Monday, May 23, 2016

Handstitching - WIP

An update on a project you just saw a couple weeks ago seemed boring. So while the photos are the latest progress, I'm  going to use them as a basis for talking about handstitching, a technique in which you hold the fabric in hand with no supports. 

Some projects require scroll rods or q-snaps due to length of project, specialty stitches, etc. The advantage of scroll rods are that tension remains the same and there are no creases like when using a hoop. 

Other projects allow more flexibilit. Medieval Hearts by Kelsyns is one of those, in my opinion. While the piece is all cross stitch, it is done in silk and treasure braid (metallic thread) and on a linen 32ct. Many would argue that means you should use scroll rods. 
I'd agree except that there is nothing like having a gorgeous soft linen in hand with silk threads. So I have been stitching my version in hand. 
The main draw backs to handstitching are: 
- creases in linen 
- uneven tension 
- easier to damage stitched stitches 
For me (I stitch like a lefty) but needle in my right hand, so working right to left to ensure I'm not damaging stitches is okay when I'm stitching each x on its own (which I am due to variegated silk thread). 

So with all those drawbacks why stitch in hand? 
Because I just love to. There is something about working on smaller pieces in hand that I find personally satisfying. Maybe because as a child I learned to stitch in hand; maybe because I love the softness of a gorgeous linen. But then maybe also because it feels more like the women of 1800-1900's would have stitched. We know the higher class ladies used hoops but the average peasant would not have had such luxuries. Odd as it may be I like the challenge of handstitching and it just feels more genuine (if you will). 

Not to say that we should always hand stitch. Definitely not! But I do tend to have pieces that I plan for hand stitching from the start. There's a challenge to it and a connection that I adore. 

If you've never hand stitched before I recommend starting with an ornament sized piece on Aida with DMC. Learn if you like it first with the basics. Remember for truly perfect stitching you can't beat scroll rods. But not everything has to be perfect! 
I'd love to hear in comments if you like to hand stitch? 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

ABC Sampler is here!!!

After many weeks of waiting I finally got my copy of the ABC Sampler by Jeannette Douglas and the gorgeous thread pack that goes with it. 

I was all excited, until...
1) I saw that Envelope was damaged and open. Water marks and damage to my pattern. Still legible but just not as pretty as should've been. Boo mail people! 
2) Reading through the pattern and trying to understand the instructions I have realized I'm likely in over my head. I think I will need to do some other JDD patterns first to be more familiar with some of the stitches Jeannette uses. 

Unless I just do the pretty alphabet (top half with no bands) which is just cross stitch... But I'm feeling like Once Upon a Tree is likely a better JDD piece for me right now as its easier... I have all the supplies for it too so that's a plus. 

Like Carolyn Mitchell's patterns (for those long time readers you may recall my orange canvaswork that I wanted to cry over) it seems these elaborate, specialty stitch pieces really do require the designer to be in the room and teaching you. Or someone a lot smarter than me to decipher. Lol. 

But... In good news I also got my Ink Circles Reflections of Canada pattern in this package and it's just the way I like my patterns; uniform and easy to read. Lol!!

Maybe it's best I'm not jumping right into ABC Sampler, as it will hopefully mean I finish some other WIPs first. ;)

Friday, May 6, 2016

WIP - The colours of fire?

A have an update on my Medieval Hearts project by Keslyn's. 
This piece uses one variegated silk and a rainbow treasure braid on a gorgeous linen. 

While I put a few stitches in tonight trying to calm from a very frantic and week I realized the beautiful linen with its yellows, and hints of grey and orange was reminding me of this weeks horror. It's the colours of fire...

I live two cities south of the wildfire in Fort McMurray that has ravaged the small city and burnt down 1000+ homes. As many of you may have seen this fire is beyond imagination... While the pictures and stories are shocking the behind the scenes work by so many is just as incredible. 
I'm not directly involved or affected ... And yet I know this fire will be part of my life in some way for years to come as its in my own province. Parts of my life, like my day job with the government (including co-workers who were evacuated) and my volunteering with the local SPCA, will involve responding to this disaster for a very long time. Much longer than the massive floods in my own city in 2013. As this disaster means for so many there isn't even a home to return to. 
And so while I carved out some time to stitch and try to gain some calm and composure my own piece reminds me nonetheless. 
It's bizarre how totally unrelated things in the world are connected by our subconscious minds. 

As piece is coming together, I'm seeing it perhaps being used to raise money in some way for the disaster relief...