Thursday, July 26, 2012

Around the World Part 3

Here is my Part 3 progress. After cross-stitching the outline I began the central diamond. First I completed the Satin Stitch "X" in the middle, then the four Buttonhole Wheels, then the Ukrainian whitework Faggoting around the diamond's edge. It's interesting that my eye sees the holes made in the pulled stitches and not the stitches themselves. Also, the bright pink stitching you see at the very top and bottom is Plaited Fly Stitch - and I did it wrong, so you'll see it quite different in the final photos.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Some of my past work

Yesterday I decided to take photos of some of the work I've done in the past. I've always known that photographing completed needlework is challenging, but wow, it's a pain! I had reflection problems, lighting issues, getting a good angle, and all done by a dufus who does not know how to use a camera on anything but the automatic setting. I did get some so here they are.

This piece was from a workshop I took from Marilyn Vredevelt at a CATS seminar in Riverside.  Marilyn called this center technique "lacis." Basically, you make the secure edge with a very tight cross stitch and back stitch, cut every other two threads, and weave the design like filet lace. There is more to it than that, of course, but that's the basic technique. I made a GLARING flaw in it that I didn't know how to fix, but I still learned a lot.

This is called "Heaven and Earth" by Pat Thode of Heartstrings. It was originally designed for DMC flower thread but by the time I found the chart and kitted it up DMC had stopped making flower thread. What I love about DMC is how the same color goes across so many lines so I just used regular floss. This sampler has quite a number of specialty stitches in it.

I liked making the willows with the long dripping leaves!

 The Happiest Celebration on Earth by Stoney Creek. Getting this kit was a challenge. Stoney Creek made up these kits for Disney's 50th Anniversary celebration that were sold only through The Art of Disney and I'm only 30 minutes drive from Disneyland, so I called the 1-800 number and arranged to pick it up. Then I found it it was only sold through the Orlando store! That would have been some drive. My son Tim was going through a roller coaster/amusement park phase and was  very happy I stitched this up.

 I Corinthians 13 Sampler by My Big Toe. This is stitched over 2 threads on 32 count fabric and still is 15" x 24" in design. It used only 2 threads, a blue overdye and a raspberry overdye from Weeks Dye Works. I love, love, love the frame that Bob from Needles & Niceties gave me. It looks like those rosewood frames from the 19th century.

Hopefully you can see this, it's a little washed out. Remember my photography issues? Its from the Abecedarian and has the words "With this work remember me when this mortal body doth decay and lie wormy in the clay to remain until the Lord doth bid me come." Macabre in the midst of a tame little sampler. The letters are all eyelets with a variety of other stitches beside cross stitch. This was actually my to-go piece, the keep-in-the-car-to-stitch-during-your-kid's-gymnastic-or-piano-lessons-or-sports-practice-or-when-they-just-won't-come-out-of-the-freakin-school-and-GET-IN-THE-STUPID-CAR-SO-WE-CAN-GO-HOME piece.

There are more pieces around and eventually I'll get a photo up of some of them. In the meantime I'm still working on that gift. Of course I also signed up for another SAL in addition to the Around the World in 80 Stitches so I'm crazy. But it's a good crazy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cross Stitch Cupboard

I returned from Florida where I had a great time. A few days later, we headed for a week in San Diego where my timeshare-crazy husband had booked us a unit for the July 4th holiday. So between laundry loads, I am finally getting a chance to post. The picture quality isn't that great because all I had was my phone camera.

I visited a wonderful little shop in Fort Lauderdale called Cross Stitch Cupboard and had a really nice chat with the owner. She and some partners established the shop over 30 years ago as one of the first shops in the area to offer cross stitch supplies. The shop has expanded to offer a selection of non-needlework gift items such as Vera Bradley bags, different candles, and lots of nice quality home items. This is what you see when you enter the shop. Move to the back and you see this:

 Lots of needlework! The shop has a TON of models! The walls were covered with them  Turning the corner found you facing yet another display, like this seasonal display of July 4th pieces. The shop also has a fantastic selection of premade frames and a frame shop. In addition to the standard DMC and Anchor, they also carried a pretty good selection of specialty threads. The shop specializes in cross stitch but does have a few needlework canvases available. They carry a lot of hoops, just a very few stretcher bars, and no q-snaps that I could find. They had a Rocky Giraffe floor stand for sale and a LOT of "stitcher toys," the little items that make stitching more fun. The shop looks really crowded in the photos but it was clean and well organized.

The owner was concerned that this would be an ugly photo, but I wanted you to see the 26, yes 26 spinner racks stuffed with charts. Most of the slots in the racks contained at least two different designs, with many of them older designs. This may be the most charts I've ever seen in a single place. If you are looking for an older chart, you might want to give the shop a call.  Among other items, they had 22 copies of the highly sought after Angel of Cross Stitch. More spinner racks of charts and small kits were scattered around the shop.

One fun thing the shop was doing while I was there was a contest. Customers brought in pieces that were separated into categories, given a number, and hung on the wall. For a few weeks, anyone who came in and spent $2.95 or more on needlework items could vote for their favorite in each category and the best overall piece.  Here's a photo of the "medium" and "large" items. See the fabric in the bookcase? That is only a portion of the precut fabric they have available. Rolls of fabric were on more shelves and in the corner.

Here are the "extra-large" pieces. They are all the Heaven and Earth/Kustom Kraft/Mystic Stitch type of project.Charts for most of the contest pieces included these massive projects was on yet another spinner rack nearby. See the peacocks on the left? Yup, got the chart!

I remembered visiting a few years ago and am so glad that it is just as wonderful as I remembered. The staff was friendly and very helpful. While the shop might be overwhelming for a new stitcher, they have a broad selection of beginner level items. Because of the gift shop area in front, you can bring non-stitchy friends too, though this is NOT a shop for children. It's a little far to come from Orlando (which has it's own great shop called the Black Sheep) but is an easy drive from the Miami area/ Cross Stitch Cupboard is located at 1600 Northeast 26 Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33305, phone (800)572-4153.