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=)
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.
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.
I 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 than 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.