Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's My Birthday and I'll Stitch If I Want To

My 28th birthday was this last Wednesday, and it was a wonderful, lazy day. My mother in law took both of my kids to the airport to pick up their great-grandma (a surprise for her!) so I had the day off for most of the day. :) My husband was working on a side-job close by, so I brought my stitching to where he was and just sat in the sunshine and stitched for ~4 hours, almost uninterrupted! Then of course I hardly got any done the rest of the week after that, but I was able to get in almost 1400 stitches on Snow White throughout the week, and I did one more section of the block on my blackwork sampler. I will post pictures of that once that block is finished.

Here was Snow White last week:

And here it is now:

Not a whole lot more done, but it is coming along quite nicely, I think :) 

Also, I saw this week that over at Gadget's Joyful Page she is also working on this one. She is great at working on things in a rotation schedule, so there will probably not be an update on it every week but it's still fun to watch someone else's progress on the same piece. And she started in the middle and is working out so it's a different area than I have done. 

For my birthday, my husband and I dropped off Beauty and the Beast at the framers. It should be done by June 4th!!! My sister got me the Epic Potter Pattern from Cloudsfactory for my birthday (talk about AWESOME!) and my mom and sister-in-law each bought me the Fantasia Disney Dreams kit, so I will be able to return one to Hobby Lobby and maybe order the Cinderella kit instead :) My stash is growing! Eek! But I work on it, so it's alright :) 

Well, until next week, stitching friends! (And non-stitching friends, too!)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 1 Snow White, and a Bunch of Other Stuff!

This has been a week with lots of stuff for me to post about, so here goes.

First off, I was able to put in about 2000 stitches on Snow White, give or take a few. Here is the top left corner so far:

I was excited to be able to start this one, but again I don't really really get into a project until it is past its 'infancy' stage - with this one that will probably be around week 3 or 4. Still exciting though!

I also did my first finish work ever on a cross stitch. I 'framed' A Princess Was Born using the basic idea of this tutorial. I laced the stitched piece onto the foam core board (after it was washed and ironed), and taped the pink fabric onto another piece of foam core board. I used plain straight pins with 'pearl' beads around the edges, and pink and white sparkly ribbon. I twisted the white sparkly ribbon a little bit between each pin. Anyway, I have never done more than put a piece in a basic frame, so I was really happy with how this turned out. Happier I think than I would have been if I had put it in a frame - it's just so princess-y this way :) My daughter loves it, too, and it only cost me about $8 :)

Also, my birthday is this Wednesday, and my husband made me an early birthday present. He made two sets of scroll rods for my scroll frame and another set of knobs :) I am so spoiled! One set is 18" like the set I use to put my Disney Dreams pieces on, and the other set is 26". The larger set is big enough for me to put my Blackwork Sampler on. 

Hooray! I haven't done much on this one yet because I was having to work on it 'in hand'. After getting my scroll frame it really spoiled me and now I want to work on all of my big projects on one. 

In case you are wondering, this is a sampler called Save the Stitches by Elizabeth Almond at It's a free sampler she is releasing month by month. And I know that it's called blackwork and I am doing it in blues, but that's the wonderful thing about needlework - you get to make it your own. :) Here is a closeup of my progress on Block 1 (I am WAY behind.)

The other part of my birthday present is that Beauty and the Beast is getting framed :) We bought the frame yesterday and I have the mats picked out. I did have a little mishap though.

I finally bit the bullet and washed Beauty and the Beast so I could square it up and iron it. I washed it in cold, cold water, so cold it hurt my fingers. I rinsed it and rinsed it over and over, kept the water running over it for at least 10 minutes after the soaking and washing time. Everything was great, it cleaned up really nice. I gently rolled it in a towel to take out the excess water and set to work blocking it. I had it stretched and was going back around the piece making it straight, a little over halfway done, and noticed a little bit of a yellow tinge on the aida next to a set of green stitches. I thought my eyes were just being goofy in the light, but then noticed a couple of hours later that several areas next to the green were turned yellow. The greens bled onto the aida :( It doesn't seem to have affected the other stitches at all THANK GOD but I was still really disappointed. I might need to contact the distributor and let them know. The piece isn't ruined, and I doubt it will be noticeable at all once it is framed, but still. I shouldn't have to worry about the floss colors bleeding. :( 

Oh well, c'est la vie. Hopefully next week or the week after I can show a picture of BatB all framed and beautiful. :)

Hope you all have a good week and get lots of stitching done! Sorry I'm so talky-talky :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Small Finish and Snow White Begins!

I was so good - even though I finished A Princess Was Born a few days ago, I didn't jump in and start on Snow White until I finished the other part of my mom's birthday present (which I get to give her tonight!). I made a scissor sheath for a pair of small embroidery scissors I bought for her, that matches the biscornu I made. I don't really know if she has any small scissors just for thread-clipping, and I love mine. I had thought the biscornu would be much more impressive by itself than it was, so I wanted to do something else to go with it. Anyway, here is a picture of the two pieces together:

I love how blackwork looks with variegated thread. :) I hope she likes them. I am going to have to make a set for myself!

Aaaaaannnnnndddd, I have spent today prepping Snow White so I can start stitching it!!!!! FINALLY!!!!! Just in case you don't know what piece I am doing, it is called Snow White Discovers the Cottage, by M.C.G. Textiles.  It is based off a painting by Thomas Kinkade, and will be stitched on a tan colored, 18-count aida fabric that came with the kit. Here is what the finished piece will *hopefully* look like when it's done:

What's not to love about that? I actually think this one will go a little faster than Beauty and the Beast did, now that I know how my system works and what I'm doing :) 

The prep work I did today: 

I sprayed and ironed the fabric to loosen it up a bit and get the folds out from being in the kit. 

I use masking tape on the edges of my fabric to keep them from fraying and keep my threads from snagging on the edges. I do have to cut the tape off after it is finished, but I only tape 2 or 3 squares' worth in, so I don't lose hardly anything. 

Then it's time to put the fabric on my scroll frame. My wonderful scroll frame. :) Instead of gridding every block of 10, I use thread to just do the outline and the center lines. I mark the very edge of the pattern as it is printed, not just the edge of the stitches. This just works the best for me. Here is the fabric, in the frame and ready to go!:

This is the left side of the picture. 

For preparing the threads, I don't wind them onto bobbins, I put them on cards, marked with the color name and number, and with the symbol directly on the card. I discovered this a little ways into Beauty and the Beast, and it is WONDERFUL. No more constantly having to refer back to the key, and after a little while I get to know generally which card has which threads. This was one of the older kits that didn't come pre-sorted (ah! nightmare with 75+ colors!), so this also helps me to go through the threads and make sure I have the right number of strands of every color, and that I have all of the colors. Here is one card (of 8) marked up:

I also made a full copy of the entire pattern. I use a marker to color in the squares I have stitched as I go, which makes the backstitch lines and french knot dots hard to see. Also because the pattern is on a large piece of paper folded into quarters, I ended up with a small hole in the middle of my pattern on both pages for Beauty and the Beast and ended up having to guess what the symbols were. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to pack everything completely up every time I am done stitching, but with a 1 year old and a 3 year old, I can't risk leaving things out. Anyway, long story short, I decided that having an extra copy of the pattern would be a good idea this time around.

Unfortunately, I don't have any stitching progress to show because the day has been spent preparing. I am going to try to put in 1 or 2 lengths before we go to my parents' house for dinner tonight. I am just so excited to start this one!!! Woot woot!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Princess Finish!

Hooray! My daughter's birth sampler is FINALLY FINISHED! Lol now that she's 3 and all... I put in the last back stitch last night and took pictures this morning when I had enough light. So here it was before the backstitch:

And here it is now, all stitched up :)

It always amazes me the detail that backstitch can bring to a piece. I love it :) And here is another picture so you can see it a little closer and see the sparkles in the fairy wand.

Yay yay yay! I am not really one to finish things usually, so the fact that this is now my 2nd finish THIS YEAR is pretty awesome :) 

Or, I guess it could technically be my 3rd finish, because I made a biscornu for my mom. I really don't think she will look at my blog before her birthday on Monday, so here are my pictures of that:

She told me once that her favorite color is October - basically fall colors. I found a variegated thread that was very 'fall colors', so I worked up this biscornu from an adaptation of this blackwork pattern. If I had done the whole pattern on each side, I think it would have been too big. I also discovered that the 'evenweave' fabric I bought for it (packaged as 24 count evenweave) was not very even. Just the small amount I did was not completely square - over 40 stitches, or 80 threads, there was a noticeable difference in height vs. width. Normally not a humongous deal, but when you make a biscornu the pieces need to be square in order to fit together correctly. I was able to make it work, but now the rest of that fabric will have to be used on something other than biscornu. 

In other news, I never really thought I would try a humongous chart like HAED or Golden Kite or anything like that, but then I found out about Tilton Crafts. I like their particular selection of charts a lot more than HAED, and I found one that I really like and would go beautifully in my music room... :) 

Well I am going to go try and figure out the other part that I want to make for my mom's present. Hopefully I can do it fairly quickly so that I can get SNOW WHITE READY TO STITCH!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Princess Cross Stitches Are Done!

That's right, I only have the backstitch detail left on this baby! And to be honest, I finished the crosses on Tuesday night last week and have been backstitching ever since. I just want to do a photo of it all at once. There is a LOT of it on this one, so it is taking me longer than I thought it would, but I should have the finished picture sometime this week, or at the latest by next  Sunday. Anyway, here it was last week:

And here it was on Wednesday morning when I had the light to take a picture:

The backstitch is really making everything pop, big time. At first I thought the charcoal gray was too big a contrast, but as I keep going it looks better and better. And just think: once I'm done stitching this one, I can work on something else! I have asked for a set of 26" scroll rods for my frame for my birthday, so then I can do more work on my blackwork piece, too. 

Oh! And I started shopping around for framing so I can get Beauty and the Beast framed! I knew it was going to be expensive, and so far my quote is ~$130 from Hobby Lobby. That includes using a pre-made frame that will be 50% off and then using a 40% off coupon on the glass (which is normally $65 for the museum glass). The mats I chose there are pretty expensive; one is a dark blue suede mat, but it looks SO good with the piece. I just really feel (and my family all agrees with me) that I put a lot of time into the piece and I did a good job, so I should spend the money and have it finished the right way. I am part of a SAL group on Facebook for the Disney Dreams pieces, and I am amazed at how many people do a sad, sad job framing their finished pieces. I mean, even if you don't take it in to be professionally done, you should block it and square it up, or for goodness sake at least IRON it before you put it in a frame! My husband laughs at me because this bothers me so much, but really folks. Take some pride in your work! I am glad to see that all of the finished pieces I have seen on blogs that I follow are beautifully finished. 

Anyway, here is a great tutorial on finishing a piece after it is all stitched. Everything from washing to pinning and blocking to ironing and lacing, etc. etc. etc. It gives me hope for a good finish job on Princess. :)