Monday, January 22, 2018

the GIANT sheep.....CONTINUED

In deciding what to stitch this year, I made a vow that I would not start a new project until I finished one and removed it from the stretcher bars.  So I decided to pick up the Vicki Sawyer sheep canvas and try to knock it out. 


Since I first posted about this, I've stitched the background.  I wasn't in love with the orange background so I decided to change it to a color that was more my style. The stitch I used was Reverse Check (Thanks, Julia Snyder) and I love the way it turned out.  You can still see some of the orange shading pattern ever so slightly.  It looks great in person. 
 
Mostly I was wanting to try out needle felting which I have never done.  I just bought the supplies on Saturday and was anxious to see if it would work on this big area.  I bought three different shades of roving and just jumped right in.  It's definitely not perfect but I like the way it's turning out so far.  I need to finish the face and then I can go back to the wool and work on the edges and the fine-tuning now that I have a clue what I'm doing.  Because you can see the puncture marks where I went in/out with the needle, I need to figure out how to smooth that a bit at the end.  I can stitch the grasses and flowers over the top of the wool when completely done. 

Here's what it looks like so far...

 
And the little bird on his ear was a fairly new technique for me...stranding down Silken Straw.  I have used this technique before as well and it is beautiful for birds.  It is very easy to shade and blend the colors.  I have one portion to complete and then I will work on the bullion legs and the eye and beak.  Here is a close-up:


I might try the technique where you plump/stuff from the back to make the area stick up...no idea what that is called.  I will probably have to add a few more stitches at the base of the belly after I get the wool felted in place so that it looks like the bird is on top.  You can see the fun background in this picture as well.
 
Clearly I'm still working on that sweet sheep face...have tried about 4 stitches and keep ripping and starting over.  I want something that is open enough to show the shading but then I get stuck on the nostrils area....BAH!  I used Basketweave on the ears and just changed colors.  But not sure I want to do that for the face or not.  And stitching on black is not my favorite!  I'm using dark brown velvet so that helps a little but not much. 

Stay tuned for more on this fun piece!
XOXO,
Suzanne

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hello 2018! Getting back to it....

You know, life just  has a way of getting in your way...if you let it.  Don't know what excuse to give about not blogging other than that.  I just haven't done it.  So I'm going to try to get back to it.  I love needlepoint and I love when people share their gift with me so if I can share and someone love it, then I need to do that.  Plus, it's good for keeping me motivated to stitch. 
 
I only started needlepoint in 2005 when I took a beginner class so it's been a relatively short time.  In those 12 years, I've had at least 4, or maybe 5, that I didn't stitch at all...because well, life.  So really I"ve only been stitching about 7 or 8 years.  I haven't met any other stitchers in my years of doing this who just don't put in even one tent stitch in a whole year.  I don't know what happens.  It is not that I stop loving everything needlepoint, it's just that I can't seem to make time for it. Or just can't get interested enough to do it.  I don't know.  It's weird. 
 
So, I didn't stitch much this past year or two...some, but not much.  I started a new job, moved to a new place where I had to make all new friends, lost my Dad, moved my lovely daughter to the City of Angels....blah blah blah.  Occasionally, I get emails from around the world from some of you wonderful readers who check in on me.  Love that!  I mean, really....who gets that?  So cool!  So, I'm still here and still loving needlepoint and vowing to try to do better about blogging in 2018. 
 
To start off the year, I want to show you this fabulous and super sassy gal!  I actually did stitch on her in 2017 so I wasn't completely off the reservation!  LOL


This cutey is an & More design.  I've taken more than a few "classes" with Julia Snyder and she never fails to come through.  I couple years back, she threw out the words "Beaded Turkey Work" and I whipped my head around so fast it should have come off my neck.  That appealed to me...she suggested this canvas so I dove right in.  I also used the background plaid pattern that she has made 'famous' and that I like so much and have used in previous projects. 
 
Obviously it's not finished and I need to get back to it, but here is a close-up of her skirt:

 
 
I used all of the variations of white and clear beads I had and bought a few extra that had a different look or were lined, etc.  I love size 15 for 18-count mesh and yes, I do think there is a difference.  The size 15 are slightly smaller than the size 14 we are normally sold.  And yes, I do love the ones from & More...they are my favorite.  I rarely ever have to pitch beads that won't fit my needle and I never get broken ones in my tube.  Those are now my go-to beads for most projects. 
 
So....I dumped the whole lot of beads into a bowl and mixed them up.  yes...thousands of beads!  Literally.  Using white beading thread and using a variation of the standard Turkey Work stitch, I would scoop up 21 beads to make each loop.  The variation was basically that I omitted the locking stitch...too difficult with beads and not really necessary because the beads keep the stitch from moving.  And I had to skip a row in order to fit this unusually large loop.  Otherwise, it's just like doing Turkey Work except that you scoop up beads for every loop.  Tens of thousands of beads...so you have to like beads!  And you have to have a good light...and possible a magnifier. 
 
Hindsight being 20/20 and all that...I always try to mentally catalog the things I would do differently when I am doing something for the first time and have no way of knowing how it will turn out or how it will be to execute, etc.  In this case, I probably wouldn't have mixed the beads and used all solid white versions.  And I also would not have executed the Turkey Work in straight lines...this doesn't matter when you are using thread but it shows with the rows of beads...not that a lay observer would ever notice but you know how that goes...anyway, it doesn't bother me enough to redo it, of course!  I love the way it turned out.  I will use the same technique for the "fur" on her top and hat.  So much fun!
 
It does take a while though...I watched many a rerun of NCIS to get that skirt completed!  The red skirt is just a jumble of tiny red sequins attached with a bead in a random fashion and I think it turned out great as well.  I used the same technique for the hat.  I haven't decided if her bodice will be different.  Julia suggested I lay rows of sequins that lay down for the bodice and mine didn't look so great when I tried so I already took that out.  I think I might try again.  Not sure why that simple technique is messing with me...I might have to call Julie and get a tutorial to figure out if I'm doing something wrong or if I'm just too picky....hehe.
 
Last pic for now is the package stack at the bottom....


I got to use a few different techniques here....the new one for me was Or Nue stitch as pictured in the bottom box - pronounced OR NEW WAY.  This was my first time attempting this fascinating stitch. 
 
Per Google/et al, "Or Nue is French for Naked Gold. Or Nue (or shaded gold) is a form of goldwork embroidery using couching where different colored silk threads are stitched over the metallic base of gold threads to form patterns or designs, often figures or narrative scenes."  Needlepointers have basically just adopted the stitch pattern and use it with different threads, etc., not just gold.  Essentially, you lay long threads all the way across the pattern from side to side, and then satin over in certain places to make the design.   That's over-simplifying a tad but you get the idea. I like it.
 
Welcome back with a really long post but I hope you enjoyed the pics of this fun project.  I hope to keep up with my blogging this year...I have lots more to show you and lots of projects in my queue.
 
Happy New Year to all and I hope that 2018 is marvelous for everyone!

XOXO,
Suzanne


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stitching in Cow Town, Texas...

Hello and long time no see......
 
My apologies for the disappearing act but so much has been going on that I'll probably just buzz in and buzz out until I can get settled in another month or so and get back to my regular blogging schedule.  Lots of wonderful changes in my world recently.  I got a new job and started June 1st...WOOHOO!  Subsequently, in the last month I've sold my home and bought a new one...well both are underway since it takes a while....and at the end of September I will be moving to the beautiful hill country of Texas!  I've been wanting to do that for so long and finally am blessed to have the opportunity.  
 
If you've moved you house, you know why I haven't had time to blog.  If you've changed jobs and started a new one, you know why I haven't had time to blog.  And if you have family to care for, then you know why I haven't had time to blog.  I'm in that "sandwich" period of life where you still have kiddos to take care of (at least a little bit) and you add taking care of your lovely parents.  While both are an honor that I don't take lightly and I appreciate with my whole heart, it can be taxing and time-consuming. 
 
No excuses, just explanations.  I feel so extremely blessed and privileged right now that I'm constantly moved to tears.  Really, even the work of dealing with family and moving and all that is just such a gift that I'm just grateful...very grateful. 
 
So, I hope to get back to stitching and blogging once I get settled into my new home in October.  Stay tuned...
 
Meanwhile, I did get away for a little stitching retreat.  I met a friend in Ft. Worth, Texas to take a long-awaited class with Julia Snyder.  I've been lucky enough to have taken her classes before and she never disappoints!  Plus, it's just so much stinkin' fun!  If only I could just hook up some type of line between her brain and mine and dump the contents over....whew!  I can't write fast enough to catch all the brilliant tips she keeps tossing out!  Thanks, Julia!  Love you!
 
It's always fun to pick a canvas so far in advance that you are just super excited to actually see what canvas you ordered when you arrive at a retreat like this!  This time, I picked a Vicki Sawyer canvas of a giant (seriously, this canvas is BIG) sheep head with a crown of flowers and bird perched on her head. 
 
 
 
Isn't this fantastic??????   So many awesome ideas already.  Hopefully I can actually find a little time for stitch relief while I finish packing up my house to move in a couple weeks.  Otherwise, we all have to wait until October for this fancy reveal. 
 
I hope this post finds you all well and that summer treated you as well as it did me.  Looking forward to Fall and lots of stitching in my new home and new blog posts so don't give up on me yet!   
 
Happy stitching!
Suzanne

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mother Darling

My sweet daughter has called me Mother Darling for many years - not your ordinary term of endearment.  I love it.  I changed the colors in my bedroom this past year.  If you know me, you know that I love aqua blue tones and greens and coral.  Mix all that up and add distressed white furniture and white lacy bedding and that's my style.  

I commissioned a striped piece in dark teal and chartreuse with white lettering in cursive that says "Mother Darling" and it was so much fun to stitch!  I love having large painted areas on which to add composite stitches with several parts...and embellishments!

I stitched the middle "green" stripe first using two shades of chartreuse yellow-green, but very close in color, in Pepper Pot silk.  I chose a Cashmere Checker stitch and used the slightly darker shade for the basketweave and the lighter color for the cashmere.  I previewed the lettering technique in the previous post.  For that, I used one strand of Watercolors in bright white to basketweave the letters as a base.  Then I used white beading thread and white beads as an over-stitch using the brick beading method.  It's FABULOUS!  I hope you try it.  


For the teal stripes, I picked a composite stitch so I could use several different threads.  The first part looks like this:


Before I started, I made the decision to stitch the row that touches the middle stripe so that I could attach the sequins in full which basically means I compensated before I even started by adding a portion of the the pattern before proceeding with full runs of the pattern.   Had I just stitched those squares without essentially stitching the bottom row of what would have been the preceding square along the edge, then I would have had to compensate the sequins...how would you do that?  I think that once it's all stitched, it looks fine...better with a full sequin.  

I selected two different shades of Impressions - darker for the outer border of the squares in the pattern and the lighter aqua for the centers.  I had tiny aqua shimmery sequins in my stash from a previous project so I attached those with clear beads at the openings between squares instead of stitching that part of the pattern.  




After that, I added the lighter aqua scotch squares inside each square to complete the pattern.  I considered adding some outlines between the sequins to give even one more layer of dimension.  Right now, I'm just watching and waiting...waiting on my decision.  LOL 






Here is the completed piece (unless I decide to do the over-stitching):


My current plan is to have it made into a pillow for my bed.  I found a striped fabric that is the exact same colors to use for backing and/or maybe a ruffle or trim depending on what style I choose.  It's a large piece so I might just put white cording around it on the front so that there is no fabric or ribbon to take away from the stitching/design.  

Here's to all the darling mothers out there!  Happy stitching!

XOXO,
Suzanne

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Exciting new stitch for lettering

Well, at least I think it's "new"...I feel like I just invented it because I've never seen it before.  I am super excited because it really is turning out to be the most beautiful lettering I've ever done. It's soooooo much prettier in person because you can see how substantial it is.  It really lifts off the canvas and looks amazing!

Here is a sneak peek....


It's a Basketweave base with Brick Beading on top!  I love it!  This is a very large custom piece with letters that are about three inches tall so it works well.  Not sure it would work so well on small letters because you just wouldn't have enough area to do the brick beading.  

Here is another view of some completed letters.  


Struggling with what I'm going to do with these big stripes.....but hopefully something FANTASTIC so stay tuned....

XOXO,
Suzanne

Saturday, April 30, 2016

RUB SOME DIRT ON IT

This was a very popular refrain in our house while my daughter was growing up.  I'm not really sure where I got it, but I used it a lot.  Not just because I wanted her to be tough and not whiny....but seriously, I'd rather her just literally rub some dirt on it and keep on playing.  And she did.   We laughed recently as she reported that she was probably 10 years old before she realized/learned that perhaps you weren't really supposed to rub dirt on wounds and keep truckin'.   But as often as not, I threw that line at her when the going got tough and I wanted her to keep going....so "Rub some dirt on it" became our tag line of encouragement to never give up.  And it makes me smile.  I have one tough daughter...sensitive, but tough.  

So I had my favorite custom painter make this small canvas for me to surprise my daughter with for Christmas.      (https://www.etsy.com/shop/NeedlepointbySharese?ref=l2-shopheader-name)

  
Having recently discovered Thread Worx overdyed metallic braid when I stitched the Silly Goose piece, I was itching to use it again.  I love it so much!  I bought this blue-green mix just because I loved the color and was so excited to try it on these letters.  Because the letters were only one thread wide, I knew I was limited to something I could tent or cross-stitch.  This metallic softened up the overall look and was heavy enough to make the letters pop off the background a little bit.  I like it.  

 
Backstitched Herringbone creates the cute border and was the first thing I stitched.  I used Crystal Braid for the herringbone and then came back over it with Kreinik 9032 Easter Grass for the backstitches. I think it toned it down just enough and gives it a little sparkle.  

I had this cute fabric in my stash that matched her favorite aqua/teal tones for the backingI think I might have the finisher put magnets in the back so she can stick it to the front of the fridge or file cabinet, etc.   Or I might just finish as a hanging ornament so it could be used anywhere or hung on the ornament tree year-round.  


 So when the going gets tough, just say....




 And keep going!

XOXO,
Suzanne




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Santa's Tractor

I made this cute little piece over the weekend.  It's on 13-count mesh so it was a little trickier to find the right threads but I was still able to complete this entire piece from my stash!  I made this little ornament for my sweet neighbor who not only helps me take care of my lot but who bundled up and cleared driveways and streets for us during the 18-inch snow pile-up this last winter in Lubbock.   I think he will love this Christmas gift.  


I wanted the tractor to look shiny so I used Neon Rays.  Because I was just using what was in my stash and because I decided that this tractor could be festive for the holiday, I used Fyre Werks for the dark green outlines.  I thought that little bit of sparkle was okay.  I tortured some Flair for the smoke.  I used an old card of Santa's Beard and Suit for his beard....I really miss that discontinued thread - wishing someone would make a new version of it.  Oddly enough, I had never used Boucle French Knots for trim but it worked out for this little bit.  Snow for the snowy road and Crystal Braid 02 for the winter sky.  A fun and funky little finish.  

I think I might make the Santa on a motorcycle for my Step-Dad next. 

XOXO,
Suzanne