Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tantes Zolder is the name of a website. It means "Auntie's Attic". If you want to go to the site, unless you read Dutch, don't click on the link. Well, go ahead, click on the link - see if you can read Dutch. Otherwise, go to Google and type in the search box "Tantes Zolder". The first site to pop up is the one you want, but WAIT. To the right there's a clickable link that says "Translate this Site". Click on THAT. What you'll get is the site, along with a literal translation of all the words on it. It reads choppy, but you can at least understand what the writer is saying. If you go there directly, there is one paragraph that is in English that paraphrases the purpose and beginnings of the site. Follow the links to the archives.
Why do I want to go to this site, you say? Well, how about a gajillion downloads of needlework patterns. Most very French/Northern European style. Can't download for resale, but for personal use. A lovely woman in The Netherlands found all this stuff and put it on line with the help of some volunteers. Fabulous! Check it out.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I promised a list of links I used to find overdye floss conversions on the web. I will list the ones that I found helpful as well as how I searched them.
Stitches & Things - This shop in Michigan is very nice; I've dealt with them for chart orders. I found this conversion chart helpful. Do a page search for the DMC number you want to convert.
Carrie's Threads - This is a thread maker who has set up this comparison chart in a PDF file. Put the DMC number you are looking for in the search window in the top toolbar.
Country Garden Stitchery - This site was somewhat helpful. Lookup your DMC number for WDW or GA conversions.
Mirabilia Stitchers - This is for Crescent conversions.
Hand-dyed Fibers - is a search engine thingy that you put in the search criteria (like your DMC number) and it comes up with a whole list of overdyed fiber conversions.
Of them all, Carrie's and Hand-dyed Fibers were most helpful. But, the caveat is that nothing is as good as your own eye. Also, I enjoy stitching with Gentle Art threads the most. I find Crescent is more dear than it should be and I don't care for the feel of Weeks. That being said, there are times when only one of the latter two will do for conversion purposes and you just do what you've got to do.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
When you go to either of these sites, search for "Dillmont". Thérèse de Dillmont began an embroidery school in Alsace, France in 1886 with the help of the founder of the Dollfus, Meig et Companie. You may recognize the company name better by it's initials - DMC. Yep, that DMC. Dillmont had made contacts in the publishing world while living in Vienna, Austria. Between those contacts and Dollfus, she wrote several books. You can see a mini-bio of Mmsl. Dillmont at A Textile Lover's Diary (another superb cornucopia of information); and information about Msr. Dollfus on French Wikipedia Most of those publications through DMC were what they called "Albums"; what we would call pamphlets nowadays. They are about 40 pages long and many printed in color. They are collectively called Bibliotheque DMC. On these sites you can find these albums in downloadable PDF format. I have many of them that I've saved on my own computer and I call it my own personal Embroidery Library. If you can afford them the Albums - original ones - can be found on the internet from time to time for purchase.
I will also say that these sites have books about more than cross stitch. There are crochet and knitting - and of course, weaving among others.
As Kirsten also pointed out on her BLOG, you can also see some interesting public domain embroidery books at Google Books. Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework is available there as well.
Hopefully this will make for some splendid after-Christmas reading for you; when you have time to yourself.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I haven't gotten pictures of all the Christmas presents that have gone out, but these are two that I did. Top is Raspberry Thicket Pincushion. It is a variation of the blackberry pincushion from Piecework Magazine a few years ago. Piecework had been going over to knitting back then, so I don't get it anymore (I think they've gone full tilt to the dark side now). If you're interested, Google "Interweave Press" and "Magazines". Originally the pincushion was a biscornu (pulled down in the middle). I decided to see what a biscornu looked like if you don't pull it down in the middle. And I liked it. To give it weight I wrapped a rock from the driveway in the poly fiber fill and that's in the middle inside the pincushion. The second one is the piece I made for Gift of Stitching's first challenge. I think both recipients will be very pleased.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
When you go forth and sully the colors of a designer, beware - you can make a mistake. Like I did here. I changed "white" to "moonglow" which is a white with hints of blue. Then, the chart called for "light blue" and I used light blue - a very light blue. And, when it came time to stitch the words, "Merry" and "to all" (which I'd changed up a bit too) they were really difficult to see. I kept telling myself that when I stepped back, they would appear just fine. Well, you can only go so far back before you finally admit defeat. And by then I'd stitched all the background around the words and there was no way I could take the threads out, even if I wanted to. So, I have had to come up with a plan to overstitch the words to make them at least legible. All I can say is thank goodness for Kreinik.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
So, here's an update on Prairie Schooler's "Christmas Eve". Told ya I really liked that turquoise. I made a mistake somewhere so was running out of room when I reached to top of Santa's hat. As a result, had to take out the top border and redo it. Have some cleanup work to do there still. I also opted not to do the fur on Santa's suit in green like it was charted. Sorry, Santa's fur is just not GREEN. Did it in white instead. Then the flesh colored threads didn't show up so well against the country mocha fabric. Decided to do outline stitching around his face and to delineate between hat and beard. Don't think it looks so bad, especially from a distance as in the second shot. Almost done - maybe by Christmas Eve?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Can you just imagine, putting all this work into something and then not doing anything with it? Apparently that's what I did - back in 2003. I think we were getting the house ready for sale that year. I found it yesterday in the bottom of a bin of unused Christmas decorations. Not sure what I'll do with it now, but it certainly won't go back to the bottom of the bin. It's done on Lugana with DMC, and I think that the pattern came from an old copy of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Here's my progress so far picture of "Country Seasons". It is stitched on 28ct "Pearled Barley" by Lakeside. I started this in 2008; with "Winter", but never got it done. So, I pulled it out and finished off "Winter" and then stitched up "Autumn" over Thanksgiving. I think I'll put it on the bottom of the pile now and wait until March to do "Spring".
Seeing the ornament on Vonna's website reminded me of this piece. It did it from Cross Stitch and Country Crafts back in the early 90's, I think. It just looked so magical to me. I framed it myself too; from molding, as a matter of fact. Not a bad job making the frame, but I did a bad job of getting the piece on the mounting board - as you can see from the top, it's not exactly square. But I was a newbie at crafting back then. Just getting it to the point I did was a hug accomplishment for me back then. It's nice to see how far I've come. I pull this out every Christmas and put it somewhere. This year it's keeping company with the holiday cards - old and new - on the buffet in the dining room.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I have joined my first group! It's the Prairie Schooler ABC Bee. We're all stitching the PS ABC charts. The group was inspired by the photo above. Some brilliant stitcher somewhere had stitched all the ABCs on one piece of fabric - over one thread! Isn't it gorgeous? I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do. I will probably make some minor design changes - hope that doesn't make my fellow bees mad at me. And I know for sure I will substitute overdyed threads for the DMC. My quandry at this point is whether I stitch them all on one piece or do them individually. Vonna has a beautiful ornament tree tutorial on her blog the Twisted Stitcher. It's gotten me to thinking how nice the ABCs would look as ornaments on that tree. I have a small buffet in the bay window in my dining room and that tree with those ABCs would look really pretty there. I will definitely stitch them all; and probably over one. I need to sit down and do the math (it makes my head hurt so I'm putting it off) to figure that part out. You can go to the PSABCBee Blog by clicking on the name. Or, go to the Prairie Schooler ABC chart pics here - ABC - DEF - GHI - JKL - MNO - PQR - STU - VWX - Y&Z so you can see what we're all so jazzed about. Most of all, I'm excited to get to know stitchers from across the country and around the world who share a fondness for Prairie Schooler designs and a love of stitching.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I saw the directions for this on the Moda Bake Shop Blog. Had all the materials, so decided to make one in red and green. I love it; and love the idea. I do have a few modifications to the instructions though. The MBS instructions say to cut the strips 5-1/2 inches long. I disagree. It took me four hours to make the wreath and I think that may have been cut down if the strips had just been a little longer. So I'd say cut them 6" and then you won't be fumbling (or maybe it was just my fat fingers?) with the fabric when you tie it. And a note on tying it - it's a one over knot, not a tie and then tie again into a real "knotty knot". Also, I recommend that if you're going to do this with two colors like I did, make a color pattern and then vary it from one ring to the next. Like my pattern was 3 green, 3 red, 2 green, 2 red, 1 green, 1 red, then repeat all the way around the ring. The next ring would go backwards - that way I didn't end up with all the same colors next to each other. As to materials, they suggest a "honey bun". Well, I've got a huge stash of fabric. I layers 13 green fat quarters and 13 red ones, cut the strips from half of each and had enough to do the SMALL wire frame - whether that was 12 inches or not, I don't know. And I really think that the BAKE shop needs to put a baking time on these projects. I really do like my wreath and would make another one, just not right away - I'm a little tied up right now.
Prairie Schooler is my favorite designer. And I can say that I know this piece in and out since I stitched it twice. The first time was on sand colored linen - 28 count. I liked it alot and had it framed similar to the frame you see in this picture. At the time I was working in a LNS. The shop had a sale and preparatory to the sale, I was asked to organize the linen. While doing that, I discovered Tula. It is a larger weave, like a giant Aida. Ten count - that's ten stitches to the inch. Well, you might think that's for amateurs. Oh, contrare! You see, there was a fiber in the shop that I'd been dying to stitch with, but it was too big; meant really for needlepointers. It was Caron's Watercolors - overdyed cotton - luscious colors. And a sheen a lot like pearl cotton. It's three stranded. Well, I discovered if I took one strand and cross stitched on Tula, I got the same look as on a higher count of fabric. So, I decided to do Good St. Nick again. This time on sand colored Tula with the Watercolors. It came out a little more than twice the size of the previous one. I still have the first one - haven't decided which of my children are inheriting it yet. But it's the piece I stitched on Tula that gets hung up at Christmastime!
Pulling things out of the basement this weekend to decorate for the holidays, I realized there are still some things I haven't posted to the blog yet. Like this Victoria Sampler piece - Christmas Tree Farm. I think I did this two years ago. I really enjoyed the challenge of this sampler. There were some stitches I'd never done, some that I hadn't done in a long time, and still others that I don't like to do (Queen Stitch anyone?). I can say that the booklets for all the Victoria Sampler items I've done (which admittedly are few just because Victorian isn't my style) have been clear, concise, and extremely helpful in completing the projects. I'm looking forward to getting the booklet for Thea's new Gingerbread House and then being able to afford all the triffles I'll need to put it together.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
"As I close for this week, I want to include this article that one of our readers sent to me. It has been verified and this did actually happen. I just want to share it with you as an extension of having just honored our veterans last weeks. This speaks volumes. Thank you for reading it.
The Music Stopped
(For those who are unaware: At all military base theaters, the National Anthem is played before the movie begins.)
This is written from a Chaplain in Iraq :
I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom at all military bases, we stood to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going well until three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem, the music stopped.
Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and yell for the movie to begin. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.
Here in Iraq , 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again and the Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. But again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect 1000 Soldiers standing at attention to do ?? Frankly, I expected some laughter, and everyone would eventually sit down and wait for the movie to start.
But No!!... You could have heard a pin drop, while every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly, there was a lone voice from the front of the auditorium, then a dozen voices, and soon the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
It was the most inspiring moment I have had in Iraq and I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you. Remember them as they fight for us!
Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. Many have already paid the ultimate price.
Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq , north of Baghdad"
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I loved, loved, loved the PS ornament in the November 2009 issue of GOS! Could not wait to stitch it up. But had to be a little different. Mine is stitched on Wichelt, 28 count, Country French Cappucino linen. I like to call this color Hot Cocoa myself, but it is what it is. And, I used overdyed threads in place of the recommended DMC. Replacements are as follows: The white is Crescent Colours Snowball; 646 (chimney smoke) is Weeks Confederate Grey; 738 (windows and jingle bells on harness) is Crescent Finley Gold; 815 is GA Cranberry; 895 (trees) I used two colors of green to give better dimension to them. One I used is Crescent Steamed Broccoli and the other is Weeks Lucky. 927 (icy blue in the snow) is Weeks Morris Blue. Not sure, but that color may be discontinued - I just pulled it out of my stash and love it for its icy blueness. I wanted to be different on the harness, deer's eye and door so I used a peacocky-turquoise from Needle Necessities that I had on hand. For the reindeer itself, which was supposed to be 3371 I used Crescent Bramble Bush. Ooooh - forgot to mention - I've done five of these and I'm so bad a counting that I haven't done one of them completely correct yet!
As far as finishing, it is on a small piece of foam core. The pearls are Darice pearl headed florist pins. The backing is Weeks overdyed felted wool in "Merlot" and the hanger is a piece of matching satin ribbon. Could not be simpler.
Like I said, I have stitched five of these and as I ran out of Bramble Bush after three of them, I used other overdyes for the deer instead. One was Crescent Cocoa Bean and the other was Weeks Sassy Brass. Neither of these worked as well as Bramble Bush, so I've ordered more of that. A good replacement for 3371 is Swamp Water (made by Weeks?) if you want to go that dark. I also changed up the eye, harness, door combo and did two of them with Crescent Rainy Day. This color was too dark. Doing it again, I would try different colors in the midrange.
I have also ordered this year's PS santa as well as the sampler Christmas Eve. I'm thinking about doing that one big - using my Country Mocha Tula and Caron Watercolors threads.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Just finished this. It's Prairie Schooler's "Farmer's Almanac". I did the grass on the bottom and some of the green trim around the edge in Weeks Dye Works' "Lucky" overdyed floss. That took 2 and a half skeins to finish! This is also the piece that was damaged a few months ago - I had a huge hole in the fabric and showed in a previous blog how I darned the hole and stitched over it. Upon close inspection, you can see where the damaged spot is/was. But, unless you know it was there, you can't spot it. I'm very happy with the outcome.
Friday, October 23, 2009
So, I've been doing that and working on two stitching pieces (as well as my paid work). The stitching pieces are Jeanette Douglas' "Pomegranate & Pears Stitches" and a "Chocolate and Raspberry Truffle" biscornu for a Christmas gift. Don't have pictures of them yet. But, wow, when I was working on P&P - I got the fibers in a kit - and I very nearly ran out of the Lorikeet that was put in the kit. That stuff must really be expensive because the kitmaker put about a nine inch piece in there. I ended up, to get the last few stitches out of it, having to * put my needle through, pull the thread through, pull the thread from the needle, put the needle in, thread the needle, repeat from * . I was trying to figure out what I had on hand that I could possibly use as a backup (absolutely nothing) if this method didn't work out, but I managed to complete the four designs with the Lorikeet. Nice stuff though. P&P is not as complicated a design as I thought it would be though. I'm getting through it WAY too fast. I think I'm going to have to get that Victoria Sampler gingerbread house and really challenge myself. After doing six Prairie Schoolers, I feel I need the challenge (don't get me wrong, I love PS, but it is pretty simple). Hope my Nordic Needle catalog is in the mailbox today!
I love doing things with remnants. I reminded myself earlier this year that I was going to need some more seasonal table runners. I have to put them out on all my tables around the house to protect them from men (i.e., everyone else in my house but me) who put wet things down on wooden furniture. So, hit the jackpot with this 9 inch wide remnant at Joann's. Knew it would be perfect for a table runner. Slapped it together with remnants of quilt batting and some fabric I had on hand for the backing (the same as the gold binding); machine quilted it (see detail picture) and put the binding on. Viola!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
A couple of months ago - August, I think it was, I found this lovely floral remant at the sewing shop. I had just watched a Sewing With Nancy about "Boutique Sewing" and decided to make a sundress similar to one she'd done on the show. So I was going to use the floral, but with what because it was only like a 3rd of a yard. Looking at it, I noticed that there was some pumpkin orange in the colors. Oddly enough, I had about two yard of pumpkin orange jobelan that I had for a previous project and had no idea what I was going to do with the rest. I also had several fat quarters of quilting cotton in pink and green colors which were also in that floral.
The emphasis in the boutique sewing was that things are finished off - inside and out. So, I decided the floral would go on the bottom of the jumper, the orange at the top. I made one big facing for the top front and back - instead of the little two inch facings the patterns have you do. The facings are stitched together, front and back, and then sewn onto the outside piece in one continuous piece so that all the seams inside are finished off - aren't even seen actually. What you can't see is that in the back, there are teal buttons holding the straps in place. Her grandfather picked those out. The good news is that Emma is so petite that she'll probably be able to wear the sun dress next year too! I really enjoyed making this dress for her.
Also in Emma's box was the outfit I made for her out of remnants - the quilted jacket and pink pleather pants. Here she is styling them - striking a pose! I am told that she loves LOVES LOVES her pink pleather pants and crys when she has to take them off. I hate to cause discord, but it is very gratifying to know she likes them that much.
Emma received her box earlier in the week. I am told that the bat scared the heck out of her. She had to develop a "personal relationship" with the bat before we could get a photo. Last night was her Eureka moment with the bat and they sent this picture. So maybe she will be a bat for Halloween. I have finished her Christmas towel, but will not post until later to keep it secret. I can say however, that it will not be scary and it's something she already pretends to be while she's playing.
I passed on an older model Scroll Rod Frame to my daughter in law who needs to know how to use it. I thought maybe there were others who don't know how or need a refresher course. I use scroll rod frames exclusively. The best part about them is that you can add your metallic threads or beads or other, thicker, embellishments; without crushing them like you would in a hoop.
I do not sew my fabric to the scroll rods anymore. Used to, but a few years ago, I saw someone use this pinning method. I thought, huh, that looks ALOT easier than sewing. And it is.
First Step: You need the right pins. The photo shows my glass headed, long, dressmaker's pin (yellow) stuck into the fabric next to my short (about 1 inch long) nickel applique pin. It's the applique pins I use for this and the reason is the small head. I can attach the fabric with them and roll them up and there is practically no bulk on the scroll rod. Applique pins should be easily found at your local chain sewing store like Joann, but if they're not there, try a quilt shop.
Make sure that you have all the parts to your scroll rod frame - two scroll rods, two side bars, and four knobs or wing nuts - maybe some washers too. If you've picked up your scroll frame second hand, wing nuts and washers can replace missing knobs and are easily found at your hardware store.
Once you have the fabric attached to the scroll rods, you will then tighten it by rolling the rods (winding up the fabric). Some people (like me) like to start their stitching in the center. So, you'd roll up the scroll rods until the center mark you've put in the fabric is basically in the center of the frame - rolling both bars up with some fabric. Shown in photo one. Other people like to start at the top left, so you would tighten all the extra fabric onto one bar leaving the other bar clear for the beginning. This leaves the pins exposed on one side until you've turned the rod enough to cover them, so be careful how you're holding the frame if you do this. Shown in photo two. You're all set to stitch!
Those keen-eyed-viewers will notice that my fabric in photo one has no marking in the center. You're right! That's because I put this Country French "Chocolate" fabric on the scroll rod frame so that I can make another of the blackberry truffle tuffets (shown at top of my blog page in the triophoto). Only this one is going to be raspberries in pink tones. So, I'll actually be starting my stitching at the top left like in photo two.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Shark was very popular with Little Miss Emma - at least in the beginning. Then she was afraid of him. Now she's back to liking him again. So, I've made her another to add to her collection - a Vampire Bat - just in time for Halloween. So he would be less scary - maybe - I gave him goofy, googly eyes. Note that I cut the lower edge of the towel in batwing shape. It is sealed with a non-fray goop and zigzagged three times so that the whole towel doesn't come apart. Happy Halloween!
A few weeks ago I was going through Joann's and checked out the remnant bin. There was a roll of this hot pink, shiny fabric. I checked the label and it said "Pleather". Instantly I saw in my head my little 2-1/2 year granddaughter in pink pleather pants. Then I looked through the bin further and found a roll of pre-quilted fabric that was a print in pink, purple, green and gold. Held it next to the hot pink pleather and went "Wow, there's a jacket in there too!" Both went home with me for a cost of less than $5. I already had the pattern at home that I intended to use; I'd used it a couple months ago to make her a jumper (will have to post that picture too, come to think of it). Now the pleather pants and quilted jacket are packed up in a Priority Mail box to be sent off to Emma. Seattle's weather is going into the 50's, my son tells me - should be just the right weather for hot pink pleather.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?
3) If you're only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?
4) Also are you so passionate about cross stitch that if indeed your only option was the major chain craft stores, would that inspire you to create your own cross stitch pieces because you have to stitch and you've stitched your way through the whole of Dimensions catalog--because you must stitch and the thought of life without a relationship with the little X leaves you feeling empty?
5) Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover [ edited]? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?
6) And finally, do you do other crafts and if so what are they and why do they pull you away from cross stitch?