Melissa Shirley Wicked: final thought

See what happens when I get busy or distracted. I had been writing this post for the week of May 15-20 and I got distracted or sidetracked and now here it is almost Memorial week-end and I am just coming up for air. So here is the final thoughts on Wicked…

After the stitching is completed then the piece has to be finished. I know I have been showing how to finish needlepoint but last year I was not up to the task of finishing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…Seriously, I can do ornaments and some other little stuff but really haven’t had the time to try the biggies. One day I am going to try a pillow and a purse but for now I’m going to send big pieces to the finisher. I can’t even find time to sew a button on, let alone make a blouse or finish big needlepoint or for that matter any needlepoint.

 

I knew where I wanted to hang “Wicked” and how I wanted it finished. I drew a picture for the finisher and once the material was purchased I sent it to her to do her magic.  I was very pleased with the way it was finished and I love to see it hanging at Halloween.

To some people finishing a piece of needlepoint is easy; they take it to a trusted shop and have it finished. Not me, I agonize over finishing. As I am stitching I can see the finished piece, I get these pre-conceived images in my head and then I feel like I need to look for the material to finish the project. Nice for me I know the finisher and I can as her if my idea will work. If she says yes, then I’m off to look for material.

 

Now, let me give you the advice I seldom ever follow but every finisher I know will tell you is the truth.

You should buy the fabric for finishing before you ever start stitching.

I know, seems illogical to me too, but remember we are limited by out thread choices and the fabrics we choose to  finish our pieces are limited by their color choices. Now I will admit if you go to Hamilton Mo or any large quilt shop, you should be able to find a fabric. But what if you want a velvet or moiré for that Christmas stocking you are spending hours stitching? There is a world of difference between DMC 666 red and DMC 321 or 498 red. And fabrics only come in certain colors. And yes, you could use green for the backing and lining, but there are different greens too. So, if you want as perfect a match as you can get; sometimes it is important to buy that fabric first.

And while we are talking “you buy the fabric”; remember that if you want self-cording you need extra fabric. Self-cording is cut on the bias of the fabric and will require more fabric. Just as local needlepoint shop or finisher how much fabric you will need to finish your piece.

 

And some shops stock fabrics for finishing, so ask before you head all over the countryside looking for that perfect fabric. Some finishers have fabrics stockpiled and if you ask the shop you use, they probably can tell you which red would be best on that stocking or they can ask the finisher for you.

 

I’m lucky we have several very nice fabric shops in the area. Sarah’s in Lawrence (http://www.sarahsfabrics.com/), and several quilt shops in the area, plus Hamilton, Mo (https://www.missouriquiltco.com/). I’ve been to Hamilton twice now and while it is both eye candy for the imagination it can be overwhelming also. Hamilton is quilt town in northern Missouri, aka Missouri Quilt Co; Google it or read my post from last year…

 

A word about finishers… Have you ever wondered why so many shops guard their finisher’s name so closely? The real reason is that they are not trying to keep her a national secret, they are trying to protect her from the thousand calls she would get during busy times of the year asking, “Is my ornament finished yet?” And that is why finishing deadlines are so early. I think a finisher told me one time she finish over 1000 ornaments for Christmas and that didn’t count the stockings. Keep in mind blocking boards can only hold so much and sometimes pieces need to be blocked more than once and sometimes needlepoint even needs to be cleaned before blocking may begin. (This is another blog…but stitching in the hand vs stitching on a frame does have its drawbacks as well as its advantages…I will put this on my list of things to write about.)

 

Back to “Wicked”… I found the fabric and Batik at Hamilton and bought it. Brought it home and took it to the shop for my finisher to pick up (No, just because I know her doesn’t mean I don’t have to take it to the shop. My finisher will not accept pieces except through the shops she does finishing.) I took the piece about mid-May and I got it back about mid-August.

 

What took so long? Mine was not the only finishing in line. Mine had to be blocked, just like the rest and maybe twice I didn’t ask; and it’s a pretty big piece so it took up some real-estate on the blocking board. Mine also only had the green material supplied, so my finisher had to get the black for the inset, thread and even the interfacing. I could have purchased the black but I didn’t think about it at the time and she suggested this after she saw the piece…that’s another reason you use a finisher…She’s seen enough pieces to know what looks best even when you limit her by you pre-conceived finishing. And I had no idea what interfacing she would recommend. So see, Finishers do more than finish; they make your needlepoint look just like you want, and they know from experience what works best.

When “Wicked” returned home, it was just what I envisioned and more. I hung it and hated to see Halloween come to an end. I sometimes think I stitch long hours for a piece that only is displayed for a short time but I like it and it brings a smile to my face. And I hope it will be around for many years to come, maybe even one of my Grandchildren will want it when I am gone. Sometimes I get it out in it’s protective bag, and hand it on the door of my office just to look at it…it makes me smile.

Oh and before I forget; what do I do with the stitch guide after I complete stitching the canvas? I destroy it; it is a copyrighted piece of work.  And in my opinion, stitch guides should not be bought or sold without the purchase of the canvas! I have done two or three stitch guides for canvases and I will not sell them to individuals only to shops where I assume the canvas is purchased.

I know a stitcher who saves her stitch guides as a reference and that’s fine but I don’t want all the extra paper. I might make a note in my computer or my stitch notebooks I keep about a technique, stitch pattern or stitch but my stitch guide goes to the trash. I do not share it with my stitch friend who bought the canvas only because she liked mine. I destroy it. Enough said…my soap box stand for the week.

On another note…my family is having a garage sale…no needlepoint but I do have needlepoint books I have accumulated over the years. I will list them here next week with cost and then I will put them on Needlepoint Nation Stash after that.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today and over the holiday week-end. AND please don’t forget to honor those you know who are serving or have served in our military. Without these brave men and women we would not enjoy the freedoms we take for granted.

ttfn…sue

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3D Finishing: Melissa Shirley Sewing Bird Part 2

Materials used:

Stitched and blocked needlepoint pieces
2 Copies of each stitched, blocked pieces
Backing fabric: I used two
Ultra-suede for the wings
Cotton for the rest: fat quarter would be ample
Batting: low loft for wings and body
Batting: craft weight for sides and body
Fiber Fill
Sewing thread to match fabric
Illustration board
Paper scissors
Glue
Cording
Usual sewing supplies

Like I said last week, the body gave me some trouble. I spent at least three days trying different methods, losing my cool, and becoming more frustrated.  I had thought I could finish these two pieces as I had finished the sides but trying to sew the lining to a hard piece of illustration board smoothly did not work.  So since I had cut out a first lining and clipped curves I trashed that lining and cut a second. I also tried to stitch the needlework to illustration board and it proved to be not only not smooth but bulky too. Luckily I had left a lot of canvas and all I had to do was trim a bit more.

I used a lightweight piece of batting (cut two for each side…you will use the other for lining)  to separate the needlepoint canvas from the illustration board and the since I had already somewhat clipped the curves I trimmed and clipped the canvas again and GLUED it to the illustration board.  This was about a three day project since I first tried to lace the needlework to illustration board; then I had to undo, fume, fume some more, cut another piece of illustration board, still fume, and then give in to the little voice that kept saying “glue.” I figure if I keep saying “glue” it will get better.

Truthfully I am not a glue person, but I also know most of my needlework is not going to the Smithsonian; most of my needlepoint will be lucky to survive two to three generations. I have one piece that is registered with the Smithsonian and that is my White House needlepoint stocking but in all fairness all White House collections are registered with them; they are the storehouse and inventory control for all collections.

So when all else fails…glue. Yes, I said glue, but I had already used all the other four letter words I knew and to keep my sanity and finish this project, glue was the answer. I glued the needlework to the illustration board.

The second piece of batting needs to be trimmed to be about an 1/8th inch smaller than the needlework.  Then I clipped the curves, pinned the lining to the batting, and stitched it in place.

 

Next I pined and stitched the linings to the front pieces.

Then I assembled the front piece to the side pieces and pinned together. Here is why the lining pieces are a bit fin30a inside of friendssmaller than the needlepoint. If you’ll notice on my friend’s piece the inside looks like the lining fits snuggly together, but it didn’t look stitched, just snuggly fit. So I made my linings just a tad smaller so they would fit somewhat like these too.  That was the easy part, next came stitching. I stitched the pieces together; sometimes I had to use my trusty third hand (needle-nosed pliers) to push or pull the needle between the threads of canvas. Stitching the angles and curves took some times and since I was going slowly this took another day.

Then I made a bottom for the stitching bird.  Again I had a picture of my friend’s fin33a bottom of friendsand I knew it needed to recede.  I cut a bottom and trimmed until it fit, covered it with lining fabric and stitched in place leaving the four corners unstitched so I could hide the ends of the cording in the bottom.

Made cording for the sewing bird; two long ones to go around large bird pieces and two small pieces to fin35b  together cord allcover the side ends. Pinned the side pieces on first and stitched into place; I hid the ends in the linings as best I could then sewed the large pieces around the bird hiding the ends in the bottom. Here is a blurred picture of the direction of the larger pieces of cording around the face of the birds. Again used my third hand a few times , but finally could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost finished ;-)!

 

Oh those #### wings. I thought I had a curved needle to sew these in place but my curved needle I think is an upholstery needle and will leave holes not only in the wing but the bird too. Need to see if what other curved needles are available. Thought about gluing them on but just could not bring myself to do this. So for now I have used  silk pins and pinned them in place for now.

Finally a finished sewing bird! Many hours, many choice words, a bit of glue and I have a stitching bird to add to my sewing tools collection. I also will have a fond memory of a stitching friend who is no longer with us, she loved birds.  And one more thing, this project took me less than a year to complete, I started August 5, 2015  and it is completely finished…trust me I have projects older than this still not yet stitched and more projects stitched but not finished.

Do you have unfinished stitching projects? Why? Did you lose interest in stitching? Or after you stitched it, were not satisfied enough to have it finished? This is probably another thought for a blog post. Send me your thoughts and I’ll mull this one around.

But the one thing I did learn from this project is that when that little voice in your head tells you you are in too deep…listen!  I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head that said, “Send it to the finisher.” I would have saved myself a lot of anger and frustration. And yet now that the project is completed I do feel accomplished…even if I would not do it again!

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

ttfn…sue