Why do you stitch canvases?

When you buy a canvas do you think what the finished product will be? You should but few of us do. We are impulse buyers and this is good for shop owners but not always wise for us. There is just so much wall space that pictures can occupy. And even though I love my dog to bits, I do not like her using my needlework pillows as her lounging chair. And when are stand-ups & ornaments too many, not to mention where you store them all? So next time you go to buy that canvas, please think about the finished product; what will it be, where will it go, where will you store it if you need to do this and who will get it (if it is a gift)? All good questions and if you can’t answer them, then you might think about another canvas…because we all know that we have to purchase a canvas to maintain our mental stability. And visiting a shrink is more expensive and it will take you too long to get an appointment, so find a canvas you can see finished (someday), you can live with and then by all means… purchase it.

Do you ever buy previously owned canvas? Sometimes these canvases come with threads and stitch guides too. They can be from Susie Stitcher who is no longer as excited to stitch the canvas as she was when she purchased it; it can be from a guide member who is downsizing; or an estate sale of a former member. While I have purchased a canvas or two (less than 6) from an online auction company; I like to buy directly from the original owner, I like the connection to the stitcher.  I prefer to purchase something from a guide member at an estate sale for a couple reasons: 1. It gives that person a portion of her investment back or 2. It reminds me of that guild member who is no longer with us.

I have several of these and each time I stitch one I remember this lovely stitcher and how much I enjoy(ed) her company. This is one of those canvases, and when I got it out to stitch it I wondered how she had meant to finish it. I’m guessing a picture, but I do not know for sure. I asked on Facebook: Needlepoint Nation Group how I should finish this piece (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeedlepointNation/search/?query=sue%20dulle) and received many responses: bolster pillow, box, black lacquer box, top for a new stitching bag; basket band, top of a chair back, door draft stopper, hat band, eyeglass case, table runner, top of a mirror, tray insert, coat rack inset and a stand up. At first I thought I would learn to make a box, then I thought top of a tote bag or a bolster pillow, but after stitching on it I’m not sure.

The canvas is an older canvas from Melissa Shirley Designs. I think it has been retired; but when I contacted Melissa Shirley Designs (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/)for permission to use photos, she had some great advice for those of us looking for an older canvas. She suggested you contact your local shop and have them check with the designer; they sometimes have a back stock or will be willing to paint a special order. There were at least two others if memory serves me well; one was with a fish and the other I do not 2015-07-06 Barbara pictremember. Thank you Barbara Cohen for sharing one of the other pieces that are in this series. The piece is lovely and I do like the framing too. .  Does anyone remember the other design canvases in this series? Maybe I should check and see if the others in this series are still available… Oh my gosh, I am enabling myself!

This canvas I purchased from a guild members estate was kitted with silks and so I decided to use these…there were some stitch suggestions from the shop that chose the threads but I decided to wing it on my own. First I took a picture of the unstitched canvas. I always try to do this as a reference to the canvas; I print this as a reference only. AND I do not keep them 2015-07-06 MS JB unstitchedafter I am finished stitching and shred these pictures as they are not my designs.

I try to remember to ask permission of the designer to use pictures of the design in my blog too. I’m not always good at this; I guess I think all of you who needlepoint and read my blog are honest. I did contact Melissa Shirley Designs and obtained permission for two of her canvases. And then feeling guilty, I contacted some other designers I plan on stitching and received their permission too.

I Basketweaved all the children’s skin and most of their outfits; the exceptions were the small decorative stitches and they were either Reverse Basketweave, Cross over 2 threads one direction, Cross stitch over 1…whatever fit the area. Their backpacks or ribbons were mostly Diagonal Goblins to fit. I decided to have some fun with the hair and so three of the children have padded, hair, I think they call this Shimada hairstyle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimada_(hairstyle)]. The second child from the left just had wild hair… Random Straight stitches; while the second child from the right had a more controlled hairdo using Straight stitches in a more controlled method.

2015-07-06 MS-JB shoesThe shoes of the children were a combination of Cross stitches to fit; the heels and straps were Elongated Cross stitches to fit.2015-07-06 MS JB feet & grass

I spent 2015-07-06 bookan evening perusing for a grass stitch I liked. I chose #Grass 27 from Stitch Landscape from Little Shoppe Canvas Company (http://littleshoppecanvascompany.com/books); your local shop should be able to get this helpful little book for you.

Next I am going to stitch the butterfly…and then the background.

I still am undecided about how to finish this but maybe it will come to me as I stitch.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! Enjoy the rest of your summer…

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

ttfn…sue

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Sidetracked…A present & Value of Gray study

I am still stitching on the flowers for Mom & Me. Hope to have it finished this week-end.

But this week I got a bit sidetracked.

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My DH brought this find to me this week. He found it in the basement; I think it must have been in the tools and craft drawers from my uncle.  It must have been a pin at one time but the pin-back is missing. I also have a bracelet similar to this that my uncle gave me several years ago. And I also have 2-3 thimbles with this petit OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApoint. I tried researching these but the best I could find is that they were made in the 1940-50 in West Germany or Austria. None of mine has a marking that I can see but all are backed in brass. Doesn’t matter, I like them and just wish I knew more about them. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyone out there who knows about this jewelry I would love to hear from you. Hummmmm, do I feel another collection blooming?

And I worked more on my Values of Gray study. I have all the written work completed; I have begun to make computer pages of my samples and I have my paint samples made. I haven’t decided if I am just going to market the book with designs or whether to teach it online and share my samples too.

All my stitched samples are completed (well except for the big project I want to do) and I have had this idea in my head ever since I saw Kurdy Biggs sewing wallet (http://www.threedles.com/06012011/2013/Pangea/Pangea_BagAndWallet.html)….I loved it! And while I was stitching the samples for Shades of Gray I decided to make my own sewing book (but that isn’t the big project).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I have been mulling around my ideas…the other night at 2 AM an idea came to me.  Just as a thought…does everyone get these spurts of inspiration at odd hours or is it just me? These creative outbursts really cut into my sleep and I had to get up to draw a rough OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsketch of the ideas. Next morning I drew them on the computer and then made up this small paper mock up. Now I am measuring needlework and thinking about how to construct the book. Any suggestions for sources of books or online helps would be appreciated. I have already decided to make a muslin prototype and think I’ll start this soon.

Today is opening day for the KC Royals so I see baseball and stitching in my afternoon plan.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day! ttfn…sue

Books & Desk

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I am still walking on air about my cookbook debut. Still pull it out just to look at it…Can hardly wait until it is in the stores too.
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And then within two days of this three wonderful reviews of my couching book. I have been very pleased by favorable reviews the book has received on the following blogs:
Kreinik Thread Blog- http://kreinikthread.blogspot.com/2013/07/book-review-pattern-couching-and-or-nue.html
Jane at Chilly Hollow- http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2013/08/or-nue-book-at-last.html
Janet at Nuts about Needlepoint- http://www.nuts-about-needlepoint.com/two-lovely-designs-to-learn-a-great-technique/

Then I got to thinking, someone had asked or written about on their blog or one of the needlework lists and I’m sorry I don’t remember who…how long it takes a design to become available…Well here is an example. Back in October 2011 I wrote on my blog about Celtic Origins (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/my-project-pattern-couching/) I had written this project for my guild that summer to be taught in the fall 3-4 meetings.
After several had finished or almost finished I received their feedback (the guild was my pilot class) and did some revisions. Then I had a trusted friend, and good stitcher stitch the piece from these revised instructions and then made the minor corrections. Now I felt it was as good as it gets…from experience I know there are other typos and small mistakes and with every printing I try to make these corrections if stitchers let me know the mistakes.
Now, it is the beginning of this year and the Woodlawn show was approaching. So I decided to enter these pieces in this show before releasing the book. And that is history (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/woodlawn-plantation-needlework-exhibit/).
Then I had 5 copies of the book printed to send to mail to the various material suppliers to include in the design files they keep for designers using their products. This is a courtesy I do to let them know I have used their materials in my design; and some material supplies require you send them something every few years to remain on their designer/teacher lists.
After the pieces came back from Woodlawn I had more copies printed and it was on my list of thing to do after vacation to promote the book.
So how long does it take a design to become available? This one took two years and maybe a few months longer. Some designs do not take that long but this was written as a teaching piece and so it has more information than just the two designs. If a design is stitched by a stitcher other than the designer it is going to take longer than those designs that are just stitched by the designer. Stitch guides take about the same time as a teaching piece because usually the stitcher is not the computer graphic person. And sometimes they have to communicate back and forth about what was actually stitched where and when. I would say any design I do, if it is just the design takes at minimum six months (but more like a year) to get from design to print and that is not counting the research, experimenting with stitches and thread, and all the other pre design ( I like to call incubation time) it takes when designing a piece.
But now the book is ready for sale. I would like to find a few distributers but right now the only place you can get it is from me. And NOTE: no website from DH yet ;-(  Maybe this will motivate him too. If you send me an email: sudu@kc.rr.com I will send you an order form.
And this wasn’t even the blog I planned for today…this is
13-08-06 deskOMGosh…you should see my desk top… did I really leave this mess on my desk or did the desk gremlins visit?
Twenty one days of relaxing, no computer unless I wanted to do so, only a cell phone, a good book & wonderful scenery…Yes it happened but now it is but a memory and one that seems to have happened months ago and not just days ago.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today! I will be cleaning up my desk so please take more time to stitch for me too.
ttfn…sue

Week-end Stitching

LucyFriday I was looking for something in my den and found “Lucy.” I had not forgotten about her…hard to do since she is at my feet all the time…but her needlepoint had just gotten put aside …out of site out of mind. All that was left to stitch was Lucy’s fur…so this weekend I stitched lots of Lucy.

 I am one of those people who like to do “Long & Short” stitch. Some stitchers are put-off by the term “Long and Short” Stitch, others go into stitching shock at the mere mention of this stitch…the only thing worse would be to tell these stitchers to use Marlitt. I learned very quickly to avoid the L&S words whenever possible, instead I prefer “Random Stitching or Directional Stitching.” These terms do not seem to strike terror in the eyes of stitchers; their eyes do not glaze over and sometimes you can even get them to try the stitch before they realize that this might be the dreaded L&S.

I also think that Random Stitching is one of those stitches you have to be in the mood to stitch. If you are up tight (been there) or tired (been there too), you may not be open to the creative free spirit needed to stitch Random Stitch freely.

Bk Creative NddlptOne of the best books in my library about creative free stitching  is Robert Cates’ book: Creative Needlepoint.  I bought this book many years ago at an ANG Bookstore but I have seen it on Amazon at different times.  I loved the way he stitched his designs freely and experimented with threads, textures and stitches. He bent the rules and colored outside the lines!

So this week I am going to blog about Random Stitching. I’ll show you my method of stitching,  how I decide where to begin and  I’ll also show you some of the different pieces I have stitched.

ttfn…sue