Melisssa Shirley “Wicked”

Promised we would add some needlepoint in here…and then I got behind last week and of course the blog is the first to go. I really wish I could write ahead and have several posts ready to go. I’ve just never been very good at that; maybe I’ll try again.

Most of my stitching is either a geometric counted pieces or I am designing my own original pieces so a painted canvas with a stitch guide is a rarity for me until this past year. This past year I have done at least three or four with stitch guides and several even had thread kits. BUT not one of them is stitched exactly like the stitch guide was written; sometimes I wasn’t happy with the chosen thread and other times I chose a different stitch. But I did read every stitch guide before I started stitching and if there was a thread or stitch I was unfamiliar with I either tried it on the edge of the canvas or on a doodle canvas I keep handy.

I go in spurts doing painted canvases and most of the painted canvases I have stitched never had a stitch guide so I was on my own. Stitch guides are a relatively new thing on the needlepoint market, they have become a big thing in the last several years. I have mixed feelings about stitch guides. I think they are great as a guide, but please remember these stitch guides are not written in stone. If you don’t like a certain thread or stitch, then don’t make yourself miserable trying to use it or stitch it…change it. Needlepoint is supposed to be fun and THERE ARE NO NEEDLEPOINT POLICE (unless you enter a piece to be judged and then that’s a different story.) So be sure if you are buying a canvas with stitch guide and threads, be sure and look over the stitch guide first for threads you might want to substitute before purchasing all the threads. When you get home read the stitch guide and if there is a stitch you just fight all the time, then start to think of what you might stitch in its place.

So if possible, you might wait to purchase the threads for the canvas later. Live with the canvas a while, read the stitch guide and check you stash for threads or threads you can easily substitute…i.e. Neon Rays for Ribbon Floss, one brand of silk for another (be sure to adjust ply and make sure color is very, very close. ) Also if there is a thread you do not enjoy stitching with, you probably have already thought of and used a substitute thread, so just see if it comes in the color you need for this project. You can also use partial skeins sometimes if the area you are stitching doesn’t call for multiple cards or skeins.

I always try and remember to take pictures of unstitched canvas before I start stitching; but sometimes I forget and I only remember when I get to a place where I want to cover the painted canvas and stitch later…but I usually get a picture before I stitch too much stitching is completed. I take pictures of my unpainted canvas one of two ways and sometimes both: The difference, you ask?

I use the copy machine, especially if there is an area I am going to use felt padding or need a pattern to make an applique. I use the copy machine when I want an exact copy of the design ..or almost exact copy.  Copy machines do reduce your image about 1-2%, but it is usually not negligible, and a copy machine picture is much better than trying to get a photo to resize to the correct size.

I use my phone or PHD (push here dummy) camera if I just need a picture to take notes about the canvas. I use this method when there is not a stitch guide and I want to make notes about the threads and stitches I use. With my camera image I can reduce or enlarge areas to suit my needs, but I still find the copy machine best if you are making a pattern of an area.

After I have an image(s) of the canvas I read the stitch guide. You bought a stitch guide, it is written, and you might as well read it. I also keep the canvas handy so I can refer to the areas as I read. I sometimes make notes on the image I have printed if I may want to change something or if there is something I want to look at or do before I stitch an area.

So let’s talk about one project I did last year, Wicked. This is a Melissa Shirley canvas (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/galsearch/index.cgi?index=1382044750_26409&col=)

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and I had a stitch guide and threads. I will tell you I did not always follow the stitch guide and there were a couple threads I did not use. The stitch guide was a guide for me and a few places I did change or modify instructions. Wicked was a gift to me and it came with canvas, stitch guide, threads and embellishments, so I just checked my stash to use up any partial threads I might have and I did substitute two thread choices, but I didn’t do it until I was stitching the area and the suggested thread was just not working for me.

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I made notes on pages I had printed out for each letter as I read the stitch guide and then as I stitched each letter I also made notes on these same sheets.  My first change was to stitch the letters in Nobuko instead of Basketweave. I just wasn’t in a Basketweave mood and I really thought Basketweave would cause the letters to recede and I wanted them to be on top of the background. And by stitching them first, it gave me a place to turn rows of the darning background around with less difficulty and also to begin and end threads if I couldn’t get to an edge.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was happy to read that I was suppose to stitch the background as one of the first elements of the project; backgrounds can be long and boring, especially after you stitch all the fun stuff. I decided to center the background darning pattern in each section; you can see my centering marks on the canvas. I also tried to begin and end threads for the background at the edges of the canvas using an “L” or “U” stitch. I could also begin and end threads in the letters where I stitched Nobuko. I used the Nobuko also to turn a row and keep background darning pattern thread in line.  Sometimes where I knew I would be padding the canvas with felt or thread I could also make a turning stitch, but I tried to keep this to a minimum. Sometimes I had to do a small tuck stitch or carry the thread up further than2017-05-01 beg & end I might have liked.

It seemed like it took me forever to get the background and letters stitched and I do think it took me about a month. But them each letter was fun to embellish and I worked them from W to D.  I’ll tell you the few things I waited until the very last to do as I tell you about the letters. I did not stitch the details of each letter until I had the letters and background complete, but I didn’t take pictures either so you’ll have to bear with me on this one.

And this is about all I can write today…I think I am well over my 55 minute sitting time.

So I will get up and walk and maybe I can get back to this and be a few posts ahead.

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

ttfn…sue

Kumihimo Braiding

Let’s begin to catch up…

My friends and I love a shop in Weston, MO; Florilegium (http://florilegium.com/). The owner Gretchen is wonderful and so creative. You just want to spend time with her hoping that the excess creativity will fall off onto you. And Cathy the shop manager is the sweetest person on earth; she always has a smile on her face and never seems to get rattled when we all descend on her at once.  It is the most fun, creative, relaxing place on earth! Go explore the website and you will get a feel for the place. But like I’ve said before…If you fly into Kansas City airport, make sure you have a three hour layover and make the trip to Weston (maybe 30 minutes north of the airport)…maybe you should just spend the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Weston…there is so much to do there but Florilegium will captivate your heart if you are a needlework person or just a creative soul. Also make sure you are here the later part of the week…I don’t think they are open on Monday-Tuesday and maybe Wednesday…but you can call and if someone is going to be at the shop, they will let you in.

But back to the catch up…My friend Nancy and I drove up one day for something to do and Gretchen taught us her method of Kumihimo braid. It is really an old technique, and of course many cultures have a braiding techniques also . Kumihimo braiding can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Like any technique the more you practice the technique, the more proficient you become. I have seen people who do these braids and never look at the pattern. They are really good and get the count down perfectly; they can start and stop anywhere while making their pattern and never mess up. There is a rhythmic method to the patterns you make and can be very relaxing once you get that rhythm in your head.  I have to really concentrate if I am doing a pattern design; I have to stop at the end of a round so when I pick it up again I don’t mess up the pattern. I think that is why I like the Gretchen methods of Kumihimo best, but I will always be a novice.

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But of course, Gretchen had made it fun and easy and we were hooked. We came home and taught it to all our friends (One person even made a cording to use to finish a piece of needlepoint.)

 

Nancy collected supplies for us, we had round and square Kumihmo boards; you use the round disk for round braids and the square disk makes flat braids, they also come in different sizes for small and large braids.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou need bobbins to roll your looooong lengths of yarn on (save bath tissue cardboards…they make good bobbins for large yearns and large amounts of yarn).  So we have bobbins

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We collected yarns of all types and have a bag of these too.

I had books (surprise, surprise, surprise) in my library and so I did a study of Kumihimo and even took yarn and stitched different braid patterns for everyone to see. Books in my library: (NOTE- all my books are without beads, but if you check Amazon.com there are lots with beading…it seems to be a big thing right now)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kumihimo Japanese Silk Braiding Technique by Catherine Martin,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACreative Kumihimo by Jacqui Carey,

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and Braids by Roderick Owens.

 

I like them all but the last two are my favorites because they have color pictures of the braids.

 

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Nancy even indulged me with and authentic Kumihimo stand. It is beautiful and I use it when I am not braiding to hold my current project or it just sits in my studio to remind me of the fun times friends have together and are always pushing our creativity to learn new techniques.

And even though I am a novice and will OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAprobably never be a more than dabbler in this technique, I knew I was hooked when I had a lunch box and bag for my supplies. In my lunch box I keep a pair of working scissors, a tape measure, weights, the different disks I have and my current project. In my bag are different sized bobbins, some sample braids I have made to see patterns and the yarn for these sample braids.

I enjoy making the braids for projects, but I will tell you this method takes more yarn and time than making a twisted cord. The advantage to this is you can make a pattern braid or just a braid using many of the threads used in a project. Remember when you are planning this that you will need threads that are available in skeins; cut threads will not work. And if it is a large project you may have to make a couple braids to complete project.

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I made a braid for a Christmas present and it turned out to be too large for the project. So saved it, and I am planning on using it for cording on a pillow I just finished stitching.

 

Here are some other braids I’ve played with:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the one I finally made for gift I made last year. It is just #5 perle cotton.

 

This is my pink flat braid I started with Gretchen at Florilegium.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I am not sure what I will do with this when complete but it would be cool appliqued to a jacket or used in a crazy quilt design some way.

These are samples I have made of design patterns using suggested colors so I could follow the pattern.

I have my bag and supplies and when inspiration strikes I will be ready to begin. I think it would be interesting to make several Kumihimo braids and then braid these braids together to make an thicker Kumihimo braid to use and a garland or intertwine in a wreath…I can even see making a Kumihimo braid to use at a lanyard for a cool bead or even a beading project. I even see making a braid to couch in needlepoint…oh so many ideas so little time.

Needlepoint will always be my first and main love but I think in order to expand or creativity we need to explore other techniques. It doesn’t mean we will ever be as adapt as the person who loves their chosen technique; but at least we will be able to recognize it when we see it and we will have at least a passing knowledge of how it is done. And sometimes in just knowing the method, inspiration will strike and we will be able to adapt one technique to our chosen method of stitching and make something really creative.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today or do whatever your chosen technique is!

ttfn…sue

Friends, Stitching and the holidays

I read somewhere (not sure where) that today is National Stitching Day…so I hope everyone gets to stitch some today.

Since this week and week-end are big religious weeks for me and many of my friends, I want to take this time to wish everyone a Happy Easter and a blessed Passover.

And on this same train of thought I want to take this time to thank all of you for being my friend. I have been giving this a lot of thought this week and each of you contributes in some way to my stitching success.

17-04-14 lunchOver the past year I have been stitching with friends at their homes, at shops and guild meetings. I have learned that we all do not stitch the same way. Some of us use stretcher bars and others will never use stretcher bars; some of us strip threads (when applicable) and others have never heard of this method, nor do they want to do it after you explain it. BUT…17-04-14 sitching anone of this makes any of us less of a stitcher! We enjoy what we do, we enjoy the process that works for us, we are happy with our stitching level and most of all WE enjoy the time we share and the company.

The women I stitch with influence me the most! They are designers, teachers and enthusiastic  stitchers whether they know it or not. They have creative minds and I learn from them every time we stitch. We are like a team, they support and encourage me and I hope I support and encourage them too.

The other day, one of them showed me a canvas she had painted from a line drawing…First canvas she ever painted, it was very good. There were a few places she had drawn between the lines but for the most part it was painted on the threads correctly, she will have no trouble stitching this. I was very impressed, I know I can’t do that well.

We all offer ideas for threads and stitches, we share recipes, talk about our families, and generally just have a good time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a new stitching and computer tool. One of my friends is concerned about my health…she bought me a timer so I do not sit for more than an hour at a time. (I am supposed to walk for my knees every hour) It also reminds me to take a drink of water…I never drink enough water either. At first I sat the timer across the room, thinking I would get up and reset it, but that didn’t work…I just ignored it and another hour would go by…So I have it sitting next to me whether I am computing or stitching and I am more aware of it. I hear it ticking for 55 minutes and when it rings I hear my friend say, “Walk!”

My friend has an alternative OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmotivation; she wants me to name her in my will to inherit my needlework. I always thought she meant my stash, but after she gave me the timer she said she was thinking about my health and wanted me to live “a long and productive life.” It dawned on me, she wants me to do the stitching too. Smart lady, Thank you Margaret, it’s time for me to get up and walk.

Happy Easter and Passover to all my friends…Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today and all week-end!

ttfn…sue

Do I have Stash?

Someone asked me if I had much stash and how I stored it… Well yes, but not as much as some others I know… but I do have my fair share…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince I do several needlecrafts I have a large overlapping stash…(my DH calls it my mini Hobby Store…This is from a man whose workbench and area looks like a hardware store after an earthquake..don’t tell him I posted this picture!)… mine is very well organized even though it does take up a large portion of our home. I dabble in any needle art, but my favorites are needlepoint, temari, needle felting (new), knitting (learning), crochet and sewing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a library…it has all needle related books.  I have a stitching area in here but seldom use it.

 

In our office I have a stitching chair too, but use it mostly for selecting threads. I have closet with threads and beads; these are stored on wire shelves in plastic boxes and drawers. Most are stored by type (i.e DMC #5 Perle, DMC Floss, Kreinik #8 Braid, Rainbow Gallery silk, Silk and Ivory etc….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithin the box or drawer, it may vary as how I store each thread: DMC and Rainbow Gallery Silk are stored by number, some Rainbow Gallery, Silk & Ivory and all Kreinik and beads are stored by color.  All threads and beads are clearly marked by number as well as who produced it and name (if applicable.) It is whatever I find works best for me and the particular thread or bead.

My general supplies are stored in clear plastic containers or bags and marked in my master bedroom closet: I have painted needlepoint canvases, cut plain needlepoint canvas
yarn (for knitting a & crocheting), leftover yarn from crochet projects is wound into bases as I go to desired sizes) I use this bases not only for temari balls but also for needle felting balls. When I’m making a temari, I chose the ball and wind with sewing thread.


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My sewing threads are kept in the sewing area with finishing supplies for finishing needlework.

 

I also keep  a box and/or bag for each type of needle art tools/supplies:
I have a bag and small tin for knitting and crochet OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
tools…haven’t been in to this long enough to mass great supplies.

 

 

 

I have a lunch OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
box with Kumihimo disks, and weights.

Bobbins are in a plastic bag.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATemari has it’s own lunch box of tools.

 

 

 

I have plastic boxes with stitching tools for beading. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

Since I started needlefelting I purchased a set of rolling drawers. I store some supplies and  needle felting roving in here. I also have a plastic box for tools and a couple containers with tools I use.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut needlepoint takes up the most areas.  I have a couple stitching nests; each has a floor stand, light and comfy chair for stitching. One area has a set of drawers to keep extra supplies and dodads.

 

I have three bags of stitching tools; one large with seldom used tools, one small that I take to classes and seminars and one I use all the time. Not to mention my collection of needlework tools that I have blogged about before.

So yes, I guess I do have stash! I’m lucky I have a pretty good idea what stash I have and where to look. I can go right to it without much trouble.

I would love to take over the living room (we live in our family room) as an art area but DH has drawn a line in the sand, says he can’t turn around now without fearing for his life of being stabbed by a needle or pair of scissors…men!)

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

ttfn…sue


 

No April Fool

This is not an April Fool’s joke…I’m going to try and get back to blogging.

It was last July that I posted my last blog and I have no reason why I stopped blogging. I can tell you that this is not as easy for me as it seems for others, I struggle with every post. I mentioned this at a stitch-in last week and said I was having difficulty getting back to blogging and that it was not easy for me to write. Someone said they enjoyed the blog and I needed to do it again. So here I am. I do have lots to share with you.

After I had my knee done last March 2016, my friend came home from Hong Kong and we ran around all summer learning new things (it was great exercise for my knee) …I’ll share some as we go along. I made a beaded tassel, a beaded necklace, kumihimo brading, a wool needlepunch flower, learned to needlefelt and crochet. Went antiquing, ate well and also tried to stitch with friends at least once a week.  Soooo busy running around, learning new things or having fun that something had to give and it was finishing and blogging.  My friend went back to Hong Kong in the fall and then I had to get ready for the holidays and then I had my second knee replaced…

So since I last blogged I have had both my knees replaced and so I can go-go-go. One knee was a year ago, March 2016 and the other just last January 2017. Good thing they were replaced in the order they were…first knee was much easier than second… But I am on the road to recovery and am getting around.

I took a crochet class last year.  I knew how to crochet but was self-taught and figured I’d taught myself some bad habits.  I found out other than the fact that I hate to ripe out and would rather adapt, I was doing it correctly. I learned when I was young (21 years old) and must have followed the written instructions pretty well. I  should have! I wrote all the instructions for that baby blanket out in long hand before stitching. I remember because my best friend was expecting her daughter and I wanted to make her a special baby blanket.  I knew I wanted it to be granny squares (only because I knew what the finished product should look like) and so I bought all this baby yarn (more than I needed)  and thought I would have my grandmother teach me how to crochet. Grandma lived with us but she didn’t know how to crochet…my aunt did but she had just left for a month in Europe, so I decided to teach myself. I was so intimidated by the instructions, they were written in code…5 sc , join with ss to make ring. Clusters:  3 sc, 4 dc in ring, 2 sc, * 3 dc in ring, repeat 3 times , ss to 3rd ss of 1st cluster. Tie off.. Oh my gosh, I wrote every instruction out in long hand for the whole blanket! Then I would stitch, take it out  and re-stitch until it looked like the granny square afghan in our family room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve come a long way, now I can read a pattern (not always correctly) and I can sometimes even crochet correctly, but I can make a finished product in a reasonable amount of time. This is the poncho I finished last fall…and yes I creatively adapted the instructions. And BTW, it looks better on me than on this hanger.

This year I am going to try and learn to knit, I’ve tried before but not very successfully, so when my friend moves home this time for good from HongKong we are going to learn to knit among other things yet unknown. Life will be a bit calmer since my friend is not going back to Hong Kong and we can go at a slower pace.

So, as we go along and I gather my thoughts and take a few pictures I will share with you some of the things I did last year as well as some of the things I am stitching now. And I know, one of these days I need to get back to finishing again, I still have bunches of stuff to finish and keep stitching more.

But today I want to also thank you for stopping by to read my blog again. AND… I hope you have time to stitch today! And that’s no April Fool’s joke

ttfn…sue

3D Finishing: Melissa Shirley Sewing Bird Part 2

Materials used:

Stitched and blocked needlepoint pieces
2 Copies of each stitched, blocked pieces
Backing fabric: I used two
Ultra-suede for the wings
Cotton for the rest: fat quarter would be ample
Batting: low loft for wings and body
Batting: craft weight for sides and body
Fiber Fill
Sewing thread to match fabric
Illustration board
Paper scissors
Glue
Cording
Usual sewing supplies

Like I said last week, the body gave me some trouble. I spent at least three days trying different methods, losing my cool, and becoming more frustrated.  I had thought I could finish these two pieces as I had finished the sides but trying to sew the lining to a hard piece of illustration board smoothly did not work.  So since I had cut out a first lining and clipped curves I trashed that lining and cut a second. I also tried to stitch the needlework to illustration board and it proved to be not only not smooth but bulky too. Luckily I had left a lot of canvas and all I had to do was trim a bit more.

I used a lightweight piece of batting (cut two for each side…you will use the other for lining)  to separate the needlepoint canvas from the illustration board and the since I had already somewhat clipped the curves I trimmed and clipped the canvas again and GLUED it to the illustration board.  This was about a three day project since I first tried to lace the needlework to illustration board; then I had to undo, fume, fume some more, cut another piece of illustration board, still fume, and then give in to the little voice that kept saying “glue.” I figure if I keep saying “glue” it will get better.

Truthfully I am not a glue person, but I also know most of my needlework is not going to the Smithsonian; most of my needlepoint will be lucky to survive two to three generations. I have one piece that is registered with the Smithsonian and that is my White House needlepoint stocking but in all fairness all White House collections are registered with them; they are the storehouse and inventory control for all collections.

So when all else fails…glue. Yes, I said glue, but I had already used all the other four letter words I knew and to keep my sanity and finish this project, glue was the answer. I glued the needlework to the illustration board.

The second piece of batting needs to be trimmed to be about an 1/8th inch smaller than the needlework.  Then I clipped the curves, pinned the lining to the batting, and stitched it in place.

 

Next I pined and stitched the linings to the front pieces.

Then I assembled the front piece to the side pieces and pinned together. Here is why the lining pieces are a bit fin30a inside of friendssmaller than the needlepoint. If you’ll notice on my friend’s piece the inside looks like the lining fits snuggly together, but it didn’t look stitched, just snuggly fit. So I made my linings just a tad smaller so they would fit somewhat like these too.  That was the easy part, next came stitching. I stitched the pieces together; sometimes I had to use my trusty third hand (needle-nosed pliers) to push or pull the needle between the threads of canvas. Stitching the angles and curves took some times and since I was going slowly this took another day.

Then I made a bottom for the stitching bird.  Again I had a picture of my friend’s fin33a bottom of friendsand I knew it needed to recede.  I cut a bottom and trimmed until it fit, covered it with lining fabric and stitched in place leaving the four corners unstitched so I could hide the ends of the cording in the bottom.

Made cording for the sewing bird; two long ones to go around large bird pieces and two small pieces to fin35b  together cord allcover the side ends. Pinned the side pieces on first and stitched into place; I hid the ends in the linings as best I could then sewed the large pieces around the bird hiding the ends in the bottom. Here is a blurred picture of the direction of the larger pieces of cording around the face of the birds. Again used my third hand a few times , but finally could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost finished ;-)!

 

Oh those #### wings. I thought I had a curved needle to sew these in place but my curved needle I think is an upholstery needle and will leave holes not only in the wing but the bird too. Need to see if what other curved needles are available. Thought about gluing them on but just could not bring myself to do this. So for now I have used  silk pins and pinned them in place for now.

Finally a finished sewing bird! Many hours, many choice words, a bit of glue and I have a stitching bird to add to my sewing tools collection. I also will have a fond memory of a stitching friend who is no longer with us, she loved birds.  And one more thing, this project took me less than a year to complete, I started August 5, 2015  and it is completely finished…trust me I have projects older than this still not yet stitched and more projects stitched but not finished.

Do you have unfinished stitching projects? Why? Did you lose interest in stitching? Or after you stitched it, were not satisfied enough to have it finished? This is probably another thought for a blog post. Send me your thoughts and I’ll mull this one around.

But the one thing I did learn from this project is that when that little voice in your head tells you you are in too deep…listen!  I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head that said, “Send it to the finisher.” I would have saved myself a lot of anger and frustration. And yet now that the project is completed I do feel accomplished…even if I would not do it again!

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

ttfn…sue

3D Finishing: Melissa Shirley Sewing Bird Part 1

Materials used:

Stitched and blocked needlepoint pieces
2 Copies of each stitched, blocked pieces
Backing fabric: I used two
Ultra-suede for the wings
Cotton for the rest: fat quarter would be ample
Batting: low loft for wings and body
Batting: craft weight for sides and body
Fiber Fill
Sewing thread to match fabric
Illustration board
Paper scissors
Glue
Cording
Usual sewing supplies

20160712 a bird yellowI have contemplated how to finish this piece for weeks/months. I should have listened to that little voice in my head that said, “Send it to the finisher.”  But no I just kept looking at it and I had a friend who had stitched one (she sent hers to the finisher) and I figured I could manage this myself. Afterall it was just a stand up without the stuffing… and ornament in 3-D…I can do this.

I had it on the blocking boards for a long time while I mulled over finishing in my mind. Then I got brave and began the process. I mad two copies of each of the blocked pieces.  And then I plunged in…I felt like a kid jumping off the high dive for the first time. Once you get up your courage to climb that ladder you gotta go off the diving board; if you climb down…well you all know what that means when you’re a kid. So off I plunged…

Once I took the plunge it was a long way down to the finish; this project took me at least two weeks to complete. I would breeze right along and then I would hit a rough patch and it would take me a couple days to get through it. I’ll let you know as we go along where, when and why I became frustrated.

blockingI had blocked the pieces. Even though I had stitched the designs on Evertite stretcher bars I still block. I do know some people who adjust and tightened their Evertites and block using them too but I do not.   I use my Marie’s blocking board (if any one has one they don’t want, I will pay to have it shipped to me.)

I also made two copies of the pieces on the printer/copier for patterns. Remember copies of copies are a bit smaller, I think the standard is about 97-98% smaller; so when you make a copy of your stitching it is already a bit smaller.  And sometimes I use more than one copy and so I have a second in reserve in case I need it. It is hard to make a second copy once you have started or cut the first copy.

I started finishing the wings, they were easy; they were like a soft ornament.(see: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/finishing-ornaments-3-soft-ornaments/) I cut out one of the copies for a pattern of each wing. I colored the edges with my Copic pens (https://imaginationinternationalinc.com/copic/), I don’t like grin through.

I trimmed the canvas to within a 1/2 inch of stitching and clipped the curves.  I finger pressed to the back and used Clover clips to hold in place.  These clips come in several sizes, I like the green jumbos best (http://www.joann.com/clover-12pcs-jumbo-wonder-clips-neon-green/14789036.html). I buy them at JoAnns with my $$ off coupons.

 

I stitch the canvas to the back with a double waxed sewing thread. Always wax your thread…it makes it stronger and it keeps it from twisting and knotting.

I used a small piece of ultra-suede I had to back the wings; I used each stitched wing to cut a backing fabric. I marked the stitched needlepoint onto the wrong side of the fabric and clipped the curves. I cut two pieces of low-loft quilt batting using the patterns I made for the wings. I used one of the quilt battings to stabilize the backing fabric and to give me something to fold the ultra-suede back onto and it also gave me something to baste the fabric in place.

Then I sandwiched all together: needlepoint second batting and backing and pinned together. I stitched the wings. I also decided that there was not enough dimension to the wings so I stuffed them with fiber-fill. I didn’t think I filled them too much but they proved to be a problem later on.

I also made a small cording, joined and stitched it around the wings…The wings were completed and truthfully I think this took me a couple days, but they were no problem.

Next I finished the side straight pieces; one short and one long…these had the decorative flowers stitched on them. I used pretty much the same method I had used finishing the wings without the fiber-fill.

Using the patterns I cut batting for large and small side pieces. I cut the needlepoint to within 1/2 inch of stitching.

I finger pressed the edges to the back mitering the corners around the craft weight quilt batting, pinning in place.

Using a double waxed length of sewing thread I laced the sides together,  starting in the middle and working toward ends and stitching the mitered corners.

Then I cut backing fabric 1/2 inch larger that the needlepoint. I finger pressed and pined to be just slightly smaller than the finished needlepoint. I pressed this in place with my new gadget I purchased some time ago to help with finishing. It’s a Clover Mini Iron with all sorts or attachments. It has a large and small iron head, a ball head (I think for curves, a long thin head (probably for corners and a cutting knife. And I doubt I will ever use the cutting knife since I do not want to gunk up the iron for finishing.

The reason that I stitched these slightly smaller than the needlepoint is because when I assemble the pieces together I am going to join them together through the needlepoint and therefore the lining needed to be slightly smaller because it will be inside the bird.

I stitched the backing to the needlepoint using a single waxed thread.  These pieces went quickly and I thought I was on a roll; then finish came to an abrupt halt.

The bird body gave me some trouble and so if you don’t mind I am going to continue this saga next week., otherwise this post will be way toooooo long. I can give you a hint…I did finish this bird but it took me the better part of a week, a few well-chosen words and a do over. But for now…

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

ttfn…sue