Saturday, January 25, 2020

ANG Stitch of the Month for 2020 - Updated 1/25/2020

January 25, 2020--January's lesson is stitched.   Based upon the instructions, I can tell this is going to be a lot of fun to work on.

SOTM 2020 January Closeup

SOTM 2020 January

January 2, 2020--The ANG 2020 Stitch of the Month project looks to be fun while offering stitching challenges.  The star designed by Kathy Rees will be great as a "stand up", hanging ornament, etc.  I think I'll encase mine in clear plastic and make it into a front door ornament for use on Independence Day.

So far I've downloaded the two files for January (one is an introduction and the other is January's stitching).  I really like the blue and red colors used by Kathy,  and found some of those threads in my stash.  Then  ordered what I don't have.  I already had a 12" x 12" piece of 18 count mono canvas in white, so will change the background stitches to a very pale, almost white, color rather than the ecru color Kathy used which went with her suggested egg shell colored canvas.

Below is a photo of the basted star.  I started to do the outline in #4 pencil, but feared it might look too dirty where the white background stitching met the star.  Since the design graph is based upon 6 canvas threads equaling 1 thread in the graph, I basted using a count of over/under 6 threads.  Actually faster than counting out each length.

Everything looks a bit messy now because I like having my basting thread knots in front along with their tails to keep an eye on where everything is and easier to remove as each star arm is stitched.  You can see I stitch "in the well" and mount my canvas so it sits on the back of the stretcher bars.  The tacks on the inside of the stretcher bars are for small magnets which will hold needles.

ANG Stitch of the Month 2020 Basting

Below is a photo of the project as designed and stitched by Kathy Rees.

ANG Stitch of the Month 2020 Design by Kathy Rees Project Photo

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hardanger Ornament Crystal Daisy - Updated 1/8/2020

January 8, 2020--The additional project to stitch given us by Terri Bay in the hardanger crystal daisy class (see 7/20/19 blog post below) is now finished into a little doily.   It has some depth and shine due to the beads and Kreinik thread.  Cutting away the fabric wasn't difficult at all--just had to keep a steady hand and carefully cut into the inside corners with the sharpest little scissors I have.

Hardanger Crystal Daisy Doily Finished

My Tiny, Inexpensive, Sharpest Scissors

July 20, 2019--Finished the Hardanger Crystal Daisy piece into an ornament.  

This is the first time I've made an ornament stitched on linen fabric--all others have a canvas (usually 18 count) base.  The linen had a tendency to move off grain, so it needed serious pinning around the edge of the mounting board to stay even.  It was also difficult to keep the measurements even all around from the edge of the stitching to the edge of the ornament--I had to repin the fabric onto the mounting board three times before I got it right.

Hardanger Ornament Crystal Daisy Finished Front

For a needlepoint ornament stitched on canvas, I usually cut the ornament front a little smaller (about 5%) than the back so the cording "sits" a bit forward.  This is because the canvas is so thick with stitching all the way to the edge (usually).  With the linen ornament, the fabric is so much thinner than canvas and there's no stitching to the edge, so the front mounting board should only have been reduced in size by 3% or so.  So this linen ornament has a front that is too small and the cording doesn't show at all from the back.

And speaking of cording, mine
is too small for this size ornament.  It would look much better if it were twice the thickness.  

Every time I finish my own ornaments, I learn something new, but am learning the hard way.  Would love to "intern" with a professional finisher so I could learn all the tricks of the trade at one time.

Anyone want an intern?  I'm willing to travel in the mid-Atlantic area.

PS  I have no desire to use what I would learn to finish ornaments for others as a business--this would be for my own purposes only.  Thank you.

Hardanger Ornament Crystal Daisy Finished Back

July 14, 2019--In February, I attended Hardanger University (click here for information about the classes) and have been wanting to finish stitching the pieces I started.

The first class was an ornament sized project called Crystal Daisy from Terri Bay Needlework Designs.  Recently I decided to complete the stitching and learned a lot in the process.  I really like stitching "in hand" and have no problems with my tension pulling and or warping the linen  Below is a picture of the ornament which I just completed.

Hardanger Ornament Crystal Daisy Completed
Below is a photo of where I left off at class end.

Hardanger Ornament Crystal Daisy at Class End
I had an issue with the very thin beading thread included with the kit.  A small amount was coiled inside of a plastic bag and when I tried to take it out--it knotted up like crazy.  So I used my 6 lb. Berkley Fireline Crystal Braid to stitch the bicone beads in place.  This works great on canvas, but hated the results on the linen which can be seen in the photo below--was way too heavy.    Fortunately I remembered having some "invisible" thread in my sewing stash.  So I cut out the Berkley line and restitched the beads in place using my invisible thread.  Worked perfectly as you can see from the first photo above.

Hardanger Ornament Crystal Daisy with Berkley Fireline to Stitch Beads (too visible)

Am now working on the larger, oval ornament which was included in the class materials.  I plan on turning the project into a small doily instead of an ornament and placing it on the edge of my huge soaking tub for something a little decorative.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Janet Zickler Casey Santas Stitched to Date - Updated 01/05/2020

January 5, 2020--The 10th JZC santa, Heart Santa, is stitched.

Santa Heart

February 11, 2019--The 9th JZC santa is stitched.

Star Spangled Santa

January 9, 2019--Here's the eighth stitched so far to add to the list below.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Santa

November 16, 2018—Recently I counted up the number of santa ornaments designed by Janet Zickler Casey that I’ve stitched over the years.  Below are 7 out of 23 total to date.  As new ones are completed, I’ll add them to the list.  My goal is to stitch two a year (one new, one old) until all are done.  Click on the caption for more information about each santa pictured.

Candy Swirl Santa
Pine Cone Santa

Nutcracker Santa
Christmas Tree Santa

Silver Bell Santa

Christmas Light Santa

Candy Cane Santa

To see the santas yet to be stitched, please click on the 2 Pages on the right side of this blog called Planned Projects and In Process Projects.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review

December 31, 2019--It's been a busy year, but I still managed to complete the stitching on 20 needlepoint projects.  Here they are from most recent (December) to oldest (January).

Many have not yet been finished into ornaments, etc.--I'm waiting to stitch all the projects in the collections before working them up into ornaments (e.g., Janet Zickler Casey's santa collection, Susan Portra's holiday ornament collection).

Also included in this list are the projects stitched in prior years and finished into pillows, ornaments, etc. in 2019.

Hope you enjoy looking at these pictures and walking down memory lane with me.  Click on the photo's caption to see more information about each project.

Santa Heart

Autumn Crackers Leaf (5 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Owl (4 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Pumpkin (3 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Quilt Block (2 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Tree (1 of 5)

Jeweled Heart

Woven Ribbons Ornament
Expressions in Rose Gold
Mini Embellishment Ornament

Valentine Heart
Hardanger Crystal Daisy Ornament

Holiday Ornament - Green Bell

Ornament by DebBees Designs for 2018 Completed
Ornament by DebBees Designs for 2018
RG Mystical Stairs Coaster

Ort Box With a Twist
Overdyed Spools
Holiday Ornament - White Light

Star Spangled Santa

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Santa

Here are four stitched projects completed in years past and finally "finished" into something in 2019:

ANG Stitch of the Month for 2016
Woven Ribbons Pillow

Bargello Techniques Pillow
Florentine Canyon Heart

Friday, December 27, 2019

Heart Santa Ornament - Updated 12/27/19

December 27, 2019--Here it is a year later and after shopping many yarn stores, I could not find a chenille type yarn that I liked to replace the ecru colored Fluffy Fleece.  I did find a new color of RG Fluffy Fleece No. FE1, Natural, so I ordered it hoping it would be lighfer than FE14, ecru, which I have in my inventory.  As you can see in the photo below, there is absolutely no change in color, just in the color number.  Why???

Oh well, I went ahead and couched down number FE1 and even though it's darker than I prefer--it's done and ready to finish as an ornament.  Now to choose the next Janet Zickler Casey santa that I have in my stash to stitch.

Santa Heart Completed

Same Color, Different Number

November 5, 2018--Have stitched as much as possible on this cutie.  Now need to find a white, loopy yarn for the beard.  Janet Zickler Casey's instructions call for RG Fluffy Fleece in white, but that is no longer manufactured.  What's available is Fluffy Fleece in an ecru color which I think is too dark.  When I asked Janet for a substitute, she suggested going to a yarn shop and finding a "chenille" style yarn.  Perfect.  Now to go shopping.

Heart Santa as of 11/2/18
January 17, 2016--Have begun stitching this adorable santa ornament designed by Janet Zickler Casey.  Found this cutie on eBay.  Hope to find more of these santas either on eBay, SNS, or on Facebook needlepoint seller sites.

Heart Santa Face Stitched

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Autumn Crackers - Updated 12/19/19

December 19, 2019--All the crackers are now stitched and ready for finishing.  In order to start that process, I had to order some autumn themed 2.5" wired ribbons and found some nice ones on eBay.   Once I determine if the ribbon colors will work with threads used, I plan to turn these canvases into "crackers" as soon as possible.  Here's the last one--a leaf.

Autumn Crackers - Leaf Completed (five of five crackers) 

December 15, 2019--On a roll now--have just finished stitching the fourth cracker--a tree in Fall colors.   There are even some leaves on the ground.  Hope to finish the last one, a leaf, before the month is done.

Autumn Crackers - Tree Completed (four of five crackers) 

December 8, 2019--The third cracker, a quilt block pattern, is done.  These are working up fast and are a lot of fun.  I've stitched the centers of the Tree and Leaf crackers, so the whole set should be done by next month.  Still have yet to purchase autumn themed ribbons.  Stay tuned for that.

Autumn Crackers - Quilt Block Completed (three of five crackers) 

November 22, 2019--The second of five crackers is now stitched.  This is an adorable pumpkin with lots of stitch and thread variety.

I found extra stretcher bars in the size I needed, so have tacked three blank pieces of canvas unto the bars and will do them all at the same time--at least each section will be completed on all three before moving to the next.  The three cracker patterns to be done are Tree, Leaf and Quilt.

Here's the pumpkin cracker:

Autumn Crackers - Pumpkin Completed (two of five crackers) 

November 17, 2019--When ANG's CyberPointers Chapter offered Autumn Crackers by Marilyn Owen (part of that year's Chapter Project Book) as a group project at their July, 2017 meeting, I had to sign up.  They are the cutest things and will look great in the house as autumnal themed needlepoint.   Even though it has taken 2 years for me to start working on these 5 crackers, I've got one completely stitched and am working on the second.  Here's a photo of the owl cracker.

Autumn Crackers - Owl Completed (one of five crackers) 

Marilyn Owen gives lots of choices for the borders and roll areas, but also lets you know which stiches she chose.  I appreciate that since I'm not very good at selecting my own.  Also, her instructions on how to finish each design as a cracker are easy to follow.  I just need to find some 2.5" Fall themed ribbons--easier said than done since I don't have large box craft stores near me (the small Michael's Arts & Craft store near me has moved out their Fall stuff and now has Christmas things).  There are lots of ribbons on eBay, so may purchase a few rolls there and hope the colors match my threads.

Below is a project photo of all 5 crackers stitched and finished by the designer, Marilyn Owen.  Love the colors.

Autumn Crackers by Marilyn Owen Project Photo