Shamrock Stitching

Since my last posting, I have been to the eye doctor and she told me my eyes are the same as last year and I am good for another year. That is good news since my eyes are as important to me for stitching and computing too.
I have been stitching in my spare time, of which sometimes I think I have precious little. But every day I try to do a little bit, it keeps my sanity.
I am working on several things, some are further along than others and some are still in the “mulling over in my mind” stage.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne is a small piece, shamrocks with a pink bow, my friend Joan Lewis painted for me several years ago. Joan and I worked together at Two the Point for years and now she has a website with many of her original designs (http://www.joansneedlepoint.com/index.htm ) She’s another one of the talented inspirations in my life.
13-01-25 wovenI started the background with one of my favorite stitches, the Woven or T-stitch (just depends on whose book you are using.) I like this stitch as a background stitch; it seems to recede and remain in the background when with a thread that is the same color and the size of the thread is smaller or equal to the canvas thread size. This stitch can be worked two ways: diagonally, which I prefer, but then I like any stitch that can be stitched diagonally…I think it helps reduce the distortion of the canvas, or the stitch may be executed in rows. Notice the pink and blue on the diagrams…these are the stitch on the back of the canvas and they influence the look of the stitch on the front of the canvas. The difference is not noticeable when using a thread that is the same or similar to the painted portion of the canvas or the canvas color. 13-01-25 woven 2Where it would make a difference is when the stitch is executed in rows and the thread is a contrasting color or even a different value of color; remember color effects color! The diagonal method of stitching seems to hide the back part of the thread behind the canvas threads more but a contrast of color or value change will affect the stitch appearance, but maybe not as dramatically as the row method of stitching.
I soon realized I was going to need a place other than the outside border to begin, end threads and turn for new row; so I stopped the Woven stitch and stitched the shamrocks.

13-01-25 rhodes variation shamrock 1Each shamrock petal is stitched in a Rhodes stitch adapted to fill the petal area. I first decided the outlines of each petal (segments) and the order to stitch (could determine which petal appears to be in front of another petal.) Notice that the petals diagramed here have double stitches (two stitches using the same space); not all petals will have these but some may. When I was deciding the order to stitch each petal, the only rule I made for myself was that the last stitch (top stitch) should be as close to the center stitch as possible. As I was diagraming this stitch I noticed a place where I could stitch differently (petal 1) or were I might need an extra stitch to fill the area (petal 2 & 3). The second diagram 13-01-25 rhodes variation shamrock 2shows how these would look if I made these changes (I didn’t think petal 2 would looked better or worse.) Each shamrock was stitched using this method and so no two shamrocks are alike ( oh just like nature).
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am also showing you the back of my canvas so you can see how I used the shamrocks as turn around and places to bury background thread. I have a friend who says that if you are close enough to her work to see her mistakes you are too close. And you should never look at the back of a stitchers work unless she offers to let you see it and never ever make a comment about the condition of the back…this stitcher has allowed you a glimpse into her most sacred self… Please be kind.

Now I am back to the contemplating and research stage again for the bow. I can visualize how I want the bow to look and I think I have seen this technique for the bow in one of Helen Stevens’ books I read last year and maybe an Inspirations magazine. Off to my library to look…

Never fear I have something else to stitch while I do this!

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

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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