Mr & Mrs canvas designed by Raymond Crawford

Today is March 30 National Stitching-In Day so what a better way than to talk about my last big needlepoint project. I started this project last spring March 2017 but could not share because it was a present for my grandson and his bride on their first anniversary. I had seen this Raymond Crawford (http://www.raymondcrawford.com/) canvas before they were married and with my new love of beading I knew I would have to bead this project. I would guess it took me six months to completely finish this canvas. Beading needlepoint is a long process and why I chose 18 count when 13 count was available I’ll never know.

First I had to find the right beads and I first purchased 11/0 beads for the project but they were too big so back to square one and size 15/0.

 

I stitched every bead twice in Basketweave style. Why Basketweave? I did not want to stitch Continental and have the canvas warp; I knew blocking would have been impossible. So I took the extra time to stitch Basketweave beading. I used a double strand of beading thread that I had stretched and waxed. If you don’t stretch your beading thread over time it can become loose and your beads will droop; also strech thread before waxing. I stitched every bead twice to secure each bead in place (see diagram). I also started every letter on the right side so my basketweave was always being stitched into a previously work hole. I did this for two reasons: I wanted all the beads to slant same direction and  I was very careful not to pierce thread from previous row. Here are two or more days of stitching on the &, some days I only got in 10 to 15 beads. Beading is a long arduous process for me;  it was tiring on the eyes and also just a slow, labor intensive process.

 

 

 

 

When I went to stitch the border I noticed on the left there was one empty thread between the M in Mrs and the start of the border, but on the right the & was right next to the border (no empty thread.) This bothered me so I just decided to I stitched the border one thread further out. It wouldn’t show because I planned on stitching all the background with silk. I also changed the direction of the border stitches at the center of the design area; this allowed me to stitch around the corner without compensation. As I recall, it was not an even count divide , so I always try and make the

odd count to the right of center and/or lower of center. I don’t remember if both counts were off or just the left –right borders (top & bottom)   I used Kreinik #12 braid in 3 colors: 221, 202HL and 102 and the stitch was a Diagonal Gobelin over 2 threads.

I stitched the background last in basketweave with 4 ply Rainbow Gallery Splendor S800.

It seemed like it took me forever to stitch, but I love they way it looks finished. I had a mat made and   framed it myself and it now is safely residing in Michigan.

When I gather up another project I did for my guild I will share the different methods of beading needlepoint with you.

After I finished this project, I thought I would swear off beading forever…but forever is a long long time. 😉

Have a blessed Passover or Happy Easter.

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

ttfn…sue

 

 

Advertisements

Finished UFO – Catherine Jordan class

Last week I was suffering from creative dry spell…it usually hits when I am overwhelmed, just finished a project or am putting off something. I was/am suffering from all the above.

Overwhelmed:

  • I have enough projects to complete or start to last several lifetimes (but I add to my stash, never know when you will need that one thing you do not have.)
  • I have so many things I need to finish…remember my desk
  • And then there are the pieces I need to stitch…deadlines
  • And the ideas that are floating around in my head and in my idea notebook

Finished a project, but more about that later

Putting off: Not that I’m putting off I just spent the last couple weeks taking pictures of projects I have not shared and I am still deciding how to present

BUT while going through my stash for something to do I found a UFO that fit 4 0f the five suggestions for wetting my stitching fingers…

  1. 1. Spend some time with your stash. That’s where I found this UFO
  2. Finish a UFO. Need I say more…it’s a UFO
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn. This project is right up that alley
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish. Okay, I am procrastinating on this one.
  5. Just keep active. That’s what I’m doing.

So I decided to work on my Contemporary Forrest Necklaces by Catherine Jordan. I have always loved this piece and when it was offered online several years ago (2014 I think) I enrolled. I don’t know whether I got overwhelmed by the class or it was a time constraint issue but I only  got as far as painting the canvas/felt and cutting it out. I think I may have even tried putting some tree trunks in because one of the felts  has marks that look like I may have taken a needle through it.

 

Anyway I had kept all the instructions and even the online comments and some of the pictures so I thought I’d give it a try. First, I re-read the instructions and all the online comments and then I picked one of the sets (I have five sets to stitch)

 

 

I started the tree trunks; they are wrapped thread technique using DMC Floss. Pretty simple but I still took them out once because I did not like them and when I re-stitched the trunks could not tell much difference so I thought maybe I was being overly critical of myself or maybe just trying to put off the next step.

Side A

Side B

I decided to go with my tree trunks and see where I ended up. The tree leaves were a challenge. Not the method, I understood that. Where to place them, where to attach them and how many was the challenge.

I decided to follow Catherine Jordan’s instructions to the letter and so the first tree on each side of the canvas is stitched according to her directions; Buttonhole stitch using more DMC Floss. By the time I got to Side B,  I may have gotten carried away doing the red one but by then I had done the first set of trees and was feeling both confident and overwhelmed at the same time.

Instructions for leaves

First tree

 

Side A with Leaves

Let me give you insight into my thought process… When I revisited this UFO I had decided I could make several sets of these to represent the seasons…In my mind I would just whip them out one after another. In reality, the trunks for one canvas took me the better part of two days and the leaves for one tree another half day. By the time I had finished the one felt with leaves, I knew that four sets of canvas was not going to happen. This was supposed to be a fun project to get my creative juices flowing and while it was doing just that, I did not want it to turn into a project that I felt compelled to complete all four seasons.

So on the Side B felts, that could also be used as the front,  I stitched the leaves with an autumn color pallet.

joined

I joined all the canvas together and placed them in the frame, and fluffed the leaves. Now I have two completed projects: Side A and Side B. I love the piece and now have my very own. I also think I want to bead a chain to use with this, but for now a simple gold chain will work…Just goes to show you, once the creative genes get to flowing…one thing leads to another.

Fluffed

Both sides

 

I have saved the felts, threads and instructions for another day and maybe I will revisit or find something new to try with the felt…never know.

This project also gave me another blog post…my thoughts on written instructions. So over the week-end I am going to put my thoughts together and write a quick post on this for the beginning of next week.  Until then…

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

ttfn…sue

This week I played with Temari Balls.

I belong to a couple groups online and one is doing a beginning study. While I have been doing Temari Balls for a long time, I do not consider myself anything but a beginner. I think in order to advance you should work at the art regularly and I am sporadic at best.

I can do most of the simple divisions and some of the complex divisions. I am not at all familiar with the terminology, especially the Japanese terms that true Temari artists use. I call a ball stitched with spindles and “spindle Temari”; while a true Temari artist calls this “Tsumu kagari.”

But I like to keep my beginning skills up and so every now and then I join in rather than just lurk all the time. If you would like to explore the two sites I frequent most, here they are: they just recently changed web hosts and I think you have to ask permission to join but that should not be a problem.

Temari Challenge for Everyone: https://temarichallenge.groups.io/g/Main

Temari Talk Companion group to Temari Kai (see below)  https://talktemari.groups.io/g/main

 

And here are the Temari sites I explore most:

Barbara Suess: http://www.japanesetemari.com/index.html

Temari Kai: http://www.temarikai.com/

Temari Obsession: http://www.npcdesign.com/index.html

This study (Beginning Basics) appealed to me because it was the perfect opportunity to explore some concepts that I had been tossing around in my head while also honing my beginning skills and practicing stitching  a spindle.

In my Temari Ball mind I have wanted to play with DMC #3 and #5 perle cotton to see the differences in making a ball. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore this concept.  I learned that two rounds of stitching with #5 perle is about equivalent to 1 round with #3 perle. It is kind of an eyeball adjustment and a judgement call but at least I have an idea now.

 

In the past some of my spindles seem to pop out of place and now I know why. I was not allowing enough space between the stitches. I have decided that a good rule of thumb for stitching spindles is that there should be at least the diameter of the thread between stitches. And if you lay the thread where it should be placed you can see where to take the next stitch. Following these personal observations, my Temari spindles turned out very well.

 

Another thing I gleaned from this study is that if you are using more than two threads of the same color from one source, make sure they are the same or at least compatible. I used #3 and #5 perle in three colors: the white and dark blue were the same but the light blue was two different colors (even though they were the same number). When placed next to each other under a bright light, one had a blue-green cast while the other was a true blue tint.

 

I also experimented with stitches at the pole points. This one I used a Smooth Spider Web stitch.

I also tried using a double silver thread and twisting it in the needle before stitching. Both of these experiments worked fairly well.

This was a fun experiment and I considered it a great learning experience, so  I am going to try and continue following along and practicing…never know I might consider myself an intermediate Temari Ball stitcher when I get.

I am going to get back to needlepoint and I have been stitching. I’ve been stitching on a secret project but I did take pictures and so when it is completed and given as a gift I will post all about it. And as a matter of fact going to do another one as an experiment. More later.

Would also like to get back to finishing needlepoint as it is mounting up. And I haven’t told you everything I did last summer and this summer is already about half over. I made a list of things to write about and I don’t think I’ve covered more than a couple….see how I get distracted. Okay off to finish another non needlepoint project….but next week I will share needlepoint.

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

ttfn…sue

More on thread organization

Organizing threads is an on-going project…

My SplendoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAr, Watercolors, and DMC flosses and perles are sorted by number, the rest are mostly by color and then by number. If I found a chart for color families, I have a copy with the threads.  Splendor, Silk & Ivory, Vineyard silks (these are the ones that come to mind) also have color family lists that I think you can find on line at their websites…I keep a copy of these also with the thread.

I also have color cards for many of my threads and these are stored hanging, in my old wooden toy bucket, or in a notebook (these are all my Rainbow Gallery threads).  I need to update these too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me add a note here…I use and store my threads UNCUT, since I do some of my own finishing… I want to be able to pull the threads to use when making twists. I do not cut my Watercolours either but that is a post for another day. ThreadworX (http://threadworx.com/) is one of the few threads I have that are cut; the other two that come to mind are Dimin Epic and Rosebud Studio Felicity’s Garden and that is because they have such great animal fur colors. Epic and Felicity’s Garden are stored by color.

Back to storage…Some of the threads are stored on rings in sweater boxes; these are mostly stored by color, then number on large rings; the exception to this is ThreadworX and they are stored by number.

Another added note: I use the Floss Keys; I got mine from YarnTree (http://yarntree.com/) and Floss Pak bags to store yarns that I have begun to use on these rings.  If the skein or put-up  hasn’t been opened it hangs on the ring as is, but once I go to use it I wind it on a card.: I try to buy threads I know that have changes in their dye lots in pairs, so I will have two skeins of most colors. Once I wind one of these skeins on a floss Key I will store both in a Floss Pak bag. Once one of the skeins is completely or almost completely used I will buy two more hang them on the ring next to floss bag.

I also use the storage boxes I get at Hobby Lobby with my coupons; each box is labeled to the contents. Kreinik, DMC, Trebizond, Kreinik silks, Painter’s threads. Some others that I have limited colors are stored in these boxes too one for cool colors V-B-G and one for warm colors Y-O-R. These threads are stored by company , then by color, then by number;  I usually have less than two dozen of these threads per company…otherwise they would rate a box.  I always keep the label with the thread!  I make a template to store in the lid with number info for all these boxes.

All the DMC floss, #3 and #5 perle are stored in Hobby Lobby boxes. I use floss keys to wind the threads; each is specifically marked and is stored with the labels as well (I wind the thread over the labels.) The Floss Keys are marked not only with the color number on the top right but the type of thread on the top left: i.e. DMC (floss), DMC#3 or DMC#5.

 

I have some threads hanging on a wall but the sun does not hit them and they are mostly threads I have made samples of myself and some are discontinued or threads I do not use. I would not store threads here I plan to stitch with, there is too much of a chance they would fade or get dusty.

 

When I started this re-organization, I decided I also needed to update my inventory sheets. I have kept (and I use this term very loosely) a spread sheet of the different threads in my stash for years. I am not very good at remembering to update these files and so as I started the physical re-organization of my threads, I also took the time to update and re list threads in the spread sheets. DMC was the file I had semi kept the best and it was fairly easy to update. Some of the other threads I had listed all their colors even though I only had a partial inventory; so I made a second sheet within the spread sheet for the thread and called it “my threads” and the complete list is “master.” I moved the color info for only the threads I have in inventory to the “my threads” sheet. Now when I go to use threads I will be able to see if I need to fill in families (if info was available).

It took me a while to set up but it keeps me on track. I have been a poor record keeper and so I have some threads that I have kept buying because I was not sure I had them. I have 7 cards of #820 red Splendor; since this is a Christmas red I think several of these are probably from classes I have taken but I probably bought several too. I am from the school when in doubt, buy two. I have a few others of these and I did notice they are all in my comfort palette so I know I have purchased them more than once.

I have promised myself now that I am pretty thread organized both in storage and on paper I am going to keep it up. Will let you know at the end of the year how I feel I did. I have also bought a small loose leaf notebook (5.5×8.5″) that I am going to adapt the spreadsheets to fit, so when I am shopping I have it with me. Probably won’t work as well as I envision but we’ll see.

Storage and record keeping of threads is an ongoing thing and a personal thing. I think you have to look and listen to how others do theirs and then incorporate what works for you. AND then you have to be diligent about using your method.  I have a friend who gives or throws her threads away after every class or piece she stitches…she says it is more trouble and aggravation to remember where the threads are, to get them, and she never has all the right ones. There is too much Scotch blood in me for that…

Now that I have my threads in 85% order…it’s never completely finished, I am starting on all the stitch diagrams and stitch patterns I have collected and want to put in my computer. I know there are a great many stitch books out there and this is just for my benefit, don’t plan on writing a stitch book. But I have lots of stitches I have written down that I think could be developed into quick little designs.

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

ttfn…sue

Needed to reorganize

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My office and threads got away from me last year and even though I DO NOT make New Year’s resolutions, I decided reorganization was needed. I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to do this and nothing jumped out at me, so I decided to just jump in and start.

I made some basic decisions: If a thread is discontinued, I was getting rid of them: Good-bye Marlitt; Rainbow Gallery has discontinued threads over the years and I still have them, good-bye discontinued threads.  I had a complete set of JP Coats and I don’t think they make it anymore and if they do, I never used it.  There are two exceptions to this rule: Orange Needle Necessities (now ThreadworX) Overdyed Rachel. ThreadworX does not produce this thread and I love it for carrots and carrot noses so I horded several skeins for my own personal use. And another Needle Necessities thread, an overdyed Madras in blues was perfect for my Peter Rabbit coats; so I horded it too. I have been to the ThreadworX website (http://threadworx.com/) and have noted a few choices to replace these threads. ThreadworX if you are reading this: would love a #5 perle cotton in Trick or Treat orange.

I also decided that if any of my DMC floss or perle cotton was cut I would get rid of it. If I use perle cotton for stitching a Temari ball, it cannot be precut because I use very long lengths when stitching Temari Balls. I did keep my Anchor perle cotton, although I have heard it had been discontinued (Anyone know anything about this?). And I do know that Colonial Needle (http://colonialneedle.com/) carries a full line of Finca floss and perle cotton thread (sizes: 3-5-8-12-16) in a great color range, so I’ll start adding that to my stash. 😉

My old threads are going to a friend who uses odds and end of threads and canvas to stitch hearts for a Hospice Home near her. A heart is placed on a patient’s door after they have passed away. This alerts staff and visitors to be respectful and quiet around this patient’s room. The family is then given the heart when they leave. If there are any threads she doesn’t want she will send them to a prison in Ohio that used them.

So I began. Then I had to decide if after I separated all the threads I was going to sort by number or color. I finally decided on using both and seeing if I prefer one method over the other. All the DMC is stored by number and I will continue to do this since I have a great color card. If I stored a thread by color then within that color I stores in numeric order. Watercolours overdyes I stored by number but others I stored by alpha name. I guess you just have to find a method that works best for YOU.

I also decided to wrap all my threads on large floss winder cards and so I ordered 1000 floss Keys and 200 Floss Pak bags from YarnTree (http://yarntree.com/) so I can start this process. I also purchased some storage containers from Hobby Lobby to store the floss keys. I have begun a slow wrapping process…as I need a new thread I will wrap it on large floss winder cards. I also use these floss winders for any thread that is skeined, even overdyes. This will be an ongoing process; otherwise I will not get anything else accomplished this year.
I finished my reorganization this week-end by labeling all the containers. I feel so accomplished. I have two boxes and a bag for my friend who stitches hearts. I got rid of 4 large sweater boxes from my closet and I still have a closet full of threads! And of course, we all know that when I go to stitch, I will not have all the right threads….Stitcher’s Law. 😉

I don’t know if this is the final reorganization or whether I’ll redo as I go, but it is sure a lot better than it was last year. And I am still looking for an answer to whether Anchor is doing away with their pearl cotton? I would love to hear from you on how you store your threads. Do you store by color by manufacturer, a combination? I think when we share , we learn and that’s what this is all about and having fun stitching of course.

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

ttfn…sue

P.S. Someone asked me this week what “ttfn” means.  So for those of you who don’t know it is from Winnie the Pooh; Tigger says it all the time. It means “ta-ta for now” or “ttfn”. Winnie the Pooh books were my favorite growing up and my grandmother used to say this to me. So if Carol Burnett can pull her earlobe for her grandmother, I can ttfn for mine. It just makes me smile and we need to smile and make the world a nicer place.

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Needlepoint

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had 40+ for the holiday so we were very grateful for many things. Now it’s time to get ready for the Christmas holidays. It seems like I’ve done nothing this fall but put up Halloween and take it down; put up Thanksgiving and now I’m taking that down to put up Christmas. I think the older I get time passes quicker and I move slower.

Since I have more than one project going at the same time I have finished some other smaller projects while I was working on the blue bird. I really had to be in the mood to stitch the blue bird and so there were days I did not touch him. I did another big project while I was doing the blue bird…I don’t know why but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.

KC Needlepoint, our newest needlepoint shop opened in June. (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/no-stitching-todayjust-making-new-friends/) and they have local landmark painted canvases. And of course, one of them spoke to me right away and I had to have it. I could see it finished but was not sure how to stitch it but had an idea. So over the summer I looked at the canvas, made some decisions on what to do first and started on the canvas.

2015-12-08 KCAG1 unstitchI try to remember to take a picture of the unstitched canvas before I start stitching but I got ahead of myself on this one. I was so excited to stitch it I forgot. But I did get a picture before I had gone too far with my plans.

The other thing I try to do is research my projects if 2015-12-08 KCAG2 researchpossible. By this I mean if it is an actual place like the art gallery or a lighthouse I look them up on Google to see the actual place; this will give you a better sense of the actual colors of the area and the structure. I actually learned something about the shuttlecocks at the art gallery. There are three of them two on one side of the gallery and a third on the other side of the gallery; the gallery building is representing the badminton net (from the artist statement). I’m seldom on one side of the gallery and had not noticed it or did not remember it being there…but I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia…I’ll be good if I’m ever playing Kansas City Jeopardy.

First, I painted over the feathers on the birdie and let dry for several days. I stitched the background like there was no badminton birdie on the lawn leaving the ball of the birdie unstitched. Using one of the pictures I had I cut the birdie out and loosely basted an outline of the feathers. Then I stitched three feathers with Kreinik braid and then this project almost came to a screeching halt.

In my mind I had made three stumpwork feathers and attached them to the canvas. I had gotten some white wired braid and #12 and #16 braid from Kreinik and tried making a feather. My first attempt failed miserably and I decided maybe I should read about making wired stumpwork. Like I said before, sometimes I jump in with both feet and realize I have bitten off more than I can chew.

I kept mulling this idea over and over, and the canvas looked good with the three feathers I had already stitched on the canvas but I could see it with these three dimension feathers too. I knew I would not be happy until I figured it out. I took it to a gathering where a group of stitching friends were going to be and showed it to them. They all liked it just as it was but I told them what I saw…then one of them offered a piece of advice she had learned in a class…use a piece of voile or any light weight fabric to stabilize the stumpwork. Voilà, the light was flickering; I would mull this around and figure out what to do.

2015-12-08 KCAG3 ribbonI was heading for the fabric store when for a piece of voile when my daughter in law suggested voile ribbon (great idea then I will not have to buy 6 inches of fabric); and as a matter of fact we have some in the gift wrapping area of the basement… This turned out to be the lightbulb on moment I had been waiting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

for. The ribbon was perfect.

My next hurdle was all the needleweaving books said you needed to uses one piece of wire for the outside. I have no problem with this but I also wanted a piece down the center for stability. After one miserable failure I just kept playing around until I got what I had envisioned in my mind. I used Kreinik #16 wired braid and #12 braid for weaving. It worked great after I got the hang of what I wanted it to do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These are the finished pieces. Yes, I did Stitch a second one for the shop without the neddleweaving but with the same overstitching technique…they’re going to have to use a frame.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hope everyone is finding time to stitch this time of year…it is so relaxing .

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue

Thanksgiving and Blue Bird finished

This is Thanksgiving week and I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for all of you who visit my blog too, it makes it fun to write when you know someone is taking the time to read what you have to say. Anytime you would like…chime in, just leave me a comment. If it’s a question I will try and answer you quickly and if I don’t know will ask around and see what I can find out for you.

2015-11-24 BB a need stitchesAnd this week I am so-o-o-o thankful that I am finished with the Melissa Shirley Blue Bird. The last thing I needed to do was fill in around all the flowers that have empty canvas threads showing with the Silk ‘n Ivory. I need to block and finish finish. I 2015-11-24 BB b stitchesdon’t think that will happen until after the first of next year.

I looked at all the pieces and decided that even though there are a few ribbon stitches I really
reverted back to the tried and true French Knots, Satin Stitch 2015-11-24 BB alland Woven Stitch. Stitches I was familiar with and could do without much though. Ribbon work with Silk Flowers I can see is going to take more study.

This is the time of the year I begin to reflect on what I have and have not done this year. And so far my incomplete pile is growing larger than my completion list. I have gotten many needlepoints pieces stitched, just haven’t finished them up. Maybe this will be my goal for 2016… I’ll have to give this some thought.

For now I will leave you with pictures of a few of my completed birds fitting for this week. May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday will be joyful and merry and safe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeed

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue