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

More of the Butterfly

Had to take a small break to finish some instructions for a teacher but now I am back to stitching  along.  I decided a few things about the butterfly:

2015-07-17 MS Butterfly unstitchedI am doing the same stitch throughout. Nobuko and I would compensate as needed. The aqua and red dots will be Rhodes stitches to fit area. Butterfly body is going to be Gobelins, his topknot will be couched gold, and the antennas will be left for couching too (Rhodes stitches for the ends of antennas too).

Color choices are dark values for back wing and light values for front wing. These are also the colors used in the kids clothes.

I also decided to take a close up picture and I would later go back and couch the gold and red outlines. Then I realized I will have to stitch the cloud and sky before I couch the butterfly.

Since this is going to be a HOT week-end (I think summer has finally arrived in the Midwest USA…but gratefully it has stopped raining); it will be a great week-end to stitch.

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

ttfn…sue

Mom and Me: Bunny stitching

I worked all last week on the bunnies. I knew I wanted the stitches to be related but I also knew I wanted them to stitch quickly. I also knew that I wanted a stitch that I could offset and yet by offsetting would not draw attention to the offset areas nor create compensating areas that would draw attention away from the piece.

First I stitched the outlines of both the bunnies in a gray continental stitch and I filled in the eyes; then I started on the bunnies. I started with the baby bunny. I knew I wanted to use related stitches and the baby bunny should be the smaller of the two stitch choices.

14-03-12 bunny line draw If you look at the line drawing I have divided the areas up into offsetting areas. The lightest pink of the baby bunny was stitched first to establish the stitch. I started immediately above the gray outline for the back leg & foot so I could establish a base line across the widest portion of this area. Then I stitched up to but not across the gray outlines; I compensated as I stitched but sometimes if it is difficult to see you can wait and compensate after all the full stitches are placed. I finished stitching one area before I began another.  I also left the bottom 4 to 5 rows unstitched until I establish the flowers on the bottom.

14-03-12 stitch diagramsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love the Nobuko stitch and it does work up fast so I used this for the baby bunny. And I decided that a Double Nobuko would work for Mom bunny. The diagrams of the  shows the plan for offsetting both the Nobuko and the Double Nobuko, but like I said I tried to figure out where to place the stitches so I had theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA least compensation so this may not be the exact placement I used.

When I moved to another area (let’s say the med pink of the face) I offset the stitch by one thread and stitched a full row across the area and then filled in as necessary above and below this base line I established. I continued in this manner for the nose/upper head and ear areas of the baby bunny. In the smaller areas I tried to figure out where I could place the most whole stitches so that compensation was kept to a minimum.

14-03-12 small & lg stitchesI could have used any number of stitches and I have shown you a few in the diagrams here. Not only can you expand a stitch but you can also create similar pattern stitches to use in your needlepoint. Ann Strite-Kurz has written some excellent books (any of her books are good)  on this subject: Potpourri of Pattern; The Science of Canvas Embroidery; and Stitch Variations and Mutations; Diaper Patterns. You can see her books and kits here (http://www.needleartworks.com/dsgnr/ask/askimages.htm), but I think you order directly from her. She also writes a column in Needlepoint Now (http://www.needlepointnow.com/), Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways.” You will get more ideas for stitch patterns to use here too.

But back to Mom & Me… I finished stitching Mom and baby bunny but left the bottom several rows unstitched until I figure out the flower design which I am working out on the computer first. I know the width I have to work with and I also have an approximate height so I am hoping this won’t be a big deal. I have an idea in my head and I hope it works out. I am stitching the pink of the bunnies ears in padded Gobelin…baby is Straight Gobelin Mom will be Diagonal Gobelin. Noses for both are Basketweave.

Again, this week the weather is spring like but by Wednesday the killjoy weather people are predicting white stuff…I’m hoping they are off their rockers. But whatever the day brings I know that spring is coming and I can hardly wait!

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

Bunny two and ditto snow

Tangent 1…The last two sentences about snow at the end of the last blog are being repeated here; I really should just say “ditto.” … “2-4 inches as of noon weather report. I have enough snow on the ground …this is getting old and cold!”  Last night 2 more inches and so it is getting really OLD and is really COLD. Enough already! For an area that was supposed to get only 13 inches of snow, we are already well above 26 inches. I heard the weatherman (same one that predicted 13 inches for the season) say this was the last significant snowfall of the season…don’t think I’ll be putting the snow shovel away too soon on his forecasting abilities.

Tangent 2…Last November I won the drawing from Jane at Chilly Hollow for the Brenda Hart book Stitches for the Millennium. (http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2010/11/and-winner-is.html ). I set it aside during the holidays and between Christmas and New Year I spent some quality time with, hot tea or chocolate and my new book acquisitions (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/naughty-or-nice-must-have-been-really-good/ ).  I really like this book and will use it often. Thank you Jane for picking my name. I made a few mental notes about canvases in my stash where certain stitches might work well… BUT I have a question about drawings and contests: Do you enter contests just to be entering a contest or does the contest have to be something you want; would like to try; or would use? If you have won a contest, do you use what you won, how?  I try not to enter contest just for the sake of wining something. I hope the people who enter and win contests/drawings intend to use what they win or really love what they win if it is something already completed.

Meat of the blog…

I thought I’d look in The Brenda Hart book for stitches. So with book in hand, a cup of hot chocolate and my canvas I set down and picked stitches I though could be used for the bunny: Nobuko, Mosaic variation, Slanted Brick, Scotch variations, Hungarian with tent, Scalloped Diamonds, Double Brick, Ming variation, and Slanting Rhodes. I felt like I really only needed 6 stitches at the most for the larger areas. I thought the white areas needed straight stitches and the black areas slanting stitches, slanted in different directions. I am using 1 strand of Appleton wool for the white and black and my old Orchidee for the gray outlines.

The white areas were easy; I decided that the Double Brick over 4 would work for the front and back body of the bunny. The front will have more compensation than the back but I am going to stitch over the green carrot tops as I am going to stitch them later. His head needed to be a simple stitch that would fit into the narrow area without compensation (see red stitches in picture); a simple Parisian stitch would work best here.  I have already started the white areas and about done…what can I say but “cold & snow make for great stitching time!”

His eyes are tent stitches stitched with floss, his mouth a Horizontal Gobelin stitches with floss and I think I will try plaited stitches in floss for his nose but if all else fails a padded Gobelin will work too.

The head did not have a good place to reverse diagonal stitches and so I decided a simple Mosaic stitch would work for both the front and back of the head. It will give the slant of the other black stitches; but is small enough that the one directional slant will not detract from the reversing slants of the other areas. I started this area on the front to make sure I liked it and to fit the Mosaic stitch (see purple stitch) around the Parisian stitch without a lot of compensation. The purple stitch was the first Mosaic stitched I placed and then stitched the remaining stitches using the diagonal method of placement. This will help minimize the distortion caused by the straight stitches. If I had stitched the Mosaic stitch in either horizontal of vertical rows there would have been even more distortion. I always try to stitch on the diagonal when possible.

The bottom of his feet I would like to do in directional Slanted Bick stitches and compensate stitches for color changes, keeping compensation to a minimum if possible. His front paws, and the areas on the back bunny piece (excluding the head) will also be Nobuko. The carrot I plan to slightly pad and use Epic wool in oranges for the body. The tops are going to be Cast-on Bullions using overdyed green perle cotton. And of course his tail is going to be uncut Turkey Work, but I may do this without the tinker toy and allow random lengths. I have not given much thought to his ears yet but I’m sure something will click.

I think that’s about it for now and until the thaw I will be stitching…this year appears to be making significant dents in my “round toit” canvas stash…another good thing…room for more shopping.

Stay warm and safe… AND I hope everyone will have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Cat & Bunny

My cat does not play with my threads and usually never bothers any of my needlework. (I have a friend with a cat that steals her threads and hides them.) My cat is very polite most of the time, BUT when she decides she needs to be loved nothing stops her! Usually when I’m stitching she will just sit on the arm of the chair and stare at me until I am guilted into loving her. But this week she plopped on my lap; I think she thought I was petting her as I pulled my threads through the canvas. I let her sit there until she finally decided the window had ample sun to warm her and off she went.

Back to bunny…I know this canvas is no longer available but it is fun to stitch. 10 mesh is so fast to stitch, don’t need magnification or extra light and I am not striping or laying most of the threads. Keep in mind this canvas 15 inch x 11.5 inch would only be about 8 inches x 6.5 inches on an 18 mesh canvas. And so even though this canvas is no longer available, I can experiment with stitches and techniques.

I’ve finished the background and marked where the carrot tops were painted. I’ve started the bunny and am using the Nobuko stitch for him. I am reversing the direction of the stitches and trying to limit the compensation stitches because of change in color. Since I am using 4 ply wool knitting yarn I am keeping my thread length short about 15 to 18 inches. The thread does not seem to be wearing as I stitch but I have noticed it untwists more than say Appleton or another non stranded thread. I really like the color and it is easy to use.  The dark gray is from my stash, it is an old Orchidee yarn; since I only need a bit of this dark gray and I decided to use it.  If I had not had this color I would have bought the darker value of the same knitting wool I am using.

Before I began stitching I used a picture to play with stitches on the canvas; I do love that I can do this. I printed off the head area and even though I may change the placement of stitches as I stitch at least I had an idea the effect I wanted. Even if you do not have a computer program that allows you to play with stitches on the picture you can do this too. You can either take a picture of your canvas with a digital canvas and print it or make a copy using a flatbed desktop printer. You can print in gray scale using either method, consult you printer, and if not just use a color copy. Many copy machines will allow you to enlarge the area and also to set the grayscale desired. Then you can use colored pens or pencils to draw the stitches directly on the copy.

I’ve been watching the news this morning about all the snow on the east coast…I hope everyone is staying warm and safe. And I hope all those of you who stitch stay warm, safe and stitch!

Hope everyone has time to stitch today. ttfn…sue