Sunday, July 5, 2020

Stitch of the Month 2020 - Updated 7/5/2020

July 5, 2020--Here's a photo of the 7th star leg stitched as part of the 2020 ANG Stitch of the Month (SOTM) lesson for July.    Half way through this project with one more star leg to do.  After that it's background stitches with the possible addition of a border.   Have six months to think about what would look best. 

SOTM 2020 July

June 5, 2020--June's lesson for the 2020 ANG Stitch of the Month (SOTM) is the sixth star leg consisting of waffle stitches.  My favorite is worked up in the 2 corners (left and right).  Two more legs to go in blue, then the background will be next.

SOTM 2020 June Closeup 
SOTM 2020 June

May 9, 2020--Last night I stitched up May's installment (number 5) of the ANG SOTM 2020 project.  This month featured the Milanese stitch which I love when using threads that must be laid such as multiple strands of silk floss, Neon Rays types of ribbon, etc.   However, using variegated Caron Watercolours for a number of this month's sections didn't show off the stitches as well as some other type of thread could have.   But that's why I love doing these ANG SOTM projects--I learn so much and develop confidence to try new things.  Now i have to wait until the next lesson is available on June 1st to continue working on this 8 legged star.

SOTM 2020 May Closeup

SOTM 2020 May

April 5, 2020--Here's the fourth installment of the ANG Stitch of the Month project (SOTM) for 2020.  The designer, Kathy Rees, skipped a star leg and continued on with the red colors using cashmere stitch variations.  Am now thinking about a border to close up the design.  Hmmm.

SOTM 2020 April Closeup

SOTM 2020 April
The pink lines on the canvas are basting threads.

March 19, 2020--Just finished stitching March's lesson.  This third leg of the star highlights Smyrna stitches with some interesting variations.   It's a fun project to stitch...just wish I were doing this under better circumstances (no COVID-19).

SOTM 2020 March Closeup

SOTM 2020 March

February 3, 2020--It didn't take long to stitch up February's lesson.  In fact, was able to get this done while watching the Super Bowl game last night (or mostly listening to the game).  However, I did look up at the television to watch all the commercials and half-time show.  Most of the ads were very entertaining and it was interesting to see the difference in energy levels of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

SOTM 2020 February Closeup

SOTM 2020 February

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

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Mulberry & Lime (aka Blueberry & Lime) - Updated 7/3/2020

July 4, 2020--All the bands through Step 19 are stitched.  The next steps involve the beautiful lacey looking stitches in the corners and centers, then the placement of lots of beads.   I haven't dived into my stash of beads yet, waiting to see what colors I'll end up using for the lacey stitches.  

Once everything is done, I'll repost my thread list which continues to change as I move forward.  This has been one of the most challenging projects I've done to date, but believe it'll be worth it in the end.  

Wishing everyone a Happy July 4th.

Mulberry (aka Blueberry) & Lime Through Step 19

June 22, 2020--This project has been a challenge, to put it mildly.  At one time I considered dumping the whole thing and starting over.  The biggest problems came from the threads in the instructions which are way too big for use on Congress Cloth.  For example, the designer calls for Kreinik #12 for an Oblique Encroaching Gobelin stitch over 1 thread.  Impossible to use Kreinik #12 without stretching out the Congress Cloth.  Kreinik #4 and #8 work much better.   There are other similar examples, such as using DMC Perle 8 when 12 is the better choice.   I'm also unhappy with my congress cloth.  I'm stitching on a cream color cloth with gold weaving through it.  That gold is always in the way when trying to find a hole in a crowded stitching situation (e.g., working up Jessicas).  Then I decided to change out some colors which involved some frogging.  However, I still love the design and like how the designer worked up the Jessica stitches--they came out beautiful.  So it's a love/hate relationship with this thing.  Still have 7 more steps to stitch which will really add "bang" to the project.

Mulberry (aka Blueberry) & Lime Through Step 14
Below is a revised list of the threads I'm using compared to those suggested by the designer.  It's a .jpg file which can be enlarged.

Mulberry (aka Blueberry) & Lime Thread List

May 31, 2020--I recently picked an old project I had in my stash designed by Jeanne Polzin and published in ANG’s Needlepointers Magazine in 2012, number 3.  This was a project led by Maryrose C-B for Delaware's Seashore Chapter of ANG back in 2014.  Maryrose wrote up wonderful notes on each section and made fantastic suggestions for alternate thread colorways.  I chose blues and am calling my project Blueberry & Lime.

So far I've stitched Steps 1 and 2, waiting for threads to arrive in the mail before going further.  Here's a photo.

Mulberry (Blueberry) & Lime Completed through Section 2Below a list of my thread colors as compared to those used in the original project.  Because this is a .jpeg, hopefully you'll be able to enlarge it if you desire.

To see a photo of the project, please click on the "In Process Projects" under the heading Pages on the right.

Christmas in the Heartland - Updated 7/3/2020

July 3, 2020--Picked up this project from Michaels Arts & Crafts frame shop today.  Love how it came out--simple yet elegant.  Even though it's a Christmas piece, I'm going to have it hanging in my guest room all year round.

Christmas in the Heartland Framed

May 28, 2020--Fini!  As much of a challenge as this piece was for me, I enjoyed every step of the way.  The very last section contained a hardanger stitch called Greek Cross adjoining Divided Wrapped Bars.  Cindy Valentine's instructions were very clear, but I took a peak at some YouTube videos on how this stitch is executed just for clarification.  Easy peasy!  Lastly, I found one more error and have noted it below in my Notes to the Instructions.

Christmas in the Heartland Completed
Christmas in the Heartland Completed

Note:  At first I thought the small bird on the lower right side was a chicken.  Heartland = Chicken.
Nope, while stitching it, I realized it's supposed to be a quail because of the piece on top of its head.  Can you see it?

May 26, 2020--Back in 2012, I enrolled in an ANG Workshop by Mail project called Christmas in the Heartland designed by Cindy Valentine.   Because this project has many hardanger type stitches, I put off working on this piece until I was able to take a hardanger class of some sort which I did at Hardanger University in February, 2019.  Glad I did wait--was able to cut the fabric for the first section in full confidence.  Cindy's instructions for doing the hardanger stitches are wonderful and I especially liked her chart giving the path for stitching the needlewoven bars and dove's eyes.  Perfect.

I do wish, however, that I copied the class emails and notes back in 2012, especially those that may have discussed errors in the instructions.  I found a few errors myself and have noted them below in case anyone else has this project in their "to be stitched" stash.  I also made an error in what type of silver Kreinik to use.  The instructions called for "HL", High Lustre silver #4 Kreinik and I'm using regular silver from my stash.  I now can see that the HL Kreinik would have made a much greater impact.  This project is stitched on 25 count Laguna linen and has been a challenge to work on.  Lots of froggin' going on.  The most difficult stitch for me to get right was the Queen's Stitch.  I must have restarted that stitch 4 times.  Aaarrrgh!

All in all, though, I am very much enjoying this project.  There's another band of hardanger cutwork coming up and I'm sure I'll get through that easily enough.   Below is a photo of my progress to date.  I took 2 photos, one with white fabric underneath the linen, another with a silvery color.  I like the silver fabric best--you don't see the threads on the back of the linen carried from one section to another.

Christmas in the Heartland Through Band O

Notes to the Instructions:

  • A Kloster stitch is missing on Band B in the lower right section.  The missing stitch is shown  on Page A Master Chart, Page B Detail of Master Chart Top and on Page 5 Detail of Band B.
  • The Queen Stitches Detail on Page 19 show the angles of the center stitches going in a different direction than those on the Master Chart Page A and on the Detail of Master Chart Center Page C.  I used the Master Chart to determine the angles.
  • The color Kreinik for the Ray stitches on Diagram O Page 21 for the blue colorway should be silver, not gold as printed.
  • Band R on page 22 refers to placing beads in this section.  The instructions made no reference to where those beads were to go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Candles Bright - 6/10/2020

June 10, 2020--Finished stitching Lesson 2.  This covered all 3 candles as well as the wicks, flames and  haloes.  The haloes were to be stitched "freeform".  Ha, ha--that's nearly impossible for me--I had to graph out the curves, and even then, I'm not totally satisfied.

The lesson did not mention anything about stitching the slanted portion of the smallest candle, but I went ahead and finished it, assuming what thread to use.

The next lesson will probably cover the pine bough and cones.  Definitely a quick stitch project.

Candles Bright through Lesson 2

May 8, 2020--I registered for this ANG CyberWorkshop designed by Mary Knapp in January of this year and the first lesson arrived on May 1.  There are 3 candles and a pine bough with cones in the project (see In Process Projects Page on the right), and the first lesson covered the center candle and its wick, flame and halo.  Since all three candles have the same type of flame, I'll save that stitching until all the candles are worked up.

So far this project is easy enough.  However, I'm having a problem keeping the pearle 8 thread straight in the vertical stitches--it sometimes sits to the right or left of the hole.  I suspect it has something to do with how tight the thread twist is and if something on the backside is affecting how it lays on the front.  But this isn't enough of a problem for me to rip everything out and start over.  So here we are until next month.

Note:  the indentation on the right side is for another candle to be stitched.
Candles Bright through Lesson 1

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Hardanger Pick A Flower - Stepped Petals - 6/3/2020

June 3, 2020--Just returned from a fishing trip with my husband (he fished, I stitched) in Cape Charles, VA.  Stayed in a beautiful B&B and enjoyed working on a project from the February, 2019  Hardanger University  class taught by Donna Olson.  She gave us instructions and enough cloth to work on four "petal" projects.  I'm starting out with "Stepped Petals" which seems to be the easiest of them all.  Below is a photo showing where I left off after class and another of where I left off today.   I find hardanger very enjoyable to stitch since I'm comfortable working "in hand", not needing to cart around a stand, etc. 

Hardanger Pick a Flower - Stepped Petals at 2020-06-03

Hardanger Pick a Flower - Stepped Petals at Class End
To see a photo of the project as designed, click on "In Process Projects" on the right under the Pages heading.

Monday, May 18, 2020

North Star Santa - 5/18/20

May 18, 2020--Here's another Janet Zickler Casey design called North Star Santa.  This one was published in 2001 and was the easiest to stitch out of all the ones I've completed to date.  Love all the sparkle in the hair and beard, which, of course, doesn't show up in the photo.  Was lucky to find some plastic holly with berries.  Makes for the perfect hat embellishment.  Someday I'll finish this and all the other santas stitched to date into ornaments to hang on a tree, or something (LOL). 

North Star Santa Completed

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Santa in the Moon - 5/12/20

May 12, 2020--This santa cutie, designed by Janet Zickler Casey, was one of her earlier ones with a 2000 copyright date.  I love the texture of the hat and moustache.  All I need is a star charm to dangle from the hat and it'll be ready for finishing into an ornament.

Santa in the Moon Completed

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Stacked Rectangles - Updated 5/6/2020

May 6, 2020--Have now completed the stitching on this really cool pilot stitch project designed by Susan Hoekstra for the now canceled ANG Seminar (note this may be available as a future online class).  I would like to place it in an acrylic serving tray, thinking all these electric colors and shiny threads will look great on my outdoor furniture (and better yet holding a bottle or two of wine and glasses).

Later I'll write about my experience on locating a tray and what I need to do to prepare the piece for insertion, or if they want to do it themselves, etc.

Stacked Rectangles Completed

April 22, 2020--Earlier this month I began pilot stitching a project designed by Susan Hoekstra called Stacked Rectangles in advance of the ANG Seminar which may, or may not be held in Tucson, AZ in August.

Originally this was going to be a two day June pilot class taught to participants of the ANG New Jersey Needle Artists chapter, but because of the virus, the class was canceled.  So Susan mailed the kits to 6 of us pilot stitchers to begin immediately, and so far I am thoroughly enjoying the process of putting these challenging, yet fun, stitches on canvas.

Below is a status photo as of April 16th.  The metallic threads make each section pop.  I chose the Rocky Coast colorway with lots of turquoise, gold, navy blue and root beer colors.  My plan is to complete the stitching by month end.  Only eight more days to go.
Stacked Rectangles Status as of April 16, 2020

PS...Susan Hoekstra has approved the posting of this blog.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Rehoboth Beach Needlework Exhibit for 2020 Cancelled - 4/30/2020

April 30, 2020--I have just received word from the Director of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and Museum that this year's needlework exhibit is cancelled.  Here's her very sound explanation:

So many parts of our lives have changed during these past several weeks. Both our personal and professional activities have become limited or just about eliminated.

When this is all finally over, and we are back once again to a Usual Routine, there will be a tremendous rush, crush, and demand for our time.

One deadline that we can erase from your schedule is the  2020 Rehoboth Beach Museum Embroidery Show. We are cancelling it. This will give us all one less thing on the no doubt long To-do List by then, and more time to adjust back to regular life,
we hope.

This will also give us all more time to finish that wonderful piece now in production, to be ready  for the show in 2021. If you haven’t had a chance to start on your planned work, now you can. We’ll look forward to seeing you and your spectacular piece (s)
in 2021.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Frame Weight Stitcher's Parking Lot -- Updated 4/9/2020

April 9, 2020--It was a lot easier to finish this than anticipated.  Of course. I didn't mind many of the imperfect stiches and kept moving forward.   When I began to put the two sides together with the binding stitch, I realized the canvas was seriously warped out of shape.  Since it was only going to be a frame weight, I figured the BBs would force it into shape, which they magically did (for the most part).

Filling the frame weight with BBs wasn't difficult.  The hard part came when I spilled half of them onto my kitchen counter, floor, rugs, etc.  To the rescue came my very patient husband and my magnet on a wand device.   We got those BBs under control in no time.

Now I have to find stitching tools large enough to fit snugly into the loops.  Right now it's sitting on top of my Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet (which I'm using for all my stitching accouterments) looking very pretty.

Frame Weight Stitcher's Parking Lot Finished

Frame Weight Stitcher's Parking Lot Finished (Back Side) - Shows serious warpage
Frame Weight Stitcher's Parking Lot Before Finishing Side View

Frame Weight Stitcher's Parking Lot Before Finishing Front Closeup

March 28, 2020--I purchased this frame weight project to stitch along with fellow chapter mates last year, but wasn't able to think about stitching it until the ANG CyberPointers Chapter had this as their July, 2020 project.   I was motivated by the photos and additional class lessons given during the online meeting.  So I finished stitching a few things and felt comfortable starting this project while quarantined at home to avoid the COVID-19 virus.  Here's the under or bottom part of the frame weight:

Frame Weight Stitcher's Parking Lot Under or Back Side

My colors are simple.  The front colors are turquoise perle #3, light, silvery perle #3, silver Kreinik #16 braid, and variegated Watercolours called Twilight (you can see the variegated colors in the photo above).

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Autumn Crackers - Updated 3/22/2020

March 22, 2020--Took the time yesterday to sew up the canvases pictured below into "crackers".  Marilyn Owen's instructions were wonderful and they worked up quickly.  I made only a few changes to the instructions by first cutting the decorative ribbons the same length as the right and left sides, including seam allowances.  Then, after the crackers were stuffed with batting and narrow red ribbons wrapped around the wide decorative ribbons to close each end, I used the flat edge of a small screw driver to push the decorative ribbon edges in between the canvas seam allowance, then inserted some Fray Check" to keep everything in place.  This eliminated any need to sew the ribbon edges together.  Below is a photo of what the ribbon looked like when "tucked".  Hope this explanation makes sense.

I'm keeping the photo of Marilyn's crackers at the end of this post for comparison purposes.  If you haven't already stitched these crackers, you may want to give them a try.  They'll be adorable on my side table during the Fall season.

Autumn Crackers Finished

Decorative ribbon edges "stuffed" into seam allowance

Decorative Ribbons used in the making of Autumn Crackers

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

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hooray for the Red, White & Blue - Updated 3/21/2020

March 21, 2020--The 3rd and final lesson, the flag block, was supposed to have been given to my ANG chapter at the meeting on April 6th.  However, with everything canceled because of COVID-19, I wrote out the lesson and emailed it to all participants.  They have all done so well on the stitching through the second lesson and I know this last one will be a breeze for them.  The only concern they may have is with the star brads used for embellishment.  I wrote about my experience of placing them on the canvas, so they shouldn't have any trouble at all.  Looking forward to seeing photos of their completed projects.  All in all, this was a lot of fun to work on and to lead as a chapter class.

Hooray for the Red, White & Blue - Lesson 3, Section 8

March 3, 2020--The instructions for the second installment to the project were given to my ANG chapter members yesterday.  The three sections covered were Lettering, Red and White Squares, and Fireworks.   All of us are thoroughly enjoying the variety of stitches in this piece.

The last section, The Flag, will be stitched next month, then I'll have the fun of finishing it into a box standup.

Hooray for the Red, White & Blue - Lesson 2, Sections 5 - 7
The only changes we would have made are in the spacing between the letters L and Y--they need to be closer together by one thread for balance, and lower the firecrackers by 5 threads to allow more room on top for the "spaeklers".  Otherwise it's looking good.

February 4, 2020--This wonderful project, designed by Karen Barras of the Central Kentucky Chapter of ANG, was chosen by Delaware's Seashore Chapter as their project for the first 3 months of 2020.

I have the privilege of leading the members in stitching this design, and yesterday was Lesson 1 covering the first 4 sections (bunting, pinwheel, plaid and flowers).  Of course, prior to the first lesson, all had the opportunity to do the pre-work which outlined each section with Diagonal Gobelin Stitch.

Karen's instructions and graphs are superb, but I did have to review my Chottie's Plaids book to figure out how the plaid section should be stitched.  Using her technique, the back looks as good as the front.  Here are the results:

Hooray for the Red, White & Blue - Lesson 1, Sections 1 - 4

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hardanger Stitch A Card Kit - Updated 2/18/2020

February 18, 2020--A few days ago, while looking for blank canvas bits and pieces, I came across this half completed hardanger project started 6-1/2 years ago and totally forgotten about.  I remember I put this away because I felt my hardanger skills weren't up to par to complete the last 2 blocks.  Since then, I've been to Hardanger University and could now finish this with ease.  Which I did.  So here are the final 2 blocks and a photo of them turned into greeting cards.   I would stitch these again, or design my own little squares.  Lots of possibilities.

Blocks 3 and 4 Completed

All 4 Blocks Completed

Blocks Attached to Greeting Card Stock

August 13, 2013--Purchased this little kit to "practice" hardanger stitches learned last year at a chapter led class to make a hardanger doily.

There are four blocks to stitch, each progressively more difficult.  Have completed the first two and know for certain that I really do need to practice before I take on a more ambitious project.    It's very important to properly lay the satin stitches called "klosters" before cutting the threads, otherwise it's too easy to cut the stitching along with the linen threads (been there and done that).   Also purchased a booklet by Janice Love called HARDANGER BASICS AND BEYOND, 2006.   Great diagrams, pictures, detailed instructions and lots of small projects to work on.

Block 1 of 4

Block 2 of 4