The better to see you with my dear….

Okay so I never was good with time…two weeks a month all relative.

But can I see…I have heard people say after cataract surgery, “white is white again”, but I had no idea what they meant until now. White is white again, colors are brighter, tints, shades and tones are clearer…oh my, what a difference! I was telling an artist friend of mine this and he said he was going to the eye doctor to see if they would do his eyes. Didn’t have the heart to tell him that the lenses have to be clouded first; if you’re not ready…you’re not ready.  And I can see 100 yards away…but up close is another story. But up close has been a problem since I was about 40 years old and I can correct that at the local pharmacy with readers.  I have my mag-eyes too and have been stitching.

At first, with one eye corrected it was not fun…computer and stitching gave me a headache (not to mention the sinus infection I had); so I did very little computing or stitching. But after my other eye was corrected and I found the reading glasses that worked I was back to stitching and computing.

But my poor blog has suffered…it is so-o-o-o easy to get out of the habit of writing for a blog. I really do not know how Mary Corbet (Needle ‘n Thread  http://www.needlenthread.com/ and Jane Wood  (Chilly Hollow http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/) do it. Every day without fail, it never ceases to amaze me and Jane also runs a Facebook page too.  I’m lucky to do once a week on a good roll.

But I will get back to the blue bird I waited to stitch until I could see, so next week I promise will show you some flowers…I really like this flower stitching. Here’s a hint…

2015-10-07 flowers

Thank you for staying around and Thank you for stopping by today.

I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

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Who would you like to stitch with?

Last week or maybe two weeks ago, Jane at Chilly Hollow posted this link: http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-profile-of-brigid-berlin-straight.html.

… What a fascinating lady…wouldn’t it be fun to have a stitch-in with her for the day. My favorite quote is: “…I don’t want one of anything. I don’t know what the word ‘one’ means.”  Brigid Berlin

I relate to this but don’t we all!

It got me to thinking, who would you like have over for a stitch-in (living or dead) and why? Barbara Bush? Cameron Diaz ? Julia Roberts? Drew Barrymore? Mary Tyler Moore? Loretta Swit? Kaffe Fasset? Rosie Greer? Julie Eisenhower? Mary, Queen of Scots?  Marie Antoinette? Queen Elizabeth I?  Martha Washington? Grace Kelly? Betty Ford? Erica Wilson? Mary Martin? Ann B. Davis (Alice the housekeeper on The Brady Bunch? Janet Leigh? Joan Rivers? Or just the friends down the street?

Notice that many on this list are no longer with us and that is what will happen to our art if we do not share it with others. I know that it is not an inexpensive art…but you can keep the costs low by using floss and perle cotton. Do you think your friend, daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, niece or nephew will care if you use cotton floss or silk? You can buy small frames or make one out of foam core…or just stitch it in your hand.

Do you have a piece of needlepoint that you can carry around and stitch while waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting for an airplane flight, on an airplane flight, watching a game (kids, grandkids or professional). Instead of reaching for the phone to access the internet, try reaching for a small needlepoint piece. People will ask you what you are doing. Educate them.

basketweave sd2014Offer to teach someone to needlepoint. I am including a basketweave documents that you can print and share with a new needlepointer (If you would like a PDF version just email me (email address to the right). Please teach someone to basketweave, because when they do become addicted (and most will) they will want to take those fabulous classes that use those fabulous threads and stitches. BUT the basketweave handout O&Uteacher teaching the class will assume that the students know how to basketweave.

Think of basketweave as the foundation of the needlepoint house you are building…with a good foundation a needlepoint will stand for years. I always think of basketweave as learning to walk before you can run.

It fall in the Midwest and beautiful and still baseball season, Go Royals (stitching my second baseball and will probably start third and maybe forth before “The Boys in Blue” win the World Series.)  I hope you are enjoying the season no matter where you are, but think seriously about teaching someone to needlepoint.

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

Dressed to the nine

Before I begin I want to insert a couple personal comments.

This week Jane over at Chilly Hollow’s blog (http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/) wrote about my blog. What an honor that was, Thank you Jane. I noticed an increase of traffic to my blog but did not realize what was happening until I read Jane’s blog later in the morning. Needless to say, had I more visits to my blog than ever. Thank you Jane. AND Thank you to all of you who took a few moments to visit and read my blog, I hope you will return.

I also had this comment from Deborah Hubbard from South Africa (it is posted to the blog too) but I thought it worth quoting…

“You might like to know that here in South Africa we use the word (not name, but hey) Toppie (with a long aw sound) for an old gentleman. Usually a pleasant one, but it’s also a good word for muttering under your breath if the driver ahead of you shows signs of strange behavior! Either way, it’s perfect for a leprechaun, and I’m pretty sure he knows that and somehow suggested it to you …”

I did not know this but I’m sure Deborah is correct and Toppy picked his name…he just has that look about him.

Okay back to Toppy…

Last week-end Toppy got duds…His shirt is a windowpane pattern stitched in Continental & Basketweave stitches using linen threads. First a dark green outline was laid and then filled with the white. Notice that the pot of shamrocks is being covered, BUT they  will return (that’s the main reason I take a picture of canvases before I start stitching…at my age I could forget what was there or just because sometimes on larger canvases it takes time to start adding the embellishments.)

His suit is Velvet, so soft but requires a wee bit o’ patience to stitch. Very Velvet threads need to be cut short, really no longer than 12-15 inches…a good quick measuring tool is from fingers to elbow. Use a larger sized needle, this will help open up the holes of the canvas and allow the thread to pass more quickly with less friction. Place the needle a ½ inch onto the thread and DO NOT move around in the needle. The pictures on the right show how thread will wear.  Sometimes the thread will break and then the needle needs to be moved in another ½ inch.

Toppy’s jacket is stitched in Mosaic stitch. Notice the letters on my jacket (A-B-C-D). This was the order my jacket was stitched in case one card of Very Velvet did not allow my entire jacket to be stitched. There did not appear to be a change in dye lots but sometimes these subtle variations do not show up until after stitching is completed. Should a new card have been needed it would have been used in ALL of area D.

There is a psychological reason for this…we read words from left to right and we also usually scan pictures from left to right. If the thread needed to be changed and there had been a slight variance in the dye lot it probably would have be skimmed across and areas C & A would have been the last the eye would have scanned and since they are identical the mind would have dismissed the first B-D variance.

The sleeves are padded Horizontal Gobelins. The padding of the sleeves was done with the Very Velvet but #5 perle coton could have been used for the padding to conserve thread usage. See how the sleeves stand up off the jacket?

The pants are also Very Velvet but a darker green and they are stitch in Diagonal Gobelin. You would also stitch these in a special order if using 2 cards of threads. In this case the two outside areas would be stitched first because when finished they well be adjacent to each other. The two inside areas are separated by other stitches and will show less change.

The ideal thing is to not to run out of thread or to have to use threads from two separate cards. Buy enough thread to stitch a piece at the same time! AND this WILL NOT work for obvious dye lot changes in threads. But occasionally it will happen that you have to use more than one card of a thread and if you cannot use either a needle blending or stitch technique to blend these threads together this is another way to minimize the subtle changes that might occur. This only works IF the dye lot change is hardly noticeable or if you are unsure that the cards were purchased at the same time. Remember not to place two different cards of threads adjacent to each other or where they will touch when finished. Also try to place in the most inconspicuous areas. Toppy’s sleeves would have been the best area to change threads  since the stitch also changes and “the mind” would have probably attributed this small color change to light play on the stitches.

So now Toppy has duds and is feel’n mighty proud…next socks, shoes and a hat, then he’ll get some hair too.

Little long today…but

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

Bunny two and ditto snow

Tangent 1…The last two sentences about snow at the end of the last blog are being repeated here; I really should just say “ditto.” … “2-4 inches as of noon weather report. I have enough snow on the ground …this is getting old and cold!”  Last night 2 more inches and so it is getting really OLD and is really COLD. Enough already! For an area that was supposed to get only 13 inches of snow, we are already well above 26 inches. I heard the weatherman (same one that predicted 13 inches for the season) say this was the last significant snowfall of the season…don’t think I’ll be putting the snow shovel away too soon on his forecasting abilities.

Tangent 2…Last November I won the drawing from Jane at Chilly Hollow for the Brenda Hart book Stitches for the Millennium. (http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2010/11/and-winner-is.html ). I set it aside during the holidays and between Christmas and New Year I spent some quality time with, hot tea or chocolate and my new book acquisitions (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/naughty-or-nice-must-have-been-really-good/ ).  I really like this book and will use it often. Thank you Jane for picking my name. I made a few mental notes about canvases in my stash where certain stitches might work well… BUT I have a question about drawings and contests: Do you enter contests just to be entering a contest or does the contest have to be something you want; would like to try; or would use? If you have won a contest, do you use what you won, how?  I try not to enter contest just for the sake of wining something. I hope the people who enter and win contests/drawings intend to use what they win or really love what they win if it is something already completed.

Meat of the blog…

I thought I’d look in The Brenda Hart book for stitches. So with book in hand, a cup of hot chocolate and my canvas I set down and picked stitches I though could be used for the bunny: Nobuko, Mosaic variation, Slanted Brick, Scotch variations, Hungarian with tent, Scalloped Diamonds, Double Brick, Ming variation, and Slanting Rhodes. I felt like I really only needed 6 stitches at the most for the larger areas. I thought the white areas needed straight stitches and the black areas slanting stitches, slanted in different directions. I am using 1 strand of Appleton wool for the white and black and my old Orchidee for the gray outlines.

The white areas were easy; I decided that the Double Brick over 4 would work for the front and back body of the bunny. The front will have more compensation than the back but I am going to stitch over the green carrot tops as I am going to stitch them later. His head needed to be a simple stitch that would fit into the narrow area without compensation (see red stitches in picture); a simple Parisian stitch would work best here.  I have already started the white areas and about done…what can I say but “cold & snow make for great stitching time!”

His eyes are tent stitches stitched with floss, his mouth a Horizontal Gobelin stitches with floss and I think I will try plaited stitches in floss for his nose but if all else fails a padded Gobelin will work too.

The head did not have a good place to reverse diagonal stitches and so I decided a simple Mosaic stitch would work for both the front and back of the head. It will give the slant of the other black stitches; but is small enough that the one directional slant will not detract from the reversing slants of the other areas. I started this area on the front to make sure I liked it and to fit the Mosaic stitch (see purple stitch) around the Parisian stitch without a lot of compensation. The purple stitch was the first Mosaic stitched I placed and then stitched the remaining stitches using the diagonal method of placement. This will help minimize the distortion caused by the straight stitches. If I had stitched the Mosaic stitch in either horizontal of vertical rows there would have been even more distortion. I always try to stitch on the diagonal when possible.

The bottom of his feet I would like to do in directional Slanted Bick stitches and compensate stitches for color changes, keeping compensation to a minimum if possible. His front paws, and the areas on the back bunny piece (excluding the head) will also be Nobuko. The carrot I plan to slightly pad and use Epic wool in oranges for the body. The tops are going to be Cast-on Bullions using overdyed green perle cotton. And of course his tail is going to be uncut Turkey Work, but I may do this without the tinker toy and allow random lengths. I have not given much thought to his ears yet but I’m sure something will click.

I think that’s about it for now and until the thaw I will be stitching…this year appears to be making significant dents in my “round toit” canvas stash…another good thing…room for more shopping.

Stay warm and safe… AND I hope everyone will have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue