Monday, October 29, 2007

Crazy Quilt for Christmas (in needlepoint)

I have been digging through boxes, and am a bit startled at the volume of these things I'm finding that I never got around to finishing. This was made several years ago when I first started (again) playing around with CQ in needlepoint - but before I found the art crazy quilters. It had never occurred to me to do the seam treatments, as I was more concerned with silk ribbon flowers and stitched in rickrack and leaf and flower "lace" trims. Anyway - I worked all day on this, and it's done! I'm beginning to have a bit more confidence in just starting at some point with thread in the needle and "freehand painting" on top of the needlepoint without any guidelines other than a sketch or a photocopy of the canvas pre-stitching. It never turns out quite like I envisioned in the beginning, so is usually a happy surprise. (Sometimes the result is not so happy, and a few minutes of ripping out is necessary - and a re-do to get it right.) Removing surface embroidery only takes a few minutes - unlike the needlepoint background. By stitching vines and stems and tendrils, etc. on TOP of the stitched "fabric" patches, (using stem stitch, fly stitch, chain stitch) one can achieve a much smoother line or curve than by stitching on bare canvas. I have tried it both ways. The "ferns" on the giraffe patch were created totally freehand with Caron Watercolours, an overdyed cotton that is gorgeous. On the animal skin crazies, I like to have at least one nice, plain patch on which to put pretty silk ribbon flowers - in a nice spray with fillers of french knots and leaves. On this mini-stocking, I used the Rainbow Gallery "Petite Very Velvet" thread - which in basketweave, looks just like a velvet patch. I really enjoyed, on this one, also using the Kreinik metallic ribbon, which I had been unaware of until a short while ago. It is so much nicer on the upright stitches on the leaf trims~! The bottom picture was taken before the silk ribbon roses and other flowers and French Knots were added - just the "bare bones."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Before and After

Digging through a box of UFO's in the crazy quilt category, I found several needlepoint pieces that I had stitched, but put aside without the embellishment - which is what brings them to life. Soooo, since I have now learned to use the flat bed scanner that is part of my new printer, and actually find the pictures again, I thought it might be interesting to show a before and after - that is, before embellishement, and then after it is done to demonstrate how the surface embroidery brings them to life. Part of mine include "built-in" trims, as lace, ric-rac, and whatever else I can figure out. This heart actually could stand by itself without the surface embroidery, but I think it is really enhanced by a few silk ribbon flowers and the seam treatments - especially the fly stitch between the pink and orange patches. This is a great little exercise in embroidery stitches that I had forgotten. The chenille needle makes it much easier, too - as the tapestry needles we use for needlepoint are just too blunt to make it easy. This scan was made even before the beads were inserted - the bare bones of the intended "masterpiece." Only the "fabrics" are shown, plus the bit of orange flower "lace" that is composed of smyrna crosses for "bumps" and texture. The finished piece has a few flaws in it that I will probably change - like the raised spider web. I don't like it - it's messy, and somehow just doesn't fit. Otherwise, it will do fine, I think. Using the orange beads with the pink patch was interesting - I used, of course, Sundance beads - and the surface reflective quality picked up enough of the pink to make them blend nicely. Pink beads wouldn't have been nearly so interesting. On the green one, where I wanted a diagonal effect, I just used the offset diagonal mosaic, and in the spaces left (I had to turn the canvas to make them go in the direction I wanted) I used the #250, which are totally clear - and applied them with DMC floss in the same color as the silk background. It looks great, and is a lot subtler that it would have been with green beads. Now - on to the next one!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beginner Canvas for an Old Stitcher

I discovered these little canvases several months ago, listed as "beginner" canvases on a web page new to me, called "Happy Heart Designs." (Tish Watkins, designer) - and I kept going back to the site to look at these and other ones that were so appealing, although it has been almost 40 years since I was a beginner at needlepoint. Then, about a month ago, stricken with a terrible case of PPD (post project depression) I remembered them and begged Tish to send me two for my own use and enjoyment. I can't remember when I have enjoyed anything as much - simple, bright, small, and I had free reign to work out new techniques and stitches. Anyway - here is the result. I also thought it would be fun to see what Tish herself did with them. Her husband is a kind and patient man (my web host, as well), and sent me pictures of them for this post. Apparently Tish decided to make round ornaments with them - changed the background color, and cut off the leaves and just made a narrow background around them .
I used mine as well in my January/February article for Needlepoint Now - as I wanted to call attention to what many have forgotten - SIMPLICITY!! Basic good design, great colors, and flat areas for just enjoyable and inventive stitching.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More Crazy Quilt!! (in needlepoint)

It's been a while since I have had time to work on this, but I have now been able to practice seam treatment stitches - and am rather pleased with it so far. This is the upper left corner with the diagonal leaves, and my practice with fly stitch "weeds." A little bit of the silk ribbon herringbone is showing, with the Kreinik French knot "bead" effect. The patch with the white dots (bare canvas) will have seed beads after I finish the silk ribbon embellishment. This next segment is on the lower right corner - I especially like the way the fly stitch looks between the pink and the orange patches - It prompted me to cut a heart template opening in a piece of copy paper, and move it around over the canvas to do some heart shaped pieces for beginner efforts (mine too.) The light purple chevron on the purple patch is done with Spark Organdy by YLI - new to me, and very interesting. The heart shape in progress is the first one I drew with my paper template in place - and I am enjoying working on it, and can finish it in good time, I think. Next is the last close-up image for this piece - I worked hard on the chain stitch, which I hadn't done before making curves - especially interesting was the use of the Watercolours by Caron Collection - a gorgeous overdyed cotton. (This was also used on the diagonal leaf trim.) There is a lot of the Kreinik braid on this canvas, as it is available in wonderful colors - both solid and variegated. I have only just now discoverd their metallic ribbon in the same colors, but more flexible, so easier to use for this purpose. The company has generously sent me a package of both sizes to try on my models - exciting!! - and a great excuse to start new designs.