Thursday, 30 June 2011

Like a fish in a goldfish bowl, round and round in circles

Frustration is the name of the game. It's now 2 months and still the laying tool arm won't let me stitch and needlepoint. Ughhh... Oh that felt good. Nothing like a little hissy tiff and some good foot stamping. The soapbox is now safely locked away, thank goodness.

Still working on Quaker Diamonds, cross stitch, it's a lovely piece and it's keeping me from climbing the walls. I do get me canvas "fix" by reading all the great blogs.

There has been lots of designing on the computer going on. Currently there are 3 pieces I am working on. A small design called Saracen Jewels, a medium size design called Nile Jewels and a larger piece called Minerette. Luckily the first 2 (Saracen and Nile) were stitched earlier, so a friend is test stitching and expanding Nile, the process of creating the paperwork side of Saracen is taking place and Minerette is a whole new concept so its in the early stages. A big thank you to my stitching friends for offering to test stitch these pieces for me. Will post photos as soon as they are completed.

Because there is not much stitchy stuff to share with you at the moment, here is a photo of another WIP, plus my favourite rose from my garden, it reminds me of old paper.

Tranquil Dreams, by Carolyn Mitchell

Laura's Rose, starts as an brown-orange bud the opens to an old paper colour.

To answer a question asked about Prelude to Peace and the abbreviation LNS.

P2P was a cyberclass run through Shining Needle a Yahoo group in 2011. Jim Wurth the designer has stopped teaching and is slowly releasing his designs for sale as charts. His contact for purchasing charts is Marianne at Threadneedle Street in Palm Desert, California. She may be able to add you to a request list and notify you if it becomes available. LNS = Local needlework shop.

Happy stitching, bye for now, Carol

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The legacy of the years gone by

I have been sitting here with a blank page for about half an hour, I guess this is what they call writer's block or brain meltdown from reading too many great stitchy blogs. Then ding the light bulb went on, as something started me thinking about all the talented and wonderful teachers of the past years who are no longer with us.

There are many, but the one person I would have liked to meet was Jean Hilton. Every day her stitches sneek their way into my designs and in many other fabulous designs out in the marketplace.

Japan has a name for their special people "National Treasures". Very apt, don't you think?

Jean's talent and giving nature has left behind a wealth of knowledge and some of the most complex and challenging designs. A friend was stitching Jean's stocking design "Visions of Sugarplums" which has such a "WOW...." factor that it immediately goes into your to-do list even if you have 1 gazzillion charts already. Although this chart is not for the faint hearted amongst the wealth of her designs she created you will find a piece to match your stitching mood.

Visions of Sugarplums, Jean Hilton,  stitched by Anne R.

Below is another of Jean's designs being stitched by me called Dowaigac (WIP). This one is sooooo bright and uses 6 strands of marlitt rayon to execute the fushia coloured fleur d'ly stitches. It is quite a challenge to lay them correctly and I could cheated and used Neon Rays but where is the fun it that.

Dowaigac, by Jean Hilton

Happy stitching, bye for now, Carol

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Aren't stitching friends the best people

Due to a request, several in fact I've gone back to a bigger text size in an effort not to strain eyesight needed for stitching excellence, in the over 21 and a bit age group (how much of a bit is your secret).

Yesterday started out with a visit to the physiotherapist (not a happy place to be) and morphed into a lovely day spent with friends. We talked stitching, chatted about our DH's and ate good food and drank great coffee. Let me tell you, no doctors prescription ever feels as good as a day with stitching friends. Don't you agree?

Although there is still not much needlepoint going on in this household I have been able to start a little cross stitch. Fortunately I won a box of 12 balls of 3 ply Valdani threads at the last Embroiderers' Guild of South Australia Summer school in January 2011. To my delight I found that they were 90% of the colours needed to stitch 'Quaker Diamonds' by Rosewood Manor. In my stash was some 32 count Zweigart mottled linen, just the right size and with a slight greenish tinge which works well with the antique shades of cotton. The original is stitched on 28 count linen, so I have taken the thread down to 2 ply and kept the remaining ply to stitch another design on 35 count linen at a later stage.

The Valdani cotton has a nice matte finish and the shading is very subtle. Many thanks to Coni at Spinster Stitcher blog for introducing me to the Rosewood Manor designs.

I have delved into the stitched pieces archives and come up with the following finish for your inspiration.

Lots of us are stitching the SOTM (stitch of the month) from the ANG site by Ro Pace, so here is another one of Ro Pace's designs.

This pattern was offered in full in Issue July/August 2008 of Needlepoint Now. It is possible to buy back issues of there magazines from there website, if you would like the pattern.

'Three of a Kind' by Ro Pace

Happy stitching, bye for now, Carol

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The world of guilt laden WIP's

How many of us have more than 5 wip's (works in progress). Be honest, I'm being kind by using 5 as a starting point. We torture ourselves that we should finish this one or that one, making promises it will be completed before we start the new chart that's burning a hole in the top of the stitching basket. Well, one of the favorite sayings of my stitching friends is "there are no stitching police". Be kind to yourself and reduce your stress levels, because you are not alone. Out of my immediate stitching group of friends there is only one who consistently finishes all projects. Hi KB.
We all humbly bow down and cry "we are not worthy" when she proudly shows the latest finished and beautifully stitched design. Then we all have "flash backs" to all of the designs we had on the go and others we started but still haven't finished at the time she started the piece.

It takes a will of iron, that I and many others don't have to complete all WIP's we have in our lifetimes. But you must admit starting them was just the greatest joy.

Unfortunately I don't have any solutions to this dilemma and reading other stitchers blogs I realize bribery, trickery and deadlines just don't work. So next time you are having a stern conversation with yourself about your WIP basket, just think about the thousands of other baskets out there in the world keeping it company.

Here is my list of needlepoint WIP's. We won't discuss the other forms of needlework, that's a whole other story.

Mystique, Jean Hilton
Prelude to Peace, Jim Wurth
Independence Day, Laura J Perin
Dowagiac, Jean Hilton
Old Country, Jim Wurth
Morganite, DeBees Designs
Kimono, Hummingbird designs
SOTM 2011, Ro Pace

Here's are photo of WIP Mystique, by Jean Hilton

Happy guilt free stitching, bye for now, Carol

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Cyberclasses and how they make the world a smaller place

Being a Needlepointer in Australia is quite different. The ability to visit a needlework shop and choose needlepoint charts and threads from a wall of colour is not always possible. Yes we do have access to Caron, AVAS,Presencia, YLY, Gumnuts, DMC, Anchor, Kreinik threads to name a few,but the textured threads offered by Rainbow Gallery are not available. Substitutions are sometimes possible but this is where it can become difficult to match colours and weights of thread from company to company.

Our solution comes in 2 parts.

1.Buy designs and have them kitted overseas. Many LNS will offer to change the colours from the original if you give them a starting colour or thread. Plus a lot of designers also offer alternative colourways with their designs, giving the stitcher even more choices.

2.Join a cyberclass. 99% of cyberclasses offer a kitted pack to their students. If you have never taken a class this way, here is an overview of how it works.

(a) Find a class you would like to take. Try ANG,Cyberpointers, Shining Needle Society, EGA of South Australia or various designers including Orna Willis and Laura J Perin, there are many others too numerous to name.

(b) Most of these groups require you to join and pay a yearly fee or class fee  (well worth the dollars invested). Payment is usually through Paypal who become the handler between the buyer and the seller. They keep your credit card details safe.

(c) Create a yahoo account. Not a difficult thing to do. Just follow the questions and tailor your account to how you would like.

(d) Sign up and pay for your cyberclass online.

(e) The kit, (included would be instructions,threads, canvas) will be posted to your address prior to the start of the cyberclass.

(f) Sign into the yahoo group created for this design to keep in contact with the teacher and the other students. Always remember that all questions you have are valid and no question is frivilous or as silly as you may yourself think.

(g) Enjoy. Many students will post photos of their work as they stitch. Join in and post your comments, questions and photos of you own.

I hope this little note will encourage all long distance stitchers to branch out into the world of cyberstitching.

Below is my WIP cyberclass, Prelude to Peace, by Jim Wurth. The colours have been changed with the help of the LNS who supplied the kit. Many thanks Marianne.

Bye for now, happy stitching, Carol

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Here is the chart for the free design

An idea of how to add the chart for the design below popped into my head at 21:00 last night. Its not perfect but at least its readable.

Thank you again for your kind comments. Enjoy.

Bye for now, Carol

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A little bitty chart to you from me

Here is one of my itty bitty charts for you to play with.

 Start with 3.5" (9cm) square mono canvas, find the centre and stitch the four jessica's. Turn the canvas 1/4 turn for each stitch. Come up at 1 and down at 2 in all of the stitches.
Use #8 Braid - example used 8 strand Treasure Braid, turquoise TR97.

Example used 18 count Eggshell  deluxe mono canvas (called Royale in Australia)and 1 ply of silk and braid.
 Next a two colour row of scotch stitches. Example used Gumnuts silk 'Buds' colour Light blue no. 365 and Light green no. 626
Next a row of triple tied cross. Example used Gumnuts silk 'Buds' Medium pink no. 196

Complete by stitching the corner scotch stitches with #8 braid.

 Unfortunately my skills do not yet include being able to add to this blog the nice chart I have created for this design. But if you click on the picture it will enlarge enough to be able to count the weave so you can work it from the picture.

As this only takes very little thread please feel free to use up the itty bits of thread from your stash or treat yourself to the beautiful Gumnuts silk used in the example.

The design area is 2 1/4" (6cms) square, just repeat the pattern in sets of 4 for a bigger design or a vertical row for a retangle.

Try mix and matching the colours for quilt effect. In others words, play and have fun.

Thanks to Jane at Chilly Hollow blog for pointing out that John Waddell has a website under

Happy stitching,bye for now Carol


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Bits and bobs rolling around in my head

Today in South Australia is grey,overcast and about 13 degrees C, which means being curled up in your favourite stitching spot with the heating on is the best place to be. Days like this are what I call 'guilt free', meaning anyone is prefectly justifed only doing what they want to do not what they should do like housework. gardening or any outside pursuits in general. So if your day is grey like mine enjoy the time with your needle and thread.

Blogger has been having problems of late and unfortunately signing in and reading your comments was not possible for about a week. Yesterday I was finally able to recover some comments and questions, so here are my answers to a couple of questions.

The John Waddell design Variations on a Trellis was from the March 2002 edition of Needlepointers magazine. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any other of his designs but Jane Zimmerman and Ann Strite-Kurz have both written excellent books about trellis and overlaided patterns. Each has a website worth investigating (don't exceed the budget, well at least try not to) their books are very detailed and well diagrammed.

A little about framing finished pieces. Most of the pieces that I've finished are not framed they are simply stapled to acid free matboard (what the frameshop uses) to keep them from being damaged and then wrapped in acid free tissue paper. Although it would be nice to have them framed and displayed in my home, the joy for me has always been in the stitching of the designs not what happens to the pieces after they are stitched. Australian framers are only just starting to experiment with artistic framing that breaks away from the frame and 2 colour rectangular mats of yesteryear. I came across an American framer/studio doing extrordinary work. The name is Rensel Studio and she has a blogspot showing some of these amazing framed pieces. Have a look and just enjoy, some fantastic stitched designs.

Thank you for all your kind wishes, I start phsyiotherapy tomorrow to get the shoulder moving. So hopefully holding a laying tool will be possible soon.

Here is a photo of Baxter doing his morning garden patrol. Will post more stitching soon.

Happy stitching, bye for now, Carol

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Sorry for being missing in action, blogger not happy

When we last talked I was going to post my colours for Rainforest Crunch by Needle Delights. Here they are.
Kreinik #8 braid any gold in your stash (I just used left-overs from previous pieces stitched)
Watercolours, 001 sandstone, 010 fiesta, 016 bark, 057 buttercup, 085 antique brass, 113 teak, 121 evergreen, 136 cedar, 139 kelp, 151 pewter, 173 redwood, 180 green tea, 195 paprika, and 198 arroyo.

Rainforest Crunch, finished

Several people have requested information on how to obtain the chart Blues in the Night by Jim Wurth mentioned in an early post. I am glad to be able to let you know our good friends and fellow stitchers at Scarlet Thread are now offering this lovely design as well as many others.

Here are a few more designs I stitched before my accident.

These are more Jim Wurth designs, Silken Sonata- Green canvas, Silken Symphony- Sandstone canvas and Silken Serenade-Red canvas. All these use Rainbow Gallery threads, beads and lots of interesting stitches. Great fun to stitch and they all fit into 8" x 8" stretcher bars so they are very portable. Very pretty aren't they.  Hope they inspire you.

Happy stitching, bye for now, Carol