Saturday, September 26, 2009

A New Lighthouse

Just calling attention this morning to a wonderful new lighthouse canvas, complete with fascinating history - from Anne Stradal, The Cape Stitcher.

As always, I look forward to watching her select threads and, of course, the stitching process.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Outlining (and Mitered Background)

This is a picture I wanted to show as an example of the benefit of outlining a shape against a textured background. It's on this blog under the label stitching, but I couldn't find it's companion, which was a blue flower - beginner pieces I stitched from Happy Heart Designs a long time ago.
I used these to illustrate an article I did in NN on beginner pieces about two years ago or so - and this one shows the benefit of outlining even the shaped elements in the rose, as they now have neat, non-raggedy, defined edges.
Also, against the textured background, it just looks better and was easier to work. The border is made with Long-armed Cross Stitch, which is my favorite for this sort of thing.
The background is mitered, to demonstrate that texture can be used as well as on the flower, if it's kept simple. I like this stitch, but it is very directional, which I didn't want because of the distraction it would be - so it's mitered. Easy to do by just marking the grooves at horizontal and vertical centers to show where to end one section, turn the canvas, and do another. It kind of makes the central pattern motif a definite focus on the canvas!
Notice the beads on the background are orange, which further enhances the directions of the four areas. (I hadn't finished inserting the beads yet when this picture was taken)
These are small, simple things one can do with ease, and not requiring a lot of skill - I really enjoy them, myself, as a break from the tedious, more serious things.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Silk Ribbon Embroidery: Flowers on a New Site

Just cruising around this morning, I found this wonderful/beautiful site via Sharon B's Pintangle! Tutorials in detail on making gorgeous silk ribbon flowers. Do go take a look at Carol Daisy on SILK RIBBON EMBROIDERY.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Outlining the Cross and Choosing Threads

I decided to go ahead and start stitching on the first of the new Talavera mini-crosses - I might even finish one or two, as they're small and bright, so I'm not likely to get bored or distracted.

Anyway, my dilemma with these things has been that they are so lively in color and pattern, they can't take a lot of glitz, sparkle, and beads, but definitely need something to jazz them up for use as ornaments. I very rarely paint anything of mine that I'm going to stitch, as it not only takes time, but I enjoy the process of seeing the piece come alive by adding color. (painting with a needle and thread).

Incidentally, I have some tutorials going on at Freebies, Etc. (the other blog) on the canvas preparation process - beginning with the pens, so don't miss it if you want to try it on your own.

On one of them I am explaining why I used a light blue drawing pen for the fret at the top, which I have now covered with Kreinik 032 metallic white - so nothing of the line shows through. You can see it coming alive with the blue background started around it.

On the Talavera ceramics, as on the Japanese Imari porcelains, most of the design motifs are outlined in dark navy - so I used the Kreinik navy #018HL, as it has just the right amount of sparkle. Speaking of outlining, a friend wrote me this morning to say she had seen someone on a blog advise against outlining, "as it is continental stitch." I'm afraid I was ROTFLOL at this, as my first and immediate thought was those gorgeous designs of Mindy's I was working on - all three of them have lots and lots of outlining on them. The beautiful flowers, especially, as well as the leaves on the Asian design.

Outlining is not continental stitch, as that stitch travels horizontally in a straight line. Outlining is simply tent stitch, and there is no reason not to outline on a canvas where the design requires it. As I said, the majority of the antique Oriental porcelains I have designed from for almost 40 years, have the pattern motifs outlined. (Another reason for outlining is to confine an area of pattern that's to be worked in a textured stitch, as this prevents ragged, unsightly edges against the background.)

Now back to the subject: My intent on this little canvas is to use Kreinik metallics, blending filament included for a very subtle sparkle, and cotton and Satin floss. I used a red drawing pen to mark where the flower petals will be stitched in red so I won't have to figure it out as I go. Looks much nicer than black ink would have, and is less likely to show through the thread, as I'm not painting it.

I also started, a few days ago, when I was a bit bored, one of my "jeweled" napkin rings. This is an example of how a painted canvas really comes to life with threads. I'm using one of my favorite combinations here - the Petite Very Velvet with Kreinik 002V metallic braid and the addition of glittering beads. (haven't gotten to those yet.)

The edge stitch (so it'll roll over neatly in the finishing) is long-armed cross stitch. Very easy to do, and sooooo effective here. This thing, once the beads are placed on the diamonds and emeralds, looks like an elegant bracelet - but this one is only the length of a napkin ring (5 1/2") Notice that the jewels are also outlined - had to do it here!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Silk Ribbon Flowers

The art quilters love silk ribbon flowers too, and Allison Aller is showing this gorgeous new book on her blog as of yesterday. I've already tracked it down and ordered it, as it's easier for me to have the instructions rather than working it out myself -
Those nasturtiums are sooo beautiful!! Anyway, if you aren't a regular visitor at her blog, do go there and take a look. I visit there regularly, as I get a lot of good inspiration for needlepoint design by storing the images in my head (and in my picture file, with her permission, of course). Allie's in Stitches

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jan's Rug is Finished

If you haven't seen this beautiful thing yet, do go see it now, as Jan Fitzpatrick has finished what so far is my favorite of her Moroccan rug adpatations. In this new post, she describes her original concept from the first, as she chose the rug, and then the process of designing her own in needlepoint stitches. It's amazing!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Outline Dilemma and a New Talavera Cross

This little cross gave me problems in painting, due to the fact that the background is a very dark navy, and typically, on the ceramics, the outline of the pattern elements is also navy. On this one, it is actually grey, which I don't like, so it took me a while to figure out what to do, as the leaf veins, etc. are dark navy on the actual ceramic piece.

I solved the problem by just painting the outline in kind of medium blue, which shows up well - not really too pretty on the canvas, but my thought, when the light came on finally, is to stitch the outlines in what I love using on these - the Kreinik 018HL dark, bright navy metallic braid. Then the background can be worked in basketweave with simply silk or cotton floss.

I used a green Sharpie ultra fine point pen on the leaf to make sure I didn't paint out the light green outline that's on the real ceramic piece, just inside the dark veins. This makes it so much easier - an option I didn't have many years ago, when all we had to draw with was black.
This pen isn't suitable for trying to paint a canvas, as it's a drawing pen, the point is tiny, and the ink stays right on top of the canvas, and looks like a child with crayons playing. Easier to just paint with acrylics if you want the color solid - or, as I do, don't paint it at all if you're doing it just for yourself.

I would leave just the outlines, as I don't need to spend the time. The arrow pointing to the little square at the bottom is just to demonstrate that it is on the center, so the diaper pattern will be nicely centered when completed.

I took pictures of the design adaptation process for this one as I went along, and will do it maybe on Freebies, etc. in a few days when I can get to it. These things you can do for yourself if you know how!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blending Filament and Talavera

Sometimes it takes so little to make me happy - and this time it was a package in the mail, full of the Kreinik blending filament I had ordered last week. - Exciting!!

I haven't used BF in a while, so had forgotten how gorgeous the Kreinik is, as it has not only an enormous number of colors, but also (like the Sundance beads I prefer), several different "finishes" or types within one color - such as the Vintage, high luster, cord, etc. It also gives me the best performance of any of them.

Originally, I had chosen the colors especially for a planned project involving coral reefs and sea fans - but meanwhile had taken a day or two off from the regular painting, to design some new pieces - little Talavera crosses that are tree ornament size.

I didn't design Christmas ornaments for many years, as back in the 70's and early to mid 80's, there was nothing that sparkled to enhance them, and I didn't like anything drab and lifeless on the tree. These crosses don't require a lot of sparkle and shine either - but certainly need something, and the colors of BF I have are great for them!! A happy accident, indeed.

My thought with these is that crosses on a Christmas tree need to be joyful and colorful, in keeping with the gaiety of the season, and these certainly are - and will be great worked in cotton floss with Kreinik braid on the outlines and some blending filament in the flat areas of pattern.I've heard a few rumbles lately about problems with the filament breaking, fraying, etc., but I have never experienced this.

I do have a way of using it that might be a little different, involving the way the needle is threaded. I do believe that threads should be used according to their limitations, and as this is a tiny filament, that must be considered.

I've also heard complaints about it's slipping into the plies of the thread and not showing up with every stitch - but this is what it's supposed to do, and is what I like about it! I don't want sparkle on every stitch, as it's absolutely subtle this way. I use it when I don't want a fiber that is total sparkle and glitz on every stitch. We need a bit of variety!

Anyway, I plan a stitching tutorial with cotton floss and Kreinik blending filament and it's wonderful possibilities over on Freebies Etc. soon, so stay tuned!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Swimming in Seaweed (needlepoint, that is.)

It's time to watch Anne make seaweed in her watery habitat for the fishes. Go see her selection of threads, and then stay tuned to watch the process. I'm looking forward to this one!! You can find her at The Cape Stitcher.

UPDATE!! This is now finished, and complete with seaweed, coral, and bubbles - delightful!

Monday, September 07, 2009

A New Celtic Cross

I gave myself a day off today from "real" work, and drew and painted this encircled Welsh cross. I've done this one before, several years ago, when I became fascinated with Celtic knotwork and crosses during painting canvases for St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin.

This one was in a book someone loaned me, but I returned the book, and now can't find anything about the history of it. All I know is that it is a stone carved cross on the typical pedestal somewhere in Wales, and I had written "Ennlaun Cross" on the canvas at the bottom.

Anyway, I love fooling around with the counted elements of knotwork, etc. and the geometric symmetry - and also figuring out color schemes for them. For some reason this one went smoothly, and I didn't make but a few errors in the counting - unusual. My concentration was O.K. today, I suppose.

I'm also pleased with the colors I mixed - which, again, is unusual. The gold outline was done with my new Sakura Pen-touch paint pen, which I'm really enjoying, as it's so much faster than the little bottle of paint and a brush that I normally use. The gold isn't as pretty, but for an ornament to be stitched, it's O.K.

A word about this pen: It isn't good, unfortunately, for the actual drawing, as I paint out mistakes with acrylic paint, and the ink repels acrylic. Also, I have no idea how it would behave on a larger piece - such as a pillow or something for a church kneeler, as subsequent dry cleaning could make it lift to the surface. I would have to test it before using it. I don't like to risk disaster!!

As long as I'm showing off, I might as well do the other two - did them earlier in the weekend. I'm suffering from PPD (post project depression) after finishing work for a magazine deadline - so had to play a bit. I had drawn these two also several years ago, but never really finished choosing colors for them.

The second photo is the "Pen Arthur" cross - but, again, I have lost the source and the history. I had written "St. David's" on the original canvas I drew, so it probably is in the churchyard of St. David's in Wales.

The last photo is the cross at Maen Achwyfan in Wales. It is a magnificent stone carving on a tall base, dated at around 1,000 A.D., and shows Viking influence.

If I ever decide to stitch them, choosing threads will be fun - as I have to make a decision whether or not to spice them up with sparkly/shiny stuff for ornaments, or a bit more subdued for frameables. For right now, I'm going to put them away and prepare to do some responsible work tomorrow.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Moroccan Rug Progress

Be sure not to miss the latest installment of Jan Fitzpatrick's current Moroccan rug adaptation!
This is the best one yet, and totally fabulous. You can find her at Thread Medley.