Slight Progress

It seems that I spend an inordinate amount of time stitching with very little to show for it. Herewith, my progress on the ANG SOTM and Stars.
I finished up the February installment of the SOTM. I like the way my colors are working up so far. At my Tuesday night stitching group, Sharon and Julie were both working on theirs. It's interesting how different each of ours will be, and how impatient we all are for the rest of the piece. Hahaha. The hardest part is not making changes, as we all so love to do. I keep telling myself, "Wait to see how the third color's worked in before deciding to modify anything." Patience is not one of my strengths. (There are those who would regard that as an understatement.)
I stitched a bit more of the top border and made my first stab at the top left corner of Stars. I'm not very happy with it. The single strand of Pebbly Perle all but disappears, so I plan to rip out the whole corner and start again. That thread and stitch are the bottom layer, of course. But I'm also not happy with the overall coverage, which may be the result of my inexpert stitching. I'll practice a bit on a spare bit of canvas before I put it in again. The group's meeting again on the 28th, so I have time to fiddle with this part for a bit.
I spent most of my time at the Tuesday night group ripping out the dark periwinkle in the Florentine piece. I'm not happy with the coverage, and I also decided to use the darker shade of that color. The other looked a little washed out. I'm going to have to practice laying my stitches and controlling the tension better. When I tried the Needlepoint Silk instead of Splendor, I still didn't get the coverage I wanted and had to use one more strand to get the same coverage as with the Splendor. Even though I'm having problems, I do enjoy stitching bargello. Maybe if I practice a bit more, I'll be happier with the result.



I finished shoveling snow from the front stoop, steps, walk, more steps, and drive yesterday. It only took three days. Just in time for the snow that's falling once again and expected to add another 10-20 inches to the 20 or so inches dumped on the weekend. Sigh. I really hope this storm is the last for a while. I need a break.
Over the weekend and between rounds of shoveling, I've been working on the February installment of ANG's Stitch of the Month. I added the middle band of the cross outline, a couched stitch that has a bit of sparkle coming through from the Kreinik couched with Splendor. I really like the technique of underside couching that gives a clean right-angled corner.
The second part of this month's stitch starts filling in the arms and center of the cross with Splendor and Silk Lame. In this color family, I had to go with a couple of shades for lack of a better match in the metallic threads. I like the way it's looking and hope it will all work out as well as this part. I'll probably finish the center block tomorrow, while waiting for the snow to end so I can start shoveling again. Then back to my bargello piece and my search for better coverage.


Baby Steps

Since last week I've been stitching away, but the progress is slow. I haven't done more on the ANG Stitch of the Month, but in my defense, the second stitch wasn't posted until yesterday.
I started on my correspondence course and got the top border in along with a start on the left side border. I'm not happy with the coverage I'm getting with the Splendor, though. Maybe I'm pulling the thread too tight? I may have to try a few motifs using a different type of silk floss, perhaps Needlepoint Inc silk. That's what I usually prefer, but I wanted to do this with the specified threads when possible. I'm just not happy with the way it looks. Grr. On a positive note, I'm pleased with the instructions. They're clear, thorough, and concise.
I started on the border of Stars for a New Millenium at the Thursday morning stitching group. Electing neither to draw nor baste the framework of the design, I carefully measured the distance to the top left block per the instructions and started stitching the top inner, middle, and outer borders. I only wanted enough to facilitate counting for that first quilt square. I like to do borders at the end so that they don't suffer from too much wear and tear while I stitch the piece. When I design a piece, the border always gets designed at the end. I never know what kind of, if any, border will be needed and appropriate.
What is pictured here, however, is not that stitching. No, I ended up ripping it out after studying the canvas for a couple of days. One of the stitchers in the stitchalong group came by to pick up some threads. I showed her where I was and how I was approaching the stitching, which was not according to the instructions. She looked at it and said, "Are you going to have enough room on the right side? You better count it out to be sure." I agreed. It didn't look like there would be much empty canvas on the right side. So I counted it out, very carefully, all the way across, including the entire border and extended corner square. Then I counted it out again with the same result. Yikes! Less than 2" on the right side. That's just too close for comfort IMHO. I counted back on the left side to see how much empty canvas would be left after stitching that side border and corner square. About 2.25". Grr. It wasn't centered, but I could fix it so that I had about 2" on either side and fortunately caught it before I got too far. While I was at it, I decided to check the vertical spacing, which seems to be okay. So I frogged what I had stitched and restitched it starting a quarter-inch further left. Gah!
Obviously, if I had drawn the schematic, I would have discovered the problem before stitching. Equally obviously, I would have had to erase the whole thing and redraw it. Knowing how long it would have taken me to do the initial drawing to get to the point of realizing it was off, based on how long it took me to draw in the outlines for the Stitch of the Month, I stand by my choice not to draw it in the first place. I would have been cursing for hours as I erased and started over. Perhaps those who come to charted canvaswork from the traditional hand-painted needlepoint perspective find it easier to draw in the outline. For me, used to counting designs from various reference points in the fabric, drawing is just another chance to introduce an error, and a time-consuming one at that. I'll stick a pin in to mark the reference spot and count out any day rather than counting and drawing, then hoping that I haven't made a mistake somewhere that I won't find until I'm counting and stitching. I'll be interested in seeing how the other stitchers in the group deal with getting to the point that we can all start working together on that first quilt square on Sunday. I know of at least three approaches so far, none of which includes drawing the whole thing.