Mr & Mrs canvas designed by Raymond Crawford

Today is March 30 National Stitching-In Day so what a better way than to talk about my last big needlepoint project. I started this project last spring March 2017 but could not share because it was a present for my grandson and his bride on their first anniversary. I had seen this Raymond Crawford (http://www.raymondcrawford.com/) canvas before they were married and with my new love of beading I knew I would have to bead this project. I would guess it took me six months to completely finish this canvas. Beading needlepoint is a long process and why I chose 18 count when 13 count was available I’ll never know.

First I had to find the right beads and I first purchased 11/0 beads for the project but they were too big so back to square one and size 15/0.

 

I stitched every bead twice in Basketweave style. Why Basketweave? I did not want to stitch Continental and have the canvas warp; I knew blocking would have been impossible. So I took the extra time to stitch Basketweave beading. I used a double strand of beading thread that I had stretched and waxed. If you don’t stretch your beading thread over time it can become loose and your beads will droop; also strech thread before waxing. I stitched every bead twice to secure each bead in place (see diagram). I also started every letter on the right side so my basketweave was always being stitched into a previously work hole. I did this for two reasons: I wanted all the beads to slant same direction and  I was very careful not to pierce thread from previous row. Here are two or more days of stitching on the &, some days I only got in 10 to 15 beads. Beading is a long arduous process for me;  it was tiring on the eyes and also just a slow, labor intensive process.

 

 

 

 

When I went to stitch the border I noticed on the left there was one empty thread between the M in Mrs and the start of the border, but on the right the & was right next to the border (no empty thread.) This bothered me so I just decided to I stitched the border one thread further out. It wouldn’t show because I planned on stitching all the background with silk. I also changed the direction of the border stitches at the center of the design area; this allowed me to stitch around the corner without compensation. As I recall, it was not an even count divide , so I always try and make the

odd count to the right of center and/or lower of center. I don’t remember if both counts were off or just the left –right borders (top & bottom)   I used Kreinik #12 braid in 3 colors: 221, 202HL and 102 and the stitch was a Diagonal Gobelin over 2 threads.

I stitched the background last in basketweave with 4 ply Rainbow Gallery Splendor S800.

It seemed like it took me forever to stitch, but I love they way it looks finished. I had a mat made and   framed it myself and it now is safely residing in Michigan.

When I gather up another project I did for my guild I will share the different methods of beading needlepoint with you.

After I finished this project, I thought I would swear off beading forever…but forever is a long long time. 😉

Have a blessed Passover or Happy Easter.

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

ttfn…sue

 

 

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Summer Projects & Betsy Ross

I am stitching but have decided my big project for summer is finishing…And I have a million things that could fall under this heading. I could finish about seven or eight original stitching designs in my computer (many in various stages of completion); or I could finish one of those class projects that I plan on getting back to someday; or I could finish the 25 Temari balls I have made; I could learn needlefelting that I played with at Christmas last year and I have a thousand ideas running around my head (oops that is not technically a finish)…Okay you get the idea more things to do than the hours in a day.

But I have decided to finish some of the needlepoint I have on blocking boards and in a UFBS box (Unfinished but stitched). I will take pictures as I muddle through this process and share with everyone. I’m guessing by Sept 1 I will really love my finisher and whatever she charges will look good to me.

Since I am carrying my cell phone everywhere these days I’ll have a camera at hand. I am carrying my phone because I have a step counter app installed…it is supposed to remind me to get off my *** humm and walk a certain amount of steps a day. I have a goal (haven’t met yet but have come close)…I really think this is a hopeless cause unless the app can figure out a way to jar me loose from the project at hand…I just keep saying latter.

But I digress…so finishing is the project of summer…Maybe I’ll have some of those gifts for family and friends finished by the start of the holiday season instead of being last minute Nelly.

But today I do want to show you my current stitching project. I love these small projects that I can take anywhere…Anne Stradal, ABS Designs has the cutes roll-ups, I’ve stitched several over the years and her lighthouses are to die for and I love the way she needle blends her floss for skies and seas. If you are not familiar with her blog (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) and website (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/ ), grab a cuppa and spend awhile with Anne, her designs are fun and her stitching is wonderful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am stitching Betsy Ross…I have stitched Thomas Jefferson (he’s in the UFBS box) Betsy’s dress is stitched with Rainbow Tweed and I have three card of the same color. And I am guessing that by the printed number on the bottom I have at least two different dye lots, but when I look at the cards side by side there could be three dye lots. So rather than take the chance of stitching and mixing up the three dye lots, I am mixing them up in the needle and stitching with all three.

We all know what happens if you assume a dye lot is the same…that nasty stitch ghost comes to visit and you have a mess. After you are done stitching you can see the difference in the dye lots and you are haunted by the mess until you frog stitch it out. Then of course you don’t have enough thread to redo so you have to head over to LNS for a replacement and more (never can go for just one thing). And then you have more dye lot differenced (unless of course you just bought this thread from LNS and then maybe you’ll be lucky and she will have same dye lot…but if you’re not sure then mix them up in the needle and avoid the hassle.

ED Note: everyone has a definition for ply-strand-fiber-thread. Mine is: fibers make plies, plies make strands, and strands and threads are the same. Some strands/threads have divisible plies (i.e.: cotton floss, Rainbow tweed and others) and some strands/threads are supposed to be stitched as non-divisible plies (i.e. perle cotton, ribbon threads, metallic threads.) Notice I said supposed
14-06-04 ruchingto be stitched; there is always the exception to this rule…ruching is where one ply of a thread is pulled to gather the thread. Ribbons are ruched and then the ribbon is couched into place for an effect. Almost any thread may be ruched.

14-06-04 cardsRainbow Tweed is a divisible thread; there are 4 plies to one strand of thread. So I pulled the same working length off each of the three cards and I am stitching with 2 ply of this thread so I mixed one strand/4 ply (Card A1-4, B1-4, C1-4) as follows,: A1&B1, A2&B2, A3&C1, A4&C2, B3&C3, B4&C4. I paid no attention about the ends I put together but I did knot one end just to keep the two plies together not as a stitching 14-06-04 pliesdirection. I dropped these in my stitching bag and randomly pulled a thread as I needed. You can see the results, no ghostly dye lot changes.

Then I stitched her shawl and didn’t like the way the bottom was looking so decided to fill scallop with tent and then to give it some texture I would subject myself to Bullions. Bullions are not 14-06-04 BR stitch graymy favorite stitch but I think it is just because I don’t do them often enough. Practice makes better…with bullions there is never perfect. Normally I would wait to do the Bullions last but I got carried away and so they are in.

14-06-04 BR stitch shawl

14-06-04 BR stitch bullionThe flag is over one cross stitches with 3 ply floss.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day;  I’m off to find some UFBSs and decide which to finish first! 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

Too many irons and Toppy too

You know for a woman who hates ironing I have a lot of them in the fire right now. I have not taken a stitch all week except on the computer. I forgot to post on my blog last week and so now I am feeling behind and I am sorry that poor Toppy has taken a back seat to other things.

But Toppy has duds and is feel’n mighty proud…and now he has shoes, sock and a hat. From a week ago and he will get hair and other stitches this week (I hope)…Then I hope I can remember not to leave him on the finishing table until 4th of July (my usual handling of needlework.)

From the pictures you can see that I should not be stitching with a cat and dog close by…not sure who is the culprit… but Very Velvet is a magnet for pet hair. And since we have had no winter to speak of the animals at our house have been shedding all winter, than goodness for lint rollers!

Toppy’s socks are linen thread overlapping cross stitches over two threads. I covered the shamrocks…you will see why later…

I needed some extra black rows for Toppy’s shoes (yes, he has lifters)…I added the two rows using my new favorite marker: Copic sketch (http://www.copiccolor.com/) (http://www.copicmarker.com/). More about these later…I’ll put them on my to write about list…they are too cool. I also added two rows to his hat…not for stitching but for finishing. Sometimes when you turn the canvas you get a grin through and this will help minimize grin through. But that’s finishing and I’m still stitching. And tose little straight lines under the shoe areas are marks for the shamrocks.

Toppy’s shoes are stitched with Rainbow Gallery Patent Leather…the real one. This thread is pricy and breaks easily (see previous blog on how to work with delicate threads: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/dressed-to-the-nine/) …But is worth the effort…sorry Sister Ann Marie (aka Sister SAM), she did not like patent leather shoes (old bad joke). You should stitch with short lengths no longer than 12 inches; must lay this thread front & back (see picture left) Even Rainbow Gallery recommends laying this thread front and back {http://rainbowgallery.com/JaysTips.html#20}); and straight stitches are best for maximum effect. I have always stitched Patent Leather in Gobelin Stitches and I lay it front and back always! That’s why I added two threads to his shoes I needed at least two threads for the Gobelin stitches under and over the gold buckles. Patent Leather is so classy and well worth the effort..sorry Sister SAM.

I also used Patent Lather for the belt on his coat and two horizontal straight stitches in his hat.

Toppy’s hat is stitched mostly using Very Velvet. The body of the hat is stitch in brick stitches, stitched on the horizontal. The brim of the hat is Continental stitches stitched 2 directions and the brim is filled with a Gobelin pattern fill. I stitched the Continental stitches with short lengths (12 inches or less) to minimize the wear on Very Velvet thread. I added the cross stitch (over 1 thread) buckle and one horizontal straight stitch.

I think I have added all the gold with Kreinik #8 Braid (http://www.kreinik.com/ ) where gold needs to be. I usually keep a needle threaded on my magnet with Kreinik to add these small embelishments as I go. This week I will try and do the gold bag also.

I will try to better this week but I still have a few hot irons still needing attention (Hint: hot irons = new class projects for stitchers). Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

TJ is going to the finisher tomorrow

09-abs-tjefferson-3

 

 

 misc-very-velvet-in-needleStitching TJ,aka Thomas Jefferson from ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) was fun…I used Rainbow Gallery Very Velvet for most of his clothing and Rainbow Gallery (http://rainbowgallery.com/) Patent Leather for TJ’s shoes. Very Velvet and Patent Leather are easy to use for stitching if you follow a few easy hints: #1. Use short lengths – I use 12 to 15 inches max. #2 Use a larger needle than you would normally use to stitch- I use a #20 or #22 Tapestry or Chenille on 18 count canvas. #3 When threading needle use a short tail and do not move the needle around on the thread while stitching. The Patent Leather will not wear like the Very Velvet but it will distress the thread at the eye of the needle. I also lay the Patent Leather on the front and back.  

 

 

  

  

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 For me, the hardest part of stitching TJ was his hair, it is a Loose Basketweave. For me, Basketweave is one of those stitches that is relaxing and a “no brainer”; and I can tell if I’m tired or irritated because my Basketweave stitches are tighter. For the most part my tension on the thread becomes second nature, it is just part of the stitch process… But if that tension 09-abs-tjefferson-55is changed on purpose it takes concentration. I kept finding myself, watching TV and just normally stitching and then would have to “frog stitch” and then loosely re-stitch the Basketweave. After all the stitching is complete, it is then picked/pulled with a sharp needle and that gives TJ his soft curly look. It is a good stitch to learn, so that when French Knots seems too much Loose Basketweave is a good 09-abs-tjefferson-63substitute. The stitch can even be stitched looser and can have a loop effect; play with this, it is fun.

 

I think he turned out very nice and can hardly wait to get him back…I’ll post a picture of him finished. Now I am going to go back to work and do some computer work for a few days.

 

ttfn…sue

Next finishing project

Day before yesterday, while in the workroom I noticed this snowman that needs to be finished. There are really two but this one spoke to me.  The other needs a large (2 inch) white (silver would work) sleigh bell that I have not been able to locate this holiday season. Someone must have had a serious sleigh bell craving in the Midwest, all my craft shops did not have any. One will show up I’m sure maybe after the stores take inventory. I stitched both of these during the holidays,  I try to remain festive in all the chaos  ;-)… Anyway, this year I decided not to put out the snow-people decorations until after the Santa’s and Nativities go back in their boxes. I really have too many collections and need to spend so serious time this year parring them down to a manageable amount. Hard to do, when I love them all…oh well I’ll just keep them all and then let someone else worry about them.

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Like I said this one spoke to me and said I need something white behind me otherwise I am going to look really dirty. This is an Under the Rainbow (http://www.undertherainbowdesigns.com/) canvas #259 Snowman with stocking. I think these canvas come  with stitch/thread guide suggestions but I have had my canvas so long that the guide was lost. I usually read these guides if I have them, but usually do my own thing anyway.  

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The snow man was stitched in skip tent using Caron’s snow and then I outlined the areas with a wrapped back stitch in snow also. Scarf is alternating rows of overlapping oblong crosses using 1 ply of Rainbow Tweeds red (RT33) and white (RT01). His stocking is the Rainbow Tweed threads red (RT33) and dk red ( RT06): bottom stitched in Encroaching Gobelin and the cuff is a Diagonal Gobelin with a row of tent. Mittens are directional mosaic stitched with Rainbow Tweed green (RT10), then I over-stitched the cuffs with 1 ply dk green Rainbow Tweed (RT10). His hat is Ribbon Floss or Rainbow Gallery Neon Rays Black . I stitched the body in a brick pattern over 4 threads. His brim was first padded using the satin stitch method with DMC #5 perle cotton, then free-form Satin stitches were laid over padding. I finished the edges to make them appear smoother with Stem or Outline Stitch using the Ribbon Floss (and no I did not lay this). Hat band is green ribbon floss in horizontal satin stitch and the snowflake is a sequin from my stash that I cut off one or two legs to fit…could not find the holly berry button in my stash. His nose is a wrapped padded Satin Stitch. His eyes are two colors (opps) #6 beads and mouth are seed beads. His buttons baby buttons. Packages are stitched with Kreinik threads in Gobelin stitches. The background is DMC #8 perle cotton stitched in a snowflake pattern and the ground is a combination pattern stitched with snow and DMC #8 perle cotton.So you can tell this is a very open stitched snowman and background. The shading from the painted canvas shows through the stitching and so I did not have to shade him.   

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So yesterday I gave Mr Snowman a white backing before I blocked him. I can finish simple stand ups…another thing for my around-to-it  list. I thought maybe someone would be interested in this so I am posing the pictures of his backing. It is just a piece of white felt cut to fit and tacked in place using the stitches on the back to secure. Now he’s on the blocking board and will be finished another day.

I have almost decided I need to make a list of things to do but I do so dislike lists, they seem so calculating and confining. Lists overwhelm me then I sometimes get noting done, bu then again without a list I forget what I need to be doing…Oh the quandary..to list or not to list…

ttfn…sue