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

Blue Bird Flowers: Loopy Ribbon

2015-11-05 BB us2015-11-05 BB blue

2015-11-05 BB hillIt’s been a hectic month around Kansas City. In case you haven’t heard, Kansas City Boys in Blue (AKA: Kansas City Royals) won the World Series. It was quite a month…I watched every game starting pitch to last out and one night it was late. But last Tuesday my husband and I headed out to see the Boys in Blue. We went to Union Station and staked out our spot and then we would wander around one at a time (didn’t want to lose our nest) to see the festivities. It was cool to be part of this; I don’t think I say one person without a smile on their face and blue was the color of the day. People watching is a fun thing to do.

Didn’t take my flowers with me but I am working on them…maybe now that the Boys in Blue are taking a vacation I can get some stitching completed.

2015-11-05 BB a loopI decided to try the loop stitch with ribbon. Thought that sounded pretty simple…I guess not or I need lots more practice. I didn’t like the way it looked and so after having it half way stitched removed it, threw away that piece of ribbon. It is true that if you remove ribbon you MUST start over with new ribbon. Silk ribbon is not forgiving and will show every piercing of the ribbon…just like Congress cloth. I  guess if you want the “Shabby Chic” look you could reuse the ribbon.

2015-11-05 BB ironI used short lengths of ribbon, 12-15 inches. I ironed each ribbon…

Side note: I can’t remember if I told you all this before or not but this is the coolest trick. I learned this from Lois Kershner (http://www.loiskershner.com/home) in a class she taught at out guild. She irons her stranded silks; it makes them lie smoother on the canvas. I decided to try it with the ribbon (honestly I think I read that you should do this in one of the ribbon books) but it takes the kinks 2015-11-05 BB b loopout of the ribbon. Then I decided that it might work for any thread and you wouldn’t even necessarily need to turn on the heat. So I keep this handy little tool in close to my stitching nest and I iron whichever thread I think necessary. I am also looking for a portable hair 2015-11-05 BB c loopiron…illuminating the cord would make it even handier.

I decided to do the loop stitch like a Turkey work stitch and then I could better control where the loop is going. It is definitely harder on the ribbon and it took a bit of yanking 2015-11-05 BB d loopsometimes to get the needle to come through the ribbon and canvas, even with the chenille needle.

What I have learned is that ribbon work is a technique unto its self and I am a novice at this and need a lot more studying and practice. I think the rest of the flowers I am going to stick to the stitches I really know. Many of these stitches are used with Ribbon work and some are even stitched with ribbon, but for now I am going to go with what I know. Later this fall and winter I will re-visit the ribbon work books and try again, but right now I have too many stitching projects piling up to do this technique justice.

I finished the ribbon loops and filled the center with French knots stitched with Kreinik braid.

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

ttfn…sue

Bunny & Snow

I’ve decided that February and March are Pneumonia Months…sunny & 70 degrees one day; 7 degrees and snowy the next. Mother Nature is a fickle lady!

I should be computing because I am so far behind I look like I am winning again…or as my sons’ would say, “Mom, we’re getting ready to lap you.”

But this cold weather gives me time to stitch too. GayAnn Rogers http://www.gayannrogers.com/site_2/Home_Page.html  has a 12 stitches a day program going on with stitchers…I’m trying 6 stitching lengths of thread a day, but my fingers are getting calloused doing this Turkey Work. It is also getting very tight in this area. I may have to switch to stitching every other stitch for a couple rows to loosen up the space. I would like to have the bunny finished in time for Easter.

 Okay, sorry this is such a short blog but I need to do some computer work for others and than I would like to stitch today too. Maybe even a nap since it is so fridgen cold!

Hope everyone has time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Snow Bunny

This post can give a whole new meaning to snow and bunny used in the same text. Today I am hunkering down in a blanket, hot chocolate and my stitching and hoping the power says on. We are expecting a blizzard that started at 5:00AM this morning and is supposed to continue until tomorrow morning. The forecast is calling for 12 inches at my house and 35 mile an hour winds and bone chilling cold.

This was my patio about 7:30Am this morning

And this was the patio at lunch time.

We had about 4-6 inches by noon and it is not letting up. I am not complaining because just a few miles to the east of me they are getting the brunt of this storm and are suppose to have 24-30 inches

The bunny reminds me of spring and so I will just continue my stitching, watch the news and drink my hot chocolate.

I am doing a Turkey Work stitch using Appleton wool for the bunny tail. I am not going to cut these loops, so I want them all uniform in size and used a toy (think it is an old Tinker Toy) to keep the loops uniform in size. I stitch a row at a time around the toy and then remove. If you look at the picture I have diagramed the stitch to show how I do it. It is different than most books show it. Any of us in the Midwest that do this method refer to it as the Joan Lewis method of Turkey Work as Joan is the one who taught us this method. She claimed she found it in a needlepoint book but I have yet to find it and I do own a couple booksJ.

The jacket will be a combination of the VanDyke stitch stitched with blue #3 DMC perle cotton and an Encroaching Gobelin stitched with gold #3 DMC perle cotton.

After this I will start the flowers and carrots…if this snow continues and I have power I may post again later in the week.

I hope everyone in the path of this storm is staying warm and safe. And I hope all those of you who stitch stay warm, safe and stitch!  ttfn…sue