Coffee is Magic

This chart was a freebie from Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams. It is no longer available on her site or I would gladly share the link. “Coffee is Magic in the Morning” was a fun fairly quick stitch. I got to use a furry fiber for the first time, as well as glow-in-the-dark floss. (The bunny slippers and beard both glow, cute!) -edit- Now that I look at it I realize it isn’t fuzzy floss… I believe that what happened was I was supposed to use fuzzy floss but was too impatient to wait for my order to arrive so I purchased the glowy DMC at a local shop. It’s been a few years since I stitched it so I’d forgotten about that.

The only flaw was not centering my project on my cloth right, and then I got creative with the border. Some day I may pick out that yellow and sew a cloth border on so I can frame it properly.

The odd shadow is from my scanner. I eventually figured out how to ‘block’ the slide holder slot with a sheet of plain paper, but this was scanned prior to that.

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Springtime Roses

Jan 23, 2007
My current “small” project that I’m stitching is Martina Weber’s freebie “Springtime Roses”. I needed some instant gratification after working on Frederick for so long. Especially considering that my other WIPs are *big*.

I altered the floss list a little bit, because I wanted to play with the DMC Rayon, and YLI Silk flosses I received as holiday presents. I am using one strand of the DMC she lists, plus either 1 strand of a near-match rayon, or 2 strands of a near-match YLI. A couple of the DMC colors didn’t have any good matches, so in those cases I’m using 2 strands of the DMC cotton. I had to order the variegated silks (Thread Gatherer Silk’n colors, and Caron Waterlilies) because no one locally carries them and there are no good cotton substitutions. Oh the hardship, ordering floss! I am going to use Kreinik metallics for the Rainbow Gallery braid though. I’m currently thinking 2 strands filament plus one strand of base DMC cotton. Unless I just get Kreinik braid. I can get quite a lot of the Kreiniks in local shops though. 🙂

So, my “working floss list” is:

DMC 819 + YLI 13

DMC 776 + rayon 30818

DMC 3326 + YLI 172

DMC 335 + rayon 30899

DMC 341 + rayon 30800

DMC 793 + YLI 798

DMC 3810 + YLI 103

DMC 3348 (2 strands)

DMC 3345 + YLI 132

DMC 469 (2 strands)

DMC 935 (2 strands)

DMC 581 + YLI 162

DMC 733 (2 strands)

DMC 3823 + rayon 30745

So far, I am loving working with the silk. The rayon is more prone to knotting and tangling. But it has a lovely shine to it, and looks pretty stitched.

Feb 14, 2007
I have kept saying “just a little more, then I’ll scan it and post an update”. But then another few days pass with no scanning and no update. This morning I finally said “enough is enough” and scanned. So here, in all its unfinished glory, is my current progress on Springtime Roses. 🙂

Feb 22, 2007
Well, I discovered after I’d stitched the half stitches in the center, that I was supposed to have done them with one strand of silk, not two. I’m going to just leave it the way it is, although it probably makes the background behind the dragonfly more vivid than it was designed to be. I’ll just be sure to do a great job backstitching the dragonfly. 😀

Husband thought it looks like there are palm trees or the hint of palm trees in the background area, and I agree. Sure didn’t expect that, but it’s kinda cool! I wasn’t sure I would like variegated silk but it has grown on me and I’m fond of it now. Certainly it has to be used in particular ways or the result would be ugly, but oh the possibilities! I can hardly wait to see what this looks like when it is completed. 🙂

Mar 11, 2007
Well, this doesn’t look like as an impressive update as it feels like to have stitched. What the photo doesn’t show very well is the pearlescent blending filament. Which I loathe stitching with. Currently I am working on the rice stitch border, which is much pleasanter, because the rice stitches are done in silk floss. Sadly, I will have to add more filament stitching.. but in gold. And then there will be some slight scattering of beads. So, the next update will be a “finish” photo 🙂 Meanwhile, a hastily snapped photo:

Sept 12, 2007
I have not been stitching on Egyptian Sampler lately. It’s my carrot dangling before me, encouraging me to finish Springtime Roses. This piece is an experimentation piece and as such there are things I like, and things I don’t. Currently, I am not liking the metallic in the border. Problem: I didn’t have the braid called for on-hand, so I substituted 4 strands of filament instead. PITA is what that is. So I decided to go ahead and use braid. Only… I used the wrong size. A larger-than-should-have size. And I refuse to frog it. Either way, neither metallic is pleasant to stitch with. I didn’t mind them up to this point. Now I pretty much loathe them. I will, WILL, finish this piece. It’s pretty. After the filament/braid goes on, I get to add beads. But meanwhile it’s almost more pleasant to clean my bathroom than to stitch on it. And that’s a sad state of affairs.

Oct 1, 2007
I am so relieved to be done stitching this piece, that I cannot even express it properly. For a while I thought it would live in the drawer, forever unfinished.

First, a picture that attempts to show off the sparkle (I tried many things to capture the sparkle, have been mostly thwarted)

And finally, the back. I never share the backs of my pieces, but thought I would this time. This would be an example of why I have not yet felt confidant enough to enter anything in needlework show /competitions. I knot the start of my floss, and weave the tails, for the curious.

SBQ – Stitching Blogger’s Question

This was a fun “meme” type of thing a bunch of stitchers did for a long time. There may be those still doing this in some variant, but the woman I’d been following for the weekly questions I believe hasn’t done them for a couple of years now.

Nov 3, 2006
SBQ:“How did you decide on the title of your stitching blog? Was it random, or does it have a special meaning to you or about you?”

I gave the title of my blog some thought, actually. I wanted it to evoke a sense of needlework, yet incorporate a sense of antiquity. Not so sure I succeeded at the latter, but it was a name I used in the SCA “back in the day”. For me it calls to mind a time when people created things of beauty by hand, because that was the only way to have them.

While we can easily purchase a machine-made item now, I still prefer the handmade. They have a soul that the machine-made do not.

(2011 update: I love marigold’s and summertime and hand-crafted things. Solarium to me is a word which evokes a bit of a retreat from the manic frenzy of our modern world, a place full of light and warmth -especially in winter-, and where one expresses much creativity. Picking a blog title is difficult given how popular blogging is.)

Nov 17, 2006
Today’s SBQ is:

Do you stitch Christmas ornaments? If so, how many do you stitch each
year and for whom? If not, why not?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blondelibrarian.net/stitching/archives/2006/11/tis-the-season/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

I have not stitched ornaments, but not because I don’t want to. I just seem to gather huge projects and then I don’t make time for some small ones. I do have a Christmas tree in progress, but I don’t know if it would finish nicely as an ornament or not. Embarrassingly, I’m not quite certain I know where the fabric is at … it may be in a bag or a drawer. I do know where the book is that has the chart though, so I guess all is not lost.

I do plan on stitching the Dragon Dreams mythical ornaments at some point, as well as assorted others I’ve come across online. There are some intricate, delicate, Victorian style ornaments that caught my eye.

I don’t know if I’d give them away as gifts or not. I tend to hoard, but if something seemed to just *fit* perfectly with someone, I’d probably give it to them.

Feb 8, 2007
I haven’t done these in a while, mostly because I forget that I wanted to answer them by the time I get done checking email and reading news & other blogs. Anyhow, I recall there was one asking about owning your own shop and if you’d ever done so or wanted to? And also the most recent one, if I’d ever been to a stitching retreat.

I haven’t really dreamed about owning a needlework shop, but I have dreamed of owning an earthy herbal spiritual mystical shop and could easily see having eco-friendly arts & crafts as part of that. It’s a very vague dream, because it would entail a lot of things. Insurmountable hurdle though would be that I don’t actually want to be tied down to such a business. That’s assuming I could visualize the concept fully in such a way as to do practical business plans. Not likely to happen.

The stitching retreat, on the other hand, I would love to do. I haven’t gone to any yet, but *someday* I will. To get together with a bunch of other needleworkers, do some stitching, learn some new things, just seems like a fun and rewarding thing to do.

Feb 22, 2007
So today’s was actually about thread count on fabric, but I didn’t have anything interesting to say about that. So, from the previous one:

Today’s SBQ is:

Do you like to buy “chartpacks” that include charms, buttons, and/or
beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blondelibrarian.net/stitching/archives/2007/02/sbq-and-psn/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

I think it depends on the design and the contents that come in the pack. Some patterns seem to be designed around the charms and such, and they could be difficult to gather separately. In general, I would prefer to find the buttons, beads and charms myself, because it is an excuse to go shopping in the craft and hobby stores. There are always so many exciting things, and hunting for just the right one for the piece is quite an adventure. Additionally, despite what some people would have us believe, there usually *are* less expensive options than such things as Swarovski crystals. So if I need to kit a project on a smaller budget, usually I can. Plus, it lends a little uniqueness to my piece (as does variegated floss. I have discovered I love variegated floss, although it did take a while for me to reach this conclusion).

The fun thing about the packs that include the embellishments is getting to work with fibers and things that I may not have had an opportunity to do before.

Mar 8, 2007
Today’s SBQ is:

Do you use your needle, a seam ripper, or something else when you have
to frog stitches? Why do you use the method that you do?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blondelibrarian.net/stitching/archives/2007/03/sbq-rip-rip/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

I have, fortunately, not needed to frog a major portion of a piece of needlework. There was the unfortunate green floss episode with Springtime Roses… Usually I just need to undo/redo a few stitches though. I use my needle, because I would rather pull the floss out than have to remove all the teensy fiber bits that one gets when seam ripping. It’s bad enough to pick the short bits of thread off garments and such when ripping seams in regular sewing, but the floss tends to have very thin fibers that want to remain in the cloth. If it’s bad enough that I want the stitch removed, I certainly don’t want any hint of lint or fiber left behind.

Also, if I’ve made a minor mistake, and discover it after much time has passed, I’m likely to just leave it, or stitch over it or in some way work around it. I would be worried that fixing it would ruin other stitching surrounding the error, and I can just see the whole thing snowballing into a nightmare of starting an entire project over from the beginning. yikes.

Mar 16, 2007
This week’s SBQ was once again suggested by Danielle and is:

If you had $500 to spend on stitching-related items, what would you buy?

I would buy fabric. Especially linen and linen band, but also some of the lovely hand-dyed silks. I have a lot of patterns and floss, but not a lot of fabric. So I’d stock up. Oh, and several packages of the gold-plated needles.

Apr 5, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested by Heather
(http://theneedlesbewitchingeye.blogspot.com/) and is:

How do you decide which stitching blogs are worth repeat and/or
regular viewings? Are there certain things you look for in particular?
Are there things you wish there were more of? Less of? Is your blog a
good example of what you like to read?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blondelibrarian.net/stitching/archives/2007/04/sbq-blog-criteria/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

I am guilty of being inconsistent and random with what blogs I find interesting enough to read again, and with what blogs I put on my links lists. There are a lot of blogs I read often, which aren’t on my list, because I’m actually quite lazy about updating blogrolls.

That said, generally I look for craft blogs (not just needlework) that focus solely or predominantly on crafting. There are some I read which interlace personal life stuff, and that’s ok. If the person intrigues or interests me in some way, and they mostly post personal life stuff, that blog will end up in my “people” or “parent” bookmarks folder, rather than my “crafts” folder. Most of the craft blogs I read regularly are 99% crafts and very little “personal”.

I look for blogs where people post updates of their work that are more than a few insignificant stitches. I look for blogs where the person is interested in creativity, where they are willing to stretch their skill boundary, where they for whatever unquantifiable reason strike a chord in me as a reader. I enjoy watching beautiful art come into being, even if it isn’t the sort I myself would stitch (like the primitive samplers. Not interested in stitching most of them, but I love seeing the work others do on them.) I also like seeing needlework used in curious and inventive ways.

I don’t try to blog what I like to read. I blog what I want to share, and if that is interesting to someone else it’s a happy bonus. 🙂 I do make a mindful effort at keeping this blog focused on the needlework/crafts, and my other stuff elsewhere.

May 19, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested Juls
(http://afairyprincessdreams.blogspot.com/) and is:

If you could only stitch one more piece what would it be and why?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/2007/05/sbq-last-call/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

Hooo-boy. Only one piece? I am not sure what I’d stitch. There are quite a few I want to stitch, or have started and need to finish. I guess if I had to pick one, then I’d pick the Sistine Chapel. Why? because it would guarantee that I would be stitching for at least the next decade. heh.

July 6, 2007
Today’s SBQ is:Do you consider yourself a “floss miser?”

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog. blondelibrarian. net/archives/ 2007/07/one- thousand/

Happy Stitching!

Renйe

I am not a floss miser. If it’s an expensive silk or other specialty hand-dyed floss, I’ll stitch as much as I can with a piece, but I don’t stress about getting the last two or three stitches with it. I save “leftovers” regardless of brand if I only had to stitch a couple Xs out of a strand. I save smaller pieces of the specialty flosses though, because some of them are over $5 (500 cents) a skein, compared with the 25 cents a skein for DMC. The small plastic floss bags are really handy for that sort of thing.

I was going to save the snips, but what the heck would I do with them? While the little clear ornaments and jars are cute, they’re really not “my thing”. And if I wanted such things filled with snips of floss, I would want them to have a “theme”, perhaps shades of blues. And my snips are less thematic. I would never stuff little pillows and things with snips either, so… I throw away the snips. If my boys don’t abscond with them first.

The only times I’ve really “misered” my floss have been when stitching from kits that include floss that is labelled with some esoteric numbering scheme making it impossible to go buy extra DMC of whatever color is running out. That experience of running out of floss is a huge reason behind why I am generally looking at charts instead of kits.

July 12, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested by The Wagon (http://thewagon.yuku.com)
and is:

What do you love to do that many people hate? What do you hate to
do, but do anyway?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/2007/07/sbq-love-and-hate/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

I don’t know that I love French Knots, but I can make them and it’s enjoyable. I also enjoy blended floss and partial stitches, and don’t mind back-stitching. I adore large projects that takes months and months to stitch. I love hardanger, and intend to do more of it. Designers who create complex patterns are also on my adore list, while many people seem to be intimidated by such patterns. I see them as an artistic challenge at worst, and as something which will create beautiful art.

I hate metallics. I love the way they look, but absolutely detest stitching with them. Rayon floss is also annoying, but shiny. Gridding is something that is mind-numbingly boring, but I do it anyway because it makes the large projects much easier for me to stitch. Instead of counting a zillion times to make sure I’m in the right place, I can keep track by the grid on the pattern and the cloth.

Oct 4, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested by Jennifer
(http://astitchinwrinkledtime.blogspot.com/) and is:

What are your favorite online stitching supply sources?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/2007/10/sbq-sources/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

I love Patterns Online because I am able to get charts for Teresa Wentzler designs that are otherwise impossible to acquire. There are many other designs there as well, that I like. 🙂

I’ve also had good shopping experiences with Nordic Needle (with the added bonus of them being located in a state near me).

Other shops I’ve ordered from, with a good experience (customer service being quality matters more than speed of orders being filled):

Stitchin’ Post Nashville

ABC Stitch Therapy

Oct 14, 2007
This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ternezia
(http://loreleicrafts.wordpress.com/) and is:

*****
What for you means to achieve mastery as a stitcher?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/2007/10/sbq-master-and-queenie/

Happy Stitching!

Renée

>^..^^..^^..^^..^^..^^..^^..^^..^<
"Stitched with Love and Cat Hair"
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/category/stitching/
**PLEASE NOTE THE NEW URL**

I've been giving this question some thought for the past few days. For me, achieving mastery is a melding of meeting personal goals, perfecting technical skill, having an 'artistic eye', and being recognized by other Master crafters as having achieved such a level.

Meeting personal goals: these currently are informal for the most part. I strive on each piece I stitch, to lay the floss a bit neater, to keep the backs a bit tidier. I look for patterns that combine some quality of Art with the purpose for which I'm stitching (example: I stitched Teresa Wentzler's Needle Guardian. I could have stitched some simplistic small design, but I wanted something "more" than ordinary). Learning new stitches, understanding stitches well enough to do them automatically without referring to the stitch guides. Venturing into creating my own patterns. Learning other styles of needlework. Casting aside conventions and mixing various types of things together.

Perfecting technical skill is a tough one for me. I believe it is necessary to do, to become a Master. But to stitch something that could one day be held up as an example of stitching done perfectly, would really be an accomplishment. From everything to do with cloth types, to needles, to flosses, to how one threads various things, etc and so on. Technical perfection is probably the side of stitching I am least interested in. It requires more time, more attention to detail, and less rushing. I tend to want to see the results NOW, and have yet to develop the patience for the technical. I'm working on it 😉

Having an artistic eye. This is a big one. Perhaps the most important one. To be able to tell the difference between a piece in which all is in balance, and a piece which is merely pretty or quaint or cute, is the difference between a Master and everyone else. To discern what makes something Artistry, to understand color and texture and the weights of each of the elements, theories behind these things, is what enables a person to alter designs that aren't as strong as they could be; as well as creating designs that *live*. Some stitched things are just that. Things. Other stitched things, are magically alive. Like fine art, where you are drawn into the painting, curiosity sparked about all the external history and story of the object of the painting.

I see creating one's designs, quality artistic designs, as a vital aspect of what it is to be a Master.

I can make a list of things I believe are required to achieve before I call myself a Master. But true measure of one's place often can only be seen from without. Being regarded by other Masters as being a Master is certainly part of it. Can someone be a Master without that? Certainly. Not everyone who does this is going to be in a situation to mingle with other stitchers, with Masters, and if people don't know about you, they won't be able to evaluate your stitching and your creations.

In some small way, then, I see having your patterns released into the wild, and stitched by other people, as also being part of this "recognition".

Personally, I know I have a loooong way to go. A large part of the fun of this craft is the process and the journey anyway, so I don't really mind that it takes time. 🙂

Oct 25, 2007
Forgot last week's SBQ, and so today I'll answer both.

This week's SBQ was suggested by Jennifer
(http://astitchinwrinkledtime.blogspot.com/) and is:

What proportion of your stitching is for your own personal use versus
gifts?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/2007/10/sbq-gift-giving/

I would say most of my stitching is for myself at this point, but I have a lot of ideas of things for certain people that I'd like to stitch at some point. I imagine the percentage will always be more towards stitching for me, simply because the thought of someone casually tossing aside, giving away, or throwing out (horror!) a piece of needlework I spent time to create, is a bit traumatic. Not everyone understands what goes into creative endeavors. I will admit I want the things I create to be appreciated.

This week's SBQ is:

Do you railroad?

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog.blondelibrarian.net/archives/2007/10/sbq-working-on-the-railroad/

I do not railroad for the most part. I have a beautiful laying tool though! I like the idea of railroading, but I would need a third hand to hold the cloth, stitch the floss and smooth with the tool. If I used my stand to hold my needlework, I could railroad on pieces I use a frame with. However, I stitch 'in hand' most of the time as it is easier for me to flip the piece over to start/finish sections of floss. I believe if I tried the 'parking' technique, I could use my stand with ease. However, this also works with only some patterns. Patterns with open areas of fabric really shouldn't have a lot of floss criss-crossing the back side of that area.

Nov 2, 2007
This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ternezia and is:

If you were a cross stitch designer, what would your design style be?

permalink

I think my style would be more of a mixed needlecraft- cross stitches as well as specialty stitches (including embroidery stitches). I'd want to experiment with projects that have dimension to them- both on the surface of the cloth as well as the finishing techniques. I'd want a mix of pieces – some for framing, some for practical use.

Think: flowing, fluid, rounded, holistic

Think: nature / mythology themes, gardening / kitchen themes.

I definitely would be more interested in designing intricate advanced level projects, but if I were going to be marketing my designs and hoping to sell enough to support my habit I would include some easier designs or at least some smalls.

Most pieces would be in the small to mid-size range, though I wouldn't discount the possibility of larger projects.

Fish City and so on

So Fish City is an official UFO. I believe I cannibalized the fabric in order to kit up other charts… I never did make much more than a couple of inches worth of progress on it. Some day I’ll get back to it because the piece is just adorable.

Sept 30, 2006
We’d ordered pizza delivery for lunch today, but it was so late we got our food for free. What to do with a sudden bit of extra money? Why, go stash shopping of course! I have been wanting to look at the new DMC Variations threads, but when I browsed through the kits and charts I found the Stoney Creek Fish City chart. w00t!!

I’ve wanted this chart since I first saw it, since I know my little boys would absolutely adore it. The only mistake I made when I returned home, was letting them see it. Tomorrow, I must go on a mission to purchase a sizeable piece of cloth. Because I need another WIP, yes I do! And also, if I don’t start it, the boys will mope.

I’m not usually excited about kid-oriented patterns. Fish City is one of the exceptions, and another design by the artist, Noah’s Sub, would be another exception. I may eventually acquire the Noah’s Sub. I should probably finish a few things first…

Oct 3, 2006
I started Fish City- insanely I purchased 18ct Aida. I get rather confused over the difference between Aida and Evenweave, but I *think* if it were an evenweave it would be a 36ct? The stitches, they are small. I have to turn my light to its brightest setting, and a lot of time translates to a small area completed. It’s going to look simply stunning when it’s finished though, so I’m not complaining.

The progress so far is the bottom few rows of the lower left corner page. I think the chart extends about ten more stitches to the right before it moves on to the next page. The project is 5 pages of chart wide by 3 pages of chart high. And the thing I AM going to moan about is the large number of 1/4 stitches. On teeny tiny Aida. If I’d actually looked closely at the chart before purchasing cloth, I would have picked a larger spacing..

On to more visible progress! Corte Medieval. I’m really starting to get into this piece, in a “I could stay up all night and stitch” sort of way. Sleep still wins over stitching, but it’s been a near thing on a couple of evenings. I really love the way the many near shades of colors blend so nicely in this piece. It shows up better in the scan than in my livingroom lighting. I can’t wait to finish this page so I can work on the section of chart that has the figures’ heads. 😀

All of this has been put on a temporary hold because I want to make my boys quilts for Holiday gifts. Yesterday, like a maniac, I cut enough squares for 3 quilt tops, laid out the squares to plan the “look”, and stitched one top together. It is crooked. I have determined that I view sewing as utilitarian, and not as art. Today sometime, or possibly tomorrow, I need to sew together the blocks for the other two quilt tops. I’m not doing anything insane like hand-quilting, or even machine-quilting. I’m simply going to use yarn to “tie” the quilt layers all together. Something cheerful and primary color.

I also cut some plain muslin into 12″ squares, so I can at my leisure, create art blocks. I want to piece some Sunbonnet Sue blocks, and try some crazy quilting. These things would be more of a “wall art” kind of thing, because I plan on using a lot of fun embellishments, which wouldn’t hold up to wear&tear of a bed quilt. Anyhow, that quilt idea isn’t something I’m doing soon- the muslin is just prepped for “some day”. LOL

And as if all that weren’t enough, I need to remember to contact the nice woman from whom I bought my spindle, for lessons on using said spindle as well as a look-see at my spinning wheel, and perhaps purchasing bits & bobs necessary for prepping and spinning an alpaca fleece.

There are more projects in my pile, and I think I’d better plan on living forever if I want to finish everything crafty and arty that I think is shiny and alluring.

Frederick the Literate

This project was the first “large” project I worked on. I had no idea when I bought the kit just how hard it is to stitch on black aida (I’d only stitched a couple small projects prior to it).

Aug 28, 2006
I haven’t posted an update on Frederick since I started writing in this blog location- mostly because I haven’t been working on Frederick. I’ve been itching to stitch on this piece for a while though, so last week I put it back on my scroll frame.

I have quite a bit of gold backstitching left to do on the lower right corner, as well as actually stitching the bookmarks. I realized that I hadn’t done those yet when I was checking the chart for backstitch floss colors. It will be nice (understatement) to finish this quarter (lettering on books, black fill on cat) and move on to the upper half of the piece. I’m very tired of stitching the black-on-black, and endless miles of shades of red.

Sept 4, 2006
I’m deep in the back-stitching on those lovely red books for Frederick now, having finally finished the gold metallic bits. I don’t know what brand of metallic is included in a Dimensions kit, but this stuff is awful. When stitching with one strand it isn’t too bad, but when the chart calls for three strands it is horrid. It was so terrible that even though there are some bits on the front that aren’t perfect, I cannot bring myself to frog it and do it over. The back is even worse, with lots of little gold loops. AUGH.

The top half of the chart has a few areas that also call for three strands of gold metallic. Why, WHY, couldn’t they just include some gold metallic braid in the kit for the heavier back-stitch, so I could use one strand? I’m going to substitute when I get to that point, because I certainly am not going to fight the stupid metallics again. I don’t see any reason to make the gold embossing on the book spines the same type/shade of gold anyway.
I will be very glad when I finish Frederick. I love the design and can’t wait to see it completed and framed. Stitching it is an act of self-discipline and willpower though- I just haven’t been inspired by this. It could be that the original ‘Frederick the Literate’ is a really rich detailed print, and the cross stitch conversion leaves out so much of that detail that it loses something of its spirit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do really like this piece (even with my irritation regarding the back-stitching). It being a holiday weekend in the USA, I may spend some time on lettering books and filling in black areas of the cat today. 🙂

Sept 19, 2006
I was working on the bottom portion of the back end of the cat, and then I couldn’t stop. I had to finish stitching that section of the cat. And then I had floss still on my needle, in one of the cat colors, so I did a bit on the head of the cat. And then! I stitched a whole bunch more on the kitty’s head. I think I’m done with Frederick for a while though, since I want to get back to Corte Medieval.

Nov 17, 2006
I haven’t updated in forever, mainly because I haven’t spent as much time stitching lately as I’d like to. I decided to post a progress photo of Frederick, though, because even though it doesn’t seem like I’ve gotten much done when I look at the photo, it took me AGES to stitch the front half of the cat. There was a lot more confetti stitching involved than I’d realized. I’m hoping the cat face *pops* nicely when I add back stitching, because right now it’s very blah.

Dec 12, 2006
Still not finished, alas, but getting much closer to the end. 🙂 I am forcing myself to complete the border along the top edge before doing any more work on the books and curios, or any of the backstitching for the top half of the design. The border is monotonous and boring and tedious. Just an endless row of the same color. Bleah. On the plus side, it does add something to the overall feel of the piece.

Jan 3, 2007
A short update- I am nearing the end of Frederick, and have run out of some colors of floss. Luckily, I can substitute some DMC that is a near-enough match, and it isn’t in any areas where one would notice a shift in color anyhow. Note of warning to anyone stitching a kit- be extra extra frugal in your floss usage!! I wasn’t nearly cautious enough in the beginning of this project, but I believe I would still have come close to running out of one or two of the colors.

Waiting for bright daylight to work on the black-on-black areas, but can get started on some back-stitching and book titles while I’m waiting for that. I might get it finished today, but it may not be until tomorrow. And… the Husband? He is going to get it framed for me for our anniversary. 😀 I *am* a lucky gal!

I’ll wait until I can post the “finish pic” of Frederick to also post the pic of the Yule tree framed. It turned out nicely, and I didn’t post it earlier because the piece was a Christmas gift.

Anyhow, that’s all for now. Must stitch! And later I can sort out a small project or three to test my lovely new rayon floss upon, and it shouldn’t be too long before I get my silk floss order in (another week or two. a couple items are on backorder). So, an excellent stitching start to 2007. 🙂

Jan 15, 2007
I am still in a little bit of a state of disbelief that I’ve actually finished Frederick. The piece has been washed and is drying, and eventually will be pressed, stretched and framed. 🙂

I took a couple of photos with the camera. I wanted to wash it and get the dust out and the hand oils and whatnot out. A year+ is a long time to handle something and not wash it. So I didn’t think to scan it first. And now I’m not planning to. The square photo was taken in natural sunlight, and I edited it a smidge- a little darkening so the black looks black, and a little sharpening in an attempt to bring the stitches into focus. The goofy shaped photo was taken with a flash, while draped on the back of my sofa. The draping-on-sofa resulted in it having a distorted look, so my applying the distortion was actually an attempt at making the picture display the piece properly as a nice square. I also darkened it a bit so the black is black.

(not sure why sunlight and flash both wash things out. hm. can you tell I am not a pro photographer? LOL)

I’ll be sure to post picture(s) once it has been properly framed. That may be a while, but it is a certain thing (like death. and taxes.)

I may try to take a better photo one of these days- natural light, tripod, etc. Pardon the glaring flash spot, and the other reflection bits. I have nothing but positive things to say about having needlework framed at a professional frame shop. The people we took this piece to have been framing for decades. It’s a good thing it takes me more than a year to complete a large piece though, because quality framing with UV glass and custom bits is expensive. But worth it. If a person figures out the total hours they put into stitching a piece, and multiplies that by a reasonable wage to be paid for the work, plus cost of materials, then it only makes sense to put the money into quality framing. 🙂 ok ok, enough with the chatter, here’s the pictures:

Among the Roses

Aug 24, 2006
Some time ago I finished my rendition of Just Nan’s “Among the Roses”. (I switched the colors from the pinks listed, to blues. I like pink sometimes, but it’s really not my “thing”.) I’m quite pleased with the result of the framing. It was very interesting to see how the needlework changed depending on which paper background I laid it upon. I didn’t think to take photos at the time…

I found a small frame, with square glass! (harder than you’d think. Most frames I’ve seen have a rectangular area.) And then I got out my scrapbooking supplies and played. I’d thought about getting “proper” matting, but decided to just have fun with scissors and such.

Yule Tree

notes from August 10, 2006:

I realized that I haven’t updated this blog in a while. I lost my stitching mojo for a bit there, as well as being on a camping vacation last weekend. Anyhow, seems the bug has bitten again, as today I got quite a bit of stitching done on this Yule Tree.

I think the stitching is about half done. There isn’t much back stitching involved, so after I do what the pattern calls for I’m going to see if I think anything else needs emphasized.This piece was supposed to be one of my small, quick, easy projects as a break from egyptian and corte. But the confetti, it is killing me. Once I get some reference points stitched, counting becomes easier. Today one of the first things I did was all the candles so I could locate for the medium green with less hassle. I do like this piece. Not sure how I’ll finish it. It will probably end up in my drawer with all the other pieces that I don’t know how I’ll finish. heh.

Dec 12, 2006:
Ta-da! A finish. It’s a bit blurry because I snapped a pic instead of scanning it. I think if I were to do this one again, I would use two strands of silver metallic blending filament for the snowy bits. I used a Kreinik #4 braid for the centers of the candle orbs, rather than beads. The pattern is out of ‘A Christmas to Remember’ published by Leisure Arts. Overall, I am pleased with the results.

Corte Medieval

This is a project which is currently in UFO (unfinished object) status. A good friend gave me her pattern, which was a good thing because I never did hear back from the publisher of the magazine it was printed in (I was seeking to BUY the magazine- you’d think they’d have at least responded to me!). I love the quality of the design. A lot of nuance is achieved with a modest number of colors. Some day when I feel like wrangling the seeming acres of cloth I will work on it again.

Notes from July 28, 2006:

I’m on page 1 of 8, and I’ve been stitching like mad for a week (ok ok, part of a week). But this has been a week where I’ve had hours and hours of non-typical free time to stitch in, so I won’t be able to keep this pace for the entire project. I expect it will be something that I will work on for months, if not years.

So far I’ve only mis-stitched a few things, and I left them because it isn’t a big issue. I tried a few stitches over 1, and decided to save my eyesight. It looked GREAT but it was next to impossible to count individual stitches, and with so many of the colors nearly identical, counting is crucial. So I’m stitching over 2, and seeing the same “background fabric showing through thread” issue that Ternezia is dealing with. I have hopes that a gentle washing and pressing after the entire thing is finished will tighten the fabric weave enough to get rid of the show-through. It’s only obvious when looking at it straight-on, so I can always hang it on the wall at such a height that you see it at an angle. 😀

Notes on Egyptian Sampler

July 21, 2006
I’ve done the backstitching starting at the left, up til about the third papyrus motif. It’s terribly tedious and time-consuming to do the backstitching, hence why I’m doing it as I go along instead of waiting until the very end of the sampler. It is also time intensive to do the million billion quarter stitches that make up the bulk of the papyrus motifs, or I’d have probably finished the top border by now. I’ve vowed to get the top done, and then do a wee bit in the central design area as a reward. 😀

March 28, 2007
Well the other day I was very tired of stitching spring things, and my quick project had turned into a much longer one than I’d planned for. Rather than chop up Springtime Roses with my scissors, I put it away for a while and returned to Egyptian Sampler. It has definitely been the right decision, as I have not only made excellent progress on ES, but I have also discovered that I do like Springtime Roses. Which means it will one day be a finish and not a UFO.

The colors and energies in ES have been delightful to work with, even though I think there are somewhere around 40 symbols in just the falcon. Most of them blends. I’ve been back-stitching as I finish elements so that I won’t be faced with an eternity of back-stitch at the end. The beads, however, are waiting until the end after I’ve gently washed the piece.

I was able to do quite a bit of stitching on ES lately. I changed tactics a little bit, and instead of concentrating on one area until I’d finished it all the way to the back-stitching, I ventured a bit further into the design. I’m glad I did since it gives me a visual frame of reference for the dimensions of the piece. Something exciting is that the bottom edge of the box at the lower right-hand corner is at about the halfway point in the design. 😀 I did edit the image a bit, in an effort to bring it close to actual color. I wasn’t willing to take it off the frame in order to scan it. But I promise when it is finished, I will give it a proper scan 🙂 (and no, I didn’t really stitch it crooked. I basted my evenweave onto the flannel ‘pockets’ crooked. It will all come right when it is washed and pressed.)

January 25, 2011
I am still working on this piece. I let it sit with very little stitching for a year or so, and have only worked on it in fits & starts since then. I’ll have to post a separate photo update when I have a day of good natural light to best capture the colors. Meanwhile, I am including a few of the progress photos I took along the way so far!

Lorri’s Needlecase

All blogs begin – some with a bang and some with a sad limp whimper. This blog begins with the conclusion of a project. This is neither a bang nor a whimper, but rather a triumphant brandishment of my first hardanger piece. I like it. A lot. I would say something silly like “I will hug it and pet it and name it Ethel” but in order to maintain a perception amongst all of you that I do have a shred of dignity about me, I will refrain.

The instructions called for a bunch of folding and glue to finish this project – and I was horrified at the thought of using GLUE on silk-stitched linen. Then, then I tried to come up with a way to stitch the lining fabric to the stitched bits, without the sewing visible, and gave up and used fabric glue. I made this for myself, for personal use, so what does it matter if it gets discolored with age? That is what I’m telling myself.

inside view

outside view

originally posted July 17, 2006