More on 1st Communion crosses

I have done three 1st Communion Crosses, each is a bit different, but I still planned them all out on graph paper before stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

I plan out on graph paper the name and design before I begin stitching. I use an alphabet that is 9 stitches high for uppercase and 5 stitches high for lowercase letters. Whatever method of framing you decide to use, your design MUST be planned on graph paper.  Plan your design out first on graph paper, remember to allow for open space around the design area I usually figure 5 threads on each side for this type of design….although you usually are going to get extra space by choosing a standard mat..

I count the lines of the graph paper (each line represents a thread of canvas)  and divide by the needlepoint canvas thread count to see what type of design I might be able to use; i.e. square or rectangle. This will also let you know if you can use a pre-cut mat and frame (my favorite). If I had a long name  I might consider making a rectangular piece from the start

For example: a name like Christopher Robin is long…by my quick calculations this rectangle stitching would need minimum 87 by 105 threads. This translates to 87 divided by 18 count canvas equals 4.8333 inches of 5 inch opening and 105 threads divided by 18 count canvas equals 5.833333 opening or 6 inch opening , Since standard mats usually are 5 x 7 inch openings. I would be look for a shadow box frame with a precut mat with a 5×7 inch opening or find a frame I liked and have a 5 x 7 inch mat cut to fit the frame.

The best method is to have your piece stitched when you go to look for the frame. If you are lucky you will find a precut mat and frame; otherwise you may have to have a mat cut to fit a premade frame. But remember sometimes this still does not work and you are going to have to bite the bullet and the piece custom framed. EDNOTE: If you are planning to  enter a piece to be judged, then you MUST have the piece custom framed. …There are framing rules too, maybe not rules but guidelines or ratios of mat size to frame size…Your framer will know these, I don’t; I just know if I like the way it looks matted and framed.

 

Other things I did to make stitching easier for me:

I tent stitch the grape areas first. This gives me an idea how they will look and it is easier to remove tent stitches than it is French or Colonial knots. Then when I stitch the grapes if I am using an overdye I use the puddle stitch technique to stitch the knots. I learned this from John Waddle years ago and blogged about it once but I will repeat it since it was years ago that I wrote about puddle stitching.

Puddle stitch method:  

I do not cut the overdye thread in this instance (some overdyes are pre-cut but the method is the same.)

Here is a graphic of a length of an overdye thread; I have numbered each segment with an arbitrary number of stitiches (10-8-12-6-etc…). Notice that there are three circled 10’s; these are the beginning of the repeat. The numbering has no significance in puddle stitching other than to show the repeat and the number of stitches I arbitrarily assigned to each area.

The next graphic shows this overdye thread stitched in Continental Horizontal rows (top left), Basketweave (bottom left) and then puddle stitching on the right. I attached the sequence numbering to all these so you could compare to the first graphic and follow he sequence of stitching. The puddle stitching is a bit hard to follow but you can and there is no method to this it is just a random thing.
Puddle stitching is nothing but a group of stitches randomly placed together to form a puddle of color. You could call this method a glob, blob, whatever you choose to call it…but then it would have to be glob stitching, blob stitching and I like puddle stitching best. Remember this is not my technique I learned it from John Waddell (http://johnwaddellneedlepoint.com/index.html)  in his Fun with Overdye class.

If this has confused you more I am sorry but just drop me note and I’ll see if I can do better or take a class from John, he’s really good or maybe your local shop can help you.

Making a twist:

I sometimes make a tiny twist of usually 2 ply floss to be the stem of my flowers or in this case wheat.

I showed how to make a twist here: (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/all-twisted-up-making-cording/) and this twist is the same but it is only an 18 inch length of thread so I usually just twist between my fingers.

Once the twist is make I use a larger needle. I thread the twist into this needle to start stitching. I bring the twist to the front of the canvas leaving the knot on the backside…I know the rule about knots and needlepoint but there are exceptions to every rule.

I’m showing you the back of the my stitching because that’s where all the work can be seen! The free form shape in picture is my beginning knot. The rectangle is the line I couched the twist on the front with second needle using 1 ply floss. And the circle is a picture of how I end this twist.

Ending the twist depends on if there is enough twist to use again. If there is enough twist to use again make two overhang knots as shown in picture and cut between them. This will help keep the stitched twist from becoming lose and it also keeps the remaining twist, twisted. If there is not enough twist to use again just make an overhand knot and clip, leaving the knot on your canvas.

 

Over the years I have stitched three 1st Communnion Crosses and I have a PDF version of the first cross instructions but have also included information on all three in this newly revised edition. If you are interested, email me (sudu@kc.rr.com) your email and I will send to you a copy; be sure and put 1st communion in subject line or it might go to my junk mail.

I think that’s it for today…but I did score a major coup this week and I’ll tell you more about that next week…

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

ttfn…sue

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Back to Mom & Me

I finished stitching the flowers and leaves and filled in the green leaf areas. I used an overdye for the leaf area and stitched one area at a time. I thought I would go from side to side across the entire piece but I did not like the look and so I frog stitched it out and tried one area at a time. I tried to get each area alike but when I was finished I think the two left are similar and the two right are similar…oh well, it is stitched.

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Up close I am not impressed with the flower area but as you get some distance to the piece I do like the look and since I have a finishing idea in mind (more about this later) I think it will be fine. And anyway as my friend says, “If your close enough to my piece to see my mistakes; you are too close.” So if you are going to be this close to the piece you are too close.

After I finished the flowers I went back and filled in the bunnies and since I had the white thread out I got carried away and stitched the bunny tails in Turkey work. Mom’s tail has longer loops than baby bunny. I thought at first I would trim and brush Mom’s tail but I like the different lengths and think I will leave them both loopy. I probably should have waited until I finished the back ground but, oh well…

I have started the background and am using ThreadworX’s floss. I am puddling the stitches, I really like this technique for overdyes. Puddling keeps thread from developing a striped effect like you can get when you stitch horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The only thing I have found that I have to watch is making sure I don’t develop huge areas of one color. Some overdyes have a tendency to have larger areas of one color than another and if not careful you can develop large areas of one color. Helpful hint: cut out large areas of one color.

Last fall I showed you how to stitch the puddle method with a continuous uncut overdyed thread, like Watercolours (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/overdye-puddle-stitching/). With ThreadworX it is a slightly bit different because these threads are cut into given OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlengths of thread. When you open a skein of ThreadworX’s and lay it out there will be an “A” end and a  “B” end and it may appear the same as an overdye that has been cut from an uncut overdyed thread (like Watercolours). The difference is that ThreadworX’s threads are consistently similar where Watercolours may vary a bit as the skein is used because of the dying method.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch aWhen I puddle stitch I randomly pull ply and stitch. I do keep “A” ends together and “B” Ends together; if you don’t then you will get a blended effect and that is another way to stitch with overdyes. For my purposes in this design I am keeping the “A”  ends and “B”  ends together in the needle…BUT I am randomly deciding which ends (“A”  or “B” ) goes into the needle.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch cExample: With one strand of thread, using 2 ply in the needle to stitch, there are three stitching lengths in a thread  per strand: 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B (Oh I knew those math classes in school were for something…remember those teachers that said you would use these principles in life?). I divide these threads and place them in three needles 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B AND 2 ply B-A. (it could have been any combination…remember that math week on variables…this is an applied use and for all you math geeks out there…it is 5 choices.)  Then I pick a needle stitch with this needle, then I randomly pick another needle and last the final needle (and this variable greatly increases but I missed that day in math class.). I have no idea which is which (well I do but I don’t pay any attention and just stitch). I continue to do this throughout the piece. And I also vary the placement of the stitches so a pattern does not develop.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch bOkay, Math class is over and I need to get back to stitching the background. For this background I chose a four way continental stitched over 2 threads…I wanted an open background that would allow the painted background to interact with the thread. I didn’t want to lay every thread and so I borrowed a technique from Cross Stitcher’s, “Railroading.” Railroading is where you place the needle between two plies as you return the needle to the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback of the canvas. I have Cross Stitch friends who can do this with any amount of even plies (2-4-6) but I can only do it successfully with two ply and usually on longer stitches. You can see the technique in the picture.

Hopefully next week will have it finished and then need to decide if I am tackling the finishing or sending it to my trusty finisher…Part of me wants to learn to do this and another part of me says you traded that sewing machine for a laptop and stitching. How many of you tackle your own finishing?

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

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

TJ is going to the finisher tomorrow

09-abs-tjefferson-3

 

 

 misc-very-velvet-in-needleStitching TJ,aka Thomas Jefferson from ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) was fun…I used Rainbow Gallery Very Velvet for most of his clothing and Rainbow Gallery (http://rainbowgallery.com/) Patent Leather for TJ’s shoes. Very Velvet and Patent Leather are easy to use for stitching if you follow a few easy hints: #1. Use short lengths – I use 12 to 15 inches max. #2 Use a larger needle than you would normally use to stitch- I use a #20 or #22 Tapestry or Chenille on 18 count canvas. #3 When threading needle use a short tail and do not move the needle around on the thread while stitching. The Patent Leather will not wear like the Very Velvet but it will distress the thread at the eye of the needle. I also lay the Patent Leather on the front and back.  

 

 

  

  

09-abs-tjefferson-45

 For me, the hardest part of stitching TJ was his hair, it is a Loose Basketweave. For me, Basketweave is one of those stitches that is relaxing and a “no brainer”; and I can tell if I’m tired or irritated because my Basketweave stitches are tighter. For the most part my tension on the thread becomes second nature, it is just part of the stitch process… But if that tension 09-abs-tjefferson-55is changed on purpose it takes concentration. I kept finding myself, watching TV and just normally stitching and then would have to “frog stitch” and then loosely re-stitch the Basketweave. After all the stitching is complete, it is then picked/pulled with a sharp needle and that gives TJ his soft curly look. It is a good stitch to learn, so that when French Knots seems too much Loose Basketweave is a good 09-abs-tjefferson-63substitute. The stitch can even be stitched looser and can have a loop effect; play with this, it is fun.

 

I think he turned out very nice and can hardly wait to get him back…I’ll post a picture of him finished. Now I am going to go back to work and do some computer work for a few days.

 

ttfn…sue