Sky and Cloud

Oh what a week end, hot,  rain and stitching. Wish I could say the only cloud in the sky was on this piece of needlepoint, but it wasn’t. Really been a strange summer, not too hot (good thing) but way too much of the wet stuff (not good for the crops and fresh produce we all love to eat.)  But,  I managed to stitch away the week-end…(although I probably should have spent some time on this computer…I have so many half started projects that it would probably take me the rest of the year to just put a dent in these projects. Anna Stradal (blog: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) of ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) calls it “Creative avoidance”, but that is another post for another day.)

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Clouds: Smyrna Cross

I decided to do the cloud in a traditional Smyrna Cross using #12 White perle Cotton. I wanted the clouds to have a little puff but not enough that the butterfly would sink into the cloud.

The sky is easy. I had seen this stitch somewhere and though it would make a great sky or background (sorry I do not remember where)  I also knew I could use it without much

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Sky 

compensation (although I think I forgot and did compensate in a few places (BUT if you are close enough to see these, you are too close to the needlework…please back away.) I have to finish the sky and especially around the butterfly. So I think I’ll stitch behind the kids first and then I won’t be tempted to stop and play with couching on the butterfly.

2015-07-23 MS JapButterfly  sky

Hopefully by the end of the week I can have this piece ready to be blocked. And next week is when I hide out at my niece’s house…my big job is to let the dogs out three times a day and watch the wildlife in her back yard.  I spend the rest of my time watching old movies and stitching…no work just relax and watch the wildlife and dogs.

And I have several other pieces in the works I want to get to stitch this summer too, so I am taking one of these with me.

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

ttfn…sue

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Hiding out is such fun

Every year my niece asks me if I would like to house-sit and dog-sit, Frankie & 14-07-30 peachesJoey? And every year I say yes…Who wouldn’t, this is like a vacation in the city.
The whole house to me (and two loveable puppies) and nature right out my back door. I’m 5 minutes from good food too (don’t even have to cook.)
14-07-30 tomatoesBut I found a fruit and vegetable stand and have been eating fresh tomatoes and
peaches like there is no tomorrow…and every morning I have coffee to this…   14-07-30 view

 

 

 

 

 

 

14-07-30 DoeAnd the first day I was here a doe brought by her babies to visit. I have seen twins before but this doe has triplets; it was like she knew this was going to be my special week and she wanted to start it off right…she checked out the area while the babes stayed 14-07-30 doe and triplesback and then she brought them up for me to see. I was so excited my pictures are blurry but you can see all three. What away to start my house sitting. And so far it has been perfect I have read three books in four days, even managed to needlepoint and watch nature out the windows. And this week the weather has been cool enough to sit on the deck and do all the above…too perfect!.

14-07-30 ABS BoxI decided to start my needlepoint lighthouse journey with Anne’s Portland Head, ME lighthouse since I have the same box she used to finish the piece (this might be a quick finish) I know that Anne is a master at needle blending skies and I wanted to try this method, so I spent the better part of  a day last week researching her blog (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) for sky stitching and lucky for anyone interested I kept a record… Here are her hints on needleblending skies (or at least the ones I read): http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/01/needle-blending-sky.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/07/blue-skies-over-long-island.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/09/needle-blending-again.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/11/skys-my-limit.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2010/02/sky-above-water-below.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2011/07/taking-it-from-top.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2011/08/cloudless-sky.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2012/02/sky-and-water.html http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2013/07/two-skies-side-by-side.html

And here are other skies Anne used: Sunrise at the lighthouse: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2010/07/sunrise-over-fenwick-island.html

Need a gloomy Sky: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/10/needle-blending-gloomy-sky.html

Night Sky anyone: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2010/04/looking-at-lighthouse-in-different.html

Don’t forget the moon reflection: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-for-penny-in-for-pound.html

Want to do fog? Anne has covered that too, not once but twice: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/06/fog-rolls-in.html.. http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2011/10/another-foggy-sky.html

April 2009 has several and two of the lighthouses are mine what luck. April 15 has the Portland Head lighthouse…A limitless sky (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/2009/04/limitless-sky.html)

Hummmm, I bet I could add clouds to mine too… Well,  my clouds were not easy for me! The one on the leftI did without an outline, just stitched it, but it was 14-07-30 cloudsfrustrating to me so I took the picture I had printed off and drew lines around Anne’s clouds and then with my blue Pilot sc-uf pen, I drew clouds on my canvas (isn’t there a song about this?) I stitched them all using lightest value of the blues flosses I had chosen (DMC 3756).

Time to start the sky: I used three other DMC flosses (A:3325 B:3841 C:775) and needle blended as follows:

4 ply color A

3 ply color A and 1 ply color B

2 ply color A and 2 ply color B

1 ply color A and 3 ply color

B 4 ply color

B 3 ply color B and 1 ply color C

2 ply color B and 2 ply color

C 1 ply color B and 3 ply color

C 4 ply color C

14-07-30 1st rowThat was the easy part, then I counted the rows of sky and divided by the number of color choices I had; see my marks on the side of the canvas. I started at the top with the darkest of the blends 4 ply color A. You can see in the picture I even added 14-07-30 count offsome random stitches in the next area and left some random stitches in the first are so the next color blended better. I was going along just fine until I got to the bottom.  I think I am counting challenge; either that or I am so relaxed I lost all sense of
where and what I am doing…I vote for the relaxed.  Somewhere in the last three areas I got off and needed to adapt. Anyway, the needle blending is so subtle that you can barely tell I did it until you look at the whole picture. In fact it was hard to get a picture to show you. I even took a picture of the back, I think you can see it better.

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14-07-30 sky finished

 

 

 

 

I am going to enjoy the last couple days of my retreat …I hope momma doe brings her babes back for another look…triplets are so rare.

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

Betsy Ross stitched and blocking

BRoss complete14-06-26 Ultra Suede thread redBetsy is finished but she almost did not get a tuff-it to sit upon. I decided to use Ultra Suede for the cushion. I used short lengths (12 inches and a larger than normal needle) but I still had trouble. My thread kept breaking. After several breakages, I cut another piece and gentle pulled on both ends and it broke. At first I thought it was breaking where the Ultra Suede was bent around the edge of the card but this didn’t seem to be the problem (although the thread did break here a few times.) What it seemed to me to be more likely was it was an old thread. I have had this thread for a couple years and I do not think it has stored well. I did get the tuff-it stitched but it took a great amount of patience…probably would have been quicker to get up and get another thread but I am lazy and stubborn. Anyone else had problems with this thread? I am going to check my other Ultra Suede and if they are as unstable I am going to dispose of them. Frustration is not part of my stitching world.

Betsy’s cap is Alternating Scotch Stitches and again I stitched the scallops in tent and then before adding the bullions, I French Knotted some hair for Betsy using an overdye. You can see in the picture it started to diagonal stripe…that’s because I stitch everything I can diagonally, so I tried the puddle method. (see: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/overdye-puddle-stitching/ OR https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/back-to-mom-me/) I’m not too sure I was successful but I don’t think it will be as visible once she is finished. After the knots were in then I did bullion knots around the cap. I’m pretty good at bullions now.

14-06-26 BRoss tuffit & basketI also did needleweaving a basket for Betsy and was going to cover pony beads with floss and place them in the basket for balls of yarn/thread. But I did not leave enough give in the basket and I don’t think it would have worked anyway…I think the beads 14-06-26 pony beads coveredwould have been too large, but you can see I tried and I prefer what I did better..

Betsy was a fun take-a-long, I really like stitching Anne Stradal,  ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/ or http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) canvases; she paints a great canvas. My husband has hinted he likes lighthouses, so now I have an excuse to buy more canvases 😉 …I like this idea.

So Betsy is on the blocking board and will be finished soon…maybe not in time for the fourth of July but before too long.

14-06-26 BRoss blocked

It’s back to finishing for me and I promise to have something (finishing) to show next time.

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

Summer Projects & Betsy Ross

I am stitching but have decided my big project for summer is finishing…And I have a million things that could fall under this heading. I could finish about seven or eight original stitching designs in my computer (many in various stages of completion); or I could finish one of those class projects that I plan on getting back to someday; or I could finish the 25 Temari balls I have made; I could learn needlefelting that I played with at Christmas last year and I have a thousand ideas running around my head (oops that is not technically a finish)…Okay you get the idea more things to do than the hours in a day.

But I have decided to finish some of the needlepoint I have on blocking boards and in a UFBS box (Unfinished but stitched). I will take pictures as I muddle through this process and share with everyone. I’m guessing by Sept 1 I will really love my finisher and whatever she charges will look good to me.

Since I am carrying my cell phone everywhere these days I’ll have a camera at hand. I am carrying my phone because I have a step counter app installed…it is supposed to remind me to get off my *** humm and walk a certain amount of steps a day. I have a goal (haven’t met yet but have come close)…I really think this is a hopeless cause unless the app can figure out a way to jar me loose from the project at hand…I just keep saying latter.

But I digress…so finishing is the project of summer…Maybe I’ll have some of those gifts for family and friends finished by the start of the holiday season instead of being last minute Nelly.

But today I do want to show you my current stitching project. I love these small projects that I can take anywhere…Anne Stradal, ABS Designs has the cutes roll-ups, I’ve stitched several over the years and her lighthouses are to die for and I love the way she needle blends her floss for skies and seas. If you are not familiar with her blog (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) and website (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/ ), grab a cuppa and spend awhile with Anne, her designs are fun and her stitching is wonderful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am stitching Betsy Ross…I have stitched Thomas Jefferson (he’s in the UFBS box) Betsy’s dress is stitched with Rainbow Tweed and I have three card of the same color. And I am guessing that by the printed number on the bottom I have at least two different dye lots, but when I look at the cards side by side there could be three dye lots. So rather than take the chance of stitching and mixing up the three dye lots, I am mixing them up in the needle and stitching with all three.

We all know what happens if you assume a dye lot is the same…that nasty stitch ghost comes to visit and you have a mess. After you are done stitching you can see the difference in the dye lots and you are haunted by the mess until you frog stitch it out. Then of course you don’t have enough thread to redo so you have to head over to LNS for a replacement and more (never can go for just one thing). And then you have more dye lot differenced (unless of course you just bought this thread from LNS and then maybe you’ll be lucky and she will have same dye lot…but if you’re not sure then mix them up in the needle and avoid the hassle.

ED Note: everyone has a definition for ply-strand-fiber-thread. Mine is: fibers make plies, plies make strands, and strands and threads are the same. Some strands/threads have divisible plies (i.e.: cotton floss, Rainbow tweed and others) and some strands/threads are supposed to be stitched as non-divisible plies (i.e. perle cotton, ribbon threads, metallic threads.) Notice I said supposed
14-06-04 ruchingto be stitched; there is always the exception to this rule…ruching is where one ply of a thread is pulled to gather the thread. Ribbons are ruched and then the ribbon is couched into place for an effect. Almost any thread may be ruched.

14-06-04 cardsRainbow Tweed is a divisible thread; there are 4 plies to one strand of thread. So I pulled the same working length off each of the three cards and I am stitching with 2 ply of this thread so I mixed one strand/4 ply (Card A1-4, B1-4, C1-4) as follows,: A1&B1, A2&B2, A3&C1, A4&C2, B3&C3, B4&C4. I paid no attention about the ends I put together but I did knot one end just to keep the two plies together not as a stitching 14-06-04 pliesdirection. I dropped these in my stitching bag and randomly pulled a thread as I needed. You can see the results, no ghostly dye lot changes.

Then I stitched her shawl and didn’t like the way the bottom was looking so decided to fill scallop with tent and then to give it some texture I would subject myself to Bullions. Bullions are not 14-06-04 BR stitch graymy favorite stitch but I think it is just because I don’t do them often enough. Practice makes better…with bullions there is never perfect. Normally I would wait to do the Bullions last but I got carried away and so they are in.

14-06-04 BR stitch shawl

14-06-04 BR stitch bullionThe flag is over one cross stitches with 3 ply floss.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day;  I’m off to find some UFBSs and decide which to finish first! ttfn…sue

Day of THE Green

I would be remiss if I did not wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day…So Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Our corn beef has been smoked (thanks to #2 son) and my Irish cream is chillin and our mantle is decorated:

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(L-R)   Radco ornament (one of two)

Kathy Schenkel March Santa (http://www.kathyschenkel.com/)

Joan Lewis March Nutcracker (http://www.joansneedlepoint.com/)

My Celtic Origins Shamrock piece: search my blog for “Celtic”                                                                    (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/)

Lego Leprechaun

Wooden box Irish Hex

Dede March snowman (http://www.dedesneedleworks.com/index.html)

Leprechaun (sorry do not remember painter) but I do remember it was a monthly piece

Harp Lager beer Tap

Anne Stradal:  Leprechaun(http://www.absdesignsonline.com/)

AKA Toppy: search my blog for “toppy” (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all my needlework but I really love my Lego leprechaun. He was built by #1 son and his son, Cooper. I get to have him on the mantle in March and then he goes back to Cooper’s room for the rest of the year. Isn’t he the cutes?

And my other non-needlepoint, BUT still handcrafted is my Irish Hex box. Years ago we were traveling in Pennsylvania and I kept seeing these hex signs on buildings (mostly barns). But it didn’t register how large they must be (remember I was OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtraveling with three young sons and a husband in a car and no needlepoint…I was a bit brain impaired) and I kept telling my husband I wanted one. I think out of desperation (he was going a bit nuts with the boys in the back of the car too) he finally found a place that sold hex signs and other things. Needless to say when we pulled up I realized they are huge and soon found out that a hex sign was not coming home with us (they would not trade us one hex sign for three boys…wonder why)  But they had a couple books on hex signs and of course books jumped right into my hands. Once I returned home I decided to paint some hex signs on smaller items and I loved the folklore  attached to the Irish Hex sign: The Irish were camped with other Pennsylvania troops at Valley Forge (yes during the Revolutionary War) and the Pennsylvania Dutch would tease the Irish. So the Irish made this hex sign and would taunt the Pennsylvania Dutch with this chant:

Hurray for the Irish

We’re not very much

But a damn sight better

Than the Pennsylvania Dutch.

And so today I leave you with this Irish Blessing for friends:

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

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

Different Threads

Liam…another project stitched… and a disclaimer…If the designer suggests threads I would use them…she probably has spent a good deal of time choosing these threads. That said, let me show you what happens when I don’t follow my own advice.

Anne's piece

Anne’s piece

Anne Stradal (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) at ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) stitched Liam this way, it is her design.

I stitched my Liam with these threads.

I used the same stitches but I decided to use threads in my stash rather than purchase new ones. I used

My Liam

My Liam

some threads that are out of production but thought they would work.
The only area that did not work for me was the scarf. My thread choice was not variegated enough to make the stitch show direction. The swag of the scarf should show a horizontal direction/pattern while the ends should be a vertical direction/pattern. I will just have to outline the horizontal swag of the scarf to delineate it more.

Anne's in B&W

Anne’s in B&W

mine in B&W

mine in B&W

But for the most part my threads did work; mine are darker thread choices but the values changes are the similar and they work; look at the black & white photos. The jackets are the lightest value with the lapels being slightly darker than the jacket but lighter than the rest. The pants and the next darker value, followed by the scarf and then the outlines are the darkest value. Anne’s has 6 values in her piece and mine only looks like 5 values; my pants and scarf are the closer in value, but both work…Anne’s is just more correct.

Learning to check values in a piece is a good thing to know. You can do this with your phone camera or digital camera (most have a black & white setting) or a copy machine will work too. It is a good tool to use when choosing your threads for a painted canvas. Lay the threads on the canvas close to the areas you will be stitching; take a picture of them using the black and white setting on your camera or lay them on the copy machine to do the same. If the values of the threads are close or right on to the painted canvas the threads will work.
If while you are stitching something doesn’t please you or look quite right, take a black and white picture and check the values of the colors being used. If a color is off it is most likely the value of the color and not the color…the value of the color will either blend with the other choices or stand out as too light or dark. Value choices are the biggest mistake we make when using color.
On a completely different though…I hope all United States citizens have a Happy 4th of July and for those of you across the ponds from us, have a great day. And may we all get to stitch today and all week-end …Thank you for stopping by today!

ttfn…sue