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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

And he’s all I have to show for the past few days of stitching!

SantaMitten 30Nov2011

Two more mitten fronts to stitch, and then assembly. Without the time needed to write a blog post each day, though, I’m hoping to get these done over the weekend! Maybe I’ll set a recent record for my own start-to-finish time!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some Whitework in the Works

Stitching bloggers all over seem to be owning up to the number of works in progress they have. I guess I’m looking at joining the bandwagon. I’m not quite ready to put up a full list, but I would like to share a couple of whitework projects I started over the past year but haven’t yet blogged about.

The first is an EGA group correspondence course by Jane-Ellen Balzuweit called Dresden Garden. DresdenGarden 29Nov2011

Yes, that’s a plain old American quarter there for scale.  The full size of the project is only about 4 inches wide by 3 inches tall. This piece is a study of Dresden lace which is a combination of surface embroidery, pulled thread, and shadow work (as seen in the white swirls). It’s stitched on Legacy shadow work linen, which is approximately 48 count.  I’m guessing that’s what led to this remaining unfinished. The rest of the stitching is counted and primarily pulled. That requires a bit too much concentration for me right now!

The second piece of whitework is also an EGA group correspondence course in another German embroidery technique, Schwalm embroidery in this case. It is Barbara Kershaw’s Liesel, and as you can see, I’ve barely begun. I’m a bit discouraged about the wobbliness of my initial lines of coral knots, but I really would like to get this moving a bit, since I’ve always wanted to learn the basics of Schwalm embroidery.

Liesel 24Sept2011

This project is a bit bigger than the other, maybe about 8 inches by 12 inches. It’s on a slightly uneven-weave linen (32ct by 36ct, maybe?) that I had in my stash, so it was pretty easy on the budget!

As you can see, I haven’t completely abandoned my interest in a wide variety of needlework techniques. It’s still always fun to learn something new. What new (to you) techniques have you been exploring lately?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hooray! NaBloPoMo is Winding Down

I’m very glad I decided to go ahead and commit to National Blog Posting Month (a.k.a. NaBloPoMo). It has renewed my enthusiasm for sharing my stitching successes and failures, along with tips I’ve learned along the way. I really enjoy interacting with all of you, dear readers.

However, over the past four weeks, I’ve also learned that in order to write about stitching, I have to actually stitch something! And it doesn’t work to try to do much of both writing and stitching on any given day, not with the full-time job and motherhood to an almost-three-year-old. (Yes, really. She’s almost three!)

So while I’ve had fun doing this, please be warned that come December, posts will not be as frequent. But I will keep posting. The good news is that I won’t be posting just for the sake of posting something on a given day. I can focus more on providing you with quality information. Fortunately, this month I’ve also learned that a post doesn’t have to be long to share a good tip. Pictures really are worth a thousand words!

And who knows? One of these days I might actually finish cleaning up all of the imported posts on my NEW site and be able to share that with all of you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Three Down…

…and three to go! I still have to add embellishment to the cuffs and do the final assembly of each mitten, but the individual design for each of these is complete.

Mittens 27Nov2011

That’s all for tonight. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How To Start a Thread for a Line of Stem Stitch

Sometimes it’s challenging to figure out exactly how to start a thread. The two most common methods I’ve seen are to use an away waste knot (to allow the stitching to be tied off later) and simply using a waste knot in the path of the stitching.

When you’re stitching a line of stem or outline stitch, you could use the away knot and then tie off the stitches later. But the “knot in the path of stitching” option needs a bit of modification to make it work successfully.

The answer? Running stitch.

As shown here, I put my waste knot in the thread and then do a few small running stitches out to where the line of stitching starts.


Then you can simply stitch over these little running stitches with the stem or outline stitch, and cut off the knot when you get to it. If you can pierce a running stitch or two along the way, all the better.


One of the main advantages of this technique is that it doesn’t matter if the line you’re stitching is straight or curvy. The running stitches force the thread tail to follow the curve of the line.

Does anybody else have a tip for starting threads in this situation?

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Quick Christmas Project

Okay, I know there will be a lot of eye-rolling on this statement, but I’ve started a new project. Yes, I know. I have God-knows how many in-progress pieces, and plans for more in the new year, and I’ve started another.

But I have a good reason! (Can’t we always rationalize a new project?) I came to the conclusion, rather belatedly, that there’s no possible way that The Magi might get done for Christmas. So instead of digging out another Christmas UFO (and I can think of one right now), I started something new.

The good news is that it, or rather, they, will be quick. And they’re a complete change of pace from the canvaswork I’ve been doing lately.

May I present The Mittens? This kit comes with woolfelt, floss, and a few accent buttons to stitch some darling mitten ornaments.

Mittens 25Nov2011

The kit is from Rachel’s of Greenfield. The transfer of the designs onto the woolfelt is really easy. Because the designs are printed using heat-transferrable ink, they’re just ironed on to the felt. Stitches include stem/outline (sorry – I can never keep those two straight) stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy, french knots, and blanket stitch.

Oh, and I have two more of Rachel’s kits on order. So far, this one is a lot of fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Note of Thanks

Just popping in this evening to say that I hope all of you had a lovely day. And in the spirit of the day, I’d also like to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude that you all stop by and read my long-winded explanations of obscure details of stitching techniques. It never ceases to surprise me that so many of you seem to appreciate my ramblings and put up with my lack of posting consistency.

So THANK YOU. Your support is greatly appreciated.

By the way, please let me know if I can answer any specific questions, or if you would like to see anything or any types of posts in particular. Right now I’m just blathering about whatever crosses my brain on any given day, but if you need information on something, please ask. If I know anything about it, I’ll write it up. And if I don’t, I can always dive into my stack of books and see what I can find!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wishing All of You a Happy Thanksgiving!

Regardless of whether or not you’re celebrating this Thursday, I wish you a day filled with blessings. Have a wonderful day.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Little Something I Started...

With so few posts this year, it’s easy to find something to write about these days. When all else fails, talk about a project not previously shared!

This past spring, Jane Zimmerman offered her former seminar class project, A Garden of Babylon, as an online course with Shining Needle Society. I liked the design, but I was also intrigued by a line in Jane’s description, which states that the class “explores both historical techniques of silk and metal thread embroidery through the ages.”

Of course, I couldn’t just stitch the project using either colorway proposed by Jane. I wanted to soften it up a little, so I decided to go to silver threads rather than gold.

Here is the beginning of my A Garden of Babylon. It is stitched on gray 18-count canvas using a variety of silk threads and Kreinik braids.

GardenOfBabylon 22Nov2011

What do you think? I obviously still have a bit to go on this. Maybe I’ll be able to finish it up next year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ruskin Garden Square Progress

Just a quick progress picture tonight, folks! Enjoy!

RGS 21Nov2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking Up Repetitive Stitching

“Unity” is one of the basic principles of design. One way to achieve unity in a needlework design, particularly in a geometric design, is through the use of repetition.

Unfortunately for stitchers, repetition sometimes gets a bit, well, repetitive. Tedious. Boring. In my last post about Ruskin Garden Square, I mentioned that I have several of the smaller padded buttonhole squares to stitch. By the time I got halfway through the third such box, I decided I needed to break up the box stitching with other areas of the piece.

Fortunately, not all of the boxes will be used for cutwork. Two boxes in each corner provide a little space for a miniature “garden”. I decided to put these decorative stitches in along the way. Here’s the first corner after my mini gardens are in.

RGScorner 20Nov2011

After getting those in, I was ready to get the boxes started on the next corner.

So, what do you do when the design you’re working on calls for several of the same design element? Do you push through and get them all done, or do you have a tendency to break up the stitching with other elements?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How Do You Manage Your Pattern While Stitching?

Many professional designers, especially those designing counted canvas work, offer a project’s instructions as just a set of loose pages. As far as I can tell, this is for a number of reasons:

  • Good counted canvas instructions, particularly for complex designs, take a lot of pages. (Ruskin Garden Square, for example, has 70 pages of instructions, with at least one diagram on each page.)
  • Stitchers will often have to refer to multiple pages simultaneously, and binding the instructions makes this cumbersome.
  • Not everyone would agree on the best binding, anyway.

Since Ruskin Garden Square was originally a class project, Gay Ann separated the instructions into those pages that could be pre-class work from those that would be the focus of the class. When she sold the instructions to me, they came in a plain folder with the pre-class pages on the left, and in-class pages on the right.


I actually found that division of pages helpful to start, to get all of the various borders in, so I left the pages in the folder, and just pulled out one or two at a time as I needed them. But now I'm reaching the end of the borders, and I need to re-integrate those pages back into the main instruction set.

Juggling 15 or so loose pages of instructions (the pre-class work) is much easier than trying to shuffle 70 pages, though, so I’ve switched to my preferred method of managing instructions with loose pages. I prefer to use a three-ring binder with heavy-duty non-glare page protectors. I put two single-sided pages (back to back) into each page protector.


This is actually a fairly inexpensive setup. Over time, I’ve purchased a couple of boxes of 200 page protectors at my local warehouse club store (BJ’s in my case), along with a six-pack of 1/2” three ring binders. I prefer the kind with the clear pocket on the front so I can put the project’s picture there (though that’s not the type I first laid my hands on for these instructions, so the picture’s in the front inside pocket, as seen above). I’ll reuse the binder and page protectors for a future project after this one is finished. Theoretically, that should keep my WIP count fairly low, but I have a tendency to just buy more binders and page protectors. :-)

Here are the benefits I find to this setup:

  • I can pull out a few pages at a time for reference (still in the page protectors).
  • Since the protectors are non-glare, there’s no issue with my bright stitching light interfering with readability.
  • The page protectors keep the instructions in great shape, and prevent me from losing individual pages.
  • If I have to add notes to a page for some reason, I can just pull the paper out, make my notes in pencil, and reinsert it. The protector keeps the pencil from rubbing off, and I can always erase the note later if I want to give away or sell the instructions when I’m done.
  • With the project picture on the front of the binder, it’s harder to grab the wrong instructions when I’m taking the project somewhere.

What about you? How do you organize instructions with large numbers of loose pages? I’m really happy with my setup as it is, but I’d love to hear if somebody has some way that might work better!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Quick Peek at Another Upcoming Project

Okay, folks, NaBloPoMo is starting to take its toll. I actually had a pretty good topic for tonight’s post, but if I actually wrote that post tonight, it would be far less than stellar due to the author (a.k.a. me) falling asleep every other line.

I’ll leave you tonight with a brief look at an ANG correspondence course I’ll be starting on the first of the new year. This is Hiogi, a project designed by Kay Stanis to teach silk and metal thread techniques on Congress cloth.


Another beauty to look forward to!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparing for a Ruskin Lace (or Reticello) Cutout

If you’ve ever done any Hardanger embroidery, you’re familiar with the idea that cutwork areas need to be “hemmed” with little blocks of satin stitches called kloster blocks. The preparation of a cutwork area for Ruskin lace or reticello is a bit similar, except that it is padded first and that buttonhole stitch is used as the hem.

The first step is to lay down a few long satin stitches along each side of the area that will be cut out. As in this block, there is often a row of four-sided stitches just outside of the square.


On top of those stitches, add a round of buttonhole (or, if you’re being a stickler, closed blanket stitch), with the loop side of the stitches on the inside of the cutwork area.


Then you can fill in the corners with a few straight stitches just to pretty it up a bit.


That’s all there is to getting an area ready for cutting in Ruskin lace and reticello. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another 11 little boxes to stitch!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Four-Sided Stitches Complete!

At last. Here’s the reason why my last few posts have been a bit skimpy (as this one will be!). I’ve been plugging away at four-sided stitches on Ruskin Garden Square from Gay Ann Rogers for the better part of a week. Who knew that such a simple stitch could take up so much time? But it’s done now.

RGS 16Nov2011

Next up on this project is to do a bunch of borders for areas that will eventually be cut out.

On a recent post about my completed Reticello 1 project, Wendy commented that she is “not completely sure what [reticello] is.” I’ll try to clear that up a bit, Wendy, as I go through the process here. From the little bit I’ve read on reticello and Ruskin lace, there are only a few differences. I’ll go over what I’ve learned about those differences as I stitch the various areas in this project.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Couple Quick Progress Pics

In the interest of actually stitching a bit, tonight’s post will be short and sweet. I leave you with a couple of quick peeks at Magi #3 and his companions…


Magi 15Nov2011


Monday, November 14, 2011

A Stitch in Time: Reticello 1

Since I’m currently plodding away on lots of four-sided stitch on Ruskin Garden Square and don’t have much to share on that front, I hope you might be interested in one of my finished projects with a very similar type of needle lace.

Reticello 1 was designed by Diane Clements and was featured as the first of three reticello/reticella pieces in the (unfortunately now defunct) magazine The Needleworker in June/July 1999.


In this project, the edges of the center square were reinforced, then stitched all the way around with buttonhole stitch. The center square was then cut completely away. After basting the fabric to a laminated pattern, I added the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, stitched over them, and then stitched the remaining shapes off of these lines. If I recall correctly, the project really wasn’t too difficult to stitch, but it took quite a while! The trickiest part was getting all of those triangles to have approximately the same tension so they came out the same size.


I did have great plans to stitch the remaining pieces in the series, as well as another project featured in the Winter 2001 Fine Lines from the same designer. It just hasn’t happened yet! Smile

Have you tried any reticella work? How did it turn out? We’d love to see pictures!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fun with Composite Stitches

So what is a composite stitch, you ask? It’s a stitch that is made up of combinations of other stitches, often layered on top of each other.

The sleeve on Magi #3 is stitched with a fairly simple composite stitch. It starts out with a simple lattice of a medium weight metallic in gold.
Magi3_sleeve1 12Nov2011
This metallic is tied down with upright cross at each intersection, using a lighter-weight silver metallic.
Magi3_sleeve2 12Nov2011
And in all of the open areas, an upright cross is stitched too, this time in a few plies of silk floss.
Magi3_sleeve3 12Nov2011
The result is a rich-looking “fabric” that looks complex but is actually very straight forward. You can barely see the silver metallic, but it helps the entire presentation by holding down the diagonal lines of gold and adding just a touch more shimmer.

This is by no means the only composite stitch in The Magi. Perhaps the most challenging of these is found in the robes of Magi #2. The stitch seen here has no fewer than 6 steps to complete.
What fascinates me about these stitches is thinking about how the designer created them. This isn’t a matter of simply picking up a favorite stitch book and filling in an area. Creating composite stitches requires either a) a lot of time so that you can try out various combinations or b) a VERY good intuition on what stitch diagrams look like. Or both.

So the next time you’re trying to figure out what stitch to put in an area, consider if that area could us a bit more texture that just a standard stitch out of a standard book of stitches. Then try playing with adding various stitches on top of a light stitch. And see what you can come up with.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Wonderful Time Was Had By All

We had a wonderful day at the mini-retreat. The day started with greeting longtime friends and acquaintances, some of whom had traveled over an hour to be with us. Then it was time for breakfast from the hotel’s great buffet and omelet and waffle station.

Then on to the stitching! Here we have a room full of happy stitchers finishing up breakfast and starting to stitch.


Shortly before lunch, we had our first finish for the day. Here is my mother-in-law’s project from a recent regional EGA mini-seminar. This is Daphne Reborn by Michael Boren in the olive green color scheme. Isn’t it stunning? Congratulations, Mom!


One of the highlights of the day was the raffle. Tickets were 6 for $5. I started putting my tickets into  an entry  bag here and there when I came across the sweater. One of the ladies who helps to organize this event had hand-knit a gorgeous sweater in a lovely shade of blue in a size 4T.  I ended up putting my last 3 tickets in this drawing, and then I went back an purchased another 6 tickets to put in the sweater’s bag. So maybe I stacked the deck by purchasing so many tickets, but it paid off!


Isn’t it lovely? I do need to hang onto it, though. It will be at least a year before my daughter fits into this beautiful creation. Oh well. It will still bring out the blues in her eyes! (Thank you, Judy!)

My only complaint about the day was that it almost wasn’t bright enough if you weren’t right next to the windows. I’ll be sure to bring my portable light for the next event (currently being planned for March). I’m already looking forward to it!

Thank you, Janice, for organizing this lovely day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Looking Forward to a Day of Stitching!

I am SO looking forward to tomorrow. My daughter is going to spend the day at my mom’s, and I’m going to stitch!

A local group of stitchers books a conference room at a local hotel every few months just for a day of stitching. I was a fairly regular attendee at these mini-retreats prior to motherhood, but in the last three years, I’ve only managed to drop in on the ladies occasionally for a half-hour or so, baby (and then toddler) in tow (since they like to see her).

But tomorrow’s event is less than a mile away from Grandma’s house, so I can easily drop E off in the morning, go stitch, maybe pick her up to bring her to see the ladies for a bit, then take her back for a nap while I get to stitch some more!

How screwed up are my priorities that I’m cutting this post short tonight so I can get to bed early tonight, when I’ve been staying up late all week to write despite needing to go to work in the morning? Oh well. I’ll take lots of progress pictures tomorrow, I promise!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stitch Study: Four-Sided Stitch

Simplicity and elegance are two words that come to mind when I think of four-sided stitch. Simple, because the stitch really only has three steps. Elegant, because of the clean lines and lacy look of this beautiful stitch.

Since four-sided stitch is often worked as a pulled-thread stitch, I like to use a needle that’s a bit larger than usually used for the thread choice. This opens up the hole in the fabric or canvas a bit more, making it a bit easier to pull.

Four-sided stitch is most easily started with a waste knot in the path of the stitch. Come up at the upper left end of where the line of four-sided stitches is planned to be. As this line develops, the tail end of the thread will be covered.4Sided_1

Step 1: Bring the needle to the back just two threads down from where you came up. Give the stitch a little tug. This tug opens up the holes of the canvas or fabric just a bit.

4Sided_2      4Sided_3

Step 2: Come back to the front of the fabric up two and to the right two threads, as seen in the photos above, to get ready for the next leg of the stitch. Give the thread another tug. Sink the needle again two threads to the left (where step 1 began). Tug once more.

4Sided_4      4Sided_5

Step 3: Bring the needle up down two threads from the start of step 2. Tug. Sink two threads to the left. Tug.

4Sided_6      4Sided_7

Then it’s time to repeat the three steps. The next "step 1” stitch starts at the point where the first step 2 did. Keep repeating, giving a slight tug after each stitch, as you stitch from left to right across your fabric or canvas.


Occasionally, I find that I lose track of which leg should be the next to be stitched. There’s a very simple way to find out. Simply look at the back. When stitched in the correct order, four-sided stitch results in a row of X’s on the back of the stitching. Doing the stitches in a consistent order keeps the pull at the corners of all of the little boxes the same.


When you near the end of a thread, bring the tail to the front about an inch further down the line of stitches. This is easiest to see from the back.


To start a new thread, I find it’s easiest to switch to a smaller needle, perhaps even one with a sharp point. Put a waste knot in the end of the thread, and bury it in the back of the most recent stitches. Doing this keeps the pull of the thread the same, so you can’t tell from the front where the thread was changed.


After bringing the thread to the front again, switch back to a larger needle and continue the line of stitching, working over the old thread tail. When you reach the point where the tail comes to the front of the fabric, give the tail a tug to make sure that last stitch is taut. Holding the tail tight, cut it very close to the surface of the fabric. If any of the tail is still sticking up, use your needle to poke it to the back.

When worked in a contrasting color to the fabric, four-sided stitch gives a neat and clean line of stitches and is a great addition to a border.


Four-sided stitch is often worked as a tone-on-tone stitch, though, and that’s when the lacy feel comes out. The stitch itself becomes almost unnoticeable, and the pattern that emerges from the resulting holes becomes the highlight. This is my favorite way to use this stitch.


I’d love to hear about some of the different projects in which you’ve used four-sided stitch. Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ocean Waves: The Finale

Don’t you hate it when you don’t know the ending? Somebody leads you along, telling you a story, and then just stops, and you’re left saying, “And then what?”?

Sorry. I kinda did that. In the early months of this year, I wrote up a number of posts describing my progress on Judy Souliotis’s Ocean Waves. And, like a tease, I stopped writing when I was almost done with the project.

There are two bits of good news. I did eventually finish the project. And I remembered that I left everyone with a cliffhanger. Smile

So, without further ado, here it is:

OceanWaves Final

Once again, this is Ocean Waves by Judy Souliotis. It is a former teaching piece which I purchased from Judy’s website a few years ago. It is stitched on congress cloth with Japan metals, Kreinik metallics, and a bit of couching silk. The ocean spray consists of just a small handful of tiny seed pearls.

The glare in the photo above makes it a little hard to see the details of the center medallion. Is this better?

OceanWaves FinalCenter

I think this was one of only two pieces that I finished so far this year. By the time it was done, I certainly felt more confident in using couching as a filling stitch!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Basting a Design

If you do a lot of counted canvaswork, sometimes it seems as if every other pattern you pick up calls for some sort of basting lines to be put in before you start stitching the actual design.

My confession: For the vast majority of these, I completely ignore the instructions to baste.

Why? Well, for one, I’m often too impatient to get started to bother with that step. But the other major reason I don’t baste is because the counting of many patterns really isn’t that complicated. If I’m building a geometric design from the inside out, for example, I don’t need to baste the areas of every border. I can just count out 10 or 20 threads or so (depending on the pattern, obviously) to start the next border. For me, there’s little benefit of spending the time to baste in this case.

Everybody’s different of course. I have some friends who swear by basting and would rather not have to deal with counting each step. If that works for you, go for it.

On the other hand, sometimes a design is made a great deal easier by simply adding a few quick basting lines. Here is the beginning of the borders for Ruskin Garden Square by Gay Ann Rogers.

RGS 7Nov2011 As you can see, for this design I chose to add the basting lines, which consisted only of marking the horizonal and vertical centerlines, and diagonal lines going out from the center. The reason is that each side of each border starts as a couched thread going from one corner of the border to another. If I didn’t have those diagonals in there, it would have meant double, triple, quadruple counting to find where each couched line starts and stops. When the distance between the outer couched line and the middle couched line is 40 threads, that’s a lot of counting. And a lot of room for mistakes.

With the basted diagonals, though, I just had to count the forty intersections out one corner to start the first side. Then I simply laid the thread straight across to the next diagonal corner. That easily, I know I have a straight line and where it’s supposed to end. No counting all over again at the second corner.

So I guess it comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. If the cost of basting (the time and complexity of the it) is greater than the benefit to be gained (the saving of time when it comes to stitching the actual design), then I don’t baste. If I’m going to save a lot of time in stitching by putting in a few simple basting lines, then I’ll do it.

What about you? Do you put in all basting lines according to instructions, or are you more of a “let’s wing it” stitcher?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Upcoming: A Bit of Ruskin Lace

Every year, Gay Ann Rogers holds a week-long sale of some of her patterns. Some are from her years of teaching, and this year, some were brand new. Gay Ann’s “E-Week” (as she calls it) was just a few short weeks ago. And despite the fact that I have many, many, many of her designs in my stash, I did feel the pull to purchase a couple more.

While I was combing through my stash to make sure I didn’t re-purchase something I already had, I decided that if I was going to order any more of her patterns, I should probably actually stitch some of those already in the stash.

I had two requirements for starting one:

  • It had to be relatively small (with the assumption being that small would be faster)
  • I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to get going (especially since I would be purchasing additional projects anyway. Fortunately, I had several already kitted up.

The one I decided on fits both criteria. It’s only about 8-1/2 inches square on congress cloth, and I had the kit.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if in this case small equals faster. Because I apparently didn’t choose something easy. This project is a study in ruskin lace, in which areas of the canvas are completely removed so the stitcher can add threads back in those areas and stitch on the added threads.

Here is Gay Ann’s Ruskin Garden Square:


It’s unfortunately not a terrific photo, since it’s printed on regular copy paper and seems to be a bit washed out.

Time will tell if this doesn’t take as long as I think it might. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Magi #3 Underway

The first few sections of Magi 3 are indeed complete.

Magi3 6Nov2011I’ll tell you, though, that it was a close thing. See that far right section? The one that’s kinda bargello-like, but without a repeatable pattern? It could have discouraged me. I could easily have set this aside again, as I did when stressing out over the bargello on Magi #2.

I’m happy to say that I forced myself through it. I’m not completely happy with the way it turned out, due to the overwhelming amount of “confetti” that’s coming through. (In case that’s not clear from the photo, “confetti” = little bits of white canvas showing up in between the stitches.) I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it. I could add one more strand of thread to a few of the stitches where this is most obvious, but I think I’m going to try ink first, instead. Perhaps just coloring some of the worst offenders would help.

I’m open to other suggestions, though! Please share your tried-and-true solutions to this problem!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kimono Revisited

It should come as no surprise to most of you that I have a fairly extensive stash. Okay, a really extensive stash. I have project instructions that I’ve forgotten I’ve purchased. Every once in a while, I go through things and amaze myself with some of the stuff I’ve collected.

Then there are projects where I certainly remember that I have the instructions, but that project just hasn’t reached the top of the “STITCH ME!” pile. One such project is simply named Kimono. It was one of the first must-have counted canvas projects I can recall seeing when I purchased it perhaps ten years ago.

The front cover shows Kimono stitched in shades of ecru. It’s pretty, but I likely wouldn’t have purchased it if I hadn’t seen a few others in progress in other colors. They were gorgeous. And huge.

Kimono already has an interesting history to it. It began life in Maggie Lane’s book Gold and Silver Needlepoint, published in 1983. Maggie came up with the outline and all of the division lines. In 1998, Ietje Jackovich published her version, which used Maggie’s outlines, but included all new filler stitches.

And now, nationally-known needlepoint instructor John Waddell has entered the picture. John has reimagined this project yet again. Rather than just three values of a single color family, all stitched in floss, John has introduced multiple colors, variegated threads, and metallics. It brings this slightly dated piece to a project for today’s stitcher.

KimonoNewIf the colors above aren’t your style, John has pulled together eleven different color combinations, or, of course, you can choose your own.

If you don’t want to stitch on 18-count canvas, don’t worry. Those eleven color combinations have also been pulled for congress cloth, with changes to the metallic sizes as needed.

To top it off, he’s teaching it as online class called Kimono Revisited through Shining Needle Society throughout 2012. If you already have the original book, you pay a discounted class fee (since you don’t need two books!).

Can you tell I’m excited about this class?

If you are too, just head over to the Yahoo! group for the “Home Room” of Shining Needle Society to read more about it, including the pricing information. If you’re not a member of Shining Needle Society yet, what are you waiting for? Membership is free, and you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for any one (or more!) of the seminar-quality online classes offered each year. All you need is a Yahoo! account (also free) to join the SNS_Home_Room group.

And yes, I’m completely unaffiliated with Shining Needle Society, other than being a very satisfied member, customer, and student! Thanks to Kate Gaunt of SNS and John Waddell for letting me post these photos here and go on and on about this upcoming class.

Is anybody joining me?