Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
First, Linda recommended that beginners especially use a hoop with the fabric held loosely. Most teachers recommend no hoop (or stitching in-hand) but Linda felt it helped to have something to hold onto. Tension in the kloster blocks (the stitches that actually stabilize the piece) need to be medium, firm enough to keep the background fabric in place and to lay consistently flat but not to distort the background fabric too much. Then we talked about using a "magic needle" to open up the thread areas to be cut and about "snugging up" our scissors to get the closest cut without damaging the stitching thread. We talked about weaving bars and doves eyes and picots and filling stitches. It was a great class. It also turned out to be her last. She was leaving the business to take care of her ailing husband. Linda was an important national teacher in the areas of pulled and drawn thread work and she did some great designs that are still available.
|Spring designed by Lori Birmingham stitched by Ruth Plummer|
Ironically I never did finish Linda's class piece but I did feel more confident about hardanger. The next year I took a class from Lori Birmingham for this runner named "Spring."
And I actually finished it!
So on to my current piece. Here is the photo of the finished project from Nordic Needle's website. This runner calls for simply weaving the threads into bars to create the lace look without added elements like picots or doves eyes, making it a beginner level piece but, I think, very elegant. Hardanger looks delicate but is tough enough to be used for napkins or even towels.
I'm stitching this project in-hand. I don't feel the need to use a hoop for a project this size and I've gotten much better at evaluating my tension that when I was less experienced. It also lets me use a sewing motion instead of a stabbing motion, allowing me to stitch a whole lot faster.
Another challenge with hardanger is making sure I consistently stitch on the correct side! The left of this photo is the front of the piece and the right side is the back. If I don't look carefully it's easy for me to stitch on the wrong side. Then the frog is loose, calling me to rip-it, rip-it. I've already had to rip out an entire half because of a counting error I didn't catch so I don't want to rip out more of my work.
There are amazing photos of hardanger embroidery all over the web. Do a search and be inspired. Nordic Needle in Fargo, North Dakota has a great website with lots of information and they have the best annual seminar ever! For those of us in Southern California, Needlepoints Ltd. in Garden Grove does offer classes in Hardanger on Thursday mornings though it looks like you can arrange private lessons as well.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Go check out her blog. If you win the box, she'll put your initials on it for you.
As my dear daughter said when SHE was in college, "Swe-e-e-e-e-t."
If you like offers that include FREE shipping, Beach Cottage Stitchers is taking signups for the Little House Needleworks Mystery Sampler. Free shipping on the charts with Auto-ship. I really don't need another project. I have enough, I have ENOUGH.
But it sounds like so much fun. Darn it.
In the meantime, I'm still trying to get a new battery for my watch before I finish stringing all the beads. And I've received the last house for Santa's Village, the Christmas Tree Farm.
The house and the roof are WDW threads that I purchased a few weeks ago for this. As I've said before, the designer posts the threads for the piece on the website before the chart is released. But can I find where I put them? Of course not. They must be tucked away in that magical "safe place" that's so safe even I can't find it. That spot is more secure than Fort Knox. Or perhaps it's in Area 51 and the aliens have my thread. Wouldn't you like to see THEIR stitching?
In the meantime, I've begun work on a new hardanger piece. This beginner level kit from Nordic Needle is a white-on-white runner. Stitching the kloster blocks is quite soothing. This is how it should look when it's finished:
Very pretty isn't it? It's counting but since it's stitched almost entirely with #8 white pearl cotton, I think that it will make a good piece to take on a trip. First I need to complete the inner part of the outer edge, if that makes sense. The very outside edge is done in buttonhole stitch to keep the edge stronger. The section just inside that is all kloster blocks which are essentially satin stitches. If I've counted correctly, the stitches will meet when I get all the way around. In the meantime I check to see if my stitches are lined up by tracing my needle across the piece. If I end up at the mirror image of my last stitches then I'm probably okay.
Monday, June 3, 2013
I picked up this kit from a clearance bin at the Black Sheep in Orlando back in 2010. I'd been interested in a few of the Mill Hill watch kits, this was a good price, and I like to have fun things for major holidays. I was gloating over my materials today for Darlene O'Steen's Cranberry Sampler when I ran across this in the same box. I've done a little beading but never this type. It looked like it would make up fairly fast, so I started it in the afternoon.
Basically, you take bugle beads and seed beads and weave them into cluster beads. Then you string the cluster beads you just made onto clear elastic cord along with some bigger pony beads and crystal beads. You attach it all to the watch and wallah!
So you take the stuff on the left and turn it into the beads on the right. What I didn't realize was that the reason the little white seed beads were in two separate bags was because they were different beads! The difference was subtle but once I'd gotten going, very apparent. I made all three blue beads three times, the red ones twice, and I made a total of nine white beads but only ended up with six. But now I know how to make these little cluster beads.
I'll work on the finishing up this watch in the next few days. First I have to replace the battery. Even when I bought it in 2010, it was so old the battery was kaput. I'll have to remember to pull out the stem before I store it to make the battery last longer. I used to think that patriotic jewelry was only good for Independence Day but I then realized that you can wear it for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Labor Day, Voting Day, and Veteran's Day so I should get some fair use out of this.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Anyway, I'm trying to catch up on Papillon Creation's SAL Around the World in 80 Stitches. Part 12 (of the eventual 24 parts) was recently released. I'm working on part 8 right now.
|Check out the greek crosses in the middle.|
|Four petals of drawn thread.|
|No drawn thread, just pearl cotton stitches.|
It's handy for controlling all that excess fabric. I also have one for my Flower Power (another WIP I'd like very much to get finished). They're fun for seasonal projects, too, like Halloween and Christmas since so many of us stitch for those all year long.
I've also had a good long laugh at my page for my 2013 stitching goals. I was completely out of the running by March 1! Ha! But I still want to complete as many of my WIP's as I can. There is nothing more satisfying than getting a large project completed.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Here is everything I've done so far. I chose to stitch it on the suggested 32 count Wichelt Lambswool linen, though now I wish I'd gone with a frosty blue color. I'm also using the buttons and will attach them after the piece is washed and pressed.
|North Pole Post Office|
|Reindeer Stables-in process|
|Santa's Stocking Store|
|Mrs. Claus' Cookie Shop|
Friday, May 31, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I realized that I was a serious stitcher when I started spending more time planning what I'd stitch on my trip than what I'd wear. I'm on a trip now and here's what I chose to stitch on the plane.
It's the Halloween Mantle from Bent Creek. It's on 18-count linen and stitched with pearl cotton so it's easy to see even in the inferior plane lightning. I need to finish up the witch portion and I'll be done. I'm thinking it will make a nice pillow.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Most stitchers would probably consider me right on schedule!
Here she is now. Cleopatra's Cat is a group correspondence course from the Embroiderers' Guild of America. She is charted for blue tones but I changed her over to red because I like red better and have a lot of it in my stash. I changed her eyes from gold to green.
The technique is called or'nue. It's a, get this, "laid filling stitch." Wha-a-a-t?
It works like this: you put down ("lay") metallic thread, then stitch over it to form the design. The original model was stitched on white-with-gold-metallic canvas. I used that same canvas, though it doesn't show up in the photos very well. And her face looks weird in this photo because I've only got part of the stitching done. She uses threads of wool, silk, cotton floss, pearl cotton, solid colors and over-dyes. She also uses just a little red metallic in addition to the gold thread.
Here is the original photo from the EGA website.
|Soft little kitty feet.|
|This is over-dyed floss and gold thread.|
|The eyes will have a metallic gold iris.|
Several of my EGA friends are doing this project also. We all made different choices. One stitched her on 24-count congress cloth instead of the 18-canvas, one stitched her on black canvas, etc. If I can, I'll get a photo of as many of the cats together as possible. Stitching with friends is just one of the many good things about being an EGA member.
I've been working on other projects as well. I still have to post my photos of Santa's Village from Cottage House Needleworks. I've also completed a cross-stitched quilt square for World of Charity Stitching. I'll get more photos up soon.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Here is the first one. I added the Santa buttons for fun. I had three red bird buttons so each ornament got a bird.
This last one has a snowman button in the doorway on the front and it's little bird perched on the doorway. I have two different trees on the back. These little guys were more work than I'd anticipated but they were fun to make!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Country Cottage Needleworks. I'll be getting a chart each month. I've got a little bit started, but I don't my camera handy so I'll post photos when I get a chance. Unfortunately I discovered the SAL too late and it was already full.
I made my stitching plans for 2013 and can now report that I have done a big nothing on them. Cleopatra's Cat, which could not be finished by the middle of January anyway due to waiting for my thread, had not been touched. I have been working on my Ink Circles design because I was so close to getting it and it is finished and soaking in Orvus right now.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Michal's stocking is the oldest dating from 1988. Kaitlyn's is next oldest, dating from 1990. Kaitlyn's looks a bit ragged because she loved her stocking and refused to let me put it away one year. Leigh's was made in 1996.
Timothy's stocking was made in 1998 and Alfred's in 1991. Most years I hang them in story order: Santa in his workshop (Leigh), Santa in his sleigh (Kaitlyn), Santa on the roof (Michal), and Santa in the house (Alfred). Tim's big Santa and my red plush went in some random place.
The quality of this stocking is so much more than the felt ones that I toyed with the idea of making everybody a new stocking. I've decided that I won't do that after all. Each stocking represents where my skill level was at the time and really, each is done very well. They hold such sweet memories, too, of my children's excitement on so many Christmas mornings.
But I really should make a stocking for me.
For needleworkers Christmas is all year long. I've decided to start the Country Cottage Needleworks Santa's Village, a monthly mystery series. I also picked up some of The Victoria Sampler Gingerbread series charts at the Needlepoints Ltd. after-Christmas sale. Cute, cute, cute!