Let it snow,let it snow , let it snow

It has been snowing here since about six AM and I don’t here many complaints…we need the moisture! Our states (Mo and KS), many cities in and around Kansas City, and the counties have declared a State of Emergency…and so you should not be out unless it is an emergency. And you know it must be bad when our 24 hour grocery stores are closing until further notice and UPS has even suspended deliveries today. Roads and Interstates are closed all over the place. I’m glad I don’t have any place to go. And this is supose to keep up through tomorrow…we are expecting 12-18 inches of snow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what my back yard looks like so far and Lucy got a walkway shoveled for her.

I finished my Ninji Temari. It was an online stitch-in prepared by Jane Z for the members of Temari Challenge group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TemariChallenge/). This was a fun ball to stitch as well as a learning experience 13-02-21 temariand inspiration. The instructions for the ball are on the website, I think you just have to be a member and membership s free. As I was stitching the ball I saw many other possibilities and made notes so I could make more.

Making a temari has many challenges because they are hand wrapped balls. Some people use styrafoam balls as a base but I hand wrap mine from a tissue core. I start with a tissue and wrap the tissue with yarns and thread. They are really spheres and not perfect round balls. This was the biggest problem I had this time…Because after you get the temari made then you  measure and divide it according to the design.   I could not get my temari to divide correctly. It took me a couple days of measuring and adjusting to get the pins placed to what I thought was acceptable. I usually do not have this much trouble but it was a challenge this time. I even asked Jane Z if there were any tricks I needed to know and all she could offer was, “sometimes a ball is just a difficult challenge. ”

You can wrap a ball to an approximate size but this will usually vary a centimeter or so…at least that happens to me. This particular ball was made at the large of the suggested size range and therefore I thought needed an extra row added to each color wrap. Of course this made each step need a correction, but I did it. I’m lucky because I can see these in my mind and adjust pretty easily. And as I was stitching I saw other possibilities so I made notes on this so next time I can try one of the new ideas.

I also think the base thread color of the ball (black in this ball) should be used in the design portion of the temari. It will make the unevenness of the ball stitching appear less noticeable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo since I am not going anywhere today, I think this is a cover up, keep warm and stitch day for me and a cup of  hot chocolate will work (I’ll have two marshmellows , thank you.) I think I’ll have to share my space with Lucy too (she’s not liking the walkway idea much either.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you are in this snowstorm too, keep warn and safe and if you are in the path (east and north of the Midwest) of this storm, look out here she comes! Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

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Opps

March came in like a lamb….

And is going out with a roar…

Going to guild meeting today, more later in the week.

Hope everyone finds time to stitch today. ttfn…sue

Bunny & Snow

I’ve decided that February and March are Pneumonia Months…sunny & 70 degrees one day; 7 degrees and snowy the next. Mother Nature is a fickle lady!

I should be computing because I am so far behind I look like I am winning again…or as my sons’ would say, “Mom, we’re getting ready to lap you.”

But this cold weather gives me time to stitch too. GayAnn Rogers http://www.gayannrogers.com/site_2/Home_Page.html  has a 12 stitches a day program going on with stitchers…I’m trying 6 stitching lengths of thread a day, but my fingers are getting calloused doing this Turkey Work. It is also getting very tight in this area. I may have to switch to stitching every other stitch for a couple rows to loosen up the space. I would like to have the bunny finished in time for Easter.

 Okay, sorry this is such a short blog but I need to do some computer work for others and than I would like to stitch today too. Maybe even a nap since it is so fridgen cold!

Hope everyone has time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Bunny two and ditto snow

Tangent 1…The last two sentences about snow at the end of the last blog are being repeated here; I really should just say “ditto.” … “2-4 inches as of noon weather report. I have enough snow on the ground …this is getting old and cold!”  Last night 2 more inches and so it is getting really OLD and is really COLD. Enough already! For an area that was supposed to get only 13 inches of snow, we are already well above 26 inches. I heard the weatherman (same one that predicted 13 inches for the season) say this was the last significant snowfall of the season…don’t think I’ll be putting the snow shovel away too soon on his forecasting abilities.

Tangent 2…Last November I won the drawing from Jane at Chilly Hollow for the Brenda Hart book Stitches for the Millennium. (http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2010/11/and-winner-is.html ). I set it aside during the holidays and between Christmas and New Year I spent some quality time with, hot tea or chocolate and my new book acquisitions (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/naughty-or-nice-must-have-been-really-good/ ).  I really like this book and will use it often. Thank you Jane for picking my name. I made a few mental notes about canvases in my stash where certain stitches might work well… BUT I have a question about drawings and contests: Do you enter contests just to be entering a contest or does the contest have to be something you want; would like to try; or would use? If you have won a contest, do you use what you won, how?  I try not to enter contest just for the sake of wining something. I hope the people who enter and win contests/drawings intend to use what they win or really love what they win if it is something already completed.

Meat of the blog…

I thought I’d look in The Brenda Hart book for stitches. So with book in hand, a cup of hot chocolate and my canvas I set down and picked stitches I though could be used for the bunny: Nobuko, Mosaic variation, Slanted Brick, Scotch variations, Hungarian with tent, Scalloped Diamonds, Double Brick, Ming variation, and Slanting Rhodes. I felt like I really only needed 6 stitches at the most for the larger areas. I thought the white areas needed straight stitches and the black areas slanting stitches, slanted in different directions. I am using 1 strand of Appleton wool for the white and black and my old Orchidee for the gray outlines.

The white areas were easy; I decided that the Double Brick over 4 would work for the front and back body of the bunny. The front will have more compensation than the back but I am going to stitch over the green carrot tops as I am going to stitch them later. His head needed to be a simple stitch that would fit into the narrow area without compensation (see red stitches in picture); a simple Parisian stitch would work best here.  I have already started the white areas and about done…what can I say but “cold & snow make for great stitching time!”

His eyes are tent stitches stitched with floss, his mouth a Horizontal Gobelin stitches with floss and I think I will try plaited stitches in floss for his nose but if all else fails a padded Gobelin will work too.

The head did not have a good place to reverse diagonal stitches and so I decided a simple Mosaic stitch would work for both the front and back of the head. It will give the slant of the other black stitches; but is small enough that the one directional slant will not detract from the reversing slants of the other areas. I started this area on the front to make sure I liked it and to fit the Mosaic stitch (see purple stitch) around the Parisian stitch without a lot of compensation. The purple stitch was the first Mosaic stitched I placed and then stitched the remaining stitches using the diagonal method of placement. This will help minimize the distortion caused by the straight stitches. If I had stitched the Mosaic stitch in either horizontal of vertical rows there would have been even more distortion. I always try to stitch on the diagonal when possible.

The bottom of his feet I would like to do in directional Slanted Bick stitches and compensate stitches for color changes, keeping compensation to a minimum if possible. His front paws, and the areas on the back bunny piece (excluding the head) will also be Nobuko. The carrot I plan to slightly pad and use Epic wool in oranges for the body. The tops are going to be Cast-on Bullions using overdyed green perle cotton. And of course his tail is going to be uncut Turkey Work, but I may do this without the tinker toy and allow random lengths. I have not given much thought to his ears yet but I’m sure something will click.

I think that’s about it for now and until the thaw I will be stitching…this year appears to be making significant dents in my “round toit” canvas stash…another good thing…room for more shopping.

Stay warm and safe… AND I hope everyone will have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Bunny Progress

Good thing our streets are clean and my DH could get out this morning, otherwise we might have had to put sleeping pills in his coffee. I think he was beginning suffering from Cabin Fever, Brain Freeze or Snow Stupor, and maybe a combination of all. Yesterday, out of the clear blue he asked me if I was stitching the bunny because it was the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. I simple answered that I obviously needed to do more shopping, since my 100 or so rabbits with blue coats and carrots collection was too small for him to notice. That sent him to his computer and I did not hear from him until lunch.  

The then news media announced the Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney Pa didn’t see his shadow and they would have an early spring. Well congratulations to the Pennsylvania folks; I am very happy for them and envious too. Because here in the Midwest, the rodent would have to have been blind not to see his shadow and so I’m guessing with out -10 degree temperatures with a wind chill of -15 it will be at least 6 more weeks until we see crocus and jonquils popping up through this snow. 

And with this bone chilling weather I am so-o-o-o very happy that I can stitch, compute and read. With my blanket (camouflage army liner for sleeping bag supplied by 2nd son from his army days, too warm) shared by Lucy and hot chocolate, I’m as snug as a bug in a rug! I can zone out and only have to face the harsh reality of the snow and cold when either Lucy needs to go out (and that is only when her eyes turn green and she’s walking with all four legs crossed) or I need more hot chocolate, nature or food calls me.  

The bunny is progressing nicely his coat and tail are completed and I have cut the felt for the tulips. Hopefully,  by the end of the today I should be finished with him and he should be heading to the finisher on Friday or Saturday. I do have a problem but it is not with the stitching, it is the materials I am planning on using. I decided the tulips should be appliqued and I am using felt. I had all but the one pink and so last week I headed out to find a pink that I could use. I was open to the possibility that my pink could be the lightest or the middle value. I went to two local national craft stores and then to the national fabric store. The felt is awful compared to what I bought just last year. I purchased one but it is almost paper-thin as you can see in the picture. Since I was at the fabric store I checked both in the craft area and the cut fabrics; most of the felts were thinner than ever, some were thicker but you could tell these colors were not the most popular colors and were probably older. When I got home I noticed that felt I purchased last year (yellow) was better than the felt I just purchased but was also a bit lighter than the stuff I’ve had for several years. I took a picture, hope you can see the differences…the top row are felts I have had, yellow is felt I purchased I last two years and pink is the newest. Since I seldom use felt and I have a nice stash of the older felt for my purposes I will have time to research and study other alternatives, but I sure feel sorry for those felt artists that love to work with this media, I thought the felt I saw was of poor quality. If you are a felt designer or artist out there, where do you get your felt and have you seen a difference in the quality of felt?

Okay, enough of the felt box stand, back to my stitching plan. I am planning to stitch the carrots with 2 colors of Epic wool (persimmon and sienna) in padded satin stitches. I’m going to pad the carrots with orange #3 DMC perle cotton. I will slant the stitches on three of the carrots to match the slant they are painted. I am planning on doing the leaves with a Radial Satin stitch using all 3 ply of the Emerald Watercolours as it comes out of the skein (I am NOT stripping this thread). I will then use #3 DMC perle cotton very dark green (890) to place the veins on the leaves in an Outline/Stem stitch when the leaves are completed. I’m going to stitch the center portion of the tulips in a Diagonal Mosaic with a dark value pink, medium value yellow and light value purple #3 DMC perle cotton to blend with my felts. Then I am going to stitch the petals of the tulips using felt and padding. I made one master petal pattern and then adjusted it according to the tulips on the canvas. I have also cut the appropriate padding from quilt batting that I keep for finishing ornaments and padding appliques. After all the flowers and carrots are complete I plan on stitching the carrot tops in a Fly stitch using 4mm overdyed green silk ribbon; and I will stitch the tulip stems in a Wrapped Chain Stitch using #3 DMC perle cotton very dark green. The basket will be stitched with #3 DMC perle cotton very dark brown (838) and Walnut Watercolours (NOT striped). I’m going to pad the very top with dark brown perle cotton 3 or 4 times and cover with an Overlapping Cross Stitch so it will look like a lip to the basket. Directly below this I am going to pad again with perle cotton 2-3 times and stitch a Diagonal Gobelin over this using the dark brown perle cotton very forth stitch and filling in with Watercolours. The body of the basket will be stitched in rows: #3 DMC perle cotton very dark brown (838) used for the Continental Stitch outlines filed with a giant rectangular Flat Stitch using the unstripped Watercolours.

Okay enough with the planning, off to get more hot chocolate, and then to some serious stitching today. Can’t believe I might have three posts in the same week…see there are some good things to come from cold and snow.

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe… AND I hope everyone will have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Snow & Bunny

It’s snowed again in the Midwest; we got 6 ½ inches in my yard. Today it is suppose to give another dusting and Sunday another accumulation. Don’t know why this is such a big deal to everyone (especially the news media…must have nothing else to report)…But here’s a newsflash for everyone…

It is January in the Midwest!

Kids love snow and snowdays, parents hate snow and snowdays, and we stitchers don’t care as long as we have something to stitch. 

This week I spent some time looking though my stash, I was looking to see if there were any canvases I wanted to reconsider as my favorites. My local needlework shop is sponsoring a sell your stash. You pay $5 per item (2.50 goes to the American Heart Association), register each needlepoint canvas, set a price and if and when it sells you will receive a store credit to purchase whatever you like. If you purchase someone else’s canvas you can also purchase threads at a discount. So I headed to my canvas stash box to make some choices and soon realized I will not be parting with my stash. As I was perusing the canvases, so many memories came flooding back…oh I bought that canvas when…and this canvas always reminds me of…

So after about and hour tripping down memory lane I realized I have this thing about painted canvases (I am really a geometric person or a chart stitcher; so when I purchase a painted canvas it really has spoken to my heart.  I seldom stop to think about threads and stitches at the time I purchase the canvas. I think you have to live with a canvas to decide what it will become. Ornaments can become pillow inserts; some canvases need to have a portion omitted or changed; and colors are not written in stone. But one thing is common among all my painted canvases…I love them!

I found an old Sharon G canvas that I know I will never stitch BUT I love the canvas; All Eyes-Keyhole. I know stitching this canvas would never do it justice it is a work of art as is, so I’m taking it to the framer to have a mat cut and I am just going to frame it. I do have a question if anyone would like to weight in on this. The left picture was taken on a black background, the right on a white background. I’m going to use a black mat and frame but which background do you prefer or will it matter?

 

Periodically when I look through this stash box a canvas will jump out at me and say, “It’s my turn!” That happened when I found the bunny with a basket; the canvas was panted by Barbara & Charlotte and has the #bss 4. I don’t know if they still paint canvases or not but this one is sure cute. I collect Peter Rabbits (my Peter Rabbit has to have a blue coat and carrots to be in my collection), so this one will fill the bill if I stitch his coat predominately blue. In my minds eye I could actually see the canvas stitched and finished. I measured it, pulled the stretcher bars, and started to pull the threads…All of a sudden I noticed this canvas was unusual…What size is this canvas mesh? I was thinking 14 but my mind was telling me ???…it is 10 mesh! Oh my gosh I would have never guessed, I’m not sure I have threads to stitch this canvas…Oh good, a justified trip to the LNS (not that I need an excuse or justification)! Off I went, and then I hit a roadblock. I had decided on threads for everything but the rabbit and he was proving to be a real challenge. The gray threads available at my LNS were either to blue gray or too brown gray…not a neutral gray in the bunch.  Someone suggested trying knitting wool and so off I headed to a knit shop. I even took a needle to check that the yarn would cover well… I found a gray that will be great.

So now I have the threads and I have begun to stitch… I’m stitching this canvas front the back to the front. So even though this canvas may not still be available I will keep you posted on the stitches and techniques as I move along.

The background stitch is a woven stitch using #3 DMC pearl cotton. In one book it is called a T-Stitch another Woven Stitch. I stitch it diagonally so I guess the T-stitch would be the name using these two references: T Stitch from June McKnight; Decorative Backgrounds  For Needlepoint; Self Published; 1992. Woven Stitch from Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson; Stitches for Effect; Self Published; 1996. As soon as I get the background and I’m going to cover the green carrot tops, I am going to baste the carrot tops placement on the background for later stitching.

Hope everyone stays warm and has time to stitch everyday. ttfn…sue