7.16.2014

A WIP is a WIP is a WIP

Unless, of course, it becomes a UFO.

I've decided it's time to tally all the needlepoint WIPs I've got. Today is counted canvas day. I took pictures of all the ones sitting around on the main floor of my condo. I know there are some things lurking upstairs in the guest room, but I think these are a good start.

Ready?

In no particular order, these are all things I could finish up by just applying myself or projects I'm currently working on with my chapter of ANG. Actually a lot of them have sprouted up because of the guild. Hmmm.

This is Carnival, by Toni Gerdes. I went to the ANG Seminar in Philadelphia in 2012, and this is one of the classes I took. It's also one of my projects for the annual "Challenge" of my chapter of ANG. For the second year. Sigh. The color's a little off in the picture. That canvas should be yellow but is showing a distincly greenish cast to me here. What do I have left to do? The bottom right section, and the triangular sections on the left, which repeat motifs in the larger right part. The compensation for the triangular sections is killing me. And I think I just don't really like the thread I'm using for that bottom right piece. Oh, and the border. I have to do the border. This really is a lovely piece with fun stitches. I've just stalled on the left side, and inertia's taken over.

Leaf Collage, by Terry Dryden, is a workshop project. Again, from 2012 (I think, though it could be 2011; no, that's impossible). My guild chapter, Potomac Chapter of ANG, sponsored the workshop. Terry was a marvelous teacher, full of good tips on technique. We "painted" the blue sections with Copic markers; the leaves are photo transfers that Terry already had on the outlined canvas. What's great about this piece is how it's broken up into lots of smaller, manageable sections. I've been diligently (well, that might be a little too strong a term) stitching the sections with "spaghetti" threads and have actually made some progress. This piece is also a part of my annual Challenge. Also for the second year. There's a lot to be done on this, so I'm not optimistic about finishing it before the end of the Challenge year. I'm not happy with the stitching on the gingko leaf that I started during the workshop, so that will probably come out. I've learned some new techniques, so I may choose to stitch the leaves in a totally different way. But I'm getting way ahead of myself.

This is Marilyn Owen's Folding Ort Box, which I started in our monthly chapter meetings. Initially, the goal was to have it completely finished to send to the ANG Seminar in 2013, to be included in an exhibit of nothing but these Ort Boxes as stitched by members across the country. Obviously, I didn't make it. The square at the top left is the bottom, and the rest of the squares are the sides. Yes, they're all ultimately going to be square. I need to do the blackwork stitching on the bottom three, then finish the borders on the sides, then cut all the squares out and put it together. And voilà! An ort box that folds up in an origami fashion to a flat square. I painted my canvas to get the right shade of yellow for this. I really should get this done. Again, there's not all that much left to do. I do find the finishing intimidating though.

Debbie Stiehler's Imari Collage is the project of a recent workshop with Debbie, sponsored by PANG. We were lucky enough to have her come to teach just before she retired from teaching. (Ours was the penultimate workshop she led.) This is a daunting piece. Lots of metallic threads. Some very fine and unruly. There's a lovely or nue section that I was surprised to find relatively easy to do once I got into the rhythm. The finishing of that section, however, is very intimidating to me. I keep threatening to trim those long gold threads extending from either side to neat, short lengths and leave them on top instead of plunging them through the congress cloth. My friends just laugh. I enjoyed doing the plaid at the bottom left. There's another rectangle of that at the top of that column.


About a dozen of us are meeting once a month to work on this in an effort to keep our momentum going. Some are momenting more than others. This will take me years to finish, I just know it.

Another long-term meeting-program project we're doing in my chapter is the 2013 ANG Stitch of the Month project by Debbie Stiehler. This is what we covered in the first of four meetings. I haven't actually finished it; the borders should be completed all the way around. And I haven't even started what was covered in the last meeting. Arg. I do plan to try to catch up, though, since the next installment won't be until September (I think). (I should know this, since I'm in charge of the programs. Hahahahahaha.) There's a third color to be used, which I may decide to change.

Marilyn Owen's Halloween Treat is what we'll be working on at the chapter meeting tomorrow. I'm actually caught up on this and a little bit ahead. In case you haven't already figured it out, I changed the colors. Mine is not going to be a Halloween piece; I don't generally do holiday stitching, though there are exceptions. I had a hank of silk floss that had gorgeous maroon and green shades, so I used that for my jumping off point. Instead of the Halloween-themed buttons and embellishments, I'm using cats and cat-related ones. This has been a fun project (well, except for the borders and grid, which were just tedious and painstaking because if the count was off anywhere, the whole thing would have been out of whack). I've been enjoying figuring out which threads to use in each section. And this is what the original piece looks like.


And finally, the last long-term project I've been working on is a notebook series from StitchPlay Designs.

This is Michael Boren and Carole Lake's Building Blocks for Needlepoint series, which has been arriving every couple of months for a year. I'm working on the last segment now. Each segment included a booklet with a discussion of the threads to be used (three full skeins!), then directions for the stitch samples, along with a discussion of how each stitch can be used in your needlepoint. I've already used some of these stitches in other projects. It's been a great way to play with different threads and learn lots of stitches, and I'm really sorry it's ended because I did manage to keep up with this for the most part. I finally got a binder to put all of these in so I can use it for easy reference.

So those are my current WIPs in counted canvas. There are some others, as I mentioned above, but they're not really in the current rotation. Rotation. I say that like I actually do these systematically.

I have a number of painted canvas WIPs and even a counted thread project. Those will wait for another post. And then there are all the projects waiting in the wings, and they seem to be legion!

I'll catch up. I know I can. I mean, how hard can it be?

Kthxbai.

6.08.2014

Testing, 1, 2, 3. Testing, 1, 2, 3.

Is this thing on?

::tapping the mike::

Is anybody out there?

Let's see if we can make this thing work.

It's been a long time, nearly two years since my last post. Sounds sort of like the beginning of a confession, doesn't it?

I'm back! Did you miss me? You might wonder whether I've been stitching. The short answer: Yes! And now for a longer answer.

I've been stitching a lot, just not finishing a lot. Those things that I've finished, I've generally given away. I've been stitching counted canvas almost exclusively, though I've done the random counted thread piece here and there. Lately, I've been doing more painted canvas, something I thought I'd never get into. But as I've learned more different stitches and techniques, I've found I rather like it.

Here's some of what I'm working on right now:

Nearly finished is a painted canvas piece I started as a shop model when I still had Scarlet Thread, the store, Chilis Small by Terri Medaris, distributed by Sundance Designs and available through your LNS. For years, it's been languishing off in a corner, waiting for me to rip out the basketweave I'd started doing for the background and decide what to do instead. I finally realized that I now know enough different stitches to tackle it, so I spent an evening frogging. This was one time I didn't say, "How hard can it be." I hate ripping out backstitch! Takes way too long. Anywhere, that brought me to this:


Ahhh. I decided to stitch the yellow and orange background with a thin thread, Pure Palette's Soy Luster, using a light-coverage stitch. I had found the perfect one in Father B's 21st Century Book of Stitches, by The Rev. Robert E. Blackburn, Jr. (which was distributed by Rainbow Gallery when I had the store and should be available through your LNS). It's called the Background Stitch and is similar to the Diagonal Tent Stitch Variation. I loved the way it allowed the background painting to show through and added an element of texture.

The next step? How to do that ribbon-like border.

I started browsing my books as well as Stitchplay Design's Building Blocks for Needlepoint, a wonderful notebook series by Carole Lake and Michael Boren that lets you play with a variety of threads while learning wonderful stitches to increase your stitch vocabulary. After my comprehensive search and conferring with a friend while we were at her chemo session, I decided on. Wait for it. Cross stitch. Yes, you read that right. The other basic, a cross stitch. I think it's working wonderfully, using one ply of Caron Collection's Watercolours, stitching each cross stitch as I go, and cutting out whatever I don't like of the overdye.

What do you think? (Funny what different lighting conditions can do to the colors. This is pretty accurate.)


So I hope to finish this very soon.

In the meantime, I have a lot of WIPs! I have three counted canvas class pieces, a couple more painted canvas pieces (maybe more), and a new counted thread piece. That's correct, a new counted thread piece. Have I got my linen groove back? We'll see. I did get it on a scroll frame and stitched a bit to be sure I could handle what I bought yesterday. I have had the pattern since I opened the shop and finally decided to get the fabric and thread. What did I select? Oh, just a piece of 40-ct linen and a skein of overdyed silk floss. Stitching one ply over two threads, using a magnifier and light. Yeah.

I'll try to be more regular in my blog posts to let you know what I'm doing on my other WIPs, including more pictures. I'll also try not to start anything new. But I make no promises. I've got a lot of new things lurking in the corners, looking at me reproachfully.

Kthxbai.

9.25.2012

It's Finished!

     It's happy dance time! I finally finished stitching "Stella Polaris" by StitchPlay Designs, a cyberclass I started in June.


     Isn't she pretty? I really love the way this worked up. I used Caron Collection Watercolours Wheat Fields as the basis for the colorway. Although the purples are definitely part of my usual color palette, orange is rarely something I go for.

     Those of you who are familiar with my stitching history are probably astonished at the speed (yes, I call this speed) with which I finished this piece! Once I grasped that silly double fan doubled stitch, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. It was mostly a matter of making the time to stitch. In fact, I finished it in a marathon session Sunday night/Monday early morning. I could see the end and decided to stitch as long as I could without making mistakes. (No, I didn't go over this with an eye for finding any mistakes. Any mistakes are personal design decisions, √† la undocumented features in computer software.)

     So what am I doing now? I'm so glad you asked! At my ANG chapter meeting on Thursday, we started Marilyn Owen's "Ornament Quartet" from the Chapter Project Book. We could choose one of four different designs (or all four, of course). I selected the string art design (no surprise there). Here's my progress (all done last night, as I had to rip out what I had done at the meeting because the thread wasn't right):


     I'm using one of Nature's Palette's beautiful hand-painted canvases, Coffee Metallic, as my ground. The threads are Planet Earth Fiber 6-Ply Silk Hand Paint, Gloriana Princess Perle Petite, Kreinik #8 Braid, and Caron Collection Soie Cristale. The starting point for my thread decisions was the Planet Earth silk. After Dawn and my visit to the TNNA market in Baltimore a few weeks ago, I contacted Planet Earth and requested some samples. This is one of the ones they sent, and I just swooned! I needed to use it, and right away. How fortuitous that the chapter project called for a 6-strand floss. I had also wanted to use this rich brown canvas, and they played very well together. I pulled the happily coordinating Princess Perle Petite from another WIP (which someday I may get back to and for which I'll have to get more of this), then picked up the Soie and Kreinik (thanks to Donna for having just the right color to convince me that my first choice was wrong).

     There's not much more to this ornament. The Walnetto is repeated on the other three sides of the center motif, there's a Brick Couching stitch filling in the sides, and Mini Crescents fill in the corners. Will I finish this as an ornament? Stay tuned. You never know.

     I'm also still plugging away at "Carnival" from Seminar. I do love this piece and hope to finish it in the near future. Now if only I could apply myself to "Stars for a New Millennium."

     Kthxbai.