Productive Weekend

January 16, 2006

In keeping with my New Year’s Resolution to finish projects, I completed three pieces this weekend.

First was my Chicago Needlepoint. The hardest part of this project was figuring out the right stitch for the water. I tried many stitches and a couple of different kinds of threads. My main problem was finidhing a stitch and thread that would cover the workds “Chicago Harbor” which were painted in the water in the bottom of the canvas. I didn’t think it was necessary so I stitched over it.

My second project was my reindeer ornament. He is so cute. He was almost done I had to finish the tree and the reindeer’s scarf. In hind sight, I would have made the scarf shorter and added some fringe to the end of it, but I’ll keep that idea for a future project.

The last piece I finished was a project I started in June. It’s a small piece but tedious. It had a lot of outlining. In addition to finishing the stitching, I also framed it this weekend.

Can I buy a new project yet?

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The Artists Collection

April 27, 2005

I finished my project. This one is a Halloween theme from The Artists Collection. I couldn’t find a website for The Artists Collection, but I recommend their needlepoint patterns. They come with thread recommendations and stitch suggestions so if you’re adventurous, you can go with their recommendations or if you prefer something a little more straightforward, you can do it in tent stitch.

This project measures measures 3 1/4 inches by 10 1/4 inches, completed. It took me 18 days to finish, and probably could have taken me less if I had worked on it this past weekend. I chose to follow their recommendations and found the project to be fun. In my opinion, following their guidelines would make it an advanced beginner to intermediate level project. What I really like is that the finished project looks more impressive than the work it took to do it. My only complaint is that their guide could have been a little easier to understand. For one stitch, the instructions were incomplete.

I am going to take it to get finished. The Stitching Post had a trunk show and this was one of the samples provided which is why it caught my attention. I’m going to bring it back and try to have it finished like the sample. My finishing vocabulary is lacking but it was finished like a little tower that stands upright on it’s own.


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Christmas Stocking

April 24, 2005

I quickly learned with needlework that it is never to early to starting thinking about Christmas projects.

About two years ago I was shopping with my mom and I saw a needlepoint Christmas stocking that I thought was beautiful and very expensive (about $300). I didn’t buy it but since that shopping trip, it’s been in my head that I want to do a Christmas stocking. I’ve been looking for the stocking I saw, but haven’t been able to find it.

There’s a wide range of stockings out there. You can get a handpainted canvas for under $100 and for more than $500. Along with the difference in price, there is a big different in quality. What I’ve found is that the less expensive, the less complicated the pattern. There’s less detail and less shading.

Mom visited for Thanksgiving 2004 and once again, I fell in love with a stocking. But it was BIG BUCKS. Once again, I didn’t get it. But I kept thinking about it and finally I decided to sell my pets on eBay and buy the stocking.

The stocking is one of Melissa Shirley Designs. They are the Tiffany of needlepoint. I had to special order it and it took about 3 months while they painted it. Once it arrived the fun began and I picked out the threads. A little overwhelming, but the wonderful women at Needlewoman East in Falls Church helped. The next challenge has been picking out the stitches. I could have asked the Needlewoman East women, but I am determined to do it myself. So far the only stitch I’ve picked out is for the gingerbread house. (It’s a secret.)

The stocking measures approximately 22 1/2 inches long by 11 inches wide. In order to have the stocking finished for this Christmas, I need to finish stitching by mid-October. I want to have it well in advance so I’ve set a personal deadline of mid-September. This is a very ambitious deadline. My plan is to break the stocking into little manageable pieces. I will also need to take another trip back to the Needlewoman East as I don’t have every fiber I will need. I think I have about 75%. Waiting to get the last 25% gives me flexibility in the end; is it too sparkley, not sparkley enough? Is there a texture I’m missing? Etc…

This is my largest undertaking so far. Have I mentioned that it’s for me? Wish me luck!

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Peter is finished

March 3, 2005

I finished my project, Peter, tonight. He went pretty quickly. I thought I would be able to finish him in a week but it took a little longer. The stitch I used on Peter was more time consuming that I anticipated, but worth the effort when I look at the final product.

As for the details:

  • If you look at the painted canvas, the background was plain brown with black dots. I’m sure it would have looked nice, but I had a different vision. I think of the painted canvas as a guideline or a suggestion. It’s important to let the creative juices flow and imagine other possibilities. I stitched the background in Weeks Dye Works Pearl #5. The color is mocha. The Pearl #5 cotton is thicker and covers well. I like the texture added by using the diagonal mosaic stitch.
  • The carrots were stitched in cotton floss. Using overdyed threads from The Gentle Art, the main body of the carrots was done in Bittersweet and Fragrant Cloves. Fragrant Cloves in from Simply Shaker, a collection within The Gentle Art. I used DMC #300 for the accents. I really enjoy working with the overdyed threads because of all the possibilities with the shading. As a result, each carrot looks distinct. It can be a challenge working with overdyeds because it should flow and not look splotchy. Sometimes I have a better outcome than others.
  • I also stitched the carrot leaves in an overdyed from The Gentle Art, Shutter Green. I think that the carrot leaves are getting lost in the background so I will make sure to keep that in mind when I have my project “finished”.
  • The heart was the first thing I stitched. I originally planned on using the traditional tent stitch but decided to do a Rhodes Heart. It pops off the canvas. I stitched it first because I knew if wouldn’t fit the painted area exactly and didn’t want to have to undo any of my background later.
  • Peter was the last thing I worked on. He’s done using 3 shades of Alpaca 18 from Rainbow Gallery. It’s a soft and furry fiber, 100% alpaca. He’s stitched using the Velvet stitch which created a furry effect. The stitch diagram shows the stitch as being very linear – lined up sideways and up and down – but I wanted things to look a little more random so I added in some stitches, turned stitches, generally just played around. It was a good stitch to use because he is distinct from the background. That could have been a problem. Peter took the longest to stitch and took a lot more thread than I thought, but I think he’s cute.
  • Peter’s eye is stitched in Very Velvet, also from Rainbow Gallery. I chose it because it’s very thick and I needed it to be seen. His eye is actually two “x”s stitched on top of one other so it would stand out from the fur.

Every project is a labor of love and some turn out better than others. I am also very critical and hard to satisfy (I’m speaking about needlework specifically). I think Peter turned out well, but I do have some concerns. One is the carrot leaves that I’ve already mentioned. The second is does he still look like a rabbit. Third and finally, I’m worried that the background dominates the piece. The project is done. It’s too late to do anything about three. As for two, I think he’s cute and I know what he is. Number one I have some control over. I am going to have this piece finished as a pillow. I think that if I have the piece framed in green fabric, it will bring out the carrot leaves. I’m seeing plaid for the back of the pillow, a plaid with brown and purple and green. It’s hard to have such a specific idea in mind as it can be hard to find the perfect fabric, but I’ll see what’s out there. Once I’ve found my fabric, I’m going to take Peter to The Stitching Post to be finished. They send it out and it takes about a month. Well worth the wait (and the price).


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Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

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