Sky and Cloud

Oh what a week end, hot,  rain and stitching. Wish I could say the only cloud in the sky was on this piece of needlepoint, but it wasn’t. Really been a strange summer, not too hot (good thing) but way too much of the wet stuff (not good for the crops and fresh produce we all love to eat.)  But,  I managed to stitch away the week-end…(although I probably should have spent some time on this computer…I have so many half started projects that it would probably take me the rest of the year to just put a dent in these projects. Anna Stradal (blog: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) of ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) calls it “Creative avoidance”, but that is another post for another day.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Clouds: Smyrna Cross

I decided to do the cloud in a traditional Smyrna Cross using #12 White perle Cotton. I wanted the clouds to have a little puff but not enough that the butterfly would sink into the cloud.

The sky is easy. I had seen this stitch somewhere and though it would make a great sky or background (sorry I do not remember where)  I also knew I could use it without much

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sky 

compensation (although I think I forgot and did compensate in a few places (BUT if you are close enough to see these, you are too close to the needlework…please back away.) I have to finish the sky and especially around the butterfly. So I think I’ll stitch behind the kids first and then I won’t be tempted to stop and play with couching on the butterfly.

2015-07-23 MS JapButterfly  sky

Hopefully by the end of the week I can have this piece ready to be blocked. And next week is when I hide out at my niece’s house…my big job is to let the dogs out three times a day and watch the wildlife in her back yard.  I spend the rest of my time watching old movies and stitching…no work just relax and watch the wildlife and dogs.

And I have several other pieces in the works I want to get to stitch this summer too, so I am taking one of these with me.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

More of the Butterfly

Had to take a small break to finish some instructions for a teacher but now I am back to stitching  along.  I decided a few things about the butterfly:

2015-07-17 MS Butterfly unstitchedI am doing the same stitch throughout. Nobuko and I would compensate as needed. The aqua and red dots will be Rhodes stitches to fit area. Butterfly body is going to be Gobelins, his topknot will be couched gold, and the antennas will be left for couching too (Rhodes stitches for the ends of antennas too).

Color choices are dark values for back wing and light values for front wing. These are also the colors used in the kids clothes.

I also decided to take a close up picture and I would later go back and couch the gold and red outlines. Then I realized I will have to stitch the cloud and sky before I couch the butterfly.

Since this is going to be a HOT week-end (I think summer has finally arrived in the Midwest USA…but gratefully it has stopped raining); it will be a great week-end to stitch.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Why do you stitch canvases?

When you buy a canvas do you think what the finished product will be? You should but few of us do. We are impulse buyers and this is good for shop owners but not always wise for us. There is just so much wall space that pictures can occupy. And even though I love my dog to bits, I do not like her using my needlework pillows as her lounging chair. And when are stand-ups & ornaments too many, not to mention where you store them all? So next time you go to buy that canvas, please think about the finished product; what will it be, where will it go, where will you store it if you need to do this and who will get it (if it is a gift)? All good questions and if you can’t answer them, then you might think about another canvas…because we all know that we have to purchase a canvas to maintain our mental stability. And visiting a shrink is more expensive and it will take you too long to get an appointment, so find a canvas you can see finished (someday), you can live with and then by all means… purchase it.

Do you ever buy previously owned canvas? Sometimes these canvases come with threads and stitch guides too. They can be from Susie Stitcher who is no longer as excited to stitch the canvas as she was when she purchased it; it can be from a guide member who is downsizing; or an estate sale of a former member. While I have purchased a canvas or two (less than 6) from an online auction company; I like to buy directly from the original owner, I like the connection to the stitcher.  I prefer to purchase something from a guide member at an estate sale for a couple reasons: 1. It gives that person a portion of her investment back or 2. It reminds me of that guild member who is no longer with us.

I have several of these and each time I stitch one I remember this lovely stitcher and how much I enjoy(ed) her company. This is one of those canvases, and when I got it out to stitch it I wondered how she had meant to finish it. I’m guessing a picture, but I do not know for sure. I asked on Facebook: Needlepoint Nation Group how I should finish this piece (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeedlepointNation/search/?query=sue%20dulle) and received many responses: bolster pillow, box, black lacquer box, top for a new stitching bag; basket band, top of a chair back, door draft stopper, hat band, eyeglass case, table runner, top of a mirror, tray insert, coat rack inset and a stand up. At first I thought I would learn to make a box, then I thought top of a tote bag or a bolster pillow, but after stitching on it I’m not sure.

The canvas is an older canvas from Melissa Shirley Designs. I think it has been retired; but when I contacted Melissa Shirley Designs (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/)for permission to use photos, she had some great advice for those of us looking for an older canvas. She suggested you contact your local shop and have them check with the designer; they sometimes have a back stock or will be willing to paint a special order. There were at least two others if memory serves me well; one was with a fish and the other I do not 2015-07-06 Barbara pictremember. Thank you Barbara Cohen for sharing one of the other pieces that are in this series. The piece is lovely and I do like the framing too. .  Does anyone remember the other design canvases in this series? Maybe I should check and see if the others in this series are still available… Oh my gosh, I am enabling myself!

This canvas I purchased from a guild members estate was kitted with silks and so I decided to use these…there were some stitch suggestions from the shop that chose the threads but I decided to wing it on my own. First I took a picture of the unstitched canvas. I always try to do this as a reference to the canvas; I print this as a reference only. AND I do not keep them 2015-07-06 MS JB unstitchedafter I am finished stitching and shred these pictures as they are not my designs.

I try to remember to ask permission of the designer to use pictures of the design in my blog too. I’m not always good at this; I guess I think all of you who needlepoint and read my blog are honest. I did contact Melissa Shirley Designs and obtained permission for two of her canvases. And then feeling guilty, I contacted some other designers I plan on stitching and received their permission too.

I Basketweaved all the children’s skin and most of their outfits; the exceptions were the small decorative stitches and they were either Reverse Basketweave, Cross over 2 threads one direction, Cross stitch over 1…whatever fit the area. Their backpacks or ribbons were mostly Diagonal Goblins to fit. I decided to have some fun with the hair and so three of the children have padded, hair, I think they call this Shimada hairstyle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimada_(hairstyle)]. The second child from the left just had wild hair… Random Straight stitches; while the second child from the right had a more controlled hairdo using Straight stitches in a more controlled method.

2015-07-06 MS-JB shoesThe shoes of the children were a combination of Cross stitches to fit; the heels and straps were Elongated Cross stitches to fit.2015-07-06 MS JB feet & grass

I spent 2015-07-06 bookan evening perusing for a grass stitch I liked. I chose #Grass 27 from Stitch Landscape from Little Shoppe Canvas Company (http://littleshoppecanvascompany.com/books); your local shop should be able to get this helpful little book for you.

Next I am going to stitch the butterfly…and then the background.

I still am undecided about how to finish this but maybe it will come to me as I stitch.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! Enjoy the rest of your summer…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Who would you like to stitch with?

Last week or maybe two weeks ago, Jane at Chilly Hollow posted this link: http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-profile-of-brigid-berlin-straight.html.

… What a fascinating lady…wouldn’t it be fun to have a stitch-in with her for the day. My favorite quote is: “…I don’t want one of anything. I don’t know what the word ‘one’ means.”  Brigid Berlin

I relate to this but don’t we all!

It got me to thinking, who would you like have over for a stitch-in (living or dead) and why? Barbara Bush? Cameron Diaz ? Julia Roberts? Drew Barrymore? Mary Tyler Moore? Loretta Swit? Kaffe Fasset? Rosie Greer? Julie Eisenhower? Mary, Queen of Scots?  Marie Antoinette? Queen Elizabeth I?  Martha Washington? Grace Kelly? Betty Ford? Erica Wilson? Mary Martin? Ann B. Davis (Alice the housekeeper on The Brady Bunch? Janet Leigh? Joan Rivers? Or just the friends down the street?

Notice that many on this list are no longer with us and that is what will happen to our art if we do not share it with others. I know that it is not an inexpensive art…but you can keep the costs low by using floss and perle cotton. Do you think your friend, daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, niece or nephew will care if you use cotton floss or silk? You can buy small frames or make one out of foam core…or just stitch it in your hand.

Do you have a piece of needlepoint that you can carry around and stitch while waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting for an airplane flight, on an airplane flight, watching a game (kids, grandkids or professional). Instead of reaching for the phone to access the internet, try reaching for a small needlepoint piece. People will ask you what you are doing. Educate them.

basketweave sd2014Offer to teach someone to needlepoint. I am including a basketweave documents that you can print and share with a new needlepointer (If you would like a PDF version just email me (email address to the right). Please teach someone to basketweave, because when they do become addicted (and most will) they will want to take those fabulous classes that use those fabulous threads and stitches. BUT the basketweave handout O&Uteacher teaching the class will assume that the students know how to basketweave.

Think of basketweave as the foundation of the needlepoint house you are building…with a good foundation a needlepoint will stand for years. I always think of basketweave as learning to walk before you can run.

It fall in the Midwest and beautiful and still baseball season, Go Royals (stitching my second baseball and will probably start third and maybe forth before “The Boys in Blue” win the World Series.)  I hope you are enjoying the season no matter where you are, but think seriously about teaching someone to needlepoint.

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

Roll up finishing has begun

My fingers hurt…first I pulled needlework then I stuck myself with pins and needles…I know two thing for sure:

#1. I will never be a professional finisher! I will be able to talk somewhat intelligently about it but I will not get better with practice. I do not enjoy it that much and I am a true believer of if you do it you should enjoy it. But I will have the feeling of accomplishment when summer is over; I will have Christmas ornaments for sons and grandchildren, and I get to share all my stuff at a guild meeting, an added bonus.

#2. I will never be a junkie that requires sharp objects….I knew there was a reason we use blunt needles!
14-07-16 RU-a TG trimBUT, I am progressing nicely…I have eight roll-ups I am finishing…so you may see different roll-ups for different stages. I am doing all the roll-up at the same
time so when I cut the canvas to within 1/2 inch of stitching, I cut all of them. My problem seems to be I can’t remember to take a picture of the same needlepoint.

14-07-16 RU-b TG fold & pinThen with my fabric creaser (saves the fingers and the nails) I mitered all the corners and then I turned the sides in and pined all.

Then the stitching began…I used a long (about the only good thing I can say is 18 inches is NOT the required length of thread for finishing), as long a thread as you can comfortably manage is a good length…and I have long arms. I used regular sewing thread that I doubled in the needle and ran several times through beeswax.

14-07-16 RU-e beeswaxBeeswax may be purchased at the notions counter of your local sewing center, You can purchase either just the beeswax or beeswax in a cute little holder. I have both, not because I needed a cute little container but because since I am a stitching collector, I needed one. I usual thread and knot (yes knots are acceptable in finishing) the doubled thread and then run it through the beeswax a couple times. I think beeswax keeps the thread from tangling as much and it adds strength to the thread.

14-07-16 RU-c sew sidesI start stitching in the middle of one side, using a running stitch to secure the turn back to the backside of the stitching. A running stitch catches a few of the needlework stitches, then comes up through the unstitched border, see picture.  I make sure I do 14-07-16 RU-d sew miternot go through to the front and only catch a few threads. I did not do this but you could cut a lightweight piece of pelon or muslin (white or natural) to fit the design area and then turned and pinned the extra canvas to the muslin; tacking stitches will then be secured to the muslin. I will do this to ornaments that have open stitching and need lining later. It is a good idea to line pieces with muslin if you are afraid you will disturb stitching on the front.

I stitch to a corner and then secure the corner together, making sure I have a flat turned corner and then continue around the roll-up securing the mitered corners as I go. End this thread.

14-07-16 RU-f rollup pinNext came the pining of the roll-ups. Ouch, I stuck myself several times…Okay I am klutzy but I don’t do this often. After I got them all pinned then with another waxed double thread to match the stitching (i.e. black for black; but if the design is mufti colored just picked a color that blended…if this stitch is done correctly you won’t see it anyway.) I probably used white for both of these.

I stitched the roll ups from the top down. There should have been no problem with one side being longer than another but should that problem arise make sure the top and bottom are even and then the excess should be fudged in the lower half of the design. If you are more than three or four threads off you may want to figure out why.

I just had a friend who forgot to put the border around one piece of a purse and this didn’t get noticed until the finisher was ready to put the purse together. Lucky, the finisher had left about 5/8 inch canvas around the piece because my friend has three rows of stitching to put around the piece. Opps…

14-07-16 RU-e beeswaxWith a waxed double thread (does not have to be that long, but long enough not to run out; I stitch the sides together with  a Ladder Stitch (because that is what the lady who taught me called it). I have also heard it called the Hidden 14-07-16 RU-g ladder stitch graphicApplique Stitch. I catch 2 or three canvas threads on one side and then 2-3 canvas 14-07-16 RU-g stitchthreads on the other side. About every 4-6 stitches I give the thread an extra tug to pull the sides and thread tightly together. I use this stitch to stitch the ends on also and anytime I am stitching a piece of needlework together or to a backing.

14-07-16 RU-h spoolBefore I go this time want to share this little tip I learned at the sewing store last week…If you have thread spools that still have that little cut in one side to secure the thread, mark the slit with a waterproof pen and you won’t be looking for it. I know the new spools have Kreinik type secure spools and I love them but I have old spools and some of the store brand threads have not gotten the updated spools.

After I get all these stitched up I’ll start the tops and bottoms and stuffing.

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

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 & Me: More Flowers

I can hardly wait for the REAL flowers to bloom. I know they bloom quicker and with more ease than this border has blossomed! Yes, you can hear I am a wee bit frustrated but I think I have the hybrid in the pot now. It took me the better part of the week-end to get these flowers to the place I want them but I think I have it now and all that’s left to do is stitch them. 14-03-26 Mom&Me Mst flower centerIf you notice in the center diagram all the stitches are over 4 threads. And most of the purple threads (purple lines) are stepped 2 threads up or down. The exception are the red parallel boxes where I made a mistake on the far outer purple stitch on the top left and only stepped up 1 thread so on the right I did the same (that makes it not a mistake but a planned stitch 😉 ) Then when I stitched the dk purple stitches (black lines) I decided that stepping up or down by one should be continued (this is called artistic planned mistakes) and so all the red parallel boxes are only stepped up or down 1 thread. I also do not straight stitches over a single thread and so the red ovals are stitches I make 1 thread longer over 5 threads (an artistic planned moment). 14-03-26 M&Mst flower all

I had thought the couter stitches should be over 2 but then decided that over four would be quicker. NOT, I tried stitching them over 4 threads and did not like …so-o-o-o I frog stitched them and went back to the over 2 threads. I liked this better and so after I stitched the left side I computed the stitches and then stitched the right side. Sould not listen to that left brain while designing! The black ovals are the compensating stitches I made to avoid the dreaded over 1 compensating stitch.

If my sample is any indication and I make no other creative stitches I think the flowers are 14-03-26 M&Mst flower 2going to work. I have started at the center and am stitching one flower and then I will work either to right or left and the far outside flowers will fall where they may…I think if my counting is correct and I have no creative moments I could be very close to having half flower units on either side…

14-03-26 M&M tulips allThank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day! ttfn…sue