Stich’n & Comput’n

For the past two weeks I have been frantically using my fingers to either stitch or write stitch guides; the tips of my fingers are screaming, “What is going on?”

It all started two weeks ago when I remembered I had a 1st Communion coming up for one of my Grandsons and I better get his gift because I wasn’t the only Grandmother looking for a gift.  I get these ideas in my head and then when I can’t find what I want I get frustrated; and that’s just what happened to me while I was shopping. I had decided to get him a statue of his name saint and couldn’t find one I liked. So I am now aimlessly walking around the store looking for something I do like. Finally decided to look for a card and that’s when inspiration struck.

14-05-08Comm pictI found four cards and one I decided would make a great needlepoint design and sure I could design and stitch it in a week. (My Guardian Angle must have been taking a short nap because it didn’t jump in to say, “REALLY????”…I am such an optimist sometimes. So I purchased 4 cards and a few other little things (the trip wasn’t a complete bust) and came home. Good thing my DH was driving because all the way home I was thinking about the design. And I could tell by the look on DH’s face, he thought I had lost my mind…I think if I had thought about it I would have too; but I had seen the cross immediately…so how hard could this be? By now my Guardian Angel was awake but so taken back she couldn’t so anything but keep those negative thoughts out of my head.

Once home I got out my trusty computer and scanned a copy of the card into the computer. I knew I wanted the design to be about 4 inches square. I had already decided that if I couldn’t find a frame to suit me I would make a stand up or an ornament; so I wanted the size to be smallish. 4 inches give or take would be a good size, that was 72 threads, give or take, on 18 count canvas..

First I did the lettering: Name, Church, date, 1st Communion. I have two go to alphabet books:

1. Rose Ann Hobbs; Designed Alphabets Book 1 (I have Book 1 and 2 and would love to find 2 and others she wrote)

2. B. Borssuck; 97 Needlepoint Alphabets

14-05-08Comm Step1 borderI used two alphabets: 9 high for upper case and 5 high for lower case. I played with the placement and once I got the lettering into place I knew how much design area I had to work with and if I was going to be able to fit the design inside lettering.

I had seen the stitches for the cross the minute I 14-05-08 Comm Step2 crosslooked at the card, it was just one of those fall into place moments (trust me this doesn’t happen often). So the next step was to see if the cross would fit and still leave room for the designs. So I plotted the cross.

Once the cross was in place I placed small pictures of the motifs in the spaces and started plotting stitches I 14-05-08Comm Step3 motifsthought I would use. This all came rather quickly and I did not second guess myself. My Guardian Angel was working overtime just keeping me on track; she already knew this design was divine inspiration and her job was to keep all negativity away from my thoughts.

Next step was to pull threads and I pulled way too many overdyes but I stepped OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback and pulled some go to DMC cotton solids too. I needed a Kreinik gold metallic that I had in various sizes. There was not time for a trip to needlepoint shop…and anyway we
only have one with a large variety of threads and it is OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby appointment. I could have called the owner and if she had what I needed she would have opened for me but I was already pushing the envelope and tried to find threads in my stash.  My thinking on the threads was I wanted to use threads that would wear well with young children…remember at this stage this design still had possibilities of becoming an ornament.

With threads pulled, canvas on stretcher bars, I sequestered myself in my stitching nest and started. Found in my haste I had made a couple spacing errors in the lettering but nothing that was going to throw the design out of line.  After the border was stitched I found the center of the remaining area and began the cross. The cross is my favorite part, I saw it from the minute I picked up the card and now it was stitching up just like I saw it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I got to the motifs…I had more inspiration. Why not try needleweaving for the challis…if it worked then I would needleweave the basket for the hosts too. My Guardian Angel by now was wide awake and pulling her hair out, how much could she do to keep this design on track? The challis worked out just fine and so I started the wheat. The wheat was stitched like the designed had planned but just wasn’t looking good but it would have to do for the moment. The hosts and basket were next and they too stitched up just as I hoped. The grapes I had seen as beads but at the last minute decided French Knots would be a better choice. Okay all the motifs are completed but the wheat has to be redone. It just looked awful and needed help. So I cut it out and went with a heavier thread and straight stitches instead of Lazy Daisy stitches. It looks much better and it is done..

All I can tell you is that it was divine inspiration and my guardian Angel was working overtime to keep me from second guessing myself…and to keep my fingers moving with needle and thread. I wish all my designing came this easy…

I found a frame and I have put the piece together and last Sunday one of my Grandsons received his own personal 1st Communion gift, a true gift from God. I blurred his name because I have a thing about kids names on the internet…especially little kids. Thank you God for this special project!

2014-05-08 GradThen in a misguided state of “You can do anything”, I decided to make a graduation needlepoint for his sister who is graduating from 8th grade this year. Border of course was easy…trusty alphabets. But that shamrock gave me a run for my needle. I had plotted it on the computer but for some reason was having more trouble with this design than the other; probably because I was second guessing myself. Then of course I did not have the right green ribbon for the cross, and none was to be found in town (I called) so I had to make an executive decision and I think I chose right. I had a multi green but I think it had too much blue; I like the gold better for the cross. But I persevered and this is her gift she will receive for graduation next week.

2014-05-08  Stitch guideAnd in-be-tween all this stitching I was writing stitch guides for pilot classes and the stitch guide for the 1st communion piece. And since I know this 1st Communion design was a gift from God (I on my own do not work this fast)…I want to share the design with everyone. If you email me: sudu@kc.rr.com, send me your email and I will happily send you a PDF of the design. I just ask that if you stitch the design you send me a picture.

All I can say is if the rest of my body worked out as much as my fingers have these past two weeks, I’d be in great shape. This week’s pace is a bit slower I have another pilot class to compute and always have something to stitch, but my fingers are not moving so fast.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day in May! ttfn…sue

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Back to Mom & Me

I finished stitching the flowers and leaves and filled in the green leaf areas. I used an overdye for the leaf area and stitched one area at a time. I thought I would go from side to side across the entire piece but I did not like the look and so I frog stitched it out and tried one area at a time. I tried to get each area alike but when I was finished I think the two left are similar and the two right are similar…oh well, it is stitched.

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Up close I am not impressed with the flower area but as you get some distance to the piece I do like the look and since I have a finishing idea in mind (more about this later) I think it will be fine. And anyway as my friend says, “If your close enough to my piece to see my mistakes; you are too close.” So if you are going to be this close to the piece you are too close.

After I finished the flowers I went back and filled in the bunnies and since I had the white thread out I got carried away and stitched the bunny tails in Turkey work. Mom’s tail has longer loops than baby bunny. I thought at first I would trim and brush Mom’s tail but I like the different lengths and think I will leave them both loopy. I probably should have waited until I finished the back ground but, oh well…

I have started the background and am using ThreadworX’s floss. I am puddling the stitches, I really like this technique for overdyes. Puddling keeps thread from developing a striped effect like you can get when you stitch horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The only thing I have found that I have to watch is making sure I don’t develop huge areas of one color. Some overdyes have a tendency to have larger areas of one color than another and if not careful you can develop large areas of one color. Helpful hint: cut out large areas of one color.

Last fall I showed you how to stitch the puddle method with a continuous uncut overdyed thread, like Watercolours (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/overdye-puddle-stitching/). With ThreadworX it is a slightly bit different because these threads are cut into given OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlengths of thread. When you open a skein of ThreadworX’s and lay it out there will be an “A” end and a  “B” end and it may appear the same as an overdye that has been cut from an uncut overdyed thread (like Watercolours). The difference is that ThreadworX’s threads are consistently similar where Watercolours may vary a bit as the skein is used because of the dying method.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch aWhen I puddle stitch I randomly pull ply and stitch. I do keep “A” ends together and “B” Ends together; if you don’t then you will get a blended effect and that is another way to stitch with overdyes. For my purposes in this design I am keeping the “A”  ends and “B”  ends together in the needle…BUT I am randomly deciding which ends (“A”  or “B” ) goes into the needle.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch cExample: With one strand of thread, using 2 ply in the needle to stitch, there are three stitching lengths in a thread  per strand: 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B (Oh I knew those math classes in school were for something…remember those teachers that said you would use these principles in life?). I divide these threads and place them in three needles 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B AND 2 ply B-A. (it could have been any combination…remember that math week on variables…this is an applied use and for all you math geeks out there…it is 5 choices.)  Then I pick a needle stitch with this needle, then I randomly pick another needle and last the final needle (and this variable greatly increases but I missed that day in math class.). I have no idea which is which (well I do but I don’t pay any attention and just stitch). I continue to do this throughout the piece. And I also vary the placement of the stitches so a pattern does not develop.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch bOkay, Math class is over and I need to get back to stitching the background. For this background I chose a four way continental stitched over 2 threads…I wanted an open background that would allow the painted background to interact with the thread. I didn’t want to lay every thread and so I borrowed a technique from Cross Stitcher’s, “Railroading.” Railroading is where you place the needle between two plies as you return the needle to the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback of the canvas. I have Cross Stitch friends who can do this with any amount of even plies (2-4-6) but I can only do it successfully with two ply and usually on longer stitches. You can see the technique in the picture.

Hopefully next week will have it finished and then need to decide if I am tackling the finishing or sending it to my trusty finisher…Part of me wants to learn to do this and another part of me says you traded that sewing machine for a laptop and stitching. How many of you tackle your own finishing?

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