My Stitching bird.

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I usually set the next un-stitched canvas I want to stitch out on stretcher bars so I can look at it as I finish stitching the last one. This usually gives me incentive to finish a canvas and not dawdle; but sometimes (usually) I get ahead of myself and stick the new canvas audition out to soon and it frustrates me that the canvas I am working on is stitching so slowly.

This is one of those pieces that had many side stories to it, or maybe it is just insight into my crazy thinking. At any rate, I will try and explain as we go…I am going to walk you through MY processing. It takes some turns and twists…so let’s get started. This canvas is painted on three separate pieces of canvas for easy of handling; so I have three canvases framed up and I am going to start the bird’s bodies first.

2015-08-05 MS Bird tear sheetThis Melissa Shirley (http://melissashirleydesigns.com//) canvas is another guild member’s canvas (Remember if you like this canvas ask your shop to see if the canvas is still available.)  She loved birds and stitched many of them…I have a couple turkeys she stitched but this was one that spoke to me, so I brought it home. I knew I wanted all the squares to be the same stitch: middle blue square are Reversing Scotch, lightest blue squares are Milanese; and dark blue squares are Byzantine.  The yellow bars are Slanted Gobelin and the little squares would be Smyrna Crosses. I had even decided to stitch the bird in Brown Paper Packages’ Silk n Ivory (http://www.brownpaperpackages.com/).

(1st twist). Yes, I know some stitchers think Silk & Ivory pills on 18 count canvas and it may; but I have never had this problem. I think if you are stitching something that is going to get a lot of wear (belts, purses, etc.); Yes, then you should think about using another thread. But remember any thread on a wearable garment will wear: perle cotton will lose its luster as will silk pearls, floss will not hold up to constant wear, and wool will pill too. So in my opinion, you should use what you like. Wearable stitching is not for a lifetime in most cases. Using Silk and Ivory on 18 count ornaments, standups and other decorative pieces works for me and I use it. The only problem I have ever encountered over the years is that large area of Silk and Ivory stitched in Basketweave tend to be tight (but I did it on this piece as you will see), but I have very little or no problem with decorative stitches. I do us a size 22 needle when stitching with Silk and Ivory, I think the larger needle opens the wholes of the canvas a tad more and helps the thread move smoothly through the canvas.

So I had pulled my threads (I originally intended to do the entire bird in Silk and Ivory and had pulled all the threads. Good thing I have my stash at hand…because the best plans usually change.)

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird square counts usedI don’t know why I picked a center square to start must have been Stitching Angel intervention, but somewhere I got it in my head these were not perfect squares. They are 16 threads to each square separated by 3 threads. But I made a mistake and stitched the Reversing Scotch Stitches over three threads instead of four. I could have taken it out but 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird scotch squarefor whatever reason (I hate Frog stitching) I kept going.  I assumed the squares were off, but if I added a fourth thread to the dividers I could continue…I later went back and charted the Reversing Scotch and I liked my mistake better, so I kept it. After I played around and decided this mistake would work there was another twist: I have decided to change some of 2015-08-05 MS Bird rev scotch used 2the threads.

2nd twist: I have a list from Kreinik (http://www.kreinik.com/) of the threads they are no longer stocking (some you can request others have been discontinued) and I had spent a day separating these out so I would not use them for designing. I had lots of 042 Confetti fuchsia; I had used it to teach a class years ago when I was in certification for teaching. I use discontinued threads only in pieces for my personal use. So I decided to take yet another twist…

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird copic marker3rd twist: A few years ago I discovered Copic pens (http://www.copiccolor.com and http://www.copiccolor.com/) and now I can’t get enough of them. While playing with the Copic pens and an air gun I realized I could color areas of white canvas to simulate any color canvas I could want to purchase…hummm…but that’s another story. But I have used them to color canvas backgrounds if I need a larger or different shaped background.  I wonder if I can change the color too?  So I stopped stitching and changed all the yellow to sorta pink so I could use the Kreinik Confetti Fuchsia.

So now I am back on track, well at least my track. I am stitching the blue squares and looking at the wings and sides too

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin aAnother turn came (not really a twist but a stitchers/finishers decision) when I went to stitch under the beak. Since I have been doing some of my own finishing I am more aware of these sharp, small turns that do not finish well. So here, under the beak I made another stitchers choice. See that one stitch that is unpainted, it went away; not the finishing there will 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin bbe easier. As you are stitching and you see this little opps, you can cover them with a stitch and finishing will be much easier

So for now I am stitching along on the blue bird bodies…I will be back with the sides and wings soon. .

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

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Three more finishing projects..1 completed 2 in the works

14-09-16 tomatoe allI posted on Facebook last week that I had finished stitching my Debbie Stiehler Timeless Tomato and what was the consensus that I needed to block it before I finished it? Overwhelmingly was no, I did not need to block. It was stitched on a frame and it is a 3D piece…so I am not blocking it and it jumps to the top of the ready for sewing finishing.

But I have found that many of the pieces I want to finish are not just sew and go pieces and are going to require a bit of thinking and pre-work before actual finishing will take place.

14-09-25 DS tomato buttonsFor example I have the perfect buttons for my Timeless Tomato, but they are not the right color. So I colored them with my Copic marker and that means the buttons have to dry and then be sprayed with a sealer…better safe than sorry. So I have colored the buttons, waiting for them to dry and then I will spray with a sealer to set and more drying time. Okay so I haven’t begun to sew the tomato together but when I do I want everything ready to go.

I also want to make a box out of another piece of needlework, I’m going today to look for a box but I think I will have to make the box. I have this idea in my head, I can see the finished box. But this project will require some research and study, not to mention design time. My problem is I want it finished yesterday and I don’t have a lot of patience waiting…I’m thinking finishing is going to teach me to slow down. I’ll keep you posted.

Are you getting the picture? I have these ideas in my head on how most of my the needlework pieces should be finished and now rather than slapping a piece of fabric on the back and moving on to the next…I have some pre-work to complete before I can begin the finishing. Hopefully I will not get overwhelmed by all these ideas and can keep on track to finish my needlework.

But again with all these cool ideas brings up the subject of needlework finishing costs…Lets use the buttons as an example. The package of buttons cost me $3, the Copic marker was $8, and the Krylon was $3.  I had most of this from other projects, but if I were a professional  finisher I would have to add these to the cost of finishing. Remember even though I have a package of 25 buttons I may never use them for anything else. Of course if I were a finisher, I might have found plain green buttons that I didn’t need to do all this work (I’ll look today for a button that will work, but now I have this idea in my head so I am going to look for a special button that will be as cute as the ones I want to use)…but I might still have left overs and that’s how stash starts…and I have enough stash for several people.

Also the difference between a finisher and an innovative finisher is the one who thinks outside the box. She makes your needlework unique and you want to use her again and again. Like I said, my friend Patty said her favorite finishing pieces were the ones that she got to think outside the box and make her finishing complement the needlework while making that piece uniquely its own piece.

And in the meantime, I stitched and finished another piece. Last week-end was a bar-be-que contest my husband and 3 sons enter, so I needed something to occupy my time. They set up Friday afternoon, and then friends stoped by Friday evening and we artied, Saturday was the contest part and so most of the day was spent sitting around while the boys   (middle son, Hugh) cooked and youngest son (Edward) ran the entries to judging. More friends stopped by and of course we had food and libations.  My job was to socialize and keeping the boys and husband informed as to who was coming our way…I always wonder if the boys would know me if they didn’t see me regularly. So I needlepointed this little tukey. I originally thought I was going to finish it as a scissor fob but then I remembered I had this small box from Romancing the Past (http://romancingthepast-lowery.com/finds/small-treasure-boxes/); it’s walnut over black. And I just had to add the Diagonal Gobelin around to make the turkey fit. So….

14-09-25 turkey 1Piece of batting cut 1/4 inch smaller

 

 

 

14-09-25 turkey 3Mitered the corners

 

 

 

14-09-25 turkey 4Turned in the sides

 

14-09-25 turkey 6Placed in box and

 

 

 

Voila…finished needlepoint! 14-09-25 turkey 7

We didn’t win anything at the bar-be-que this year, but we still had a good time. How can you beat good friends stopping by and staying most of the day, good food and a finished needlepoint to boot.

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

Too many irons and Toppy too

You know for a woman who hates ironing I have a lot of them in the fire right now. I have not taken a stitch all week except on the computer. I forgot to post on my blog last week and so now I am feeling behind and I am sorry that poor Toppy has taken a back seat to other things.

But Toppy has duds and is feel’n mighty proud…and now he has shoes, sock and a hat. From a week ago and he will get hair and other stitches this week (I hope)…Then I hope I can remember not to leave him on the finishing table until 4th of July (my usual handling of needlework.)

From the pictures you can see that I should not be stitching with a cat and dog close by…not sure who is the culprit… but Very Velvet is a magnet for pet hair. And since we have had no winter to speak of the animals at our house have been shedding all winter, than goodness for lint rollers!

Toppy’s socks are linen thread overlapping cross stitches over two threads. I covered the shamrocks…you will see why later…

I needed some extra black rows for Toppy’s shoes (yes, he has lifters)…I added the two rows using my new favorite marker: Copic sketch (http://www.copiccolor.com/) (http://www.copicmarker.com/). More about these later…I’ll put them on my to write about list…they are too cool. I also added two rows to his hat…not for stitching but for finishing. Sometimes when you turn the canvas you get a grin through and this will help minimize grin through. But that’s finishing and I’m still stitching. And tose little straight lines under the shoe areas are marks for the shamrocks.

Toppy’s shoes are stitched with Rainbow Gallery Patent Leather…the real one. This thread is pricy and breaks easily (see previous blog on how to work with delicate threads: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/dressed-to-the-nine/) …But is worth the effort…sorry Sister Ann Marie (aka Sister SAM), she did not like patent leather shoes (old bad joke). You should stitch with short lengths no longer than 12 inches; must lay this thread front & back (see picture left) Even Rainbow Gallery recommends laying this thread front and back {http://rainbowgallery.com/JaysTips.html#20}); and straight stitches are best for maximum effect. I have always stitched Patent Leather in Gobelin Stitches and I lay it front and back always! That’s why I added two threads to his shoes I needed at least two threads for the Gobelin stitches under and over the gold buckles. Patent Leather is so classy and well worth the effort..sorry Sister SAM.

I also used Patent Lather for the belt on his coat and two horizontal straight stitches in his hat.

Toppy’s hat is stitched mostly using Very Velvet. The body of the hat is stitch in brick stitches, stitched on the horizontal. The brim of the hat is Continental stitches stitched 2 directions and the brim is filled with a Gobelin pattern fill. I stitched the Continental stitches with short lengths (12 inches or less) to minimize the wear on Very Velvet thread. I added the cross stitch (over 1 thread) buckle and one horizontal straight stitch.

I think I have added all the gold with Kreinik #8 Braid (http://www.kreinik.com/ ) where gold needs to be. I usually keep a needle threaded on my magnet with Kreinik to add these small embelishments as I go. This week I will try and do the gold bag also.

I will try to better this week but I still have a few hot irons still needing attention (Hint: hot irons = new class projects for stitchers). Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue