Melissa Shirley “Wicked”: Background & Letters

The first thing I did before stitching was to read the stitch guide and refer to the canvas. I wanted to be sure I understood everything before I began stitching. As I read I found several things I thought I might have to change but I didn’t make any notes and kept an open mind. I did make notes on things I wanted to remember to do.

Letter W

W: I outlined the areas that the stitch guide noted would be outlined. I even made a little asterisk mark at the points of the moon to begin and/or end the outlines here for a crisp point.

Fangs: I also marked those two stitches on the cat that looked out of place…it took me awhile but after looking at them quite a while I decided they were fangs and not mis-painted canvas.

Curly q on pumpkin: stitch guide said to stitch over this area.

Letter I:

I:  Only the top part of the I was Nobuko stitched. I showed the outline around the letter Nobuko was stitched over petals of flower on hat and over hair. Only the center of the flower was left not stitched in Nobuko.

Also made note that skull was last thing on this letter to be stitched.

Letter C:

C: was the easiest letter to stitch; everything was stitched and the spider web was to be couched over these stitches later. The letter was also outlined.

Letter K:

Outlined again and the eyeball and the green curly q (I would have missed had it not be mentioned in the stitch guide…colors were too close)

Letter E:

Outline letter. The steam is stitched over and noticed a mis-painted area in the E

Letter D:

Outline letter. Another straight forward letter, bats are either Diagonal Gobelin or Basketweave.

 

Then I began stitching. Like I said before I was happy that the boring part was being stitched first…not boring but mundane.  I always try to stitch some of the background as I go because if you leave it until last it seems like it takes forever! I think it has to do with all the creative stitches have been completed and in your mind you may already be thinking about that next canvas you are going to stitch. Backgrounds can be sooooo mundane and sometimes because of this you will make a mistake and if the background comes around to meet itself it can be off and depending on where it meets can be disastrous. Sometimes if you catch it you can fudge the background and get it to work but if there is a definite horizontal and vertical line it can be difficult.

Background: This background had its challenges. I decided to center each area of the yellow and orange backgrounds because there was the black bar between them.  The orange background was the negative stitches of the yellow background, so I wanted the horizontal lines to match up but the vertical lines did not necessarily have to be continuous. The black divider between them would soften this difference. BUT I thought maybe the Black crosses could look off if they weren’t at least somewhat the same. So if you look at the W-I picture you will see a 1 by the third from left black divider; it is the only one that mostly goes from top to bottom.  I stitched that one first so the others I could sort of match up to this one when other stitching interrupted the line and the crosses would not be more than a thread off to the eye. I don’t think anyone would have ever noticed but me but I guess that is the …”it might be looked at by a needlework judge”. She will spot the off-ness anyway but at least I tried. And you know what a friend of mine says….

“If you are close enough to my needlepoint to see the mistake, you may be too close.”

Background stitching:  I started in the middle of each section and worked toward the side that would give me a full, top to bottom row. Mostly every letter allowed at least one darning stitch to go from bottom to top and this kept the pattern in line. Also once the vertical line from top to bottom in the first section was established; it also started the horizontal lines across the top and bottom. And once the horizontal and vertical line was established in the yellow areas all the oval places in the picture will be the same stitch in each area. The same is true for the rectangle in the orange areas too. This will help keep the background from going askew before I am finished. Stitching the background around this letter was relatively simple as I either had the Nobuko stitches to turn around or areas that were to be padded, each letter was different.

Letter W: The solid white lines show the areas where when not turning a row in the Nobuko of the letter I could do a small turn around stitch or tacking stitch. I tried not to end threads in these areas unless I was sure there was going to be padding. The area by the cat’s tail (upper left) was an area where I first used a traveling stitch, but the other areas by the moon, fence and pumpkin were either padded or I could do a tacking stitch that would be stitched over later.

Letter I: The hat is ultra-suede so I could turn rows in this areas and I had stitched most of the top right half of the letter, leaving only the center of the flower unstitched. And the bottom was a pumpkin that was to be padded so I had turn around areas here too.

Letter C: This was one of the two easiest letters to stitch; it was all Nobuko and the spider web and spider were couched and stitched over. This made turn around/tack stitches easy for the background. Hardest part was the inside of the C background. I first stitched from center toward K until I had a full line, then went back and filled in the center of the C.

Letter K: The K didn’t present much of a problem stitching the background as the Nobuko is at the top and bottom of the letter, the pumpkin is padded and the bird body is a Cashmere variation that allows for turn-around stitches. The little bit of orange background in the center right of the K took a bit of maneuvering as not much stitch was on the top of the canvas.

Letter E: Since all the steam was stitched first in Nobuko and the pot was an applique, there were plenty of turn-around places for the background. I thought about repainting the mistake in the background but though I could cover with the thread and the steam, so I left it. I see it but I think the canvas has enough stitching interest to keep most people’s eye moving past it.  I waited to do the yellow background until after I had stitched the orange between the E & D.

Letter D: Nobuko is pretty straight forward here again. The instructions say the large bats are stitched in diagonal Gobelins and smaller bats are Basketweave. So the top right bat was the only one I felt I needed to drop down below to make a turnaround stitch in Nobuko; the larger bats I could take a small tack stitch in the wing areas. The biggest problem was lining up the yellow background inside the D.

There are only three places where you have a top to bottom vertical line to keep the pattern established: to the left of the E in yellow background; the center line of the orange area, and the far right of the D. So you have to stitch background yellow center to the left and establish line on the E and center to the right to establish vertical line on the right of the D. The orange is the center line.

Once the background and letters were in the fun began and again I started with the W and worked to the D. Here was where I made a few more “sudu” changes. Remember, needlepoint has to be fun or don’t do it. I will usually try a new technique, stitch or thread but if it becomes frustrating to me or I don’t like it, I stop and take it out and find something that works for me.

Next time I’ll tell you about the design elements of each letter. If you have any questions, just ask in the comment area and I will try and answer them.

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

ttfn…sue

More of the Butterfly

Had to take a small break to finish some instructions for a teacher but now I am back to stitching  along.  I decided a few things about the butterfly:

2015-07-17 MS Butterfly unstitchedI am doing the same stitch throughout. Nobuko and I would compensate as needed. The aqua and red dots will be Rhodes stitches to fit area. Butterfly body is going to be Gobelins, his topknot will be couched gold, and the antennas will be left for couching too (Rhodes stitches for the ends of antennas too).

Color choices are dark values for back wing and light values for front wing. These are also the colors used in the kids clothes.

I also decided to take a close up picture and I would later go back and couch the gold and red outlines. Then I realized I will have to stitch the cloud and sky before I couch the butterfly.

Since this is going to be a HOT week-end (I think summer has finally arrived in the Midwest USA…but gratefully it has stopped raining); it will be a great week-end to stitch.

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

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

Cat & Bunny

My cat does not play with my threads and usually never bothers any of my needlework. (I have a friend with a cat that steals her threads and hides them.) My cat is very polite most of the time, BUT when she decides she needs to be loved nothing stops her! Usually when I’m stitching she will just sit on the arm of the chair and stare at me until I am guilted into loving her. But this week she plopped on my lap; I think she thought I was petting her as I pulled my threads through the canvas. I let her sit there until she finally decided the window had ample sun to warm her and off she went.

Back to bunny…I know this canvas is no longer available but it is fun to stitch. 10 mesh is so fast to stitch, don’t need magnification or extra light and I am not striping or laying most of the threads. Keep in mind this canvas 15 inch x 11.5 inch would only be about 8 inches x 6.5 inches on an 18 mesh canvas. And so even though this canvas is no longer available, I can experiment with stitches and techniques.

I’ve finished the background and marked where the carrot tops were painted. I’ve started the bunny and am using the Nobuko stitch for him. I am reversing the direction of the stitches and trying to limit the compensation stitches because of change in color. Since I am using 4 ply wool knitting yarn I am keeping my thread length short about 15 to 18 inches. The thread does not seem to be wearing as I stitch but I have noticed it untwists more than say Appleton or another non stranded thread. I really like the color and it is easy to use.  The dark gray is from my stash, it is an old Orchidee yarn; since I only need a bit of this dark gray and I decided to use it.  If I had not had this color I would have bought the darker value of the same knitting wool I am using.

Before I began stitching I used a picture to play with stitches on the canvas; I do love that I can do this. I printed off the head area and even though I may change the placement of stitches as I stitch at least I had an idea the effect I wanted. Even if you do not have a computer program that allows you to play with stitches on the picture you can do this too. You can either take a picture of your canvas with a digital canvas and print it or make a copy using a flatbed desktop printer. You can print in gray scale using either method, consult you printer, and if not just use a color copy. Many copy machines will allow you to enlarge the area and also to set the grayscale desired. Then you can use colored pens or pencils to draw the stitches directly on the copy.

I’ve been watching the news this morning about all the snow on the east coast…I hope everyone is staying warm and safe. And I hope all those of you who stitch stay warm, safe and stitch!

Hope everyone has time to stitch today. ttfn…sue