Monday, 27 June 2011

Six Years of Blogging!

So, according to the counter thingy at the bottom of my blog, this is my 'blog-o-versary', the day that marks 6 years since I started to blog. For the first couple of years, I used to changed the layout/template and/or colours of the blog, but I don't feel the need to just now. I just do it when I get sick of the current scheme and ready for a fresh look these days!! My very first post got deleted when I trimmed out all the irrelevant and/or personal stuff from my blog about 18 months ago, so that can no longer be seen.

I also have nothing to show needlework-wise, unless you count the sewing prep on the ironing board, which will be the completed water violets cushion sometime over the next couple of days.

So, how to mark this event? It is, of course, unnecessary to do anything of the sort, but I may as well say something and it may as well be a piece of news which could affect my stitching blog content in the months to come.

We visited what probably passes as my LNS last week and the chap there, whose been in the business quite some time, knows the territory and whose shop has won multiple awards, told me that he likes to get new designers started. He showed me the latest newbie's kits and offered to give constructive feedback on anything I might like to design - given that the embroidery kit selection is somewhat limited, esp. when it comes to surface embroidery and stumpwork - and help out by selling it for me. So, I've got a list of ideas down already and DH is keen to help out with the business side and has even fairly promised to put kits together (following in the footsteps of Mr Jane Nicholas!!).

I need to get one or two WIPs out of the way first, but then I hope to get down to some serious designing and sample stitching. They won't be large projects, but I hope they will attract buyers in time. I hope to get something on the market for the Christmas present buying season, but I'm not committing to anything just yet.

Wait and see!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Chinese Wedding Card

Just a quick post today to show a card I made over the weekend for a Chinese couple I was asked to stand witness for at their legal wedding ceremony yesterday, (if you can follow that!!) Red is the Chinese colour for celebrations and they often trim that red up with gold, so I mixed that colour scheme with our traditional white for weddings and did a quick hardanger piece.

DH typed up and printed out a nice something in Chinese which he stuck on the inside as a flysheet sort of arrangement too so, for an impromptu piece, we were quite proud of it.=)

Here is the final card mounting of the heart I did recently as well. This was for a silver wedding anniversary, but I found that I didn't actually have a silver '25' sticker, so just left the front plain. I think the stitchery is fancy enough anyway.

Next thing I hope to do it to get the water violets and fish piece made up into the final cushion/pillow cover. No estimates on when yet except that it must be done by 7 July.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

5 Smalls, 3 Styles

Here are all my other recent finishes, most of which were worked on whilst I was working in Leeds recently.

The first is a cross stitched bookmark made for an elderly friend of ours, Charlie. He was delighted with it when we gave it to him last night.=)

Next we have the two printed canvas needlepoint kits that my mum found a few months before we went to Taiwan (about two years ago now!) and that I recently finished off and 'repaired'. On looking at the top one again the other day, I realised that there are more repairs to make, i.e. when I decided, in my 11 year old wisdom, that it wouldn't matter if one or two stitches went \ when all the others were / as it filled in the shape better....

Here's a wedding card done well in advance of the big day on 20 August this year. Now like me to get things done in good time (Prince Albert would have approved: 'It's always better to complete a task well ahead of schedule.'), so I now have this to keep clean and safe (in its envelope) for the next 2 months and to think of a gift to make.

The last photo shows the circular card mount I chose to put the silver and purple heart in. I took pix of both this and in a square mount and, as soon as I could see them side by side in my photo package, there was no contest on which looked best. (I'll post a better photo when I've taken one.)

Next task is to get on with the blackberries and make up the two cushion/pillow covers etc, but I'm rather busy preparing for software and secretarial exams (plus going to classes and so on) just now, so I mayn't get on as quickly as I'd like... So what's new, huh?!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Anniversary gifts

Here are two other things that I've stitched recently. It's our 12th wedding anniversary tomorrow and, as we haven't any money to spare for regular gifts, I finally got around to making up the keyring I'd been planning for Sir for a couple of years. I bought the 'frame' two or three years ago!

This is the traced initials outline:

Then we have the filling in with directional satin stitch, which, as directional stitching is anything but my forté, I pulled out a few times during the whole process. I was getting annoyed with it....

Then I outlined it in Kreinik cord with stem stitch. Stem stitch is great when you're able to work from the outside in (as you should), but that's not easy when you have an inside curve to cope with! Especially if you need to change direction.

And here's the finished item:

I think it worked quite well, it's just a shame that the keyring itself got a bit scratched. If I ever buy another, I'll make sure it's as scratch free as I can. As Sir himself says, 'You live, you learn.'

Here's the anniversary card I made for him. It's from one of those Jeanette Crews 'One Nighter' chart leaflets, the 'Tropical Birds' one. Cute, or what?

I hadn't made a small cross stitch item for ages and, I must say I really enjoyed it! There's more to show you soon too, as soon as one of the items is finished up. Look out on Monday, all being well.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A design's not final 'til the stitching's finished!

This was the design I initially created for friends' Silver Wedding (25th) anniversary card, to be worked in silver goldwork threads and Anchor Marlitt:

The changes started when I went to my LNS only to find that, although they stocked plenty of gold goldwork threads, their supply of silver was very low indeed. I wasn't able to get pearl purl and so had to adapt straight away to twist instead. I managed to get the silver kid leather, but when I tried to cut it out into the inner heart shape, the result was so creased and, frankly, cheap and nasty looking that I couldn't bear to use it. So, that bit got dumped too and I decided to move the trellis from over the purples, to filling the inner (now middle) heart. The tiny heart in the centre was to be filled with silver bright check purl.

However.... I noticed that the silver of the bright check was not as cool as the rest of the silver threads. In fact, it was relatively yellow. That bothered me, so I ditched that idea and decided to fill in the space with French knots in DMC metallic floss.

Above you can see the first stage of the purple shading completed and the second layer underway. The top right hand side ended up so un-even that, when I'd done the lot, I realised that, not only would I have to outline the inside of that section with Kreinik Fine Braid, but that I needed a line of it between the two purples as you can see below:

By this time I'd also decided that I wasn't going to fussing around adding in accents in pink Marlitt either!!

So, much changed from the original design, here is the finished item. It's a little puckered, sadly, but that came from my not getting the silk fabric totally flat on the backing cotton when I was sewing them together - a problem I've had before.=(

And here's a side view. Of course, it isn't possible from this angle for my camera to focus everything perfectly (so I had to cut the bottom section off!!), so the right hand side is a tad blurred, but I hope you like the effect all the same. All that remains now is to decide whether to mount it in a round or square aperture card.

So, although I haven't blogged my work for a fair few weeks, I have been stitching! This isn't all I've been doing either, there's more. I'll post about that in the days to come.