Stich’n & Comput’n

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. B. Borssuck; 97 Needlepoint Alphabets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My plate broke But I am back…Toppy too…

I am so sorry I have been gone for a couple weeks but my plate finally broke and I just had to let some things go. I have a huge project on my desk right now, but yesterday I felt like I had gotten a grip on it and I could breath.

And to compound things I also got an infection and the medicine almost did me in…this is truly a case of the cure was worse than the disease! I am allergic to penicillin but the doctor assured me it was a new variety and so I tried it. Gave me a shot in the office and I had no adverse reaction, so I took the prescription. Three days later I my stomach was churning and my head pounding so hard I thought some kid was sitting outside my house with his “bass woofers” turned up. Stopped that prescription, called the doctor, he sent a second prescription…took one pill and that was it. I was NOT going to die from the cure! No more meds…if the infection comes back I will deal with it then. This all happened the week-end of St. Patrick and last Saturday (March 24th ) was the first day I felt normal.

Needless to say, Torin Ailfred O’Patrick was not well rounded for St. Paddy’s day. He was finished stitching, BUT flat.  He  was finished before I hit rock bottom and was headed for the finishing table but only made it as far as the mantle to share his space proudly with the navy (one grandson) on the mantle). Toppy knows next year he will be a well-rounded leprechaun.

Toppy got His finishing touches; gold buckles and buttons …buttons were upright cross/French knots: Small horizontal straight stitch and vertical French knot,  a nice filling stitch.

Remember the marks I made at Toppy’s shoes? This was to remember where the shamrocks had been and I couched shamrock sequins.

Toppy’s bag of shamrocks is needleweaving. First I basketweaved his gold bag , then couched shamrocks and over that needleweaving using a buttonhole  stitch. Start at the bottom with straight stitches and then buttonhole up to desired size adding and reducing stitches as needed. This stitch is worked from left to right; just sink thread on right and carry back to left side. The detached buttonholed may be worked first and then the embellishments just placed in the buttonhole bag.

Toppy wanted his mustache and hair to be his crowning glory. I filled his beard with directional straight stitches and overstitched them to give a fuller appearance; I even filled in the mustache area. Over these stitches I did two very long bullion knots for his mustache and couched it into place.

And his crowning glory…over 1000 French Knots…TMI(too much info)?  That’s just the guess-tee-mate because I piled them on just to give him a thick set of curly locks.

This is my temporary desk piled high with 5 Fed EX envelopes delivered to me during my melt down…I worked when I could and had most completed in time but Tuesday was the first day I felt almost caught up .

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