Blue Bird Flowers: Loopy Ribbon

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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

Blue Bird Flowers

Did you think I’d never get back to the flowers? So did I but here we go…

I read all my Ribbon books and decided for now to play it by gut feeling. I’ve gathered up many different types of ribbons type threads (i.e. Kreinik ribbons and Fyre Werks, Neon Rays, Sparkle Rays from Rainbow Gallery) and silk ribbons that were in my stash. The Ribbon books say the ribbon should fit the size of the ground and also the size of the flower being made. Common sizes (from smallest to largest) are 2mm-4mm-7mm and 13mm. All my ribbons are 4mm so I will be limited to their use according to ribbon books. Gathered these up too along with a few beads and metallic braids to add to the mix.

The first flowers I did were ruche ribbons. I found the word “ruche” spelled two different ways; one with a “c” and the other with an “s” and an accent mark over the “e”. I preferred the ruche spelling and so that is what we are using. The “s” spelling reminded me of rush as in hurry up and trust me rushing is not something you want to do when stitching these flowers.

For all the flowers I used a Chenille needle. Two reasons: 1. Wanted to pierce ribbon thread onto the needle and 2. thought if I had to pierce canvas threads would be easier to do so with a chenille needle. And most importantly, it worked for me…ALWAYS do what you are comfortable doing…if you force your needlework you will not like it. Remember this is supposed to be fun!

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2015-10-21 BB a rucheI did the small red flowers first using Neon Rays (nothing like jumping in feet first) for these red flowers. Neon Rays is hard to control without ruching it …so ruching it just made it more difficult to control.  So I just ruched the thread and piled it on the area and couched it down until I liked it. I added

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a bead and then moved on to the white flowers.  Thank goodness there were only two of these!

I realized I was in much too much of a hurry for this type of stitching; I was rushing the ruching!

2015-10-21 BB c rucheSo I took a deep breath and started the white flowers. I used Sparkle Rays for these flowers and noticed as I was pulling a thread of the
Sparkle Rays that this thread would ruche flat. So I decided to try and place in a controlled manner. I used other needles to place the ruched Sparkle Rays and then using 1 ply of floss couched the ribbon in place. I like this look and 2015-10-21 BB d rucheyou can really see how ruching works. I bet you can control ribbon like this too, will have to try different ways of doing this.

I finished the white flowers  with either green or gold beads. Oh btw, look out needlepoint police; I knotted 2015-10-21 BB e ruchethe ruched thread on the back. I wanted to be sure this thread didn’t come loose on either end. And since I am finishing it too, it is my piece I can do what I want!

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

More on ribbon books

I am venting…

In my research of Ribbon work I found a couple books I did not own and so I purchased them (they were less than $10 and there was free shipping.) When they arrived I was happy I had not paid more for them. One was nothing but projects and the description did not say that, but I did not send it back,,, more trouble than it was worth and any way when you are a bookaholic , what’s one more book.  (Although I do promise that one of these days I am going to downsize when I find that round tuit again)

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Left book best: The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery

The other book was pretty interesting Creative Ribbon Embroidery (book on right) and as I was going though it I keep thinking it looked familiar. The pictures and layout were enough different that I had to read a few pages before I realized I had read this before. That’s when I realized I had another book by this same author. And what do you know two books, same stuff one is just ten times better than the other.

And this does bother me!

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Color pictures of stitches vs b&w

These two books are night and day. One is full of color pictures and the other is not…all the stitches are in black in white and in fact most of the book is in black and white. The projects in the second book  have been condensed and are not shown to their best advantage. But the cover picture is new to the second book as well as the title is different

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projects

suggesting different content. Then I went back and checked. Some pictures had been turned, some made smaller but it was the same book printed less expensively.  I guess both books are good, because I do like the first one (The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery ) but if you are investing (even though both were inexpensive, less than $10) purchased the better one. How do you know, I guess I would purchase the older copy in this case first

Don’t get me wrong, I have bought the same book more than once for a couple reasons”

I have about worn the first one out from use. I usually buy a second one to have for back up or if I have sentimental attachment to the first so I can keep it. My very first two needlepoint books I did this. I think I’ve told this story but it is worth repeating.

My mother gave me a needlepoint book in the 1972’s for Christmas. I was not a stitcher of any kind. I was an only child raising three little boys all under the age of 5 years…I was a mother in a foreign male kindom and did not speak a word of male.   I asked her what she was thinking and her response was, “I got it from my book club.  I forgot to send the card back that I was not interested, so I’m giving it to you.”  Thanks Mother. I put it with my cookbooks in the kitchen. WWho had time for needlepoint?  But the following spring a magazine ran an article on learning to needlepoint with six stitches. And that same month our youngest ended up in the hospital with an unknown ailment (turned out to be cutting teeth…my diagnoses that the pediatrician finally agreed after ten years was probably true). And I needed something to do to keep my sanity. So rather than learn just six stitches I had my friend go pick up my book and go  by the needlepoint shop to  buy me three colors of wool a piece of canvas. I had learned to needlepoint from my Grandmother and Mother but now I could do all these stitches too. The rest is history.  My first needlepoint book is still one of my favorites and my go to book when looking for a stitch.

And another  reason I have bought the same book twice is because I publisher changed the cover on the second printing. Not nice. So from that experience I Ann Coxcheck as well as I can before I purchase. My Ann Cox ribbon book states it is combined material from two of her other books and I happened to come across one of them and sure enough it has some of the material and enough not to warrant the second purchase. Thank you Ann because I think my book is the best of the other  two.

Sorry that this is my post of the week but I am venting.

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

ttfn…sue

Books on Ribbon Embroidery, Bullions and other creative stitches:

Here is a list of some of the books I am consulting. Some I have had just for the different embroidery stitches used to make flowers, some are specific to bullions and others are all about ribbons. And there are others, these are just the ones I pulled for the Blue Bird project.

I have three Hard to Find Book stores in my area and I never go by one that I don’t stop…never know what you will find (and I usually do too.)  I like to see the book before I purchase it. I want technique instructions rather than project books. I check several online sources for needlework books too and I price compare:

Abe Bookseller: http://www.abebooks.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com

Hard-to-Find Needlework Books: http://www.needleworkbooks.com

Ruth Kern Books: http://www.ruthkernbooks.com

The books in my library: I wouldn’t list them here if I didn’t like them but some are better than others.

A-Z Ribbon WorkA-Z of Ribbon Embroidery. Country Bumkin Publications. Susan Gardner, Editor-at Large, Quilter’s Resourses, Inc.; 2003 Illinois.

This book is out of print but if you are patient and check often you can get a deal on Amazon or Abe Books and I understand they are going to update and reissue this soon. But it is a staple for learning  Ifa picture is worth a 1000 words then this book is worth every penny you pay for it. There are pictures for every stitch and technique. Excellent Book

A-Z BullionsA-Z of Bullions. Country Bumkin Publications. Inspirations Magazine Publishers. Country Bumpkin Publications. 1999. Australia.

The instructions are clear and the pictures are wonderful. This book is strictly bullions, bullions of every kind. Again the pictures make the directions clear and concise. How can you go wrong with a book published by Inspirations Magazine?

American School of NeedleworkAmerican School of Needlework. ASN Publishing. California.

An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs #3409. 1997.

An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Holiday Designs #3410. 1997.

The Big Book of Little Ribbon Embroidery Designs #3411. 1998.

Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Borders #3412. 1999.

All these books are nice and they all have pictures to help.

 

Bradford Book Jenny Bradford. Textured Embroidery. Milner Craft Series. England. 1994.

A  book on Decorative stitching, it has nice drawings and projects.

 

Victoria Brown BooksVictoria Adams Brown. Watson-Guptill Publications. New York.

The Complete Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1996.

It is a basic Ribbon work book,  full of how to pictures and projects.

The New Ribbon Embroidery. 1997.

This book takes ribbon work to the next level. Dying ribbons, making ribbons, etc. Plenty of eye candy but not for the beginner. I like it but I like to push the envelop too.

book cableSheena Cable. Silk Ribbon Embroidery. A Reader’s Digest Book. NY. 1996.

Mostly projects with pictures and diagrams.

 

Ann CoxAnn Cox. The Handbook of Sik Emroidery. Search Press. England. 2010.

This is a small book (same size as the new Royal School of Needlework books) and it is material from Ann’s two other books: Beginner’s Guide to Ribbon Embroidery and Silk Ribbon Embroidery Designs & Techniques (neither of these do I have). This book  is full of pictures and instructions for ribbon work techniques. I would recommend it.

Heather JoynesHeather Joynes. The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery. Kangaroo Press. Australia.1993.

Another book on ribbon work. Has pictures and clear instuctions. Ms Joynes is one of the experts on this subjecy and her books are reccomended in many bibliographies.

River SilksPaul E Krynicki. “OOOOOH”. The Essentials of Ribbon Needlepoint with River Silks 100% Silk Ribbon.Self published.  2006.

If you are using River Silk Ribbons you may want to read this book. It explains how to use RiverSilk Ribbons. It was written for RiverSilk ribbons only. When you order this book you will also receive a spool of Ribbon Silk and a doodle canvas to play.

Lampe Diana Lampe. Sally Milner Publishing. Austrailia.

Embroider A Garden. 1995.

Embroidered Garden Flowers. 1997. with Jane Fisk.

            Embroidery from the garden. 1997.

Diana Lampe’s books are decorative stitches…Any of these books are nice if you are doing a lot of decorative flowers.

Montano silkJudith Baker Montano. C & T Publishing. California

Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1993

This is eye candy for the ribbon world. Judith knows the rules, bends the rules and does inovative things. I have all the books listed her and look at them for information and inspiration.  Some of Judith other books… these are either inspiration and or quilting techniques.

Montao othersCrazy Quilt Odyssey. 1991.

The Art of Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1993.

Elegant Stitches. 1995.

Free-Form Embroidery. 2012.

TrottPat.Trott. Three Dimensional  Embroidery Stitches. Search Press. England. 2005.

This book is similar to Diana Lampe’s books but with more and different techniques explored. I like it but it may not be for the beginner to decorative stitching.

AnchorSue Whiting. The Anchor Book of Ribbon Embroidery. David & Charles. England. 1997.

An old book but a goody. Small, 4 x 4 inches, will fit in your stitching bag. Has a complete list of stitches with explanation, drawing and picture. It is really inexpensive and I would recommend for beginning study of ribbon work and library.
Brazilian Embroidery Books: I have had these for years. Brazilian Embroidery Chapman was basically small embroidery (decorative stitches) flowers done with rayon floss. I used them to stitch on denim shirts in the 1980’s.


Floss Flowers, Book 1
. Virginia Chapman. !mpact Presentations. Oregon. 1988 This book was created basically for Brazilian Embroidery and covers a multitude of ways to use bullions as the cover photo attests.

Brazilian booksThe Bossa Nova rose and Friends. Mary Clark and Vee Wedoo. self published, Colorado. 1980.

Hand drawings , project book, a nice book if you can find it but not a necessary one.

Brazilian Stitchery, Instruction Book 1, Janice Gerst Levine and Patricia Von Coelln. American Crewel and Canvas Studio. New York. 1985. Another project book with photos  and line drawings.

Dimensional Embroidery, Book 2&3. Zeann Aguilar. self Published. Utah, 1980. Basic stitches and patterns.

Brazilian Embroidery Instructions. Barbara Demke Johnson. Hawkes Publishing. Utah. 1980. Basic stitches and patterns.

By the way, while I am reading I may not be back too soon…but I hope to have other things to share while I read.

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

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird: Sides and wing

I made another creative decision on the bird bodies I made sure the stitches were slanted the same on both sides. I guess I should say I reversed the direction of stitches for one side. Whatever, I did it and it was a conscious decision.

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one side

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the other side

 

 

 

 

 

I think bird wings and sides are going to be the most fun, but probably the most labor intensive.

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample aI have been watching the internet and the trend to use silk ribbon in stitching and just being so creative stitching flowers.  I collected a few pictures from the internet that I thought would inspire me and set them aside for reference. You can just google “silk 2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample bribbon flowers for needlepoint” and click on images for an unlimited supply of ideas. And since this piece had lots of cute flowers… I decided to play.

 

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I also had purchased Bullion needles from local shop earlier this year.(https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/) and wanted to play with them too. These are from Colonial needle and come in two types (of course I have them both): Tapestry or Sharp Point Bullion needles.  There are three needles packaged in a plastic tube for storage; there are a 3 1/2 inch, 5 inch and 7 inch needle in each package and they are equivalent to a #20 Tapestry needle in size. While I would like to see smaller sized needles available, we will play with these.

And of course there were more thread changes to be made. I have spent the last few days gathering up threads, silk ribbons and beads I think may work. I have a stash of silk ribbons for that future day of fun…so today has become that future days /weeks of fun.

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Silk Ribbons

A word about silk ribbons: Most silk ribbons we are using to stitch with come in the following sizes: 2mm-4mm-7mm-13mm; 2mm is the narrowest silk ribbon.  Most common seems to be 4mm (but remember I am flying by the seat of my pants and have not done much research into this technique yet.) and it is what I have the most supply in my stash at the moment. Several companies are producing silk ribbon:

Dinky Dyes: 4-7mm (http://dinkydyes.com/index.html)

Gloriana Threads: 4-7-13mm (http://www.glorianathreads.com/)

Planet Earth Fibers: 4-7-10-13mm (http://www.planetearthfiber.com/)

Rainbow Gallery Splendor Silk Ribbon: 4mm (http://www.rainbowgallery.com/index.html);

River Silks: 4-7-13mm (http://www.riversilks.com/index.html);

Thread Gatherers: 4-7mm (http://www.threadgatherer.com/);

Treenway Silks: 2-3.5-7-13mm (http://www.treenwaysilks.com/index.php);

YLI: 4-7mm (http://www.ylicorp.com/index.aspx)

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird silk ribbon on spoolI am sure there are others, but these are in my stash; I’ve seen one on a spool and would love to find it someplace…I just think the little spools are too cute. Anyone know where these can be purchased?

And I would be remiss if I did not tell you about Florilegium…If you are in the Midwest or plan on being here; plan a trip to Weston, Mo (http://westonmo.com/?page=home). It is a quaint little town about 35 miles (45 minutes) north of Kansas City or 30 minutes from KCI airport. Great shops and food.  Make sure it is a week-end, that’s when most all shops are open. But DO NOT MISS seeing Florilegium (http://florilegium.com/), even if you have to call ahead and make an appointment for early in the week visit; this is eye candy overload for the creative soul. Gretchen is the owner and Kathy, her friend, are the two sweetest ladies around. But the reason I mention them here is that if you need a silk ribbon Gretchen dyes them and has beads, embellishments and ribbons forever.  It really is eye candy overload! Every time I go in there I feel like a kid in a candy store and when I leave I am exhausted and know I missed half of what was right in front of me.

But I digress…I have a few books that I need to look through too. I’ll post again in a day or two with a list of books I have. Even though I prefer a book in front of me, the internet is always a good source and sometimes you can find videos that allow you to see the stitch being created.

But first I am going to Basketweave the backgrounds of these pieces. Yes I am going to use Silk and Ivory in medium color blue. Remember I use #20 or #22 tapestry needle…it works. I will Basketweave right up to the flower edges and if I have to go back and fill in I’m sure it will not be noticeable for all the flowers.

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

ttfn…sue

My Stitching bird.

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I usually set the next un-stitched canvas I want to stitch out on stretcher bars so I can look at it as I finish stitching the last one. This usually gives me incentive to finish a canvas and not dawdle; but sometimes (usually) I get ahead of myself and stick the new canvas audition out to soon and it frustrates me that the canvas I am working on is stitching so slowly.

This is one of those pieces that had many side stories to it, or maybe it is just insight into my crazy thinking. At any rate, I will try and explain as we go…I am going to walk you through MY processing. It takes some turns and twists…so let’s get started. This canvas is painted on three separate pieces of canvas for easy of handling; so I have three canvases framed up and I am going to start the bird’s bodies first.

2015-08-05 MS Bird tear sheetThis Melissa Shirley (http://melissashirleydesigns.com//) canvas is another guild member’s canvas (Remember if you like this canvas ask your shop to see if the canvas is still available.)  She loved birds and stitched many of them…I have a couple turkeys she stitched but this was one that spoke to me, so I brought it home. I knew I wanted all the squares to be the same stitch: middle blue square are Reversing Scotch, lightest blue squares are Milanese; and dark blue squares are Byzantine.  The yellow bars are Slanted Gobelin and the little squares would be Smyrna Crosses. I had even decided to stitch the bird in Brown Paper Packages’ Silk n Ivory (http://www.brownpaperpackages.com/).

(1st twist). Yes, I know some stitchers think Silk & Ivory pills on 18 count canvas and it may; but I have never had this problem. I think if you are stitching something that is going to get a lot of wear (belts, purses, etc.); Yes, then you should think about using another thread. But remember any thread on a wearable garment will wear: perle cotton will lose its luster as will silk pearls, floss will not hold up to constant wear, and wool will pill too. So in my opinion, you should use what you like. Wearable stitching is not for a lifetime in most cases. Using Silk and Ivory on 18 count ornaments, standups and other decorative pieces works for me and I use it. The only problem I have ever encountered over the years is that large area of Silk and Ivory stitched in Basketweave tend to be tight (but I did it on this piece as you will see), but I have very little or no problem with decorative stitches. I do us a size 22 needle when stitching with Silk and Ivory, I think the larger needle opens the wholes of the canvas a tad more and helps the thread move smoothly through the canvas.

So I had pulled my threads (I originally intended to do the entire bird in Silk and Ivory and had pulled all the threads. Good thing I have my stash at hand…because the best plans usually change.)

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird square counts usedI don’t know why I picked a center square to start must have been Stitching Angel intervention, but somewhere I got it in my head these were not perfect squares. They are 16 threads to each square separated by 3 threads. But I made a mistake and stitched the Reversing Scotch Stitches over three threads instead of four. I could have taken it out but 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird scotch squarefor whatever reason (I hate Frog stitching) I kept going.  I assumed the squares were off, but if I added a fourth thread to the dividers I could continue…I later went back and charted the Reversing Scotch and I liked my mistake better, so I kept it. After I played around and decided this mistake would work there was another twist: I have decided to change some of 2015-08-05 MS Bird rev scotch used 2the threads.

2nd twist: I have a list from Kreinik (http://www.kreinik.com/) of the threads they are no longer stocking (some you can request others have been discontinued) and I had spent a day separating these out so I would not use them for designing. I had lots of 042 Confetti fuchsia; I had used it to teach a class years ago when I was in certification for teaching. I use discontinued threads only in pieces for my personal use. So I decided to take yet another twist…

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird copic marker3rd twist: A few years ago I discovered Copic pens (http://www.copiccolor.com and http://www.copiccolor.com/) and now I can’t get enough of them. While playing with the Copic pens and an air gun I realized I could color areas of white canvas to simulate any color canvas I could want to purchase…hummm…but that’s another story. But I have used them to color canvas backgrounds if I need a larger or different shaped background.  I wonder if I can change the color too?  So I stopped stitching and changed all the yellow to sorta pink so I could use the Kreinik Confetti Fuchsia.

So now I am back on track, well at least my track. I am stitching the blue squares and looking at the wings and sides too

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin aAnother turn came (not really a twist but a stitchers/finishers decision) when I went to stitch under the beak. Since I have been doing some of my own finishing I am more aware of these sharp, small turns that do not finish well. So here, under the beak I made another stitchers choice. See that one stitch that is unpainted, it went away; not the finishing there will 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin bbe easier. As you are stitching and you see this little opps, you can cover them with a stitch and finishing will be much easier

So for now I am stitching along on the blue bird bodies…I will be back with the sides and wings soon. .

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

My Doodle Canvas Notebook is born…

2015-06-23 ToitI have been contemplating starting a “Doodle Canvas” for years but have just never got around to it. Well, I have found “a round to it and wooden nickle” all in one …so I now have a Doodle Canvas too.

I have always thought you should have a “Doodle Canvas” but just never listened to myself. I have taken classes where teacher/designers have either suggested this; asked you to bring a Doodle canvas on stretcher bars; or supplied you with canvas (you bring the bars.) Susan Portra uses French Knots and suggests you practice making about 10-20 French Knots on a “Doodle Canvas” before doing on the stitching.

Then when I discovered “blog-dom” and became addicted to following blogs,  I began to see Doodle Canvases with purpose and still I did not heed. PinTangle (http://www.pintangle.com/ ) has documented hers. Here is how it all began: http://pintangle.com/2008/12/31/for-the-love-of-stitching-band-sampler-back-story/

Blogs had been speaking to me for years about “doodle canvas” but I just wasn’t listening…

Be Stitched several years ago (http://bestitchedneedlepoint.com/news-and-updates/what-the-doodle-is-a-doodle-canvas/ ) and

And Threads Across the Web: http://threadsacrosstheweb.blogspot.com/2011/11/doodle-page-exotic-swirls.html. She calls hers a “Doodle page”

Needle Bug (http://www.theneedlebug.com/) ) calls theirs a “sample canvas.”

And even Mary Corbet on Needle n Thread blog tried to tell me to start a doodle canvas.  (http://www.needlenthread.com/2014/10/5-reasons-to-make-keep-a-doodle-cloth.html)

Thought these were very cool but still it did not motivate me to start my journey. BUT I wasn’t able to get these out of my mind and I would think about this when I was stitching. So for the last several years I have had good intentions and we all know what road that paves; but still I did not heed that little voice in my head until earlier this year.

I had cleaned out some UFOs and knew I would never finish stitching but it seemed a shame to dispose of the canvas, so I put the canvass aside until I decided how to use them. And then while cleaning out a sewing drawer too, I found two things I had purchased in quantity.  Grommets and bias tape…I must have had something in mind or just thought I needed them because I bought 2015-06-23 Toolseveral packages of both and have never opened any of them. At that same time my daughter-in-law showed me this neat little gadget she had bought for something she was making and I realized I could use my grommets with this cool little gadget.

Canvas, bias tape, and grommets…hummm… the “doodle canvases” were born. I made two and put one on stretcher bars. Now I had no excuses. Still that canvas sat around for a couple months until one day I needed to practice something and I did it on the bottom of the canvas I was working on only to wish I had done it somewhere else. Not because I didn’t like it or that it ruined the canvas I was stitching, but rather because when I finally finish this piece you will not see my experiment that I like. If I had done this on my “doodle canvases” I would have it for future reference…as it is now I will have this scape of canvas to keep track of.  So then when I needed to practice some decorative flower stitches and ribbon stitches for this same project I remembered the “doodle canvases” and thus was my start.

2015-06-23 Notebook 1 2015-06-23 Notebook 2 2015-06-23 Notebook 3

Remember early this year when I was taking about notebooks? Well I have been pretty faithful about documenting all my stitching in this notebook. When I finish stitching a piece, I put the notes in the computer and fold the pages up with the name of the project written on outside of folded pages. So I started documenting the “doodle canvas” too. This week I finished using the first “doodle canvas” and documented it in the computer. I haven’t decided if this is the final format for this but I wanted to get it computed and move on.

2015-06-23 Doodle Canvas 1So now I have “Doodle canvas #1” and its documentation; another notebook in the making.  Here is my canvas and how I documented it. I had thought I would use something I found at the quilt show to make a cloth print of the documentation to use as the backing of the piece but as you can see I have lots of documentation and it would be larger than the canvas…so 2015-06-23 DoPg01b2015-06-23 DoPg01aI am formatting and incubating ideas again. I am thinking that I have several other projects that I want to make into book formats and this will be the canvas I use to experiment with the covers. Someday I will be blogging about these too but right now the book finishing is still in the incubation stages, doing research and formatting ideas in my head and on paper too.

I don’t think everyone has to go to the extreme I have but I hope you will all consider the merits of a “doodle canvas.” You can experiment with threads: new threads, combination of threads, number of plies needed to cover the canvas or to get the desired effect. You can play with stitches: change the direction of the stitch, play with threads to give the stitch a different look, or just practice those French Knots  or as I have found Bullion Knots too. And best of all reasons: On a doodle canvas there is no “frog stitching”,  there are no mistakes only less usable ideas. And for those of you who are really creative you could create a design and make Christmas ornaments or scissor fobs, any small project for all your stitching friends. If you keep them, think of the reference canvas you will be making…. I like the roll that Sharon B on Pintangle makes (http://pintangle.com/2008/12/31/for-the-love-of-stitching-band-sampler-back-story/)  but that is not for me…a book will serve me better…find what works for you.

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

ttfn…sue

Threads

2015-04-21 bunny 2I’m so glad I have this extra skein…

I am finishing up a Easter project and I got to here and was out of thread. I happen to have an extra skein (same dye lot) but I am lucky. How many times have you gotten to here and not had that extra skein?

What to do if you didn’t notice until the bitter end?

15-03-24 bunny stichedIn this case if you could get a gray that is close (different dye lot) I would frog stitch: rip-it rip-it out. This is a contained area and the dye lot change will probably not be noticeable for two reasons:

  1. It is its own self-contained area, isolated from other areas of gray stitching.
  2. The area has is slant different from the other paw and slanted not like the feet or head.

Also in this case if the gray dye lot was noticeably different (bummer) you still could salvage the stitching by removing both paws and re-stitch with new dye lot.

But what do you do when the area is a large area and you run out of thread? Don’t throw the piece away, there may be some good solutions.

You can try and ask the needlepoint community on line if anyone has another skein of your dye lot. We are a fairly friendly and honest group and love to share. I always check when someone asks…usually I’m a day late and a dollar short…someone has beat me to a random act of kindness already.

If that fails you can get another dye lot and hopefully the new dye lot is very close. I also hope you realize the lack of thread before you have used every last inch because you can start stitching with the new dye lot every other thread until the old is gone and then finish up with the new dye lot. It would also be nice if you were using a stitch other than Basketweave….Basketweave is not very forgiving when it comes to new dye lots but you can “pepper stitch the area and then fill in with new dye lot. You gotta do what you gotta do.

2015-04-21 tent peper stitchingBut what if all else fails and the dye lot is so different you  are about to give up…Wait, look at the canvas a try and find a cutoff place. Hopefully you are stitching a background or large area and have enough thread to cut off so it looks planned. Then look at the canvas, pick a stitch very close to the original. Example:  stitching with Mosaic using dye lot A, use a Reversed Mosaic or 2015-04-21 Changing stitchesContinuous Mosaic and stitch with dye lot B.

My best advice is when purchasing the threads for a canvas buy one more than you think you need for large areas. Life happens and if the canvas and threads gets pushed to another days stitching you will be covered. This bunny had 4 skeins of gray…I will have most of two left over and 3 skeins of overdye used in pants (Using overdyes are a post all their own…will leave for another blog day.); I have parts of all three left.

I don’t think of these extra threads as overbuying but rather as stash enhancement! I like to always buy at least two of any thread I purchase (especially if there is a dyelot number) We all know the threads that have dye lot changes regularly and overdyes are the worst…even if the colors don’t vary the length of color can vary)

Hope this is helpful.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

Thank you Stitch Guide writers

I just spent the most relaxing week. I was house sitting my niece’s dogs….it’s a tough job but someone has to do it and I’m so glad it’s me.

This is my view and if I’m lucky a deer or two will stop by to see me…

15-03-24 deer

15-03-24 bunny unstitchedUsually I take a have computer project to finish, but this time I took nothing but a painted canvas, threads and a stitch guide.

But that I want to thank all those people out there who take the time to figure out stitches for painted canvases. It is so relaxing (like stitching a piece of basketweave). All you have to do is pick up the thread, look at the diagram and stitch. I’m not saying that if Sally Stitchguider has suggested Bulllion Stitches using  Marlitt thread (so glad this thread is gone) for hair that you  must follow her suggestion…I personally think Sally Stitchguider was having a bad day and I would use loose French Knots with floss first.

BUT for the most part these fine people have a working knowledge of what they are doing and are usually right on the money.  They keep abreast of all the new and exciting threads on the market and try to incorporate them in their guides.  They know what stitch works best with what thread and they don’t have to experiment around.

Keep in mind there are several types of stitch guides. And not all stitch guides are created equal. Some stitch guides are written for a canvas and the shop that sells it. This means that all the Blue Dog canvases that Shoppe Around the Corner sells will have the same stitch guide for Blue Dog. The stitch guide writer knows the threads that Shoppe Around the Corner stocks and will use them in the stitch guide.

Some designers pay stitch guide writers to write stitch guides for their canvases. Some will sell these at an additional cost to the canvas, some other designers will include them in the price of the canvas.  This means that Debby Designer’s  Pink Cat canvas will have the same stitch guide no matter where you purchase the canvas.

And then there are the canvasses that you ask to have a stitch guide written for you. Depending on what you expect you can plan on paying from $0 to $600 (highest I have heard so far). Some shops will give you free thread and stitch selections if you have purchased your canvas at their shop, but don’t expect a big written out booklet…remember you get what you pay for.  Keep in mind, you are asking someone to spend time writing a guide for you and so if you do get a booklet complete with threads and stitches, Sally Stitchguider  has a business too.

My stitch guide came with the painted canvas and threads (the threads were extra but could be purchased as a kit too. )  I seldom stitch a painted canvas with a stitch guide and threads already chosen for me, but I picked this up at a guild sale and decided to stitch it. I usually like the challenge of choosing my own stitches and threads and usually make it up as I go. I approached it like a class project and so I first read the stitch guide and checked the threads to make sure I had what I needed. There were a couple thread substitutions (but that happens), so I made the notation in the instructions and then I started stitching.

15-03-24 bunny headI started with area #1 and picked the thread out of my thread packet and began stitching. The guide suggested Encroaching Gobelin over 2 threads and I tried it but didn’t like the look. I thought the bunny to large for such a small stitch so I “frog” stitched the area. But in keeping with the stitch guide my adjustment was an Encroaching Gobelin over 4 and encroached 2 threads.

15-03-24 bunny stichedThis was so relaxing and then I realized was not looking at other areas of the canvas to decide what stitch I might want to place in various areas. It was so mind relaxing. As I was stitching the mouth area in basketweave I realized that if I stitched the tooth n basketweave also it would recede into his mouth to far to please me so another stitcher’s  choice to wait and use straight stitches for the tooth and I stitched the tooth area twice to make it padded. I also have decided his cheeks need to stand up some and so instead of basketweave here too I will make padded satin stitches…I did the same with his nose.

I started stitching his ears in a  4 by 6 Byzantine…not sure where it came from but it was not the Diagonal Mosaic that was suggested.

I realized without thinking I was stitching without checking the stitch guide and so I got back on track with his vest.  Even though the canvas was painted with a smaller check I followed the pattern in the stitch guide. I’m not sure I like the metallic I don’t think it covered as well as it should but I tried another copper silk and wool but I didn’t think it had the sparkle that was needed.

15-03-24 bunny overdyeThe pants are stitched with the thread and stitch that is suggested in the stitch guide. You are supposed to use four ply of the strand to stitch the diagonal rows. I think you were given more than enough thread to do this; there are three skeins of overdyed floss in the kit.  I think you could stitch the pants without combining any of the leftover two ply, but it seems like such a waste of thread. And so the Scotsman in me made yet another executive decision, I would stitch the reversed diagonal rows using a random 4 ply of the leftover two plies. To ensure I had a random pull I pulled separated 3 strands and randomly put them all together before I stated stitching the reverse diagonals.  It seems to have worked out so far and I like the effect it gives. We will see how frugal I was when I complete this area, if I have less than 6 ply I will have figured accurately.

I’m almost done with the bunny and so for this Easter may just set him up on the stretcher bars for everyone to enjoy.  I plan on giving bunny a background stitch and then I have an idea for finishing but then I have another year before Easter rolls around again.

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

Pi Day

We are going to a wedding reception this afternoon and were asked to bring our favorite pie…I really didn’t think anything of it  (the host is a great pie lover) until this week and the news media started taking about Pi Day. Then it hit me…they are just waiting to see who bites (pardon the pun).

In case you don’t know, today is Pi Day.

What is Pi Day you ask?

Saturday, March 14 is a very special Pi Day that comes but once in a century. That’s right, it’s 3-14-15, the only time before 2115 that the date reflects five digits of the magical, infinite number, 3.141592653…from the Washington Post

15 used instructionsSo I had to make a pi/pie. Only kind that I knew would be successful was the kind I stitch. So I charted one and stitched it. I have included the chart and finishing instructions as a PDF in case anyone else wants to do one. Pi day is every year; this year just is special because it is 3-14-15

15-03-14 Pi ornament aBUT my little creative mind did not stop here… We had  bought the lucky couple a pie plate and were going to give them cash (not very creative but wait…last night I had this great inspiration…we are going to get $1 and 2 bills to line the pie plate (representing 3). and then fill with 14 dimes and nickels (representing.1415) and cover with cling wrap.  Our pi pie.

Well I must be more of a nerd than I though but this just appealled to me.

 

15-0314 Pi ornament bAnd my real pie…coming from the store of course!

If you have trouble downloading the Pi instructions just email me and I will send you the PDF version. I may not get to it until later today or tomorrow as I am on my way to a St. Patrick’s Parade and then I am going to the wedding reception.

 

 

BTW here are some pretty cool places to visit today …all about PI:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/03/14/pi-day-kids-videos/24753169/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/14/10-stunning-images-show-the-beauty-hidden-in-pi/

Thank you for stopping by to visit, I hope you find time to stitch today or do whatever helps you be creative!

ttfn…sue

PS if you hold up 3.14 (have to have pointed 4) it is this: 🙂

15-03-14 pie reverse