More on 1st Communion crosses

I have done three 1st Communion Crosses, each is a bit different, but I still planned them all out on graph paper before stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

I plan out on graph paper the name and design before I begin stitching. I use an alphabet that is 9 stitches high for uppercase and 5 stitches high for lowercase letters. Whatever method of framing you decide to use, your design MUST be planned on graph paper.  Plan your design out first on graph paper, remember to allow for open space around the design area I usually figure 5 threads on each side for this type of design….although you usually are going to get extra space by choosing a standard mat..

I count the lines of the graph paper (each line represents a thread of canvas)  and divide by the needlepoint canvas thread count to see what type of design I might be able to use; i.e. square or rectangle. This will also let you know if you can use a pre-cut mat and frame (my favorite). If I had a long name  I might consider making a rectangular piece from the start

For example: a name like Christopher Robin is long…by my quick calculations this rectangle stitching would need minimum 87 by 105 threads. This translates to 87 divided by 18 count canvas equals 4.8333 inches of 5 inch opening and 105 threads divided by 18 count canvas equals 5.833333 opening or 6 inch opening , Since standard mats usually are 5 x 7 inch openings. I would be look for a shadow box frame with a precut mat with a 5×7 inch opening or find a frame I liked and have a 5 x 7 inch mat cut to fit the frame.

The best method is to have your piece stitched when you go to look for the frame. If you are lucky you will find a precut mat and frame; otherwise you may have to have a mat cut to fit a premade frame. But remember sometimes this still does not work and you are going to have to bite the bullet and the piece custom framed. EDNOTE: If you are planning to  enter a piece to be judged, then you MUST have the piece custom framed. …There are framing rules too, maybe not rules but guidelines or ratios of mat size to frame size…Your framer will know these, I don’t; I just know if I like the way it looks matted and framed.

 

Other things I did to make stitching easier for me:

I tent stitch the grape areas first. This gives me an idea how they will look and it is easier to remove tent stitches than it is French or Colonial knots. Then when I stitch the grapes if I am using an overdye I use the puddle stitch technique to stitch the knots. I learned this from John Waddle years ago and blogged about it once but I will repeat it since it was years ago that I wrote about puddle stitching.

Puddle stitch method:  

I do not cut the overdye thread in this instance (some overdyes are pre-cut but the method is the same.)

Here is a graphic of a length of an overdye thread; I have numbered each segment with an arbitrary number of stitiches (10-8-12-6-etc…). Notice that there are three circled 10’s; these are the beginning of the repeat. The numbering has no significance in puddle stitching other than to show the repeat and the number of stitches I arbitrarily assigned to each area.

The next graphic shows this overdye thread stitched in Continental Horizontal rows (top left), Basketweave (bottom left) and then puddle stitching on the right. I attached the sequence numbering to all these so you could compare to the first graphic and follow he sequence of stitching. The puddle stitching is a bit hard to follow but you can and there is no method to this it is just a random thing.
Puddle stitching is nothing but a group of stitches randomly placed together to form a puddle of color. You could call this method a glob, blob, whatever you choose to call it…but then it would have to be glob stitching, blob stitching and I like puddle stitching best. Remember this is not my technique I learned it from John Waddell (http://johnwaddellneedlepoint.com/index.html)  in his Fun with Overdye class.

If this has confused you more I am sorry but just drop me note and I’ll see if I can do better or take a class from John, he’s really good or maybe your local shop can help you.

Making a twist:

I sometimes make a tiny twist of usually 2 ply floss to be the stem of my flowers or in this case wheat.

I showed how to make a twist here: (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/all-twisted-up-making-cording/) and this twist is the same but it is only an 18 inch length of thread so I usually just twist between my fingers.

Once the twist is make I use a larger needle. I thread the twist into this needle to start stitching. I bring the twist to the front of the canvas leaving the knot on the backside…I know the rule about knots and needlepoint but there are exceptions to every rule.

I’m showing you the back of the my stitching because that’s where all the work can be seen! The free form shape in picture is my beginning knot. The rectangle is the line I couched the twist on the front with second needle using 1 ply floss. And the circle is a picture of how I end this twist.

Ending the twist depends on if there is enough twist to use again. If there is enough twist to use again make two overhang knots as shown in picture and cut between them. This will help keep the stitched twist from becoming lose and it also keeps the remaining twist, twisted. If there is not enough twist to use again just make an overhand knot and clip, leaving the knot on your canvas.

 

Over the years I have stitched three 1st Communnion Crosses and I have a PDF version of the first cross instructions but have also included information on all three in this newly revised edition. If you are interested, email me (sudu@kc.rr.com) your email and I will send to you a copy; be sure and put 1st communion in subject line or it might go to my junk mail.

I think that’s it for today…but I did score a major coup this week and I’ll tell you more about that next week…

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

ttfn…sue

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1st Communion: Number 3

Another deadline met…

After I left my blog post last week I went into design and stitch mode. I have already stitched two other canvases for her brothers but I wanted this one to be a bit more feminine. I also wanted it to fit into the same frame as the others because it comes with a pre-cut mat and all I have to do it stitch and frame. The first one is here: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/category/project/first-communion/

And the only difference between the first and second was the size of the cross. I’ll share more about these three crosses next week when I can think a bit clearer. So please wait to ask me for the PDF version until next week so I can tweak the instructions.

First I re-designed the cross and then I auditioned threads…

 

some made the final cut others did not…And the threads that made the cut don’t always get the job but at least they are around if needed.

 

I made some notes, marked the center of the canvas and began stitching.

 

I made a template of the opening size of the mat so I can make sure the lettering fit…If it didn’t, I would have started over. I stitched the cross first, and then made sure the lettering was going to fit around the cross and within my template dimensions. I was stitching the lettering, going along just fine until I stitched the last side. I needed to move the stitching out one more row. Frog stitching…ugh! Lucky I start in the middle and work to an edge. Trust me this was just luck but to be on the safe side I did leave out a space between day and year and when I stitched April I was prepared to scrunch the letters here too.

 

I used the template to be sure the lettering was going to fit my opening. Yeah it does and so now I was on to the wreath design around the cross. Again I made a round template for the wreath and basted a curve in each quadrant. I started with the hosts and once they were in to my satisfaction, I started with the lower right quadrant…added the grapes to one quarter, then the wheat. I did the second quarter and then finished the other two at the same time, first stitching the grapes, then the wheat.

Again, I was not the brightest light bulb in the package. Somewhere in the back of my design training I remember someone telling me that if you are right handed and you are trying to do mirror images, it is easier to start with the left side and then finish the right side. Has something to do with your brain and the your predominate hand…the coordination factor. Needless to say I hadn’t done this for the first two quadrants

 

Once my finishing was completed I needed to frame the piece. Since I stitch on a frame, I had little distortion and I didn’t need to block the piece. So first I cut the piece to the size of the mat and then I trimmed away more to give me room to add a lining fabric behind the canvas. I also cut a lining fabric the same size as the needlepoint canvas.

 

I use double faced tape, I buy it at the art store and it is archival safe. First I apply the tape next to the mat opening, I removed the protective covering and I place it over the needlepoint centering as I went. Once I am satisfied with the placement I finger press in place. I apply a second round of double sided tape around the edges of the needlepoint canvas and place the lining fabric over this, pulling the lining taut as I go. I finger press the lining on the tape, trim if necessary and then I place

archival art tape over the edges to finish off and hold all in place. I place the matted design in the frame and now all I need to do is wrap for Sunday.

 

Finished by the skin of my finger.

 

Next week when I have a little more time I will give you some details of how I stitched this piece and also ideas on how to design your own piece.

 

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.  I am stitched out; so I am going out to enjoy the spring weather we are having, it’s not supposed to last. Last Sunday we had snow…nothing much but it was cold. I was stitching so it didn’t bother me, but this week has been nice and then it is supposed to snow again Sunday…what’s with Sundays and snow in April?

 

ttfn…sue

Finishing, fininishing and more finishing

I had a productive week-end…changed all the seasonal decorations and finished needlepoint. Life is good!

But I did have a scare last Friday or maybe just leprechaun being a leprechaun. I was getting out the St Patrick Day decorations when I remembered my leprechaun, Torin Ailfred O’Patrick, AKA Toppy.  Toppy had not become a well-rounded leprechaun last year (you can see & read about him under Categories>Projects> Leprechaun, right side of blog); so I went looking for the little guy.  I thought I knew right where he was resting, but could not find him. I thought of a few other places Toppy might be and so set out to locate the little fellow. After checking all the spots I thought Toppy might be hanging out, I began to wonder if this little leprechaun was playing games with me because I did not get him finished last year; leprechauns can be mettlesome little fellows. So after about an hour of checking everyplace I could think I might have put him for safe keeping I decided to get a bunny out to finish…yes I have a box of UFO’s.  And I guess Toppy decided that it was more important to make the mantle than to play mind games with me because there he was right there on top of the pile, flat but smiling up at me. Now before you think, senile old woman, let me assure you that leprechaun WAS NOT on the top of the heap when I first looked. I may be senile but not blind too. Anyway Toppy became well rounded and proudly took his place on the mantleToppy

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI remembered some buttons I had stitched. And I had found a craft box of beads and old jewelry I remembered my mother wearing but had either been broken or were so out-of-date. So I repurposed the crystals, beads of other jewelry and beads into a new St. Pat necklace. Had to go to craft store to get 2 inch eye pins to make the dangles and jump rings to attach buttons.

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And since I was going to the craft store, decided to see if I could find 2 ready-made frames and have mats cut to fit two Celtic knots I stitched for another project. These were couching experiments for a larger piece and I decided tOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAo just frame them too. Found frames and my Hobby Lobby cuts mats on the spot if they have the matboard, so I had two more projects to finished.

So this past week-end I spent finishing needlepoint. I now have this great feeling of accomplishment plus it was easy on my pocketbook.

I don’t mind finishing but it is not my favorite thing to do. It makes me appreciate those who do finish most of my needlepoint.  I would never tackle a pillow; I would have dog ears for sure. I can manage a simple stand up, an ornament and sometimes simple stuff. But it never ceases to impress me at how creative finishers can be.

And framing I seldom try, I think framing is harder to do yourself…I have made frames (at a frame store designed to help you make your own frames)  but my corners were really not very good. And cutting mats is an art unto its self, especially if you hand cut them. . My Hobby Lobby had a computer cutter, it is pretty awesome. I can do the simple stuff but bigger pieces will always go to the framer.  And my needlepoint framer, Richard is a special guy; he has an eye for the best look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAED Note 3-8-13: ops something happen to the picture and I just noticed it. This was my first attempt at making jewelry but I think I could get into it. I ordered a catalog from Fire Mountain Gems ( http://www.firemountaingems.com/) and watched a couple tutorials.  I would really like to make a few more pieces, but I don’t want to start a new media full scale.

I have bought a bunch of roving and tools to try and make felted figures. I made a ladybug last year but haven’t tried anything since then. I also would like to make more Ukrainians eggs (Pysanka) but I think that needs to be a class project, this is an art that has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. I’m guessing this is not something you learn on the internet, although if you Google Ukrainians eggs (Pysanka): (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pysanka) pages of info will be at your fingertips. But I still don’t think you buy the supplies and start.

BUT my favorite thing to do is stitching needlepoint and temari balls. And I need to get back to it.

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