Melisssa Shirley “Wicked”

Promised we would add some needlepoint in here…and then I got behind last week and of course the blog is the first to go. I really wish I could write ahead and have several posts ready to go. I’ve just never been very good at that; maybe I’ll try again.

Most of my stitching is either a geometric counted pieces or I am designing my own original pieces so a painted canvas with a stitch guide is a rarity for me until this past year. This past year I have done at least three or four with stitch guides and several even had thread kits. BUT not one of them is stitched exactly like the stitch guide was written; sometimes I wasn’t happy with the chosen thread and other times I chose a different stitch. But I did read every stitch guide before I started stitching and if there was a thread or stitch I was unfamiliar with I either tried it on the edge of the canvas or on a doodle canvas I keep handy.

I go in spurts doing painted canvases and most of the painted canvases I have stitched never had a stitch guide so I was on my own. Stitch guides are a relatively new thing on the needlepoint market, they have become a big thing in the last several years. I have mixed feelings about stitch guides. I think they are great as a guide, but please remember these stitch guides are not written in stone. If you don’t like a certain thread or stitch, then don’t make yourself miserable trying to use it or stitch it…change it. Needlepoint is supposed to be fun and THERE ARE NO NEEDLEPOINT POLICE (unless you enter a piece to be judged and then that’s a different story.) So be sure if you are buying a canvas with stitch guide and threads, be sure and look over the stitch guide first for threads you might want to substitute before purchasing all the threads. When you get home read the stitch guide and if there is a stitch you just fight all the time, then start to think of what you might stitch in its place.

So if possible, you might wait to purchase the threads for the canvas later. Live with the canvas a while, read the stitch guide and check you stash for threads or threads you can easily substitute…i.e. Neon Rays for Ribbon Floss, one brand of silk for another (be sure to adjust ply and make sure color is very, very close. ) Also if there is a thread you do not enjoy stitching with, you probably have already thought of and used a substitute thread, so just see if it comes in the color you need for this project. You can also use partial skeins sometimes if the area you are stitching doesn’t call for multiple cards or skeins.

I always try and remember to take pictures of unstitched canvas before I start stitching; but sometimes I forget and I only remember when I get to a place where I want to cover the painted canvas and stitch later…but I usually get a picture before I stitch too much stitching is completed. I take pictures of my unpainted canvas one of two ways and sometimes both: The difference, you ask?

I use the copy machine, especially if there is an area I am going to use felt padding or need a pattern to make an applique. I use the copy machine when I want an exact copy of the design ..or almost exact copy.  Copy machines do reduce your image about 1-2%, but it is usually not negligible, and a copy machine picture is much better than trying to get a photo to resize to the correct size.

I use my phone or PHD (push here dummy) camera if I just need a picture to take notes about the canvas. I use this method when there is not a stitch guide and I want to make notes about the threads and stitches I use. With my camera image I can reduce or enlarge areas to suit my needs, but I still find the copy machine best if you are making a pattern of an area.

After I have an image(s) of the canvas I read the stitch guide. You bought a stitch guide, it is written, and you might as well read it. I also keep the canvas handy so I can refer to the areas as I read. I sometimes make notes on the image I have printed if I may want to change something or if there is something I want to look at or do before I stitch an area.

So let’s talk about one project I did last year, Wicked. This is a Melissa Shirley canvas (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/galsearch/index.cgi?index=1382044750_26409&col=)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and I had a stitch guide and threads. I will tell you I did not always follow the stitch guide and there were a couple threads I did not use. The stitch guide was a guide for me and a few places I did change or modify instructions. Wicked was a gift to me and it came with canvas, stitch guide, threads and embellishments, so I just checked my stash to use up any partial threads I might have and I did substitute two thread choices, but I didn’t do it until I was stitching the area and the suggested thread was just not working for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made notes on pages I had printed out for each letter as I read the stitch guide and then as I stitched each letter I also made notes on these same sheets.  My first change was to stitch the letters in Nobuko instead of Basketweave. I just wasn’t in a Basketweave mood and I really thought Basketweave would cause the letters to recede and I wanted them to be on top of the background. And by stitching them first, it gave me a place to turn rows of the darning background around with less difficulty and also to begin and end threads if I couldn’t get to an edge.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was happy to read that I was suppose to stitch the background as one of the first elements of the project; backgrounds can be long and boring, especially after you stitch all the fun stuff. I decided to center the background darning pattern in each section; you can see my centering marks on the canvas. I also tried to begin and end threads for the background at the edges of the canvas using an “L” or “U” stitch. I could also begin and end threads in the letters where I stitched Nobuko. I used the Nobuko also to turn a row and keep background darning pattern thread in line.  Sometimes where I knew I would be padding the canvas with felt or thread I could also make a turning stitch, but I tried to keep this to a minimum. Sometimes I had to do a small tuck stitch or carry the thread up further than2017-05-01 beg & end I might have liked.

It seemed like it took me forever to get the background and letters stitched and I do think it took me about a month. But them each letter was fun to embellish and I worked them from W to D.  I’ll tell you the few things I waited until the very last to do as I tell you about the letters. I did not stitch the details of each letter until I had the letters and background complete, but I didn’t take pictures either so you’ll have to bear with me on this one.

And this is about all I can write today…I think I am well over my 55 minute sitting time.

So I will get up and walk and maybe I can get back to this and be a few posts ahead.

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

ttfn…sue

Advertisements

A 2fer: Raymond Crawford Acorn piece and local guide needs help

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just finished Raymond Crawford’s Acorn piece it was fun to stitch. I had a slow start with it but then all of a sudden the stitches and threads just spoke to me and I was off and stitching,  I felt padded the lower part of the acorns and stitch padded the tops. I really like the curly things and I thought it was fun to experiment doing Shaped Crescent stitches. I got my inspiration for these stitches from Jean Hilton’s book, Stimulating Stitches. I think you can still get it from Stitcher’s Paradise (http://www.stitchers-paradise.com/index.htm). I think the hardest things on the piece were the green border areas and that was because I used Rainbow Gallery Neon Rays and laid both front and back…pain in the backside but oh so beautiful. Now it off to the finisher and then I’ll post a picture even though it is next years fall decoration.

I sent a copy of the stitch guide to Raymond and was thrilled that he posted a picture on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raymond-Crawford-Designs/190891389362) .

But now it is back to reality…my desk is a mess and I did something I don’t ever think I’ve done before….I sent a designer back her finished instructions and they were not completed. She had given me another design to do and I went for it; just completely blocked out the fact that the other was not finished. I hope to finish this new one today and send it to her and get the other to complete.

And yes I am still working on My Value of Gray book. Since it is technically a color/design book there is more than just stitching to this, but I wanted some stitching to be included because I think stitchers like stitching…I know I do. I’ve been trying to keep the projects small so anyone wanting to try these could have ornaments or small projects to just take along.

13-10-30 elephant parts 1And before I forget this too…a lovely lady, Norma Gamble from my local guild downsized her stash and trust me it was a substantial down-size and I’m sure she still has plenty to keep her fingers busy. Anyway in this stash reduction were about 5 to 6 good sized canvases for a 3 dimensional piece. Our local finisher, Pat concluded that she thought this was a 3D circus elephant but we are not sure who painted it; it’s only 13-10-30 elephant parts 2identifying mark is the 309 on one of the canvases. The GKCNG has decided to use it as one of our philanthropic projects. We will stitch it, finish it, have a case made to donate as an art display piece to either to a local Ronald McDonald home or one of the two children’s hospitals here. The guild would like to know the designer and maybe there is a picture available for finishing…Does anyone recognize any of these 13-10-30 elephant parts 3pieces and if so who do you think was the designer. The GKCNG thanks you for your assistance.

And now I need to straighten up my desk before it swallows me up computer and all.

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

IFTG: It’s Friday, thank God

I think that phase is suppose to be TGIF ( Thank God it is Friday) but mine means where has the week gone. Have no pictures to share with you, unless you would like me to take one of my messy desk; I don’t ever seem to be able to keep this clear very often.

I’ve done stitches for a new stitch guide for a teacher/designer and I have tweaked a couple others that needed tweaking. Yes teachers/designers do correct their instructions…well at least the few I do stitch graphs for do. BUT, remember some designer/teachers print in large quantities to get a printing discount and so it may take a few classes to see those changes.

I am getting close to printing one of those projects and I have had a guild and 6 people check over the project and I know there are still going to be mistakes. We all read what we want to read or what we think is there. Sometimes errors are small a two for a to, a miss numbering, or just a typo no one sees until you get the final project.  Even with “spell and grammar checker” there are mistakes…please be patient with us… we try to get it right.

That said…I think if you move an incorrect instruction or stitch diagram (numbering is wrong or stitch placement is incorrect) from one teaching piece to another without correcting is not fair to the student/ purchaser.  I do know this happens AND it is my pet peeve. (I know I am too close to this too)

Okay, this was just going to be “I’m sorry I don’t have more to say” post for the week not a soapbox stand.  So, after I post this I’m off to First Fridays at the antique shops in the west bottoms (http://www.westbottoms.com/) for inspiration and finds I can’t live without. 

I have stitched this week and maybe next week will show this project…

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

ttfn…sue

Bunny one, bunny two

I finished the Bunny with the basket of tulips and carrots over the week end. I stitched it just like I said I was going to do last week. Started with the carrots, did the leaves second and then the tulips. I first stitched each tulip with a diagonal mosaic stitch and then placed the padding over the areas. All the tulip petals and padding were cut from the same pattern. I secured the padding and then was going to blind stitch the felt tulip petals onto the canvas. Lucky I started with the pink one…remember I said the felt was poor quality…the invisible stitching was not holding and so I reverted to an improvised decorative stitch using clear thread. If I had known I was going to use a decorative stitch on the petals I would have made sure the thread I used for the centers was available in DMC #12 or 8 perle and then used the #12 or 8 perle to stitch the petals. But this worked out and I didn’t have to frog stitch. Then I did the leaves, followed by the veins on leaves, the stems and the carot tops. Finally I stitched the basket and viola! he is completed.

Bunny with Basket will head for the finisher tomorrow. Hope they can finish him in a thick (3 inch or more) box pillow. He will need a piece of black lining behind the piece since the background stitched with an open background. I had fun stitching this piece and it turned out as I pictured it; hope the finisher will finish like I see it too.

I also make a stitch record for the pieces I stitch and if it will fit on a page front and back I also try to diagram the stitches. This way I have a record of what I do. Should I every have to claim a piece for insurances purposes (Heaven forbid) I have a list of the supplies. And should I want to replicate the piece I also have a record of the stitches and threads I used. If you want to see how I keep records here are two PDF files of this piece: Stitch guide side a  and Stitch guide side B

I usually try and contact the designer of the painted canvas I am using on my blog to get permission to use. Painted canvases are copyrighted designs; but in the case of the Bunny with the basket of tulips and carrots I understand from my local shop both these ladies no longer paint canvases. This is too bad because if I remember correctly they had some really cute canvases and most were painted on larger mesh sizes.

I finished the bunny Saturday but was gone all day to a guild stitch-in (aka to DH as Stitch & _itch.) and yesterday of course was Super Bowl. Didn’t care who won the game just cared that it was a good game and not one sided. It was a good game and the “Darth Vader” commercial was too cute. My two young grandsons are into Star Wars right now so they loved it. One said to the other… “Did you see that kid, he levitated his dad’s car.”

I did manage to start a new bunny. This one is another old one of mine but I did contact Brenda Stofft (http://www.brendastofftdesigns.com/) and she gave permission to use on my blog. Brenda also said she has this canvas in her line but the bunny is now painted brown & white but will paint as black and white if requested. My bunny has the number A 113 on it and is two pieces (bunny and ears). I have started him and will blog more this week about the stitches and threads I’m using.

I just looked out my window and the sun in shining (looks like it could be warm…) NOT because there are white flakes falling and glistening in the sunlight. Yes, it is snow flurries…tomorrow expecting 2-4 inches as of noon weather report. I have enough snow on the ground …this is getting old and cold!

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

Keeping track of needlepoint

 Since I am having a spell of Frog Stitching, I decided to set aside and compute instead. I know that the way my week is going this may be risky, but I need to feel productive.

 Back in April…see I’m on top of things…I prefer to think of it as digesting, processing and implementing important information. Anyway Cyn Stitches of Windy Meadow wrote about how she keeps track of her needlepoint (http://cyns-stitches.blogspot.com/2009/04/journalling-needlework-april-9-2009.html) .

I have kept track of some of my needlepoint and am trying to be better about it since I ask my teachers and designers to please write down what they stitch as they are stitching it. It makes it so much easier to remember when you want to write the instructions or stitch guide. I keep a notepad next to my stitching area and try and remember to write down all important info. But like the Cobbler’s children I don’t always practice what I preach.

 This week I have been trying to update my stitching notebook. I have several types of entries.

Some of the older entries only have basic information: I do try to include designer/teacher if it is a painted canvas, kit, or class. 2006 perfume bottles

Others have more: I like to always have a picture of the finished product and an up close photo if needed. I am trying to include area of stitching, stitch used, thread (name, color & number), and number of stands/ply used.

BWard

And some even have a stitch guide.

Inchy-House       

I prefer the last two stitch guides but I don’t always do this, but I am trying to be an example to myself and others.

 These are just some of the ways Iam trying to  keep track of my stitching. How do you keep track of your stitching?

ttfn…sue