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This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Needlework

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Not really about stitching today, but sort of

October 4th, 2015 · Uncategorized

I miss my Grandmother sometimes.

She’s been dead a long time.  Lizzie was 18 months old when she died and she’s 21 now.  The Grandmother I knew had really been gone longer than that.  At least to me.  She had dementia, or Alzheimer’s, or some other brain twisting disease that made her think my father was her husband and his wife was her sister.

She tried to teach me to crochet.  To say it was a disaster would be to minimize the experience.  Something about crocheting made me tense up.  My stitching would get tighter and tighter and tighter until it was impossible for me to even get the hook into it anymore.  If I was making a flat doily, it would turn into a rose looking thing it was so tight.  She kept trying but when I finally called it quits, I think she was relieved.

She taught me to embroidery.  When I was a teenager I made, with loads and loads of help from my Grandmother, matching denim shirts with nursery rhyme characters embroidered on them for me and my boyfriend.  We ironed the drawing onto the shirt and stitched them with little wooden hoops.  Does anyone else remember when those were popular?   Man what I wouldn’t give to have those today!

hated French knots even then. But the lambs!  Mary’s lambs had to be done in French knots!  Even I conceded that.  Well, yes, I did get my grandmother to stitch a gazillion French knots because I hated to do them so much.  I don’t know what she thought about French knots but I suspect by the time we were finished, she probably hated them too.

She stitched too.  And I sometimes wonder what she would have thought of all the wonderful painted canvas, threads and do-dads we have now.  I remember there being lots of canvas covered bricks around her house.  She actually lived in a house where canvas covered bricks were probably a necessity or if not necessary, at least useful.  She had a swamp cooler.  Anyone else remember those?  You put water into it and ran a fan over the water into the house and it “cooled” the house.  Or I think that was the theory.  But she needed something to hold open the doors to pickup the cross breezes when it was cool.  And what better than a stitch covered brick!

Here are two pieces I still have hanging in my house that she stitched and gave me to decorate my walls when I got my first apartment.

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This was a crewel piece she did.  I suspect it was from a kit, but I’m not sure why I think that.

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This is a needlepoint piece she did.  I think this one is tramme and she stitched the background.  It looks like the background was done in continental stitch.  Some of them are too tight but the flowers and branches and leaves are very well done.

I think most of her canvases were tramme ones where the center piece was already stitched and she stitched the background.  Mostly with a sickly green wool.

I have another tramme piece she did.  It looks like a seat cover for a chair.  I don’t know if she did it for something to do, or if she had a plan but I really don’t recall any chairs with those kinds of seatcovers.  It was done in that funky green.  I keep thinking I’ll make it into a pillow, or something else but haven’t yet.  Maybe I’ll leave it to my children to decide.

She also made pillowcases with embroidery and crochet lace on them.  I have some still.  She gave them to me when I got my first apartment in college.  I said, “oh these are too pretty to use” and she snapped, “well give them back to me if you aren’t going to use them.  They are made to be used!”  And I did use them.  For a long time.  And I finally put them away when I could afford matching pillowcases, sheets and comforters; something I’m sure Grandmother would have found silly and frivolous.

She hated to get rid of anything.  Not in that scary, hording sort of way of many people who lived through the depression seem to have, but in that, “someone is going to need this soon, so I’ll find a place for it for now.”  When I got my first apartment in college, she had sheets, pillow cases and quilts, jelly jars for drinking glasses, plates, and pots for me to use.  They weren’t new.  They weren’t particularly nice but they worked for me.

She also saved Christmas cards and made Christmas ornaments out of them.  She cut out octagon shaped pieces of Christmas cards, stapled them together and they made an orbs.  I still have some in my basement with my Christmas stuff.

She made quilts and was quite talented in that regard.  But again, they weren’t for beauty, they were to be used.

She could be cranky.  Mean.  Honest to the point of being hurtful.  But if you were hungry she would feed you.  We could argue and she didn’t seem to hold a grudge.  And like I say, she helped me put together the things I needed when I got my first apartment.

And when I stitch, or have trouble with a stitch, I often wonder what she would think of all the new and wonderful things we have today.

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The Dog’s Pillow Is Finished!

October 2nd, 2015 · Christmas Stitching, Stitching Memories, Uncategorized

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It is finished!  Yea.  That is my son, Jacob.  He is 13 and this is apparently his happy face.  He assures me he *loves* the pillow. I intended to take a picture with Bugsy, Jacob and the piece.  Bugsy was outside enjoying his afternoon constitutional which mostly involves him chasing squirrels with his wingman, Chocolate Bar, so we didn’t disturb them.

This was a piece from Danji Designs.  Threads were picked by Quail Run Needlework.  They suggested stitches but I went my own way on that.  I’m a rebel like that.

The blue is Silk Lame Braid for 18 Count in SL77 stitched in basketweave.  FWIW, the blue part took all of one and most of a second card of the Silk Lame Braid.  The white is Watercolours in Snow White done in Mosiac stitch.  The name and other silver parts are Kreinik #12 Braid 001L in Continential.  The black paw is a thread I’d never heard about or seen before, Twinkle in 010 Onyx done in basketweave.  And the white stars are done in Crystal Braid in CR03.

After I finished it last night and showed it to him he said, “yea, now all we need is for you to get a job so we can afford to have it finished!” A boy after my own heart.

And in other melt your heart cuteness, my Granddaughter calls Bugsy, Bus-ee.   I probably will always see that and read is as Bus-ee instead off Bugsy.

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Give a girl some help, please

October 1st, 2015 · Uncategorized

Hello!  Wow it’s been a long time.  Take a break for graduate school and woosh.  Two years go by before you know it.  I have been working full-time on a Masters in Healthcare Administration.  My stitching has suffered GREATLY.  Which I think is kind of weird because I took up stitching years ago when I was in graduate school.  I only need six more hours to graduate.  Due to a snafu, three of those hours are not offered again until the spring.  So, if anyone is looking for an almost MHA with a law degree who has an interest in healthcare quality, risk, compliance and ethics.  I’m your girl!

But back to my stitching problem.

I’m almost finished with the dog’s Christmas ornament.

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Which my son has decided he really wants made into a pillow.  So he said he thought beads for the snowflakes weren’t a good idea; it being a pillow and all.  So I dug out my box of white threads.

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Am I the only one who sorts threads by color?  I have a bunch of boxes in a book shelf with all my threads sorted by color.  This works really well when I’m looking for a color.  Not so much when I decide, “I want to stitch this dog in all Petite Very Velvet.”  But I digress.

From that box, I pulled these threads.

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From left to right, Multi Fyre Werks color F10, Crystal Braid color CR03, and the two on the right are both Water and Ice Color WT1 all products by Rainbow Gallery.

Not necessarily for this project but for the other one I’m going to do for my son.  Do you see a theme here?

I decided to try the Crystal Braid on the dog’s ornament/pillow.

But on to my problem.  I’ve also got this one I’m going to stitch for my son.

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He drew it and I had it painted.  It’s a snow globe.  My original thought was to bead it with clear beads.  But I was afraid the details might be lost doing it that way.  So, Kreinik has a clear ribbon, I think I got the Easter Grass, but it could be Kreinik’s Easter Braid.  When I asked on Facebook if anyone had any suggestions, I only got two comments; one was be sure to lay it and the other was to use something else.

I think it is pretty, but unless I want to pull boxes out from under my bed and find the one that has my stretcher bars, it is a tad…challenging to use.  And in case you didn’t guess, I don’t want to go find the stretcher bars.

I *know* there was this huge discussion on FB about whether you should use stretcher bars.  I have a pretty even hand.  If there is a thread I need to lay, I’ll usually put a piece on stretcher bars or a scroll frame but otherwise, I stitch in hand.

Anyway, back to my snow globe.  I was thinking the T-Stitch or maybe the Brick Stitch or Parisian Stitch in one of those clearish sorts of threads listed above.  Then I found this in my white thread box:

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It looks like sewing thread or fishing line but not so solid.  I’m thinking I must have used this for a kitted project but I don’t have any recollection.  Or is this how it is normally sold.  I don’t have enough thread to do the whole snow globe project.

Is this still available?

Is it like stitching with a spider web?  Cause I’m not up for much  frustration these days?

Would it give me the effect of glass I’m looking for?

Could I still do the T stitch or one of my other ones, or would I need to basket weave it?  I’m not opposed to that but my guess is trying to frog stitch this thread would be a nightmare, so I need to get it right the first time if I’m going to use it.

Can anyone help a girl out?

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Progress Has Been Slow

July 15th, 2013 · Beads on Needlework, Celeste's Stocking, Christmas Stitching, French Knot, Rebecca Wood, Stockings, The French Knot

Progress on Celeste’s stocking has been slow.  For a variety of reasons.

Celeste was born on 6/27/2013 at 12:59 a.m.

Celeste's Picture

She is, if I do say so myself, the cutest little bug!  They came and stayed with me while David and Jacob were away at Boy Scout Camp last week and she is the best baby!  I’m gonna miss having them around.

So, a day or two after she was born, I had an eye appointment.  I had to get stronger bifocals for my glasses.  I’d been, for the most part recently, been stitching things that were relatively easy with clear boundaries on color changes.  But this stocking was getting the better of me.  There are a lot of color changes and they aren’t well defined and they were hard to see.  So, off I went to my eye doctor, who increased my bifocals and told me to use more moisturizing drops generally but especially before, during and after I stitch.  He said that people tend to not blink when they are working on small hand-work which causes the eyes to dry out more which causes it to be harder to see.

I’m actually glad to say that big geeky glasses are “In” these days.  I always felt like, when glasses got tiny the last couple of years, that my vision got worse because there was less space for my bifocals.  Now, I’ve got big round, fashionably geeky glasses and they have plenty of room for my bifocals.

This is the progress I’ve made on Celeste’s stocking so far:

Celeste's Stocking

I’ve already deviated from the stitch guide a bit.  I’ve done the bells at the top in brick stitch beading.  I’ve done the up and down ones (the first, third and fifth ones left to right) but haven’t decided whether to turn the canvas on the second and fourth ones since those bells appear to be turned.  I’ve also deviated from the stitch guide on the blue background; I decided to do it in basket weave.  I’m stitching over the stars and going to add those back with sequins and beads.

The blue background is in Pepper Pot Silk.  And I’ve got to say it is scrumptious to stitch with.  It covers well, even over the gold and white of the stars, in basketweave and is as smooth as butter.  This canvas is 18 hpi.

If you’ll en-biggen the picture, you’ll see what I’ve got done on the ribbon on the left hand side.  That ribbon is going to look almost real when I get finished with it.

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Look what I got in the mail today!

June 12th, 2013 · Christmas Stitching, Finishing/Finishers, KS Designs, Ornaments, The French Knot

Today I got some finishing back from Angela Shaddon at Little Shop Around the Corner in Albany, Oregon.  If anyone wants Angela’s contact info, and doesn’t do Facebook, let me know  and I’ll e-mail you her information.  She is reasonably priced and does great work!

Doghouse Ornament

This piece is from Kathy Schenkel Designs. I’d had it for a L.O.N.G. time. The tape had the name of a store that had been closed for probably 8-10 years if not more. I’d stitched probably 96% of it and sat it down for a long time. It had all the threads in the bag with it. I finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago and finished it in one evening. I have no idea what took me so long.  Does anyone else do that?



Another Kathy Schenkel Designs piece.  I already have one of these for my first Labrador; a black Lab named Baloo who died about 8 years ago.

This Boston Terrier is for my son.  I am not crazy about his stubborn, pushy, bossy dog.  But I am crazy about my son and HE loves that dog AND he appreciates my needlepoint.

Isn’t that wire hanger GREAT?  That was Angela’s idea.


Bugsy Stocking

And finally, a Boston Terrier stocking for Bugsy the Boston.   This is an A. Bradley Needle Arts, Inc. design.  Ashley has a BUNCH of these animal stockings.  When I have time to do nothing but stitch, I’m going to get the Chocolate Lab for one of our Labs and the Yellow lab for our other Lab.  I’ll have the complete Lab set!  I bought mine at The French Knot in Forth Worth, Texas and they pulled the threads and put the name on it for me.



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