Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Challenge: Blackbird Designs Christmas Garden

I worked on this at the beginning of February, putting it down only after stitching every single motif on the right side TWICE due to counting & positioning errors which could not be fudged.

So, not much project for actual acreage covered, but the amount of stitching is twice what you see.  This was a painful month with this design.  I hoped to pick it up again before March but I know now, with 4 days left to go in this month that that is just not going to happen.  If it wasn't for the Challenge I probably would not be picking this up in March but I will be.  See you about this then!

WIPocalypse Pieces of Eight

I had a change of projects for the WIPocalypse.  I have been bitten by the canvas bug thanks to conversational threads at The Wagon (a Yuku Board).  The enthusiasm of assorted canvas project discussions swept me up and carried me off the nether regions of my stash storage in search of canvas pieces I haven't touched for YEARs and had little intention of more progress.  I just hadn't gotten around to tossing them out yet.

It's a good thing I didn't.  I resurrected the oldest piece thanks to Marilyn, a Wagon poster who finished this piece and posted pictures.

Here is my starting point for the WIPocalypse.  This was where I abandoned it almost as soon as I started it in 2000. 

This is an embryonic Gayle Bicknell's Pieces of Eight published in a series of issues of Needlepoint Now, 1999 - 2000 with the listed threads on 18 ct. Sandstone mono canvas.

I did not have a thread stash beyond embroidery floss weights so I used the charted colors & threads.  They are not my colors, but it wouldn't hurt to have an eyeball alka-seltzer on the wall with my other pieces to wake up the visual senses.  If you have a stash of assorted size and textured threads: go for it.  This piece was designed using leftover threads from the designer's stash.   I will have a couple of sacks of weird threads leftover from this so I will be looking for more UseTheScraps Needlepoint charts.

This is where I left off 3 days later.  I clipped out the original start.  It was easier to clip out to restart then to try to figure out where the stitch sequence left off.  I wasted an hour trying.  LOL  

As Marilyn warned in her posts, there are several issues with the directions as printed.  Some stitch instructions are not adequately explained, or even properly sequenced but armed with Jo Ippolito Christensen's The Needlepoint Book and an openness to let it fly, to make something else work that will be close enough and fun enough, I jumped in.   I have made some changes in color placements and modified some stitches to better suit me.  The project just bit me in the right place and hasn't let goI could not put this piece down.  I referred to it as my stitching crack on the forum.  

The next octagon is another heavy thread in few holes modified Amadeus beast...actually the next 2 Octagons are like my interest is flagging a little right now.  I suspect I will be returning to some cross stitching for a little while but I really don't want to put this away.  Maybe I will just work those modified smyrna borders for a bit.   Then I will enlarge the heck out of the small diagrams,  pour a big glass of wine then jump in.

The new starts of the last 2 weeks.

Remember when I said I didn't know what I was in the mood for?  It took me a couple of new starts plus some work on the 2012 Challenge piece and 2 WIPocaylpse pieces  to settle down.  Here are the new starts.

 Martina Weber: Japanese Box 

My plan with this is to frame the panels.  It will have better protection framed than it will done up as a box- at least at my house.  

Sorry about the wonky picture.  I didn't want to take it off the Q snaps because I want to return to it.  The panels work up pretty fast.

I changed the material since my first picture of supplies. I changed it out twice.  I went from Platinum 32 ct to a beautiful Waterlily 32 ct then back to a Platinum but 28 ct.  I think Waterlily is a discontinued color now, but even if it hasn't been discontinued in a 28 count, I really wanted to work out of my stash.  The Platinum works well though the Waterlily would have been really lovely.  The Waterlily is of that wonderful DMC 500 range.  

The reason I went to 28 was because I didn't want to crowd the stitches.  I have other Chatelaine pieces on 32 which I now sort of regret.  I can get the stitches to lay down, but the stitching process isn't as relaxing for me when I have to work that much at it.

Everything else on this is as charted, except that I swapped out the solid NPI for the less expensive DMC.  

Lizzie Kate Winter Alphabet

I started this a couple of weeks ago but didn't have pictures handy until now.  It was fun but my short attention span took me away to other things.

 Charted threads on 36 count flax, 1 strand over 2.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Laura J Perin Lilac Collage Failed Experiment

I have loved Perin designs for years.  I even collected a handful over the years.

The problem is that I don't like working on canvas.  I am not sure what it is about canvas that I don't like but I hope I get over it because converting the design to cloth just didn't work.

Here is the final clipping, the 5th start/restart  and 2 days of counting, recounting, frogging, picking and reworking  some of the adjacent rows to the center section.  I had also done more portions of the center lilacs 4 times before this picture to check over 1? over 2? back to 1? back to 2?  It must have been watching Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy during this which kept me calm.

In the past I was able to work some needlepoint patterns on cloth.  This wasn't one of them.  I finally gave up and found some websites which sold the listed ingredients.

While I was at it, I ordered a consolation chart from Laura J Perin's website .  I love so many of her designs.  I just hope I will overcome whatever I have against canvas because now I have one more piece in my want to start immediately  - or as soon as supplies get here - pile: Lahaina Breezes.  

I don't know if my stubbornness will get me to restart Lilac Collage or if I will just move on to the newest bright shiny in my collection, but whichever it is, I will keep you posted.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WIPocalypse & finishing challenges update but with a NEED of something else.

All week I have been feeling the pull of other things.  I have been concentrating on trying to finish all 4 blocks of Chatelaine's Dragonfly Quilt, Row A.  I am so close to the finish.  

Is it going to happen?  No.  Not at this time.  The border is done except for the beading - which is not in the original pattern but the rest was beaded so I added beads to the border pattern.  Block 4's plain X around the perimeter with assorted little bits on the inside...I can't do any more.  I keep walking away to other distractions so time to put it away for a bit.

As much as I thought the dragonfly was my favorite block I think I like Block 3, with the gold and blue beads background the best.

Meanwhile, I am being called by these other 3 projects which I kitted up this week when I needed to walk away from the almost finished piece above.  These have been calling to me for sometime I just didn't have them ready to go.  Now they are - not in any particular order:

Chatelaine's Japanese Octagon Box that will not be a box.  The cloth is a greenish 32 ct Platinum.   I am still not convinced about the color.  The other alternative is a 32 ct raw linen.  

The only thing I'm convinced about that choice is that the white will show up.  Part of me keeps wanting to try it on 32 ct Flax but I know from experience the white thread won't show up very well on that.  Since I didn't finish the Dragonfly piece I can't bring myself to start this one.

Which leaves one of these as a February start:

Lizzie Kate's Winter Alphabet on a 36 count ancient mystery Green Mountain dyed cloth.  The cloth is a grayish khaki with slight mottling and some stray marks.  1 strand over 2.  I love 1 strand work.

Lizzie Kate's Autumn Alphabet on a 36 ct tea dyed edinborough.  Different teas produce slightly different results.  This one had slightly more beige-tan than the other piece I was thinking about.

At least I waited until February.   

With the exception of the 2012 semi- BAP challenge, I finished the 2 pieces I started in January.  We will see if I can continue the trend of finishing what I start in the same month started.