Why do you stitch canvases?

When you buy a canvas do you think what the finished product will be? You should but few of us do. We are impulse buyers and this is good for shop owners but not always wise for us. There is just so much wall space that pictures can occupy. And even though I love my dog to bits, I do not like her using my needlework pillows as her lounging chair. And when are stand-ups & ornaments too many, not to mention where you store them all? So next time you go to buy that canvas, please think about the finished product; what will it be, where will it go, where will you store it if you need to do this and who will get it (if it is a gift)? All good questions and if you can’t answer them, then you might think about another canvas…because we all know that we have to purchase a canvas to maintain our mental stability. And visiting a shrink is more expensive and it will take you too long to get an appointment, so find a canvas you can see finished (someday), you can live with and then by all means… purchase it.

Do you ever buy previously owned canvas? Sometimes these canvases come with threads and stitch guides too. They can be from Susie Stitcher who is no longer as excited to stitch the canvas as she was when she purchased it; it can be from a guide member who is downsizing; or an estate sale of a former member. While I have purchased a canvas or two (less than 6) from an online auction company; I like to buy directly from the original owner, I like the connection to the stitcher.  I prefer to purchase something from a guide member at an estate sale for a couple reasons: 1. It gives that person a portion of her investment back or 2. It reminds me of that guild member who is no longer with us.

I have several of these and each time I stitch one I remember this lovely stitcher and how much I enjoy(ed) her company. This is one of those canvases, and when I got it out to stitch it I wondered how she had meant to finish it. I’m guessing a picture, but I do not know for sure. I asked on Facebook: Needlepoint Nation Group how I should finish this piece (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeedlepointNation/search/?query=sue%20dulle) and received many responses: bolster pillow, box, black lacquer box, top for a new stitching bag; basket band, top of a chair back, door draft stopper, hat band, eyeglass case, table runner, top of a mirror, tray insert, coat rack inset and a stand up. At first I thought I would learn to make a box, then I thought top of a tote bag or a bolster pillow, but after stitching on it I’m not sure.

The canvas is an older canvas from Melissa Shirley Designs. I think it has been retired; but when I contacted Melissa Shirley Designs (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/)for permission to use photos, she had some great advice for those of us looking for an older canvas. She suggested you contact your local shop and have them check with the designer; they sometimes have a back stock or will be willing to paint a special order. There were at least two others if memory serves me well; one was with a fish and the other I do not 2015-07-06 Barbara pictremember. Thank you Barbara Cohen for sharing one of the other pieces that are in this series. The piece is lovely and I do like the framing too. .  Does anyone remember the other design canvases in this series? Maybe I should check and see if the others in this series are still available… Oh my gosh, I am enabling myself!

This canvas I purchased from a guild members estate was kitted with silks and so I decided to use these…there were some stitch suggestions from the shop that chose the threads but I decided to wing it on my own. First I took a picture of the unstitched canvas. I always try to do this as a reference to the canvas; I print this as a reference only. AND I do not keep them 2015-07-06 MS JB unstitchedafter I am finished stitching and shred these pictures as they are not my designs.

I try to remember to ask permission of the designer to use pictures of the design in my blog too. I’m not always good at this; I guess I think all of you who needlepoint and read my blog are honest. I did contact Melissa Shirley Designs and obtained permission for two of her canvases. And then feeling guilty, I contacted some other designers I plan on stitching and received their permission too.

I Basketweaved all the children’s skin and most of their outfits; the exceptions were the small decorative stitches and they were either Reverse Basketweave, Cross over 2 threads one direction, Cross stitch over 1…whatever fit the area. Their backpacks or ribbons were mostly Diagonal Goblins to fit. I decided to have some fun with the hair and so three of the children have padded, hair, I think they call this Shimada hairstyle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimada_(hairstyle)]. The second child from the left just had wild hair… Random Straight stitches; while the second child from the right had a more controlled hairdo using Straight stitches in a more controlled method.

2015-07-06 MS-JB shoesThe shoes of the children were a combination of Cross stitches to fit; the heels and straps were Elongated Cross stitches to fit.2015-07-06 MS JB feet & grass

I spent 2015-07-06 bookan evening perusing for a grass stitch I liked. I chose #Grass 27 from Stitch Landscape from Little Shoppe Canvas Company (http://littleshoppecanvascompany.com/books); your local shop should be able to get this helpful little book for you.

Next I am going to stitch the butterfly…and then the background.

I still am undecided about how to finish this but maybe it will come to me as I stitch.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! Enjoy the rest of your summer…

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

ttfn…sue

Shamrock Bows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laissez les bons temps roule!

Today is Mardi Gras…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ttfn…sue
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A heart for all

You all are so sweet to read my blog, I want to share a Valentine with you.

I have been reading about Stumpwork: A Beginner’s guide to Stumpwork by Kay Dennis (http://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Stumpwork-Kay-Dennis/dp/0855328703/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266015043&sr=8-3 )  and A-Z of Stumpwork from Country Bumpkin Publications (http://www.countrybumpkin.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=40&products_id=432817) … Both stumpwork books available at Nordic Needle ( http://www.nordicneedle.com/ ) I am also reading Ann Strite-Kurz  (http://www.needleartworks.com/dsgnr/ask/askimages.htm)  book Stitch Variations and Mutations. I decided to play around with these for Valentines Day and this is one of my results.

 

I made the heart outline on the computer and then stitched it on a 10 inch square canvas, eyeball centering it. I stitched the red and white band down the center using 1 strand DMC #5 Perle Cotton: red (321) and white (blanc) in a Scotch Stitch variation (later will fill some centers with red bead). Then I stitched the left red and white band using the same threads and Scotch stitch in a different variation. I repeated the threads on the right band with still a different Scotch stitch variation with a French knot in the center of four areas.

Next I did the cherries using DMC Floss red (321). First I used a red pilot pen and marked the placement on the canvas, I free-handed mine but you can use the dots on the canvas graph as a guide. I stitched the cherries in the following order: felt padded, thread padded, and basketweave.

Felt Cherry: I attached three layers of felt to the canvas with 1 ply of DMC floss red (321), starting with the smallest and ending with the largest. Over this I placed a layer of stitches going the opposite direction of the last stitches using 6 ply red floss. Then I placed the last layer of stitches over everything. And finally using 3 ply of red (321) floss made the Jessica around the cherry. Remember some Jessica stitches slip under other Jessica stitches.

Thread Padded Cherry: Using 6 ply red (321) DMC floss I stitched the padding stitches going the opposite direction of the final stitches. I stitched the padding stitches twice. Over the padding stitches I stitched the final satin stitches using 6 ply red (321) floss, carefully laying the threads. Around this cherry is another complete Jessica using 3 ply red floss.

Basketweave Cherry: I used 4 ply (You may need 6 ply depending on you tension.) to basketweave a partial cherry behind the thread padded cherry. I also did a partial Jessica around this cherry using 3 ply red floss.

I made the leaves off to the side using a method I found in the Stumpwork books for making wire leaves. I also learned that when you do Stumpwork you incorporate needlelace techniques too. I was too excited to see how the cherries would look, I added the leaves and stems. DO NOT DO THIS…patience is a virtue and it sure makes stitching the background easier if you wait.

All the backgrounds are stitched using 1 strand DMC Flouch .

Upper Left Background: Stitch the background of the cherry area using 1 strand white (blanc) DMC Flouch. This is a Woven stitch stitches in rows from left to right and right to left. I started I the corner where the red and white bands meet.

Upper Right Background: With 1 strand white Flouch I stitched this area with a backstitch starting again in the corner where the red and white band meet. Stitch all the rows in one direction before beginning the rows that are perpendicular to first rows.

Lower Left Background: Traditional Nubuko stitched with 1 strand flouch. My long stitch (over 3) meets the red and white bands in the corner.

Lower Right Band: Decided I need to repeat the green and brown and so in this small area I stitched a reverse Nubuko using 1 strand white flouch for all the long stitches (over 3). The small over 1 stitches are alternating rows of either 2 ply green (890) DMC Floss or 2 ply brown (840) DMC Floss. I started with a green/white row.

Now I would make the leaves…I used two 12 inch pieces of 28 gauge green wire. The center vein is 2 ply green (890) DMC floss wrapped over the 2 wires at the end to make 4ply vein. This 2 ply vein thread should be at least 24 inches long to begin. Do not cut off it will be used later to attach leaves to back of canvas. Over the two wires and the 4 ply vein I wove 3 ply of green floss back and forth from the tip of the leaf to the open ends of the wire. Use a lon-n-ng 3 ply thread and weave snuggly…do not end thread, it will also be used to attach leaves to back of canvas. My leaves are about 1¼ inch long.

Before apply the leaves I made the wrapped back stitches stems using 3 ply brown (840) floss.

I attached the leaves to the canvas by slipping the wires through the front of the canvas to the back. I also placed the extra 4 ply vein thread and the remaining 3 ply weaving to the back side of the canvas.  I secured the wires to the canvas along the stem stitch lines with the 4 and 3 plies of remaining floss.

I was going to place this heart in a red tray, but that won’t work stumpwork does not work well under glass. So now my thought is a box, I would love to find a shinny red one or a picture frame. I can picture both so I will wait and maybe next year it will be finished finished.

Hope these instructions, picture and graph are clear to you should you decide to try my project. I am going to write up the instructions and use pictures and hope to publish on a website that my DH is going to attempt to build for me soon…I hope.

We are expecting more of the white glitter that falls from the sky, BUT I am not going to complain. My best friend’s daughter lives in Alexandria Virginia and she can complain. I talked with her this week and she has 30 plus inches of snow in her yard. She has 2 young sons who no more get outside than they need to come in…”I’m cold…I’m done playing now…I need to get…I gotta go.”  Been there, bought that snowsuit.

But if you are lucky enough to be able to stitch this week-end you might also want to listen to the Gone Stitching blog. I have no monetary interest in this website but I think it is so interesting and such a great addition to the needlepoint community. I found a couple months back and have downloaded 10 episodes to my I-touch but haven’t figured out how I did it so I still have to download the rest. BUT I have listened to every episode and found them all very entertaining and informative. Go to their new website (http://www.gonestitching.net/index.php/?SID=a4vhk4v2dn9541e1pdhhfro1e1 ) and you will see the blog link. There is also a great contest beginning there too. Check it out!

I am not thinking about the snow anymore…I’m just wishing you the warmest of week-ends, great stitching and

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

ttfn…sue