No vacation only pitfalls

I have not been on vacation, but maybe I should have taken a break. This month has been full of pitfalls…mostly self imposed pitfals but pitfalls none the less.

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Mr. Bunny

On a bright note, I have finished stitching Mr. Bunny. He will not make a the Easter Parade this year but next year will be decked out in his finest for the day.

Stitching the background for this is brought up a thought to me. When you are choosing that painted canvas do you know exactly what you want to do with the completed canvas or do you just buy it because you like it. I have been giving a LOT of thought to this since stitching Mr. Bunny.

As I was stitching I decided I want the bunny to be a stand-up, but what kind of stand up: A form shape, a dome shape? At first I thing I would like a form shape but then I was afraid he was so tall his head might look like it was falling off the back of his shoulders So I decided to do a form shape. But after I drew a dome shape around Mr. Bunny and stitched the back ground, I thought the same thing would happen unless I decided to finish the piece as a boxed form. So a box form he will be.

The other thing I noticed is no matter how I finish this canvas there is not much canvas left (especially at the top for blocking.) I only stitched out one inch from Mr. Bunny’s ears and hips, I would have liked to do more but I needed to leave something for blocking. I know this is a cost issue for designers and painters and also for us as stitchers. Designers would have to charge more for extra canvas and we would have to buy larger stretcher bars but in some cases I wouldn’t mind the extra cost. I will block this piece myself and I am even going to try box finishing (never done before…any hints or suggestions will be appreciated.) But I think other finishers might have liked to have another inch or so to block.

And this brings me back to my original question: When you are choosing that painted canvas do you know exactly what you want to do with the completed canvas or do you just buy it because you like it? I think that this is one of the reasons we have canvases we never stitch…It was so-ooooo cute in the shop; we just had to have it. So we buy it take it home and later we are looking for something to stich and we don’t chose the canvas that we are unsure how to finish. So I challenge all of you consciously think about that next canvas; how do you see it finished? If you cannot answer that question look for one you can see as an ornament, a picture, a pillow, a stand up, or a purse. Because not only does the canvas you choose depend on how it will be finished, the threads, stitches and embellishments you choose also depend on how you finish the canvas.

And with that said I should have taken my own advice and never picked up the next project! I found an UFO in my closet that on hindsight was there for a reason but I had a two week moment of bad judgement. I let myself talk myself into finishing a doomed project. Let me preface this with the fact that I envy anyone who can knit…I want one of those beautiful sweaters I see my friends knitting. A friend told me to go take knitting classes and I almost tried this ill-fated project, but instead I found this unfinished crocheted jersey in my stuff. So I figured Iwould finish it and then think about knitting classes. I have spent two weeks stitching sleeves and putting this jersey together…Oh what an ugly thing it is! 2015-05-21 chief jerseyWay too big and falls off my shoulders….not to mention the weight (and its all cotton)…and then there is the cost…I venture to say I could have almost purchased a NFL team member’s actual jersey! Well, not quite, but I could have purchased a NFL jersey they sell at the local sports shop…and a nice one too.

And the other setback I had this week was I upgraded my graphics program and now I can’t open the old one. The new one is enough different that I am going to have to spend a few days looking it over before I need to do work for teachers and designers. It’s getting to be that time of year when teachers are getting their new classes together to pilot to some of you lucky stitchers.

But ever the optimist, I am playing with the new program and I am checking on Pintrest for remade clothes. AND I have learned a few valuable lessons:

  1. I am not taking knitting classes, I will just continue to envy all those of you who can multi task.
  2. I will only crochet afghans for myself, family and new babies
  3. I am a graphic designer; I can make nice diagrams for myself, teachers and designers. I have so many ideas that I will never get them all tried.
  4. I can sew; I can make some simple clothes for myself. And I can finish some needlepoint.
  5. But Most of all I am a Needlepointer! I do it fairly well and I am sticking with it! But I am going to look at each canvas I get with a critical eye and decide how I see it finally finished.

2015-05--21 red cherryAnd things are looking up…We planted two Bing cherry trees last year and this year one tree had ONE cherry, it ripened, I ate it and it was candy sweet, oh so yummy. And the other tree has a bumper crop but not quite ready for harvesting. I sure hope next year we have more cherries on both trees or I may have to replace the one that is producing stingily.

2015-05-21 more cherriesBut for now this needlepointer is off to stitch. I have picked a new project and threads; I know how it will be finished. I am going to pick stitches and just have fun!

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

ttfn…sue

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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

Mom and Me border

Oh Mother Nature is toying with us…the weather is getting to feel more like spring than the depths of winter. Must try and get outside in the next few days as I know this is just a tease. Saw a cartoon this week that showed two lions, one coming, one going and roaring all the way and this little lamb between them; and the caption was: lamb saying, “Can I say something?” Hope this isn’t true since March roared in…I’m hoping it lambs out.  Garfiels said it all this morning: “It’s been a LONG winter.”

14-03-07 M&Me border chartBut stitching time is great. Worked on Mom and Me border for the past week and am almost finished. Here’s the chart I developed for the corners. And the border is set; all I have left is a bit more purple and most of the green. It takes longer since I am laying the RG Petite Sparkle Rays thread on both the front side and back side of the canvas. This takes more time but I think with the ribbon type threads it makes for a smoother appearance. Sometimes when I work with these ribbon threads I think when they turn on the backside you get a bit of a different light play on the thread and I sometime can see the edges curl. It may be just me, but when this happens and I go back and look I can usually see on the back where the ribbon thread has twisted.

And wouldn’t you know it the Kreinik braids I choose to use are two of the ones being retired. In case you have not heard, Kreinik (http://www.kreinik.com/PDF/special_order_colors_release_2014.pdf) has designated 43 colors as “Special Order” colors. Oh well I am sure there are other colors that will work just as well and maybe if you are planning on stitching this piece, you have these in your stash. But this is often the story about many threads used in designing…by the time we get the designs/stitch guides to production a thread can be discontinued.

I’ve always said if you do not like a thread or color that is chosen or used in a stitch guide, change it; same goes for a stitch. There are other threads that will work just as well and some are from the same manufacturer. Threads and stitches can be changed…IT IS YOUR PIECE!

14-03-07 M&Me borderBack to Mom and Me…as soon as I finish the border am going to stitch Mom and me bunnies. And I am playing on the computer to figure out the flower pattern I want to use below the bunnies. I know the width and am guess-ta-mating the height.

But for today I need to get outside and enjoy the day…Long spells of freezing cold temperatures have affected me more than Cabin fever…need to feel that warm sun on my rosy cheeks and the warm breezes beneath my feet.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today! And if the weather is nice where you are, get out and enjoy it…winter has been awful everywhere! ttfn…sue

Time to stitch

I was reading one of my bookmarked blogs, time to SewDaily (http://www.sewdaily.com/blogs/sewdaily/archive/2013/03/20/how-do-you-find-time-to-sew.aspx) and time seems to be a universal subject. When do I find time to… (fill in with your passion)? Do you getaway (retreat, trip to the lake, etc); take classes (offline…online doesn’t count here); Invite a friend over; get up early; or stay up late? Do you make a set time; take it with you, or just squeeze it in whenever?

This was one of my favorite replies from Luv2cre84u (http://www.etsy.com/people/Luv2cre84u)

She wrote:  You know what they say “A Clean House is a LIfe Un-lived”. I always remember that the house and chores will always be there so I just take time out for ME and sew when I need to. I put some laundry in and get lost in my “Therapy Room” as I call it. It makes me a happier person and I feel like I am creating something instead of feeling like I have not accomplished a thing. Life is too short not to create 🙂

This brought back such memories…I have a friend (mother of 5) and I was always telling her as our children were growing up to stop and smell the roses. I remember one spring day, after a horrible winter  that I thought we all should go to the zoo;  my friend had laundry to do (it must have been Monday…remember the nursery song: This is the way we wash our clothes…all on a Monday morning.) I remember asking her if she would have more laundry the next day and she looked at me like I was nuts…she had 5 kids. I reminded her she would always have laundry BUT today was the only today with her children, she would never have this time/day again…we went to the zoo.

My friend gave me two little signs I still have to this day:

Don’t fret about the mess…It’s my mess and I Love it

And

A messy house is a sign of character—wait tell you see the one who lives here.

And I had an embroidery (my youngest son with 4 kids has this now) that hung by our front door

All though you’ll find our house a mess…

Come in sit down, converse….

It doesn’t always look like this

Sometimes it’ even worse.

Liam I live by those sentiments…this moment in time will never happen again! I know that makes me a procrastinator but you know when I’m gone no one is ever going to remember me for my clean house. They are going to remember me for my friendship, time 13-03-20 easter canvasspent with them and my creativity.

And I agree with the others that were said …”I have more ideas than time to create” and “I do it one step at a time”… (although I may have several projects at different stages of steps.) I have more irons in the fire than time, at any given minute I could find something stitch related to do. Just look Temari Ballsat the pictures I posted…and these are the ones I have at my fingertips. I could go to my closet or the sewing room and find a few hundred more projects. Remember I consider these un-started and unfinished projects as life insurance…I’m going to live long threadsenough to put a dent in all these. 😉 Or I’m going to have the best estate stitch sale someday.

I also thought these sentiments were true and good:

It’s not about finding time…but rather making time…

computer deskIt is important to stitch, it saves your sanity.

And as Lu2cre84u said, “… Life is too short not to create.”

What do you do and how do you find time to stitch?

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

Bunny and Carrots

As my Grandmother would say, “Oh Shaw”, I might use another term but since this is open to the world we will stick to Grandma’s terminology. But “Oh Shaw,” I went by the shop the other day to pick up Mr. Bunny and to get the perle cotton for the carrots. …Got the bunny but forgot the perle cotton! Went back Saturday because I didn’t it would have been Tuesday before I could go again. I hate it when I have these senior moments and the worst part about it was when I was there the first time I thought about the perle cotton. The shop had customers and they were using the DMC thread chart so I waited; …waited it right out of my mind!  

Mr. Bunny is so-o-o cute with his wired ears. He is a Brenda Stofft bunny and way back in February when I started him (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/bunny-one-bunny-two/ ). Brenda gave me permission to show the canvas and she still paints him in brown and white but will do black and white. Brenda, I hope you think my Mr. Bunny is as cute as I do; his fellow bunnies have welcomed him to the brood with twitching ears and tails. I think the small bunny to the right of him is his cousin…Brenda painted him too but he spoke to me many years ago and I’ve had him stitched for some time. They have the same turkey tuff tail, so they must be cousins!  I’ve had Mr. Bunny canvas a long time but he was worth the wait, wired ears and all.

I am still stitching carrots, hope I get done! As I have been stitching I realized that the finishing will also be a monumental undertaking, another one of those I am glad I do not do this all the time and how much I love finishers moments. As the canvases mount up, I took a mind looking inventory: 10 ornaments per set; 2 piece of illustration board cut per ornament equals 20 cut carrots; time 3 sets equals’ 60 cut cardboard pieces. Um-m-m maybe I better start marking and cutting…stitching…cutting…cutting…stitching. Have the perle cotton for the cording and the ribbon for the hangers (stash is good.) I’m going to use green ribbon for the hangers, so that you can tie them on the tree.

So needless to say, you probably will not be hearing from me the rest of this week… I’m down to the last three designs and I may have to finish two sets and leave third for later. I will be stitching, finishing, finishing, stitching, finishing, finishing, and then cooking.

Hope everyone has time to stitch today and the rest of the week, I know I will!

ttfn…sue