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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Overdye: Puddle Stitching

Anne Stradal’s (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) wrote me last Friday and asked if I cut the overdyed thread to puddle stitch (see comments: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/henny-penny/). So I decided that if Anne didn’t understand what I was trying to write I’m sure there are others too, so let’s talk about overdyes and puddle stitching.

13-09-30 overdye thread

I do not cut the overdye thread in this instance. 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.
13-09-30 overdye stitchesThe 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.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!
ttfn…sue

More on the classes

My desk is looking better but still has lots of projects to complete; four down four to go and that is the computer work.  Stitching projects are still holding at four, well maybe five in the nest…millions in the wings (I’m going to live forever if my needlework round-toit projects are any indication.)  I think I will refrain from signing up for another class for awhile but I won’t make any promises.

Many of you are heading for San Antonio and the national ANG seminar (http://www.needlepoint.org/Seminar-11/index.php) … have a great time and keep us posted about all the good times. I’ve always thought they should call it the “Great American Stitch-in.” When I did attend, there was always a place where everyone could gather and stitch into the wee hours of the morning. I learned lots of new ideas, new techniques, found new threads and met many great friends here…I do hope they still have this area…that’s what we are all really about…stitching, learning and sharing. So all you wonderful stitchers have a great time, stay cool and keep us posted on what’s happening.

Here are my first two Christmas presents completed; now if I can just remember where I stash them and to whom I plan to give them. There was one small hitch with the finishing but the framer made it worth the mi$take ; one was suppose to have a blue mat, but two pictures framed for under $100 is very rare (one would be rare), so I’m not complaining.

Here’s the progress on my class, Laura Perin’s, One Long Panel (http://laurajperindesigns.tripod.com/index.htm). I am keeping up with the class and this week I have two weeks to complete the area (our instructor is headed forSan Antonio). I try to make every class or even just a project I do learning experience.

First I started stitching the border, I always pay attention to the where and how I going to anchor my threads, so I sometimes change the stitch order, especially if it does not affect the appearance of the stitch. I did this for the Overlapping Cross stitches in the border. Our instructor for the class suggested we stitch the sides of the border as we go because there has been a discrepancy in the count (more about that later) so I just stitch far enough to complete the next session but I do make sure I have places to hid travel threads and bury threads starts and stops.

I happened to notice while stitching the first panel that I did not care for the green in this overdye with the other thread choices, so I removed it. Yes, I added to my ort jar…gone. Now you might ask why I just didn’t choice another thread with no green…remember this is a class and the threads were in a kit. Purchasing a new thread was an option, but I also could purchase one more overdye with the same dyelot number in case I will need it (and it looks like I will).  So I am manipulating the thread by removing a portion of the thread…

And I am also watching the placement of these stitches. Before stitching areas of the piece, I am really thinking about the order/ direction I am placing the stitches.  I am not only watching where the colors may be placed but I am watching how I place the stitches. I noticed when doing the first panel I could see the travel threads being carried from one stitch area to the next, but if I thought about the placement these travel threads were not so visible. So I made a decision to take the time to plan my stitch order while I was still trying to place the color in a pleasing placement. You can see when I hold the canvas up to the light  the open areas and when you look at the front close up you can see it too.  It may have been unnecessary but it was an interesting study and I will know.

On panel 1 and 2 when stitching with the overdye I placed the center stitch of these areas first and then placed the outside stitches next. I did not pre-plan panel 1 (LP Area 2) this way; the instructor/ moderator suggested this placement to get the stitch in the correct place. So after panel 1 was done this way I decided to repeat it for panel 2(LP Area 4)

 On panel three (LP Area 6) I stitched both sides of the area (Herringbone) at the same time so the overdye was symmetrical, others in the class stitched up one side and down the other (I’ll try and take a picture of this and show next time.) I also tried not the have the overdye cross the open areas where the Rhodes Stars were to be placed. And when I stitched these Rhodes Stars I buried my travel threads.

The rest will have to wait for another day, must get back to the computer.

Those of you heading for San Antonio have a stitching good time and if you have a blog don’t forget to write!

 Thank you for stopping by and spending a few moments with me; hope you have time to stitch today! ttfn…sue