Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gardener's Alphabet - The Letter N - Nasturtium - 03/13/18

March 13, 2018--Found a ready made frame for this letter.   Not sure what I'm going to do with it, so maybe a friend with a name beginning with N will want it.  It's very pretty in person.

Gardener's Alphabet Letter N

October 10, 2015--Sometime in mid-August, Liz Morrow sent out an email searching for pilot stitchers for her Gardener's Alphabet project (counted stitch, not painted) described below.  I've admired Liz's work with bargello and jumped at the opportunity to do this.  Here's the end result* and more information follows.

Gardener's Alphabet Letter N

Gardener's Alphabet Letter N Side View
Liz wrote:
  • The Garden Alphabet was designed by Jim Williams as a rug. The designs were first published in Needlepoint News, Jan/Feb 1982 issue. At that time, it was worked on 10-count canvas with Paternayan wool in Tent stitches.  Mr. Williams has graciously allowed the designs to be reworked for 18-count canvas, color coded to DMC floss.  The designs may be worked entirely in Basketweave or Continental. If desired, decorative stitches may be used, particularly for the background and letters. The background could also be left unstitched, especially if a colored canvas is used. A light coverage stitch on a colored canvas is also an attractive option. 
Liz sent me the letter N to stitch, using the canvas, colors, threads and stitches of my choice.  I have to admit that I have very little experience in choosing my own stitches, but tried to keep the different areas uniform in size while giving contrast.  I did something very unusual though (at least for me it’s unusual)—all the stitches are vertical on 24 count congress cloth—there aren’t any diagonal or horizontal stitches on the piece.  The color choices were based on the Kreinik thread used for the letter.  I love this color called Confetti Pink and it works with the flower and leaves.   Also, for the background, the basting stitches, worked over 5 threads in blocks of ten, were left in place.  I thought it gave a nice trellis-like look to it.

If I had more time (this needed to be done by the end of September), I would have redone this project, using threads with more contrast for the flower and a darker thread for the veins of the two center leaves.  Also, because the spaces within the flower were so small, would have chosen different stitches.   Oh well, for the most part it worked and Liz is going to use it.

* Liz has approved this early blog about the project and hopes to have the full alphabet up on her web site by the end of October.  Can't wait to see what the other stitchers have done.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Shades of Christmas Poinsettia Ornament - Updated 3/9/18

March 9, 2018--Took a moment to finish this into a Christmas ornament.  The instructions couldn't have been easier--stitch 2 pieces of linen together on 3 sides using a running stitch, make the cord for hanging, stuff a piece of batting between the two pieces of fabric, then finish stitching (catching the cord).  All that's left is to remove some threads around the ornament--finished.

Ornament Poinsettia Shades of Christmas Front

Ornament Poinsettia Shades of Christmas Back

May 10, 2017--This pretty little poinsettia is complete and all that needs to be done is turn it into an ornament.  I really like the variations in the thread colors, but think the size used--Caron Wildflowers (perle 8 to 12 equivalent), is too thin and doesn't cover the linen as well as I would have liked.  Maybe once it is pressed the thread will "flatten" out and cover more.

Ornament Shades of Christmas Poinsettia Completed
May 4, 2017--I am nearly finished "cross stitching" a beautiful Christmas poinsettia called Shades of Christmas led by Bobbie R. of Delaware's Seashore Chapter, ANG.  I am learning a little about cross stitching (this being my second chapter project) and like how pretty the projects are along with the challenge of counting stitches and thread color changes (I think the crosses are all going in the same direction).  Once the green leaves are stitched, I plan on making this into a very simple ornament with fringed edges.

This is a free chart designed by Crossing Montana for Eterna Silk.  However, I'm using Caron Wildflowers for the threads.  Love the variegations.

Ornament Shades of Christmas Poinsettia

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hardanger Bookmark Simple - Update 3/8/18

March 8, 2018--Done, and it didn't take long at all.  For the most part, am pleased with how it turned out.  I see some areas where my stitching (especially the buttonhole stitch) needs improvement, but the next one I do will look better.  Even though it's supposed to be reversible, I think it looks a bit messy on the back.    All in all, a fun project and great practice for my planned project called Christmas in the Heartlands by Cindy Valentine (click here to see a photo).

Hardanger Bookmark Simple Front

Hardanger Bookmark Simple Back

March 7, 2018--I haven't done much hardanger, but love its simplicity and beauty (actually, it's not so simple).  So when a member of  Delaware's Seashore Chapter of ANG, Lucille C., volunteered to teach a class on how to stitch a simple bookmark, I immediately signed up.  She designed this beautiful piece, wrote the stitch guide and gave us wonderful tips and tricks during the class.  Below is my progress to date.  BTW, this is supposed to be reversible when done.

Hardanger Bookmark Simple at 03/07/2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

SOTM 2018 - Updated 3/2/2018

March 2, 2018--The stitching for March's portion of this cute project took about 30 minutes to do.  Am ready for the next installment, but must wait until April 1st.

PS.  If the color for March's section looks darker...it is.  I'm using some old cotton perle threads given to me by my mother and will place the different dye lots around the canvas.

SOTM 2018-03 Front

SOTM 2018-03 Front Closeup

SOTM 2018-03 Back

SOTM 2018-03 Back Closeup
February 2, 2018--The February instructions for this darning project are so easy and quick--was able to get the stitching done in about an hour.  This is going to be so cute as a box cover.  In fact, I'm going to try and enclose the back with glass so that the reverse or negative side will shown when the box top is opened.

SOTM 2018-02 Completed

SOTM 2018-02 Front

Add caption Back

January 11, 2018--The section for the month of  January is stitched.  I love how the back looks like a negative of the front.  Cool.

SOTM 2018 - through January

SOTM 2018 January Closeup Front

SOTM 2018 January Closeup Back
January 2, 2018--Yay!  The January installment of ANG's 2018 Stitch of the Month project called Darned Good Sampler by Toni Gerdes is now up on their website (click here).   This is a year long project featuring darning patterns and it's right up my alley.  I've already picked out my color (true blue) on white 24 count Congress Cloth.  This will produce a final size of 5" x 5" which will fit perfectly in a box I already own.  Below is a picture of this year's project.

ANG Stitch of the Month 2018 Project Photo

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Tool For Straightening Threads - 2/28/18

February 28, 2018--I have a new favorite tool--a Vinida 2-in-1 cordless hair straightener ceramic flat iron and curling iron that is rechargeable with a USB charger. It was a little more expensive than some others, but I wanted a portable, rechargeable flat iron because we are unable to plug in appliances while taking classes at the ANG national seminar.   It is recommended the iron be turned off after each use, but that isn't a problem--when you turn it on, it heats up immediately and then cools quickly when you're finished using it.

Vinida Portable Flat Iron
I had some experience with similar irons brought into classes for students to use, but didn't think they were necessary.  Well, I'm a convert now.  I've been using it to straighten out everything--from RG/Neon Rays to RG/Splendor (love what it does to silk).  I find the threads don't kink up so much and are easier to "lay" flat and smooth.   I'm going to experiment using it for all threads.  Yes, it's an additional step to stitching, but at this point, it seems worth it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Fire and Ice Class - 2/26/18

February 26, 2018--Just finished taking a 2-day class called Fire & Ice taught by Toni Gerdes and hosted by the ANG Checkerspot Chapter of Silver Spring, MD.  Had a wonderful time learning new stitches and starting to "build" this wonderful project.  Toni designed this piece by selecting threads, colors and shapes based upon the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, KS.

Have lots of "thread spaghetti" to untangle when I get back to this project--and it is calling to me.

Museum at Prairiefire, Overland Park, KS

Toni Gerdes, Teacher and Designer of Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice at Class End

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nashville, TN Ornament - Updated 2/21/18

February 21, 2018--The ornament to celebrate my husband's niece's 40th birthday in Nashville is done.  The little gold design in the moon is the zodiac symbol for the Lion.  I like how it came out.  I have time between now and July to finish it into an ornament with cording and some ribbons (not too many--am not into fru-fru).

Nashville, TN Ornament for 40th Birthday

Side View of Nashville Ornament (beads are more visible)
February 15, 2018--My husband's niece is turning 40 in July and she invited her world to celebrate with her in Nashville, TN.  We've been there once, but it was a quick in and out type of thing, so we responded Yes!  So, what do you get a beautiful woman (and one of the nicest ones too) with a handsome husband, two gorgeous children, a home on a lake, etc.?  Needlepoint!  I'm sure no one else in her life does needlepoint, also I'm quite confident that no one in her family reads my blog, so this will be a surprise.  After inquiring of the wonderful readers on Facebook's Needlepoint Nation as to where I might find a Nashville theme related ornament, I received some nice responses and found one I could order and receive immediately (needing all the time in the world to get this done).  It also had a stitch guide and threads.  Glad it came as a kit--I only had two of the many threads used in this piece.

Below is the canvas designed by Tina Timberlake exclusively for Nashville Needleworks.  There's a lovely white space inside the full moon where I'll stitch in the birthday gal's name, the date or just "40".  Not sure yet.

This is called the "bat building" ornament and I had to google what that meant.  After seeing photos of Nashville's skyline, now I understand why.

Looking forward to getting started.

Ornament Nashville, TN