Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WIPocalypse 2016 – October

This month's theme is: What online stitching communities do you enjoy? I've been on Blogger for 4 years now (Wow! Time passes fast), before that I didn't have much of a presence online as I was more of a lurker than participator. Since then I've become more active on Facebook and Instagram. I don't post on my personal Facebook page but I do help manage Virtual Threads' Facebook page. Click the link to check us out :) I have a HUGE feed of blogs that I go thru every morning and share what I find on there for others to check out so in that way I'm very much involved. However even with that I'm still a lurker :P I'm horribly awkward when leaving comments so don't think I'm not reading your posts. I am, I just don't comment.

Fandango got a lot of love this month. I had planned on concentrating on the four small squares but that didn't go as planned. Instead I ended up finishing the center square and a whole lot of bullion stitches that go all around the piece. There are close up pictures in a previous post here and here. Right now the goal is to finish up all the bullions that go within the piece.

I finished my beaded fob Hana. The next step for this piece is working on a scissor case to go with it. There was a delay in starting that as I didn't have enough of the 3-cut black beads. I finally have those but I think I want to get all those bullions on Fandango done first.

I didn't get those olive green leaves done this month on Fleurs de Sakura. I will try again for next check-in.

No update on Fantasy Lace.

No Update
Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

I took Bramble and the Rose to my guild stitch meeting and got a tiny bit in there, but not enough to warrant an update pick. I spent most of the evening swapping book titles with the guild librarian. Love books!
No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

Still hidden away poor dragons. But, putting stitches into this piece is the last goal I have for this year. So this means that by the last WIPocalypse post there will be some progress on it.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

I didn't touch Sfilati Fantasia.

No Update

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thanksgiving Long Weekend

I'm back at work after a long weekend. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving at home, so for me it's just a longer weekend with more time to stitch :)

And since I had such a huge amount of stitching time, I decided to tackle the gazillion bullions that are in Fandango. But before that, a practice one is required just to make sure all systems are a go.

I started Friday night, stitched all day Saturday...

And well into Sunday, but I got them done :) I kept track of my time, it took me about 6 hours to do one long side and 3 hours to do one short side. I had bullions with 7 and 13 wraps. In total there were 50 bullions with 13 wraps and 184 bullions with 7 wraps.

Since I was going so well on the border, I figured I'll start the bullions within the piece as well. However I wanted to experiment a little first. I decided I wanted to add beads in the piece to balance it a little with what I had put in the center. The best way to figure out what combinations will suite is to use a doodle clothe. In the satin stitch "flowers", there were two different 3-bullion groups. The first one looks like a leaf and the second like a little bud.

After trying out different combinations, I decided to stick to the original for the leaf. For the buds, I decided to replace one bullion stitch with a bead. This is finished off with a single bead at the center of the "flower". Below you can seen what my version looks like in comparison to the original.

Now that I've decided what I want for this, I just have three more of them to do ;) I will say that I don't hate bullions as much as I thought I did, but they do get tedious after the 50th one :P 

I considered that bullion border one of my bigger hurdles on this piece but now that that's over I can definitely say I will meet my deadline. I just have to keep my attention centered on it ;)
  • Needlelace fans for the two small squares on the right (there is a possibility of having to redo one of the left ones because I'm picky)
  • (big breath) Bullions ALL around the border and within the piece
  • Palestrina knot swirls (there are 16)
  • Buttonhole edge to finish off the hem

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fandango Center: Done!

Finally sat myself in front of Netflix and finished those fans :)

In my last post on Fandango, I had mentioned that in Punto Antico woven bars come in pairs because of the fans pulling and creating a curve. You can see that in the picture below. I actually quite like the effect, it's a little change from all the straight lines of the square.

In each corner of the square there are more needle-laced fans. For these four, I had to watch my tension so I wouldn't distort the satin stitches. If you want to learn how to make a fan, Gingerbread Girl Designs has a wonderful video on Youtube on how to stitch a variation of this fan.

It's been a while since I showed an image of the overall piece so here it is (sorry for the bad lighting).

Here is what is left to do:
  • Needlelace fans for the two small squares on the right (there is a possibility of having to redo one of the left ones because I'm picky)
  • (big breath) Bullions ALL around the border and within the piece
  • Palestrina knot swirls (there are 16)
  • Buttonhole edge to finish off the hem
I think I can do it before end of year :) What do you think? And to make sure it happens, I'm going to start working on those bullions this Thanksgiving long weekend.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October TUSAL

Can't believe it's already October and there are only two TUSAL reports left for this year. This means that I have 3 months left to finish up Fandango. Most of the threads this months were from Fandango and there will be a lot more of that as I'll have to concentrate on it. The green thread were from a mill hill bead kit I got from the Lakeshore guild. It's one of the two pieces I have to stitch as a contribution for a handcraft fair they will be selling at to raise funds. No picture of the finished piece as I completely forgot to take one.

I didn't end up stitching the needlelace yesterday :( I just wasn't in the mood for it. I won't have time tonight either as I have my guild stitching meeting. I'm bringing it with me but I'm not sure I'll want to stitch on it in the lighting we have in the room. Just in case I brought a backup project with me :)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Enough Procrastinating!

I had a VERY slow week last week and I can't blame it on a reading marathon because I didn't do much of that either. I think I spent most of it on Netflix contemplating working on my WIPs :P

So Thursday night, I said enough! A soon as I get home from work Friday I would sit down and work on Fandango. And that's what I did :)

I was originally going to work on the needlelace fans for the smaller squares, but my thread kept getting caught on the fabric threads of the center square. So I decided that finishing up the edges of that square should be a priority.

Once all the edges are satin stitched, I could start cutting the fabric thread and neaten the back.

I was a little hesitant with the scissors. I needed to cut really close to the edge at the back, but not too close that I accidentally cut the satin stitches. It's really tough to distinguish between all that white with my OTT lamp. It would have been much easier in daylight.

I was able to devote the entire day Sunday to work on Fandango, so I decided to keep going on the center square. The next step was lots and lots of woven bars. In Punto Antico, you usually have a pair of woven bars next to each other versus the one in Hardanger. The reason for this is that the next step involves needlelace fans which will pull on them. Having two bars would mean that only one of them will be distorted.

Since starting this project I've been toying with the idea of replacing the picots with beads. I've tried picots in the past and they just don't look that great to me. For something so tiny, it's fussy and flops around never sitting straight.

After trying it on the first row, I liked the look of it and kept going. I'm not sure what type of beads these are, I found them at a bead shop in Saint-Sauveur. But the color matches the green of the sofas in our living room which is where Fandango will be once it's finished.

Next step is the needlelace fans. Crossing my fingers I will be in the mood for it tonight ;)

Monday, September 26, 2016

No Stitchy Update But...

Guess who signed up for Japanese Bead Embroidery ;)

Now I just need to figure out flight plans and a roommate. Anyone know someone going?

By the way, my heart was pounding so hard when I clicked that submit payment button >_< I always get nervous when I'm starting something new and unfamiliar. I had the same feeling when I signed up for Seminar for the first time, but the next time I did it I just felt excitement.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hana Beaded Fob Finished

I didn't get much stitching time this weekend except for Sunday, but I still did very good. Sunday morning I sat myself down, determined to finish stitching the stems on the last row of flowers. I want to apologize in advance for the pictures. They're kind of blurry and my camera had a hard time focusing. Everything was too shiny.

The stems are stitched by couching down beads. Sounds easy right, but very finicky. You start by using a double threaded needle coming out right under the center of the flower.

The instructions say to thread 8 beads on the needle, but I ended up using 7. With 8 beads, my stem would have been too close to the flower next to it. Once the beads are threaded, I pinned the needle to the side, making sure the thread is taut and won't move around while I'm moving the beads around.

Here is the tricky bit: you want your starting bead to be right up against the center. If you bring your needle too high up and there won't be space for the bead, too far down and you'll end up with empty spaces. Once that's figured out, another needle is threaded with a single thread this time. This will be used to couch down between beads. To help with that, I would push the beads up as tight as I could with one hand while poking through the fabric with the other hand and couching down. I'm horrible at two handed stitching (strictly a righty), but with this project I'm forced to learn how to use both hands.

The second part of the stem, we come out from the bottom and use the same technique. I threaded 7 beads again instead of 8 for things to be consistent. That and I couldn't possibly fit 8 beads on this tiny stem. Again where you come out from your starting point is important.

I found that I could only fit 3 beads on the bottom leg so I had to make sure not to come out too far from the stem. If I came up too far down, there would be an empty space between the bead from the first part of the stem and this second one.

Once the first 3 beads are couched down, it's just a matter of squeezing down the last 4 beads. It's a very tight fit.

As I write this post I've noticed I wasn't very consistent with my stems. That's what happens when you take too long of a break between stitching sessions :( I started off with 8 beads and then went to 7. Afterwards, I started with a combo of 3-4 and ended up with 4-3 beaded stems. Also, some of them are very crooked. My only consolation is that the center one looks pretty good and that's what everyone will really look at, no?

Since I was already set up, I decided to keep going and stitch the last step of the fob. The final step is a scattering of stitched black beads. It's essentially a seed stitch. The same procedure applies: don't stitch too closely together, stitch in random directions.

I personally find my brain doesn't work like that. I never know if it's random enough or my brain is using a pattern that only it can see :P When I was done though I was pleasantly surprised with the effect. It looks pretty good and the effect is stunning.

I've learned a lot with this small project and now I can apply all that to my next challenge: stitch the same pattern for a matching scissor case. So it will be a while before Hana is cut out and finished into a fob. The current goal is get it done before April in order to submit it at my first members exhibit at the EAC Seminar. Wish me luck!