Wednesday, September 30, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Block #2, 5

Wow, third post in one week! This project has been moving pretty fast.

In the last picture I post yesterday of this piece, you could see that I was stitching one of the remaining darning blocks (with all the octopus arms). That was block #2. It looks very similar to block #16 but with less empty spaces.

Block #2 
 Again, I kept the cream color as the main focus, letting the green compliment it.

Block #5
Here is the overall piece so far. I'm going to continue working on filling the squares, unless I get tempted by those easy satin stitch borders.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WIPocalypse 2015 – September

This month's topic (I'm keeping the original one as I've already answered the one picked for this month): Where do you buy most of your stitching supplies? Online. I do a lot of shopping online, I'm sad to say. I would love to help support an LNS, but there isn't one here and shipping costs what they are, I can't. Although, since becoming part of the local guild I have met a lovely lady who sells stitching supplies out of her home. So I've been buying my DMC perls and broder special threads as well as fabric from her.

Still nothing on Bramble and the Rose.

No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

Tree of Hope is still off the frame and will be for quite a while unless I figure out an easy way to clamp a scroll frame onto my lap stand as it is now. I'll see.

No Update
Mirabilia - Tree of Hope

I still haven't touched Tracery Dragons.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

I did work a tiny bit on Fantasy Lace. I've been taking it with me to stitch in meetings with the Lakeshore Creative Stitchery Guild. Excuse the really poor lighting, but you can sort of see where I'm at. Which is not very far, I'm still stitching eyelets on the center diamonds.

Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

And the project that has been taking up the bulk of my time is 18th Century Sampler. This is an online class I'm taking with SJ Designs. It's very messy at the top as I was in the process of stitching one of the squares. Ending threads on this piece is a real pain, so I avoid doing it until the last moment possible :P

SJ Designs - 18th Century Sampler

I will have to try and find a balance, so that I can keep stitching on my cross stitch WIPs as well as my sampler, but that will be hard to do for next WIPocalypse as there are only 14 days left before Creative Festival :)

Monday, September 28, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Block #7, 11

My fingers are still sore but that didn't stop me from stitching this weekend. I'm still stitching the darning patterns. For these larger squares, because there is so much space in between the stitches, I decided to stick with one color.

Block #7
You can't really see it in this picture (because there was no light when I took them this morning), but cream of the thread also shows from underneath the canvas. It's lovely in person. I'll have to try to take better pictures this weekend. Nowadays, by the time I get home all the good light is gone and there is no light when I leave the house in the morning :|

Block #11
There are two more darning squares, I've already started one yesterday. For these I'm going back to combining the two colors.

Monday, September 21, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Block #15, 13, 16

I was very productive this weekend. So productive my index finger is sore.

I decided to go chapter by chapter. So since I'd stitched block #9, I went onto #15. I was merrily stitching away, and at some point racing to finish it before bed time. You'll know when it started getting late, I started forgetting to take pictures lol.

I managed to finish it and was so happy with how it came out, until I realized I had filled the wrong block T_T major panic set in then. Luckily the class's Facebook group is pretty active so I was able to get quick feedback from Susan Johnson by the time I woke up the next day. She says the blocks can be stitched in any order, so it's okay to re-arrange them. Which is great, because although I love the designs I DO NOT want to restitch them again lol.

Block #15
Why you ask? Because ending threads under perl cotton #12 on canvas is really hard. I forgot how much I hated that part on Spirit of the Southwest. Not only is my canvas too big to turn upside down, but it also requires a lot of strength to push that needle under existing threads. To avoid doing that, I just stitch as much as I can putting threads that need to be bound to the side.

And then just binding them all at once. Above you can see block #16 which is where #15 should be. Below, you can see all the threads I had to bind. I was using up shorter strands so I had A LOT of them.

This is one of the pattern darning blocks. Isn't it cute? I want a room in my future home wallpapered in these colors.

Block #16
Again stitching chapter by chapter, I moved onto Block #13 which has swapped places with #14 to compensate. There are four blocks like this.
Block #13
I'm going to try and take a break on this piece for a few days to give my index finger time to recover.

Friday, September 18, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Block #9

 I ended up deciding to stitch the blocks first and since everyone was starting at the center block, I decided to do the same. I had already decided, I wanted to add color to my piece and had picked DMC 524. But up until yesterday I was still worried it might now work.

Trying to take pictures after each step, but kind of forgot towards the end
I'm not worried anymore lol. The threads used in this piece are DMC perl cottons #5, 8, 12. So what I'm doing is, in a block, anytime a thicker perl is used I'll stitch that in DMC 524. If the #12 is used, I'll stick to ecru. Unless there is an area where there is a lot of little stitches, like in the corners, I'll try to add the green there. It helps that the diagrams are shown in white and green for DMC #8 and 12 so I get a good idea of how it will look with the different colors.

Block #9 in natural light
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but looking at it now I wish I had stitched the big Eyelet at the center in green, but I can live with how it is. I can't wait to stitch the next square tonight :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Pre-work & Part 1 Completed

I know I said that I wouldn't do anymore pre-work until later, but once I started the first part of the sampler, I changed my mind. So back to pre-work I went and yesterday I put in the last pesky Smyrna.

I forgot to post this last time, but I found a technique that is very helpful in making sure Smyrnas lay next to each other properly. If you look at the image below, the first diagram on the top left shows the original sequence that was included with the instructions. But I found if I used that same sequence when stitching from right-to-left that the last stitch would never lay correctly. It was always slightly above or below the last stitch of the Smyrna on it's right.

So I changed the sequence around:
  • After you've stitched the X, your + should start from the opposite end, i.e. if the last arm of you X is going upwards, you're + will start from the bottom. This ensures your thread doesn't get under the fabric weave. 
  • Your last stitch should always go into the fabric next to the last Smyrna.
They look like little pearls, they're so tiny
The first part of the sampler are the narrow borders. These are 4 different really skinny bands that go above or below each row of Smyrna boxes. They're much more enjoyable to stitch than Smyrnas. My favorite was the Herringbone stitch.

Open Herringbone stitch
Herringbone stitch
Long-legged Cross stitch
Kalem or Knitting stitch
I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to stitch next. The book says to start on the Satin stitch borders, but then contradicts that by saying to stitch the contents of the boxes first. Since Susan is showing us how to stitch the boxes at the center (the class is hosted on Facebook), I might do that. I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September TUSAL

A better TUSAL this month. There's a lot of cream in there from my 18th Century Sampler. I also noticed my threads are much longer. They're usually itty bitty as I tend to use up as much of the thread as I can. As I write this, I can't remember where the thread beneath it is from. Tree of Hope maybe?

Once I got my class book for 18th Century Sampler, I decided I will finish all the pre-work first after all. I want to follow the recommended instructions from the book. I'm almost done, I just have 3 small squares left to stitch. That's a lot of Smyrnas :|

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's Here! It's Here!

Today I received my book for the 18th century sampler by SJ Designs and it is fabulous.

I obviously can't show you the inside of the book for copy write reasons, but it is VERY well done. Tons of detailed instructions, graphs and images (some even fold out). I especially like the first page, it shows that a lot of thought went into creating this class book. I can't wait to start up working on it :)

In other news, I'm not sure if I mentioned this on the blog but back in December I decided to join the EAC which is the Embroiders' Association of Canada with EAC Virtual Threads as my home guild. I had so much fun in May with the stitchers of the Lakeshore Creative Stitchery Guild that I decided to also join their guild (I really should update my sidebar with their logos). My membership started at the beginning of the month and yesterday I went to my first stitch meeting with the evening group. I really enjoyed it, the time flew by so fast. I can't wait till the next one! We might not necessarily get a lot done but we'll have a lot of fun together :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Pre-work

This Saturday I finished all I'll be doing for pre-work for the 18th Century Sampler. I think it should be enough to make sure I don't fall too behind in class.

Now I just have to wait for my class book. I don't know if I should curse the fact that we had a long weekend or be happy. I mean we had a day off, but it meant that my class book's delivery date was delayed. I ended up spending the long weekend reading Manga instead of stitching on my other WIPs.

In other news, it's finally September and there are 35 days left before the Toronto Creative Festival. It'll be my third year attending and I've already registered for my classes. I'll post up a list of the classes I registered for once we get closer to the date. Let me know if any of you are attending :)

Friday, September 4, 2015

18th Century Sampler

I like to say I'm a very patient person. When I see something I like, but can't get, I'll quietly file it away and wait for its time to come. Although, as you know from this blog, I do sometimes just throw caution to wind and buy before looking, but let's put that aside for now.

A while back, January to be exact, I spotted a post on Chilly Hollow Needlepoint blog that intrigued me. I don't normally like samplers, but I love white work and am in love with pulled and drawn thread right now.

Love white on white!
I quickly looked up the designer SJ Designs and couldn't find the pattern anywhere on her site. So I contacted her through Facebook and she replied that it was an old class she had offered previously. Due to all the interest she received from the blog post, she was thinking of offering it again and asked if I would like to be notified when it came out. I obviously said yes.

And here it is, my first on-line class. I've been patiently waiting for it for a month. So far I've only received the pre-work instructions which needs to be completed for the start of the class on September 15th.

It's worked on 24 count Zweigart Congress cloth, I'm going with ivory white, and needed stretcher bars. I didn't feel like ordering any and waiting for them, so I decided to try out these faux-cadres (or fake frames) from Deserres. They're actually pretty good, but make sure to put a nail or staple them at the corners because they tend to shift and skew. And then you can't properly stretch your canvas on it and start wondering if your canvas was warped :|

I got a partial kit from SJ Designs since I have the ecru perl cotton I'd need, but I also decided to get beads just in case I want to add bling.

What I didn't think about when I decided to buy the frame was how I was going to attach it to my lap/desk stand. I already owned the stabilizer bars to use with stretcher bars and q-snaps, but the frame is waaaaay too thick for it. Luckily I had to buy these C-clamps last year for one of my Creative Festival classes. I was initially going to give them to my dad, but good thing I kept them. All in all everything worked out quite nicely. By the way, I temporarily solved my lighting by buying an LED clamp light from Ikea. It doesn't emit natural light, but it's not expensive and it will do for now.

I've already started on the pre-work (been plugging a way for about a week now) and I have way more than I need to start the class on September 15. But still, I want to get as much of it done as I can to save time later. I'll post a picture soon.