Friday, February 17, 2017

And They Sinned by Examplar Dames

It's raining here in Southern California, one of those hard end-of-drought storms that part of the drought/fire/flood cycle here, so sitting in my recliner listening to the rain while I stitch is the definition of cozy.

I finished Sampler au Bouquet by Jardin Privé.
I found a paper maché barrel, painted and varnished it, stitched a line of eyelets on each end of the sampler, and laced it on with pearl cotton. I like the way it turned out!
A few weeks ago I started stitching on And They Sinned by Examplar Dames. I'm stitching it on Flax Fields 36-count linen with the recommended Gentle Art Sampler Threads. Here's what I've done so far. I'm really enjoying this!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Progress on Sampler Au Bouquet

 Sampler au Bouquet by Jardin Privé is being stitched by a group on Facebook. It's officially part of my rotation along with the Butterfly, but I'm liking this so much that I'm pretty much just stitching this. So much for a rotation plan.

January 23
February 12

I have a start on the alphabet on the right side and those lovely dark pink flowers. Another stitcher on the SAL is doing her piece on hardanger and the colors really pop much more than on my linen.

I got interested in this project because of two finishing photos that people found on the web. They are both so pretty. Remember, click on a photo to see it larger. It's so fun seeing different finishing techniques. It really comes down to using a handle.

 This finished piece is from

So pretty, so pretty. Imagine this with a glass handle, or even a big 'ole glass doorknob kind of thing.

This is really great, too. More stitching for the lid, but a beautifully done piece. Like a shaker box done just right.

Back to stitching!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Butterfly Band 1 and setup

I am trying to do some posting using an app on my iPad, and I've just discovered that it does NOT do well with photos, so sometimes my posts are a bit awkward-looking. Oh well.

I have finished my band 1 on my Butterfly, also known as the Heritage Sampler Club from Nordic Needle.

 It's really pretty! I've photographed it against a black background so that you can see that I've done a pretty good job of not carrying threads. And that little hanging thing from the leaf on the left branch is a butterfly chrysalis. Click on the photo to make the photo bigger.

 Here it is photographed against a white background. When I was nearly finished with the right branch, I realized that both sides didn't match and I couldn't find the mistake. I ended up ripping out that entire side, basting along both sides for reference, and then stitching the right side NOT from the chart but by mirroring the left side. It turned out that there were two problems. I had made an error, but the chart for the right side also has an extra backstitch on one of the stems, essentially doubling my error.

Here is a picture of that coral knot edging on the butterfly. First the outline is backstitched and then restitched with a series of knots for extra texture. It is these little extras that give needlework dimension. Because of the twist in the thread, I had a terrible time working out of the body toward the right or clockwise. I just couldn't avoid bad knots. I found that working counter-clockwise was much better.

I also realized that I didn't talk about my setup for this project.

First, I chose a roller frame because, unlike stretcher bars, I only have a small section of the project to deal with at any time. I usually don't bother to lace the fabric to the sides but Linda Driskell tells you to do so. When doing pulled thread work, keeping the fabric under both vertical and horizontal tension allows for a better, more consistent pull of your stitching thread and better control of the fabric thread distortion, which is how you get that pretty lace appearance on the butterfly.

 First Linda had me run a basting stitch down the center of the fabric. This is a symmetrical design so having that center line will be really helpful. I then basted another line down a few inches to set the top of the design.

I then used the velcro attachment roller bars from American Dream Products because it is really fast and easy to get the fabric straight. I used pearl cotton to lace up the sides. I don't have drum-tight tension at all but it is an even tension in both directions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First Time in Rotation

I have decided to concentrate on the Heirloom Sampler Club aka Butterfly and the Sampler au Bouquet 2016 SAL. I started the SAL a few days early since I had a whole night waiting in the hospital for my daughter to have a beautiful baby boy, Aaron.

Anyway, on January 1st, this is what my Sampler au Bouquet looked like this:

Today it looks like this:

The designer has you stitch the initials of your name in a lighter pink. I like that! I only stitched a few hours but I got quite a bit done.

So I now have to switch over to the Butterfly for a bit. Here is what I have done so far:

The piece is mounted on a 16-inch scroll frame and laced up the sides to create a consistent tension on the fabric both side to side sad up and down. The butterfly is outlined with a back stitch and then highlighted with coral knots on the top. I like the effect and will try for a better photo later. This piece took a fair amount of time to set up but it will look really great when it's completed. 

Here is the project photo from Nirdic Needle. 
I should be completing the second band by now but you can see that I'm behind. That's why I've decided to commit to a rotation this year. I love, love, love to start new projects but then I start another one and then another one and the older ones that I still love disappear into the WIP pile. The first half of each month is for the Butterfly and the second half for the Sampler au Bouquet to stay on task. Let this be the year of completion!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What's the plan for 2016?

It's usually better to have a plan. Going by my stash, my plan is to stitch 24 hours per day for 365 days.

My stash is a big fat liar.

My sadly genuine plan is to start a formal rotation on the pieces I want to complete this year. So what would I like to finish?

Tanya Berlin's Hapsburg Lace Sampler
I'm working on this for my EGA project using Old Gold Valdani pearl cotton on black canvas.

Linda Driskell's 1994 sampler club
This is through Nordic Needle as Heirloom Sampler Club and so far it's pretty fun. I took one of Linda's last classes through the now-defunct CATS stitching seminars and she was a wonderful teacher.  I just received part 3 but I'm only about 1/2 way finished with part 1, so I've got to get hot on this.

Threedle's Cathedral
Holy smokes this is beautiful! I just acquired this chart and the colors and threads are amazing!

Marbek Nativity
Ive been working on this on and off for years. I've got the main portion of the bottom central panel nearly done. The challenge of this is actually the size. It's on a big scroll frame and it's awkward to stitch. It's best on that type of frame because I can't wash it, do it will be slow going but it is pretty.

Jardin Privé Sampler au Bouquet 2016 Facebook SAL
I am looking forward to this.

Classic White Runner Kit from Nordic Needle
I've been working on this, again, for a few years. It's not hard but I stitch on it then move to something else.

Beaded Christmas Ornaments

I found a beaded ornament pattern and want to make more. They are beautiful and easy, a relaxing break from other kinds of needlework.

I'm looking forward to a very good year.

Stockings 2015

Merry Christmas!

My kids came over for presents and dinner. Presents include a filled stocking. It's become part of becoming part of the family. I had Shane's stocking stitched last year but didn't get it finished until this past summer.. Here is a picture of all our stockings.
Jonathan and Shane's stockings are cross stitch and the others are felt except for mine from childhood. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kumihimo Fun

I went to the quilt show at the Pomona Fairgrounds recently and saw a booth, Kumihimo with Margo. I'm sure that every crafter in the world is shocked SHOCKED that I had purchased a project from this same business 18 months ago and had put it away, unstarted, in a drawer. I know, I'm the only one on Earth that's ever done this.

I'm so ashamed.

Anyway, kumihimo is a braiding technique that lets you create a cord from a minimum of 8 warps or individual threads up to, well, any multiple of 4 that will fit on your disk. The foam disks sold just about everywhere usually have 32 slots which easily fits 28 warps. Adjusting the pattern of warp colors let you create intricate braided cords. But why would you want to make your own braid? Well, we make twisted cord all the time for trimming pieces. A tightly-braided cord would be much more durable for something like a scissor fob or neck strap. It is an additional technique we can utilize to make our handwork genuinely hand-worked.

I had purchased a 16-warp bracelet set up from Margo's shop, consulted the three books I'd also purchased, and I finally got it started.
My disk set up with 16 warps

You can see the threads that were part of this project. The warps were already tied together when I bought them, but I think that they are a Rainbow Gallery threads, a red ribbon, a green ribbon, a gold metallic, and a silver metallic. The braid has a weight on the bottom to keep the tension consistent and works up really fast. The braid measured about 10 inches when finished and took maybe 1 1/2 hours to complete.  
Here is my braid with a skein of floss for size comparison.

Comparison for length.
I eagerly dove back into my kumihimo books for more information on what I could use to make a kumihimo braid. I kept seeing Rattail mentioned. Yes, genuine Rattail is a copyrighted product made in the USA from rayon while most of the big box stores carry a copy made from nylon made in China, but how different could it really be? I hurried down to Hobby Lobby and found some satin cord in the fabric department. I bought four colors to made an 8-warp braid for Halloween since the cords were so thick I really didn't want to work with 16 warps of this stuff.

All set up, ready to start my satin-cord braid.

 Look at the cover of this book. Aren't those lovely braids? Many of the braids in this book are made of satin cord using 8 warps. I knew that I would have a beautiful braid too.

I got something very different.

I did not get beautiful.

I got ugly. Really ugly.

This braid is about 18 inches long and big and thick. I mean dog leash thick. It turns out that that cheap whopper satin cord, at least what's sold in the Hobby Lobby trim department, is too big and rough for a really lovely cord.

Here are my first 2 cords next to each other. First, the spiral on the big 8-warp is there, just not well defined. Also, though it uses half the warps of the first braid, it's really big and thick. Not what I was thinking at all. You can even see the differences between the way the materials lay without being braided. Softer and smaller materials really did make a smaller, softer, and more elegant braid.

 So back I went to Hobby Lobby. I didn't want to spend much money on my braid since I wanted to make a simple braid to use for a Halloween necklace. I found some #3 crochet cotton on sale in a Halloween variegated color. I combined that with some #5 black pearl cotton, some #16 gold braid from Kreinik, and some 1/8" satin ribbon and made this braid. I played with the variegated aspect a bit and ended up with a fun cord.

Some end caps, a clasp, and a bat pendant and some beads and I have my custom-made Halloween necklace.
The variegated color smoothly changes around the cord. I did that on purpose.
All in all, I spent maybe two afternoons on all of this including shopping time, so it really is something you can learn and complete pretty quickly. I can't stitch in the car but I could easily do kumihimo. And of course I did an online search and found lots of patterns you can make by changing the colors and number of warps. Adding beads brings a new dimension to a project.