up to this one when other stitching interrupted the line and the crosses would not be more than a thread off to the eye. I don’t think anyone would have ever noticed but me but I guess that is the …”it might be looked at by a needlework judge”. She will spot the off-ness anyway but at least I tried. And you know what a friend of mine says….

“If you are close enough to my needlepoint to see the mistake, you may be too close.”

Background stitching:  I started in the middle of each section and worked toward the side that would give me a full, top to bottom row. Mostly every letter allowed at least one darning stitch to go from bottom to top and this kept the pattern in line. Also once the vertical line from top to bottom in the first section was established; it also started the horizontal lines across the top and bottom. And once the horizontal and vertical line was established in the yellow areas all the oval places in the picture will be the same stitch in each area. The same is true for the rectangle in the orange areas too. This will help keep the background from going askew before I am finished. Stitching the background around this letter was relatively simple as I either had the Nobuko stitches to turn around or areas that were to be padded, each letter was different.

Letter W: The solid white lines show the areas where when not turning a row in the Nobuko of the letter I could do a small turn around stitch or tacking stitch. I tried not to end threads in these areas unless I was sure there was going to be padding. The area by the cat’s tail (upper left) was an area where I first used a traveling stitch, but the other areas by the moon, fence and pumpkin were either padded or I could do a tacking stitch that would be stitched over later.

Letter I: The hat is ultra-suede so I could turn rows in this areas and I had stitched most of the top right half of the letter, leaving only the center of the flower unstitched. And the bottom was a pumpkin that was to be padded so I had turn around areas here too.

Letter C: This was one of the two easiest letters to stitch; it was all Nobuko and the spider web and spider were couched and stitched over. This made turn around/tack stitches easy for the background. Hardest part was the inside of the C background. I first stitched from center toward K until I had a full line, then went back and filled in the center of the C.

Letter K: The K didn’t present much of a problem stitching the background as the Nobuko is at the top and bottom of the letter, the pumpkin is padded and the bird body is a Cashmere variation that allows for turn-around stitches. The little bit of orange background in the center right of the K took a bit of maneuvering as not much stitch was on the top of the canvas.

Letter E: Since all the steam was stitched first in Nobuko and the pot was an applique, there were plenty of turn-around places for the background. I thought about repainting the mistake in the background but though I could cover with the thread and the steam, so I left it. I see it but I think the canvas has enough stitching interest to keep most people’s eye moving past it.  I waited to do the yellow background until after I had stitched the orange between the E & D.

Letter D: Nobuko is pretty straight forward here again. The instructions say the large bats are stitched in diagonal Gobelins and smaller bats are Basketweave. So the top right bat was the only one I felt I needed to drop down below to make a turnaround stitch in Nobuko; the larger bats I could take a small tack stitch in the wing areas. The biggest problem was lining up the yellow background inside the D.

There are only three places where you have a top to bottom vertical line to keep the pattern established: to the left of the E in yellow background; the center line of the orange area, and the far right of the D. So you have to stitch background yellow center to the left and establish line on the E and center to the right to establish vertical line on the right of the D. The orange is the center line.

Once the background and letters were in the fun began and again I started with the W and worked to the D. Here was where I made a few more “sudu” changes. Remember, needlepoint has to be fun or don’t do it. I will usually try a new technique, stitch or thread but if it becomes frustrating to me or I don’t like it, I stop and take it out and find something that works for me.

Next time I’ll tell you about the design elements of each letter. If you have any questions, just ask in the comment area and I will try and answer them.

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

ttfn…sue

Melisssa Shirley “Wicked”

Promised we would add some needlepoint in here…and then I got behind last week and of course the blog is the first to go. I really wish I could write ahead and have several posts ready to go. I’ve just never been very good at that; maybe I’ll try again.

Most of my stitching is either a geometric counted pieces or I am designing my own original pieces so a painted canvas with a stitch guide is a rarity for me until this past year. This past year I have done at least three or four with stitch guides and several even had thread kits. BUT not one of them is stitched exactly like the stitch guide was written; sometimes I wasn’t happy with the chosen thread and other times I chose a different stitch. But I did read every stitch guide before I started stitching and if there was a thread or stitch I was unfamiliar with I either tried it on the edge of the canvas or on a doodle canvas I keep handy.

I go in spurts doing painted canvases and most of the painted canvases I have stitched never had a stitch guide so I was on my own. Stitch guides are a relatively new thing on the needlepoint market, they have become a big thing in the last several years. I have mixed feelings about stitch guides. I think they are great as a guide, but please remember these stitch guides are not written in stone. If you don’t like a certain thread or stitch, then don’t make yourself miserable trying to use it or stitch it…change it. Needlepoint is supposed to be fun and THERE ARE NO NEEDLEPOINT POLICE (unless you enter a piece to be judged and then that’s a different story.) So be sure if you are buying a canvas with stitch guide and threads, be sure and look over the stitch guide first for threads you might want to substitute before purchasing all the threads. When you get home read the stitch guide and if there is a stitch you just fight all the time, then start to think of what you might stitch in its place.

So if possible, you might wait to purchase the threads for the canvas later. Live with the canvas a while, read the stitch guide and check you stash for threads or threads you can easily substitute…i.e. Neon Rays for Ribbon Floss, one brand of silk for another (be sure to adjust ply and make sure color is very, very close. ) Also if there is a thread you do not enjoy stitching with, you probably have already thought of and used a substitute thread, so just see if it comes in the color you need for this project. You can also use partial skeins sometimes if the area you are stitching doesn’t call for multiple cards or skeins.

I always try and remember to take pictures of unstitched canvas before I start stitching; but sometimes I forget and I only remember when I get to a place where I want to cover the painted canvas and stitch later…but I usually get a picture before I stitch too much stitching is completed. I take pictures of my unpainted canvas one of two ways and sometimes both: The difference, you ask?

I use the copy machine, especially if there is an area I am going to use felt padding or need a pattern to make an applique. I use the copy machine when I want an exact copy of the design ..or almost exact copy.  Copy machines do reduce your image about 1-2%, but it is usually not negligible, and a copy machine picture is much better than trying to get a photo to resize to the correct size.

I use my phone or PHD (push here dummy) camera if I just need a picture to take notes about the canvas. I use this method when there is not a stitch guide and I want to make notes about the threads and stitches I use. With my camera image I can reduce or enlarge areas to suit my needs, but I still find the copy machine best if you are making a pattern of an area.

After I have an image(s) of the canvas I read the stitch guide. You bought a stitch guide, it is written, and you might as well read it. I also keep the canvas handy so I can refer to the areas as I read. I sometimes make notes on the image I have printed if I may want to change something or if there is something I want to look at or do before I stitch an area.

So let’s talk about one project I did last year, Wicked. This is a Melissa Shirley canvas (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/galsearch/index.cgi?index=1382044750_26409&col=)

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and I had a stitch guide and threads. I will tell you I did not always follow the stitch guide and there were a couple threads I did not use. The stitch guide was a guide for me and a few places I did change or modify instructions. Wicked was a gift to me and it came with canvas, stitch guide, threads and embellishments, so I just checked my stash to use up any partial threads I might have and I did substitute two thread choices, but I didn’t do it until I was stitching the area and the suggested thread was just not working for me.

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I made notes on pages I had printed out for each letter as I read the stitch guide and then as I stitched each letter I also made notes on these same sheets.  My first change was to stitch the letters in Nobuko instead of Basketweave. I just wasn’t in a Basketweave mood and I really thought Basketweave would cause the letters to recede and I wanted them to be on top of the background. And by stitching them first, it gave me a place to turn rows of the darning background around with less difficulty and also to begin and end threads if I couldn’t get to an edge.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was happy to read that I was suppose to stitch the background as one of the first elements of the project; backgrounds can be long and boring, especially after you stitch all the fun stuff. I decided to center the background darning pattern in each section; you can see my centering marks on the canvas. I also tried to begin and end threads for the background at the edges of the canvas using an “L” or “U” stitch. I could also begin and end threads in the letters where I stitched Nobuko. I used the Nobuko also to turn a row and keep background darning pattern thread in line.  Sometimes where I knew I would be padding the canvas with felt or thread I could also make a turning stitch, but I tried to keep this to a minimum. Sometimes I had to do a small tuck stitch or carry the thread up further than2017-05-01 beg & end I might have liked.

It seemed like it took me forever to get the background and letters stitched and I do think it took me about a month. But them each letter was fun to embellish and I worked them from W to D.  I’ll tell you the few things I waited until the very last to do as I tell you about the letters. I did not stitch the details of each letter until I had the letters and background complete, but I didn’t take pictures either so you’ll have to bear with me on this one.

And this is about all I can write today…I think I am well over my 55 minute sitting time.

So I will get up and walk and maybe I can get back to this and be a few posts ahead.

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

ttfn…sue

Finishing: ornaments 3: Soft ornaments

Shaped ornaments may be finished with illustration board but I find it easier to finish them as a soft ornament. Any shape , even square or round may be finished using this method. These ornaments take a bit more time because they are hand stitched, no glue here.

Stuffing is a personal thing; some prefer tightly stuffed, while others like softer ornaments that are not stuffed as much. Whichever type you prefer, remember to use small amounts of fiber fill. Use a chopstick (reason to eat out) to push small amounts of fiber fill in to the nooks and crannies of shaped ornaments. My personal preference is somewhere between medium firm to firmly stuffed, squishy ornaments are not my thing.

Materials List:

BLOCKED Needlepoint

Copy of blocked needlepoint

Lining (optional)

Fabric Backing

Iron-on Pelon  or fleece: medium weight

Hanger (optional) Can use cording

Sewing thread to match Needlepoint and/or backing

Cording

Chop Stick or pointed tool

Usual sewing supplies

Step 1: Make a copy of your needlepoint on the copy machine and cut out.

 

 

Step 2: Lay copy right side up on the non-iron side of the pelon and draw around cut out copy.  Place on fabric backing for the ornament and iron to backing.

 

 

Step 3: Trim ornament to 1/2 inch and clip. Finger press the canvas to the back side of the needlepoint and hold in place with pins.

 

20160323 OrnSoft 4Step 4: With a long waxed thread tack the excess to the back of the needlework with running stitches. Be careful not to take the stitches to the front of needlepoint canvas.

Step 5: Repeat this process for the fabric backing, checking to be sure that 20160323 OrnSoft 5the fabric backing will match the needlepoint canvas. Be sure the running stitches are only tacked to the pelon or fleece.

Step 6: Optional. I used a hanger I bent to fit as a 20160323 OrnSoft 6hanger  to fit the sweaters.  I attached this to the needlepoint side of the canvas with basting stitches.

 

 

20160323 OrnSoft 7Step 7: Pin the needlepoint to the fabric backing.

Step 8: With the back side facing you (don’t ask me why…it’s just easier) and a waxed thread, ladder stitch the front to the back. The ladder stitch catches canvas 3-4 threads on the needlepoint and then 20160323 OrnSoft 8 ladder stitch graphicabout a 1/4 inch in the fold of the backing fabric. Pull this stitch snuggly, drawing the canvas and backing together. Do not for get to leave an opening for the ends of the cording and a place to stuff. Note the sweater ornaments had two openings; one at the hanger and one I left at the bottom to use for stuffing.

20160323 OrnSoft 11Step 9:  Using small amounts of stuffing, stuff the ornaments to the desired fullness. Use a chop stitck, small knitting needle or any pointed instrument to stuff; poking small amounts of stuffing into small places and corners. When stuffed to desired fullness, 20160323 OrnSoft 10close the hole with more ladder stitches.

Step 10: Make a cording to match or blend with the needlepoint. Attach to needlepoint hiding the ends in an opening left for this purpose.

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Step 11: With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Enjoy your finished ornament.

 

 

 

 

There is another type of soft ornament finishing and that uses fleece. These ornaments are not stuffed but rather stitched with fleece layers between the front and the back. I find this a great way to make a scissor fob…

It is finished very much the same way the above ornament is done:

Materials:

Blocked needlepoint Canvas

Backing material

Fleece

Thread

Cording

Step 1: Cut needlepoint canvas to 1/2 inch from needlework, angle corners.

Step 2: Finger press to back of needlepoint and pin.

Step 3: Cut fleece just a bit smaller then needlework and attach with running stitches being careful not to go through to the front of the needlepoint.

Step 4: Cut backing fabric 1/2 larger than needlework. Also cut 2 more pieces of fleece 1/8 to 1/4 inch smaller than needlepoint.

Step 5: Finger press and pin into place, mitering corners.

 

Step 6: Stitch needlepoint to fabric backing using ladder stitch method. Remember to leave opening for cording.

Step 7: Making cording and attach to needlework.

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Enjoy your new scissor fob. Hint you can also use to park needles.

This will be all the finishing for a couple weeks. Today as  I am having total knee replacement and will be rehabbing for a few weeks. But I look at it this way, I will have a good knee to keep me on my finishing quest.

AND I am going to have some great stitching time! 😉

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

ttfn…sue

Finishing: ornaments

I’m going to break the ornaments up into types, so we will start with the round ornaments using illustration board.  There are 2 methods to finishing these ornaments: sewing and using glue. I will show you both, it is up to you to make your own decision to which to use. My ornaments are not going to the Smithsonian; my grandchildren hand them on real trees (pine oil) and there is the time it takes to do all by hand (hand sewing takes about twice as long).

RULE ONE: Have all materials at hand, there is nothing more frustrating than having to stop and go looking for something else

Before we begin there are a few hints to make finishing easier…

There are clips on the market for holding canvas and fabrics in place. They come in two and maybe three sizes (I just have two); they are usually found in quilt departments of fabric stores or quilt shops. I prefer the green ones to the mini ones and really I usually grab my old fashion clothes pins 1st.

Hooks: for Christmas ornaments: these are found at craft stores and come in gold and silver. I like the decorative ones for finishing needlepoint because I have never been happy with cording loops. My cording loops either are too long or too short, but with these, you can use a second one of the same hook or the more tradition ornament hook to hang them.  And should you decide to hang them on the wall, this hanger makes a nicer presentation.

Glue: If you decide glue is not a four letter word in finishing here is a helpful hint, especially when glue is less than half full. Lay the glue container on its side with cap on, make sure the tip is over a plastic lid to prevent accidents…Use a large lid and lay the entire bottle in it.

I use old credit cards or a scape of illustration board to spread glue, keeps my fingers clean.

I also keep a damp rag handy when using glue. It helps keep glue off your fingers and it can also help if glue gets on fabric or needlepoint accidentally.

Finishing: Round ornaments using illustration board (sewing method)

You will need:

Blocked ornament (all needlepoint needs to be blocked)

Backing material

Fleece:  I use one about a 1/4 inch thick.

Illustration Board: medium weight

Sewing thread to match backing and complement needlework.

Beeswax

Sharp needle

Hanger (can use cording) another post…

Usual sewing supplies: pins, scissors, clips etc.

I press the backing fabric to get the creases out…

Measure ornament and make illustration board cutouts; cut two same size: one for needlepoint, second for backing. I usually make these a tad smaller than the measurement; this is not an exact measurement, it is really by trial and error method because it actually depends on how much padding you use. Example: needlepoint measures 3 inches I make the illustration board about 2 7/8 inch around.

Make sure these 2 cut outs are the same, trim if necessary. I mark mine with an up arrow so I know how they are to be put together.

 

Cut quilt batting; I usually use two or three. Number 1 is cut about 1/4 inch smaller than illustration board; Number 2 is cut 1/4 inch smaller than first; and Number 3 is cut a 1/4 inch smaller than number 2. You can do this as many times as you want, but four is about the most I’ve seen.

Cut backing fabric 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board.

Cut needlepoint 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board. If using a lining for needlepoint cut this too.

I glue the quilt batting to the illustration board with a dot of glue to hold in place. Start with smallest cut batting and largest batting goes on top.

 

With wrong side of needlepoint up, place illustration board over needlework. Clip needlepoint.

With a double waxed thread begin to lace the needlepoint onto the illustration board. Start at 12:00 and work clockwise, pulling canvas taut but not tight enough to warp illustration board.

Repeat steps #6-7-8 with backing fabric

Attach purchased hanger if desired

 Place the two canvases together and pin. With back side (backing fabric) toward you ladder stitch together with a waxed heavy duty (quilt thread). A double waxed thread may be used too. Leave an opening to place the cording ends between the layers.

Make cording and attach with pins. Hide one end in the opening left in Step 11 and when finished placing cording hind second end.

With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Enjoy

 

 

The second way is to glue the ornament to the illustration board. There is not much difference except you are not lacing the needlepoint and backing nor sewing the ornament together.  It is much quicker, but does take some time to master  not gluing yourself too. Keep a damp rag handy and keep area clean.

Finishing: Round ornaments using illustration board (glue method) 

You will need:

Blocked ornament (all needlepoint needs to be blocked)

Backing material

Fleece:  I use one about a 1/4 inch thick.

Illustration Board: medium weight

Glue:  use archival save glue please

Clips to hold needlework and backing fabric

Sewing thread to match backing and complement needlework.

Beeswax

Sharp needle

Hanger (can use cording) another post…

Usual sewing supplies: pins, scissors, clips etc.

I press the backing fabric to get the creases out…

Measure ornament and make illustration board cutouts; cut two same size: one for needlepoint, second for backing. I usually make these a tad smaller than the measurement; this is not an exact measurement,  it is really by trial and error method because it actually depends on how much padding you use. Example: needlepoint measures 3 inches I make the illustration board about 2 7/8 inch around.

Make sure these 2 cut outs are the same, trim if necessary. I mark mine with an up arrow so I know how they are to be put together.

Cut quilt batting; I usually use two or three. Number 1 is cut about 1/4 inch smaller than illustration board; Number 2 is cut 1/4 inch smaller than first; and Number 3 is cut a 1/4 inch smaller than number 2. You can do this as many times as you want, but four is about the most I’ve seen.

Cut backing fabric 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board.

Cut needlepoint 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch larger than the illustration board. If using a lining for needlepoint cut this too.

I glue the quilt batting to the illustration board with a dot of glue to hold in place. Start with smallest cut batting and largest batting goes on top.

 

With wrong side of needlepoint up, place illustration board over needlework. Clip needlepoint with scissor.

Place a bead of glue on back side of illustration board around the edge. Start at 12:00 o’clock postion and use one of the clips to secure needlepoint to illustration board. Move to 6 o’clock postion and repeat. Do 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock the same and then fill in the rest until all clipped needlepoint canvas is attached to illustration board. Allow to set.

Repeat steps #6-7-8 with backing fabric

 

When set remove clips from needlepoint and backing illustration boards.

Attach purchased hanger if desired

On wrong/back sides of illustration board place a bead of glue around the edge (I usually keep glue about 1/2 inch from edge as I don’t want any seeping out) and in the center . Leave an opening to place the cording ends between the layers. Place two canvases together and secure with clips. Allow to dry completely.

Make cording and attach with pins. Hide one end in the opening left in Step 12 and when finished placing cording, hind second end.

With back side (backing fabric) toward you stitch cording to canvas with 1 strand of waxed thread. This thread should match the cording and if multi colored cord match fabric backing, whatever is most inconspicuous. Stitch through the cording, NOT over the cording. Stitching over the cording creates dimples in the cording that are not pretty.

Enjoy

Notice that I do not glue cording! I guess you could if you’re good but I personally like to sew my cording.

And that is how I make round ornaments using illustration board. Can you tell which one of the three was stitched? 😉

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

ttfn…sue