Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Read Directions First . . . Then Stitch

I don't like to "frog".  I think it's a waste of time and effort.  Usually if I make a mistake, I work around it or I cover it up without frogging.  However, this one was a doozy and I was forced into it.

I wanted to start the Alternating Half Cross stitch that makes the green background on the floral side borders of the American Sampler.  It's quite an intriguing stitch - essentially changes the color of your linen to the color of the thread you stitch with.  So, on the lower right hand border, I started stitching - without reading the directions.  I got quite a bit done over two days, but when I was looking at it from a distance I thought, wait, something's not quite right here.

Wrong Way

So it was then that I looked at the directions.  Oh - My - God.  And I realized what I had done.  In the picture above, I was in the process of pulling out all the work I'd done.  I had gotten up above the urn.  When I read the directions, I realized the work is supposed to be done over one and instead of going in a sort of serpentine line, the stitches are supposed to go off each other to more fully cover the linen threads.   Like this:

Right Way
I have now pulled out all the work I'd done on the right hand side and have been working on the left.  I am up into the greenery and flowers now, after working all week.  This is an agonizingly slow process and I keep telling myself that I was right to get started on it so I can take a break after a while and do other stitching; not only background stitching.

After starting the Trumpeteer in order to show how I do over one stitching, I completed him before I started the Alternating Half Cross stitching.

In fact, all the work on that right side of the lower border is done.  I have the left side yet to do.  I have also decided on the words I am going to put into the two areas.  I have to chart that all out to make sure it fits right and will reveal all next time.  I made one change on the Trumpeteer.  His pants were charted to be striped.  I decided that I didn't like that so gave him plain charcoal trousers instead.  I have continued to alternate the "ripeness" of my berries too; like I did in the side and top borders.

Meanwhile, I have been reading a book I've read before and really enjoyed (not like I don't have several never-read books on my bookshelf); Wilbur Smith's River God.  Set in ancient Egypt, it is a fascinating tale, even the second time around.   I managed to pick it up at a thrift store for just a buck!

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This One's for Jackie (on Over One Stitching)

Jackie of Jackie's Stitches does some beautiful needlework and quilting.  If you haven't seen her blog, it's worth visiting.  She has some quilt block work she's done recently in the most amazing, juicy colors - they make my mouth water!  Jackie recently sent out an SOS on over-one stitching.  I commented, but words just don't relay what you're trying to say.  I told her I'd do some pictures to help.  So, here they are.  This is the method of over-one stitching that works for me.  It's crazy, but doing this I end up with more work on the back of the piece than the front.  If you want to download these photos in order to enlarge them, for your own personal use - you can go ahead and do that. 

I've started working on the trumpeters at the bottom of my American Sampler.  They're stitched over one thread.  When I stitch, I come up at the upper left and go down at the lower right, then under to the lower left, up and over to the upper right - that's when I stitch over two.

For the over one, I begin by coming up at the lower right, over to the upper left, down to the lower right of the next stitch which takes the thread - in the back of the work under two threads.  I come up and repeat.

Going under the two threads on the back of the work stabilizes the stitch in my mind - well, on the fabric too, but you know what I'm saying . . .


This is what it looks like on the back.

To go back up, I come up at the upper right of the first stitch.  I have to be careful here with tension because I'm only transversing one stitch.  I go over to the lower left and down, then come up at the upper right of the next stitch (crossing two threads on the back of the work) and continue to repeat to the top.

Here's the back of the completed row  . . . .

And here's what the completed row looks like on the front.

Here's an area of completed stitches on the front . . . 

And here's what the same area looks like on the back.  By the time I took these photos, the sun had come up and I'd lowered the shades - my fabric didn't have an accident with my coffee cup, it only looks that way.
Here's a stitch diagram.

Come up at 1 and down at 2 (shown in the light green)

Cross under to 3 (shown in blue)

Come up at 3 and down at 4 (shown in the light green)

Cross under to 5 (shown in blue)

Come up at 5 and down at 6 (shown in the light green)

Etc. Etc. Etc.

The red dots represent the "holes" that I work in.

So essentially what I'm doing is a regular cross stitch in the front and a long cross in the back; which is why the back ends up looking like it has more work - or padded.

Using this method I don't lose any stitches in the threads and it's made my over-one stitching much less frustrating.  In fact, until I figured this out, I stubbornly refused to do any over-one stitching.

Almost forgot to say - when you start the next row, you have to compensate.  Either finish going the other way or start going the other way, just on the first stitch.  What I mean is, following the directions, I'll end up going down in hole number 4 when I finish going back up.  That's the same hole that I'd start the next row in.  So, I can finish the first row by starting in hole 4 and going down in the hole to the right of 2 - or - when I start the next row, I'll begin in the hole to the left of 2 and go down in 4 and my next stitch would come up at 6 and go back to the rhythm of the long cross on the underside.  Even to me that sounds really confusing, but I know when you work it, you'll understand.

I hope this helps everyone.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Another Milestone on the American Sampler

Progress of Late

When I last showed you the American Sampler, I was working on the flowers that go up the side margins of the sampler - in the Queen stitch.  I finished those up early in the week - after we got the power back on.  Then I moved on.  I worked some more on the outer border that's done in Rice stitch.  To do the stitch, you make a big cross stitch, over four threads and then do little legs over two threads on each of the big legs.  In this sampler the Rice stitch is done sometimes all in the same color, other times, in different colors.  You'll see right off that I've got a glaring mistake in the center.  It was supposed to be two Compensating Rice stitches over six threads, but when I got there it ended up that somehow I'd added a stitch (or two more threads).  And I wasn't going to undo all that work.  If I'd known about it in advance, I'd have made the checkerboard pattern run uninterrupted, but as it is, I have Compensating Rice stitches over eight threads instead.  Sigh. 

Then I went to work on the Colonial Gentleman who has come calling.  I'd not done him before when I was working on the central area.  Guess I wanted to savor all that over one stitching at a later time!  HA!  Spent the last three days putting him in.  In the original design, he has a hat in the crook of his arm.  I left him hatless, however.  I decided I didn't want MY Colonial Gentleman to come courting "hat in hand" - so to speak.  How undignified.

Here is the view now of the central design:

They make a lovely couple, don't they?  Also, I realized I'd made another mistake - on the fencing.  Before, it was only posts - no actual fencing.  I looked back at the chart and sure enough, the areas between the posts were to have been worked over one and two over-one crosses in each "between" section was supposed to be white - to make rails.  Sigh!  So, I used one thread and top-stitched the rails in.  At least now the sheep will be contained.  Ahead I will begin doing the fill work on the side panels - don't want to get stuck doing ALL of that at one time - and the last section at the bottom.  Seems I must finally decide what words I'll be putting on this sampler.

I went to a favorite antique shop last week - or the week before.  Found some nice stuff.  One thing, was rolled up into a teapot and the teapot was sitting in a corner of a shelving unit - the thing was just sticking out the top of the teapot.  BUT, I recognized it as linen.  So I went over and picked it out to find -

Viola!  A Pre-Printed Schoolhouse.  It's probably from around the 70's and had been started.  Someone had begun the alphabet with 6 strands of black floss.  It was a rat's nest of tangles on the back; I had a heck of a time pulling it all out - took me a whole evening!  I have been collecting variagated threads from various old sewing baskets I've picked up over the years, looking for just the right project to use them on.  I've decided that this is going to be THAT project.  I will put this into the rotation soon.  I seem to be finding a lot of pre-printed things lately; they're hot!  Maybe it's because it's summertime?  Are they making a comeback?  Anyone know?

Speaking of hot, Washington DC set an all time (for the date) record high temperature yesterday of 105!!!!  Out here we were roasting.  Our high was 101.7 - almost 102!!!  I think that was an all time high for the time we've been living here.  I just spotted huge clouds coming over the mountain and checked the radar online - they're headed our way.  They herald the coming cold front that will take us back down into the 80's for the coming week.  Ah, R E L I E F !

That's it for this time; hope you enjoyed!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Practicing "Cup is Half Full" (or - LUCKY - very very Lucky)

On Friday I went to the grocery store.  My total was $146.  And then the checkout machine froze up and my order had to be transferred from one checkout machine to another.  In the transfer process the total changed to $106.  I pointed out that the amount was wrong - honestly, I did.  And the assistant manager doing the ring-up told me that this happens all the time when they have to transfer - it gives folks their bonus points again.  So, that was one.

I won one of the items in Nancy's Grand Giveaway - buttons!  Whooooo Whoooooo!!!  I'm excited.  That was two.

And then there was the storm.  We sat and watched from the front porch as it approached.  The most amazing and spectacular lightning I've seen in my entire life!  But of course, there were people and property under that lightning.  We went inside when the storm finally arrived at our house.  Within minutes, we had no power.  That lasted until late yesterday afternoon.  And God, it was HOT!  But, when we went out to survey the damage on Saturday morning, we were amazed to see that there was not  one bit of damage to either the house or the shrubbery.  That was three. 

If the town had electricity, I'd have gone and bought a lottery ticket!

We have decided that we'd much rather be out of power in the winter.  When it comes to heat, we are total wimps!  By noon yesterday, I'd reserved a hotel room for the rest of the week near where my husband works, that was pet friendly so we could take the dog.  We'd been soaking him down with the garden hose umpty ump times during the day to keep him cool.  He's very happy the AC is back too!  But, there are still more than 6,000 folks without power in my county - down from more than 20,000.  We're part of that 1.5 million that you keep hearing about in the news.  I also haven't heard about damage in Indiana where winds were in excess of 91 miles an hour.  Here they were only 75 mph.

In spite of the fact that almost all we did was sit around, run the generator, water the dog, go out to eat, and sleep, I didn't get much stitching done.  It was just too hot to concentrate on anything for long.  I am almost done with the floral "border" including Queen Stitches on the American Sampler.  I'll do the Colonial Gentleman in the center next - over one. 

Here is something - it's an I Spy quilt I made years ago.  I'm sending it out to oldest son so his kids can enjoy it for awhile.  Hopefully it will survive to be passed around in the family.  I had to buy tons of fat quarters to get all the different pieces for this quilt.

Hope you enjoyed!