It is very slow going…..going…..going This may be the most challenging and frustrating project I have ever done. But I am making progress. As I mentioned before I am working from a chart that was done for a painted canvas. My canvas started out blank. I can not stitch this as I would a regular counted chart. There is a lot of open canvas and so determining where to stitch takes a LOT of counting and recounting. I have adopted a plan of stitching what I can reach comfortably from where I end a section. Does that even make any sense ?
The leaf in the center right took me hours The chart for the leaf in the directions did not match the leaf on the master chart but the stitched project looked like it had the leaf as directed. The stitches were all numbered but the beginning an ending points of each stitch were difficult to locate as the two threads overlapped and not in a regular fashion. When I finished the leaf I went on the some easy border area and a couple of easier leafs.
Since I try to give you an accurate description of my progress I have to admit that sometimes things do not go as planned. I am having to work this project very carefully as it is charted for a painted canvas. Below are two photos. They speak for themselves. Finding the correct place to count from can present a challenge. I was going along fine, listening to a good recorded book. counted very carefully for the placement of the green leaf. HOWEVER when I got done and had taken photos I looked at the finished project photo and realized I had made a big goof. I sat back and tried to figure out just how I made the mistake. After all it wasn’t just a thread or two….. I figure that by learning why a mistake is made maybe I won’t do the same thing again. The leaf is between the middle and right pear. Because I did not have the left pear filled in my mind put the leaf to the right of the completed pear. Minds do work funny sometimes. So It was time for some frog work…ripit ripit ripit. There is no way to adjust for such a big goof. I was able to take out the tent stitches very carefully and did not do damage to the canvas. A little sticky tape to remove some fuzz and you can not tell the stitches were ever there.
This project is surely stretching my comfort zone….more soon
This is a very unusual project for me. This project was featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Needlepoint Now magazine. It is a Ruth Schmuff design. It actually is a painted canvas but was charted in Needlepoint Now so it could be done as a counted piece. For some reason it just “called to me”. I am sure some of you know what that is like. I am reluctant about taking a photo of the magazine cover to show you the whole project as the magazine is copyrighted . You can visit Ruth’s website www.bedeckedandbeadazzled.com to see the completed project.
I immediately ran into some problems with the chart in the magazine. After getting the Victorian Green canvas and ordering the thread pack from Ruth I was all ready to get started. The instructions said to mark the center of the canvas……..but the chart did not have the center marked. It did not have any stitch dimensions or finished project size that I could use to calculate the size of the chart. I wrote to Elizabeth Bozievich, the editor of Needlepoint Now and asked for some help with the starting point. She was very prompt with a reply and although I may be off a thread or two I located a starting point, which is located in the center of the project.
The outline of the pears is the first step. Part of it is done in Wildflowers, Royal Jewels. I am disappointed with the color changes in my Wildflowers because there is not any gold which is shown in the photo of the finished piece. Oh well…..that is the way it goes sometimes. This is my project so it will not be exactly as shown and that’s OK.
I then began the filling of two of the pears which are done in Splendor silk using a criss-cross Hungarian stitch. I do love laying threads, especially silk. Due to the fact that I am stitching on dark green canvas I can only stitch for an hour or so before I have to give my eyes a rest Below are photos of Day 1 and Day 2 progress.
This project has been a lot of fun with a little challenge mixed in. I worked on the last three leaves and realized as I progressed that the working order was designed to increase the challenge with each leaf.
The lower left leaf presented the first real challenge. As I have mentioned these leaves were NOT painted on the canvas they were done with a heat transfer process. This was done before I got the canvas. Terry gave us a small leaf transfer and piece of canvas so we could try our hand at the process. I have not done that yet (maybe never ). What presented the challenge was the direction and color placement. The vanes of the leaves are not distinctive so I found that I needed to refer to the project picture for guidance. Three or four colors are used in each leaf, not counting the color of the vanes. When I first started on the lower left leaf I spend too much time deciding where to put each color to match the project photo. I finally realized that the leaves are mine, mother nature doesn’t make two leaves alike. After that I just worked on creating my leaves using the project photo for reference.
The upper right leaf was the last and presented the biggest challenge for me. The vanes did not show hardly at all and the shape of the oak leaf created some interesting choices as far as the direction of stitches. There are the most vanes in this leaf. I spent the better part of two days on this last leaf. I think I changed the stitch color or direction on over a third of the stitches. If I didn’t feel it looked right I took the stitch out and tried again. The patience was worth it. I am pretty happy with the results. As I was stitching the leaves I was surprised at how much adding the vanes made the leaf come alive.
Today I played in my studio, organizing and beginning to get projects ready for our summer travels. I have a whole stack of baggies with left over threads from the last few projects and I am trying to decide just WHAT to do with them. What do you do with “leftovers”?
After more than a week all the background is done. It was easy stitching just time-consuming. Then it was time to study the leaves. There are five leaves. The directions said to start with the center leaf. These leaves will be a challenge as it is random stitches to achieve the desired effect.
When the center leaf was complete I was amazed at the difference it made to the whole canvas. The leaves are transfers that look like painted canvas. When threads are added it really makes the leaves pop off the canvas.
I then went on to the lower right leaf. The colors are completely different but the stitching method is the same. I have chosen to use three strands of each color instead of the recommended two as I have a hard time with the canvas showing through. The transfer colors are not the same as a painted canvas so there is a lot of interpretation to be done. I used the finished photo of the project for some guidance. Mother Nature does not make perfect leaves and I tried to remind myself that whatever I did would be OK if I liked it.
I can see the end of this project and am already beginning to wonder “what’s next”
I missed my goal of posting once a week. I have been experiencing some problems with my stitching hand so I have cut back on my stitching time. I figured that this must happen sooner or later. It is not bad now and I hope by limiting my stitching (sorta ) I will avoid any real serious problems.
I finished Area 3 located in the middle of the bottom. As I mentioned this was a very slow going area but I am happy with the results.
I then went on to the Fifth Frame which is located in the lower right. This is done in a sideways herringbone. The two colors do not show real well because they are close in value. I had to work this from to top to bottom on each row using two needles. Multiple needles and I have a hard time. I just can not get the hang of parking threads. I managed, but again, it was slow going.
The final area is Area 2, a Horizontal Milanese. This is located at the lower right hand corner just below the Fifth Frame. It is worked in three threads. A splendor silk, a threadworx overdye and a kreinik ribbon. I rotated the canvas so I could lay the strands of the silk and overdye. Keeping the ribbon flat was also a requirement.
I have decided to do the background next and save the leaves until last. I quickly discovered that I had not colored the areas enough. The background stitching is very light and the areas of white canvas will definitely show through. I got out my copic markers again and did some touch up. My remaining problem is that some of the white threads of the background are right on the edge next to my stitching. I attempted to get some color on those threads without touching the stitching……not easy and I stopped before I made a big error. I am hoping that it will not be too obvious when I get the background done. The background is a simple reverse skip tent over two threads done with a single strand of Bijoux. It is easy to get established and good for listening to a recorded book. I do have to be careful and make sure that all the rows of diamonds line up from area to area. There are 8 areas of the background so I will be stitching on this for several days.