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

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Back to Mom & Me

I finished stitching the flowers and leaves and filled in the green leaf areas. I used an overdye for the leaf area and stitched one area at a time. I thought I would go from side to side across the entire piece but I did not like the look and so I frog stitched it out and tried one area at a time. I tried to get each area alike but when I was finished I think the two left are similar and the two right are similar…oh well, it is stitched.

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Up close I am not impressed with the flower area but as you get some distance to the piece I do like the look and since I have a finishing idea in mind (more about this later) I think it will be fine. And anyway as my friend says, “If your close enough to my piece to see my mistakes; you are too close.” So if you are going to be this close to the piece you are too close.

After I finished the flowers I went back and filled in the bunnies and since I had the white thread out I got carried away and stitched the bunny tails in Turkey work. Mom’s tail has longer loops than baby bunny. I thought at first I would trim and brush Mom’s tail but I like the different lengths and think I will leave them both loopy. I probably should have waited until I finished the back ground but, oh well…

I have started the background and am using ThreadworX’s floss. I am puddling the stitches, I really like this technique for overdyes. Puddling keeps thread from developing a striped effect like you can get when you stitch horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The only thing I have found that I have to watch is making sure I don’t develop huge areas of one color. Some overdyes have a tendency to have larger areas of one color than another and if not careful you can develop large areas of one color. Helpful hint: cut out large areas of one color.

Last fall I showed you how to stitch the puddle method with a continuous uncut overdyed thread, like Watercolours (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/overdye-puddle-stitching/). With ThreadworX it is a slightly bit different because these threads are cut into given OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlengths of thread. When you open a skein of ThreadworX’s and lay it out there will be an “A” end and a  “B” end and it may appear the same as an overdye that has been cut from an uncut overdyed thread (like Watercolours). The difference is that ThreadworX’s threads are consistently similar where Watercolours may vary a bit as the skein is used because of the dying method.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch aWhen I puddle stitch I randomly pull ply and stitch. I do keep “A” ends together and “B” Ends together; if you don’t then you will get a blended effect and that is another way to stitch with overdyes. For my purposes in this design I am keeping the “A”  ends and “B”  ends together in the needle…BUT I am randomly deciding which ends (“A”  or “B” ) goes into the needle.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch cExample: With one strand of thread, using 2 ply in the needle to stitch, there are three stitching lengths in a thread  per strand: 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B (Oh I knew those math classes in school were for something…remember those teachers that said you would use these principles in life?). I divide these threads and place them in three needles 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B AND 2 ply B-A. (it could have been any combination…remember that math week on variables…this is an applied use and for all you math geeks out there…it is 5 choices.)  Then I pick a needle stitch with this needle, then I randomly pick another needle and last the final needle (and this variable greatly increases but I missed that day in math class.). I have no idea which is which (well I do but I don’t pay any attention and just stitch). I continue to do this throughout the piece. And I also vary the placement of the stitches so a pattern does not develop.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch bOkay, Math class is over and I need to get back to stitching the background. For this background I chose a four way continental stitched over 2 threads…I wanted an open background that would allow the painted background to interact with the thread. I didn’t want to lay every thread and so I borrowed a technique from Cross Stitcher’s, “Railroading.” Railroading is where you place the needle between two plies as you return the needle to the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback of the canvas. I have Cross Stitch friends who can do this with any amount of even plies (2-4-6) but I can only do it successfully with two ply and usually on longer stitches. You can see the technique in the picture.

Hopefully next week will have it finished and then need to decide if I am tackling the finishing or sending it to my trusty finisher…Part of me wants to learn to do this and another part of me says you traded that sewing machine for a laptop and stitching. How many of you tackle your own finishing?

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

Crazy Week

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are three of my favorite rabbits. Hope everyone has a blessed Passover or Easter week.

Every day this week is the same backwards…
4-12-14
4-13-14
4-14-14
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4-15-14
4-16-14
4-17-14
4-18-14
4-19-14
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt will be a good week for me; I usually don’t know whether I’m coming or going. 😉
I have finished stitching the tulips and promise will post a picture and blog next week. Stitching is on hold for this project but will resume next week.

I have been computer stitching a couple stitch guides for a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAteacher….there are two great classes about to be taught.

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

ttfn…sue

Mom & Me: flowers

Who knew the hardest part of this redo would be the flowers… My right brain had this great vision in my head and would not allow my left brain to work. I never was a math major and every time I have to do algebra/geometry things I hear my high school math teacher telling me if I would just take the book home I could make A’s & B’s. Sorry I should have listened.

14-03-21 M&Mst fig flowerI began by counting the threads in the width of the area between the borders (105 canvas threads) and I counted the height threads from bottom border to bottom of bunnies (37canvas threads). I wanted to symmetrically place the flowers across the bottom, and I knew there probably should be an odd number of flowers since that was what had been painted in the original…don’t want to mess with the aesthetics of the design. I decided to divide the width by three and start with this…but that did not compute, my flowers would have been as wide as they were high. Then I decided on five across, this would work the flowers would be 21 threads wide. Finally I decided that if I charted the flower as my mind was seeing them then I could tweak the design to fit. Then I also thought about counting the width of the flowers that were already there, but I had painted over them and that was going to be difficult. But as luck would have it, at 2 AM I woke up with the thought that I could count these flowers from a picture I had taken before I painted the canvas white. These 2AM wake up calls are not very welcome but they usually are the easy answer to a nagging question., I have been known to get up and see if the 2 AM idea would work; lucky for me this time I could go back to sleep.

14-03-21 BGM&M original canvas flowersThe next morning  I counted the flowers and  I realized the original design had three full flowers and two partial flowers on the ends. So I figured I had 4 flowers across (3 fulls + 2 halves= 4 flowers…105 threads/4 flowers = 26threads per flower. So I am using my computer to develop a pattern for a flower about 26 threads wide by 36 threads high.  Since I know I wanted the center to be over 4 canvas threads this was a no brainer…I would have nine stitches over 4 threads, a place to start.

14-03-21 M&Mst flower centerFiguring out the flowers is not as easy as I thought it would be. I think I have figured out the center and am going to work on the outside petals. I think I want the outside petals to be over 2 threads but I need to chart the sides and begin stitching a flower to be sure it is going to work and how it looks.

I know I will need three full flowers and two half flowers. If I get the three full flowers in and have at least the better part of a half flower on each end I will be happy. I’m off to compute the rest of the flower and try stitching one to see how it looks. Hope this doesn’t turn into a brain blocker for me.

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

Mom and Me: Bunny stitching

I worked all last week on the bunnies. I knew I wanted the stitches to be related but I also knew I wanted them to stitch quickly. I also knew that I wanted a stitch that I could offset and yet by offsetting would not draw attention to the offset areas nor create compensating areas that would draw attention away from the piece.

First I stitched the outlines of both the bunnies in a gray continental stitch and I filled in the eyes; then I started on the bunnies. I started with the baby bunny. I knew I wanted to use related stitches and the baby bunny should be the smaller of the two stitch choices.

14-03-12 bunny line draw If you look at the line drawing I have divided the areas up into offsetting areas. The lightest pink of the baby bunny was stitched first to establish the stitch. I started immediately above the gray outline for the back leg & foot so I could establish a base line across the widest portion of this area. Then I stitched up to but not across the gray outlines; I compensated as I stitched but sometimes if it is difficult to see you can wait and compensate after all the full stitches are placed. I finished stitching one area before I began another.  I also left the bottom 4 to 5 rows unstitched until I establish the flowers on the bottom.

14-03-12 stitch diagramsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love the Nobuko stitch and it does work up fast so I used this for the baby bunny. And I decided that a Double Nobuko would work for Mom bunny. The diagrams of the  shows the plan for offsetting both the Nobuko and the Double Nobuko, but like I said I tried to figure out where to place the stitches so I had theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA least compensation so this may not be the exact placement I used.

When I moved to another area (let’s say the med pink of the face) I offset the stitch by one thread and stitched a full row across the area and then filled in as necessary above and below this base line I established. I continued in this manner for the nose/upper head and ear areas of the baby bunny. In the smaller areas I tried to figure out where I could place the most whole stitches so that compensation was kept to a minimum.

14-03-12 small & lg stitchesI could have used any number of stitches and I have shown you a few in the diagrams here. Not only can you expand a stitch but you can also create similar pattern stitches to use in your needlepoint. Ann Strite-Kurz has written some excellent books (any of her books are good)  on this subject: Potpourri of Pattern; The Science of Canvas Embroidery; and Stitch Variations and Mutations; Diaper Patterns. You can see her books and kits here (http://www.needleartworks.com/dsgnr/ask/askimages.htm), but I think you order directly from her. She also writes a column in Needlepoint Now (http://www.needlepointnow.com/), Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways.” You will get more ideas for stitch patterns to use here too.

But back to Mom & Me… I finished stitching Mom and baby bunny but left the bottom several rows unstitched until I figure out the flower design which I am working out on the computer first. I know the width I have to work with and I also have an approximate height so I am hoping this won’t be a big deal. I have an idea in my head and I hope it works out. I am stitching the pink of the bunnies ears in padded Gobelin…baby is Straight Gobelin Mom will be Diagonal Gobelin. Noses for both are Basketweave.

Again, this week the weather is spring like but by Wednesday the killjoy weather people are predicting white stuff…I’m hoping they are off their rockers. But whatever the day brings I know that spring is coming and I can hardly wait!

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch everyday! 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

Spring Canvas: Mom & Me

14-02-27 BGM&M original canvas

I always like to have a canvas of the season to stitch, so I’m starting a new/old project. This is an old canvas from Beau Jeste; I always liked the top 2/3 of this canvas but the bottom third not so much. Anyway the canvas was given to me by a fellow stitcher and so I decided to alter the canvas to fit my needs.

I wanted the border to also be symmetrical and that meant the opposing corners needed to match. I’ve drawn on a 14-02-27 BGM&M1 canvas to be paintedpicture of the original canvas how I expect the corners should look and where I need to paint out the canvas…see circles with green lines and dashed area.

I also noticed that the crocus at the bottom are  not symmetrical or centered; so I decided to white them out too. I will develop a pattern using the computer to fill the flowers back in. The dashed lines show the area to be whited out.

14-02-27 BGM&M2 canvas  paintedI used Liquitex acrylic white and whited everything from the bunnies down. I did not need to cover the canvas well as I am going to use the purples to stitch the canvas.  I just wanted a semi-blank canvas to stitch over. I will allow the canvas to dry for a couple days.

I don’t usually like to stitch the outer parts of a canvas first but I needed to establish the border before I know how many horizontal and vertical threads I needed for the flowers. I’m going to start stitching the inner borders first.

It’s going to be cold and wet here again this week-end and next week, so I hope I will have plenty of time to stitch. I also have plenty of computer work to do also,

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