Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road Trip!

Yippee yippee ya ya!  Bright and early tomorrow morning my BSFF and I will pile her trunk full of everything we 'need' for a four day stitching convention and hit the road for Kingsport TN.  I'm very excited to have several straight days to work on the Monet piece but I'm also super excited to see all the girls from EGA again.  I didn't attend the National seminar in Naples FL last fall so I feel like it's been a long time since I've had a chance to catch up with all the ladies and see what wonderful things they've been creating since the last time we all got together.  Many of the member of my local chapters are going to Kingsport this week, so it will also be a great time to catch up with them.  I'm really excited!  Can you tell?  Honestly, except for the gray hair, we could be confused for a bunch of teenagers at summer camp when we get together at these conventions.  We talk our fool heads off until our throats are sore about stuff nobody cares about but us.  We stay up way past our bedtimes, visiting up and down the hallways just to see what everybody else is doing.  We let someone else cook and clean for us.  We form lasting friendships and renew those we made the year before.  Throw in a bonfire and we are one "Kumbaya" short of summer camp.  And, it all does my soul a world of good.  I think every die-hard needlewoman should be able to experience one of these conventions at least once.  You just might become addicted!

Lee needlepoint luggage tag
18 ct mono canvas
threads: perle cotton #5 in 310, 321, 738 and blanc

And, how about my new needlepoint luggage tag?  These little guys are so fun and fast to stitch up, I really would like to make a whole batch of different ones.  This one is the well-known Burberry plaid that is so popular today.  I have a book of plaids and just followed the photo. The colors I chose are 310, 321, 738, and blanc.  It would be pretty in pink and grey, too.  If you are interested in making one for yourself or as a gift, check with your LNS first but if you can't get them there, google "Lee needlepoint luggage tags".  They are currently available on eBay and few other stitching websites.  Prices vary.  I paid $20 for mine but I've seen them as high as $30 (canvas not included).

So, until next time friends, keep your needles threaded and have a great week!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let the BAP begin!


Alright sports fans... today is a BIG day.  It is the day I put Stitch #1 into a BAP that I've been dying to sink my teeth into for years.  I've finally decided to let it wait no more.  Next week, I'm headed off to Kingsport TN for the EGA Regional seminar and only taking studio time so I should be able to dedicate at least three full days to this beauty.  The piece is straight-forward;  100% cross stitch, except it has about a bazillion color changes and the graph looks like confetti.  I guess that's what you get when you want to recreate an impressionist painting with needle and thread.

Here's the "AFTER" pic:

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy happy joy joy


Happy Wednesday friends!  I'm so excited to have finished my first handpainted canvas that I just had to pop in for a quick minute to share it with you...

canvas by Lee

Like I said earlier, I purchased this canvas in San Francisco at the EGA National seminar in the fall of 2010 along with two Lee luggage tags.  I promptly plunked the tags and the canvas down in a large zip bag and began adding (from stash) any red, white and blue thread I thought might come in handy to the zip bag.  You've never seen such a bunch of red, white and blue thread in all your life.  I let the options paralyze me for awhile.  Too many options.  Had to decide where to start and work from there.  I studied the nine little color blotches along the edge of the canvas until I felt like I had a good handle on the "true" colors of the project.  The brown was such a pretty brown that I decided to start there.  So, I had the 'perfect' brown thread in my hand, ready to start, but, uhhhh, how should I start was the next question...

Luckily, I have picked up a few basic needlepointing books along the way so I referenced them and came up with some fairly easy stitches for the eagle.  I just love how he turned out which spurred me on to get the flag started.  Cue the koo-koo crazy music... 

It took me about two nights of trying different stitches before I found the diagonal stitch you see above throughout the flag.  I don't remember what it's called in real life, but I call it the long-long-short stitch.  Long-long-short became my best friend as I stitched and ripped, stitched and ripped...

The flag needed to have some sheen to it, I thought, but not too much... So after MUCH trial and error, I decided I'd use two kinds of thread in each color block of the flag - one shiny, one not so shiny.  If you look closely you can see that I've used a #5 perle cotton and a rayon in the same exact color, in altering rows for the entire flag.  The flag has two shades of red and three shades of blue, thus I used 4 reds and 6 blues for the flag.  The stars were the last to be stitched.

Again, for about two full nights, I tried every thread and every stitch I could think of but nothing looked right.  I stitched and ripped, stitched and ripped...

I finally gave up and threw myself on the mercy of a couple of my needlepointer stitchy friends.  What we landed on for the stars is what is called a Rhodes star.  I think it's just about perfect!  The thread for the stars is called Hi-Lights by Rainbow Gallery.

Special thanks to Miss Pat for that suggestion!  Kiss Kiss Miss Pat!

So in the span of about a week, I nearly tore my hair out figuring it out, but I started and finished my very first handpainted canvas.  All in, I think I used 19 different threads from 6 thread 'families':  perle cotton #5, DMC floche, DMC rayon, DMC antique effects, Rainbow Gallery Hi-Lights, and Mandarin floss (bamboo). 

It's so uplifting to finish something quickly, don't you think?

And, as promised, here is "And the Rain Fell"  all framed up:

sorry about the glare... couldn't be helped...

And that's all the news that's fit to report folks..

Have a great remainder of the week and keep on stitching!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

1st handpainted canvas and a giveaway


Hi All!  I'm posting a rare Thursday message to share my excitement over starting on my very first handpainted canvas, purchased in Fall 2010 at EGA National in San Francisco.  One thing I know for sure is that I am not a needlepointer so even though this is a very small luggage tag, it was with great trepidation that I made the decision to bring it home.  As much as I know I'm not a needlepointer, I am a confessed and convicted flosstitute.  I love Love LOVE threads of all varieties and have a pretty respectful cache just waiting for the right projects to come along.  I'm told this is a very good thing for anyone getting into canvaswork.  And, as I admire all those perfectly gorgeous pieces of canvaswork out there on the web, I can see why.  There's nothing like a handpainted canvas to show off a multitude of splendid threads. 

I'm very pleased with how the eagle head has turned out.  I used a combination of DMC floche and Mandarin Floss for everything but his beak. It is stitched with #5 perle cotton.  The Hungarian ground stitch (white and gray part) seemed to work out great for what I had in mind.  Now, I'm on to the hard part... the stars and bars.  I think I must have 11,001 reds, whites and blues to pick from.  Not to mention all the sparkle-y, metallic threads that could be added for impact.  I'm also stumped about what kind of stitches to use for the flag.  Seriously wish that this little project had come with a stitch guide...

So, if any of you seasoned canvas workers have any suggestions for me, I am all ears!  For every suggestion I get, I'll put a patriotic "something" in a giveaway bag and pull from the list of commenters at the end of the month.  Please encourage your canvaswork friends to drop by and comment too.  The more suggestions, the more swag in the giveaway... 

I told you I was desperate...

Happy (almost) Weekend Friends! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wedding season finish


I'm going to say it again, "Can you believe it's JUNE!!!"  Holy Moley I can barely believe it.  While June is indeed prime bride time, my cousin Ken and his new bride traveled to NYC and tied the knot last month in the Little Church Around the Corner.  Their pictures look heavenly.  I wish I could have made the trip.  

design:  Modern Wedding Sampler, Cross Stitch and Needlework magazine
threads: Waterlilies silk, Thread Gatherer silk, and white Bamboo
fabric:  22ct. navy evenweave

Later this month, hubby and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  Even after all this time, he's still the love of my life and the best friend anyone could ever hope for.

Have a great week, friends!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Week


Of all the stitchers I know, a few common threads run through us... one of them is that we all seem to love the British Royal family.  In searching for a quick "Diamond Jubilee" chart online, I ran across the official Diamond Jubilee website and thought I'd share it with all of you.

Ten year old, Katherine Dewar, won the national contest to design the
official Diamond Jubilee emblem (above). 

The photos are marvelous and there is lots of history and fun facts about the Queen.  Today (Saturday, June 2) kicks-off the big 4 day "Central Weekend" event with HM attending the Epsom Derby.  There will be a pageant on the Thames on Sunday, and a concert at Buckingham Palace on Monday.  The highlight of the weekend will be the parade and the National Service of Thanksgiving to be held next Tuesday at St. Paul's Cathedral.

From the website, you can even send a message to the Queen her very self! 

Souvenir programme available here.
Jubilee tea available here.

Long live the Queen!