Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Okay, time for some updates

I've been really, really lazy about taking WIP photos lately. So today I decided to take pics of all of them. Be prepared - this is photo intensive!

First up, Chatelaine's Alhambra Garden. I'm stitching this one on 35 ct linen using all silks - as everyone who knows me knows, I don't do cotton, especially DMC. Blech! I converted the DMC colours to Hand Dyed Fibers - it's easy, given that Vikki does all of the DMC colours, and they're relatively close to the originals. This is soooo much brighter and sparklier up close and personal, but it's so hard to capture the shimmer of silk in a photo. And another note - the beading DOES fit on 35 ct fabric. I had to fudge the centrepiece a tiny bit, but the rest of the beads sit perfectly. Would I recommend 35ct for heavily beaded pieces? That totally depends on how much you're willing to fudge and if the beads are scattered or clustered. Scattered beads are perfectly fine. Clustered beads you might have to fiddle with a little bit. I love this piece, but I find it tough to work on for more than a day or two at a time. The massive amount of colour changes and having to use two strands of thread all the time can drive me a bit bonkers. But it stitches up fairly quickly - what you see is about 3 weeks of stitching in total.

Next up, Romy's Austrian Spot Sampler. This one has become my take to work piece since I finished Kaleidoscope Flower. Most of what you see here has been stitched on my lunches, or before work - long story short, one car and my boyfriend and I often start at different times, so I get to work pretty early some days. This is stitched on 45 ct Graziano linen, 1x2 using a custom spool colour of HDF, Double Dusty Rose. Since Dusty Rose was discontinued, this equates pretty much to the lightest of the Ultra Maroons. I'm enjoying this one, but I'm just about ready to rotate my take to work piece for something new. I'm thinking one of the Flourish series from Sampler Cove (or as I call them, Di's Divas), or maybe Sampler Cove's Amtrack, given that I've got that one kitted up. Just for a change. The pink is lovely, but I don't often do well with monochromes - I get bored of the same colour day in, day out! For some strange reason, the photo keeps uploading rotated 90 degrees. It's the right orientation on my computer and yet it is wrong both here and in photobucket. Stupid computers. I'm too sick to care at this point. And now my bloody cursor has disappeared too!! Not having a good day.

Oooh my cursor came back! Okay, next is Ink Circles Blackstone Fantasy Garden. This one is fast becoming a UFO. I HAVE worked on it, but not for long - an hour or two here or there. I LOVE the colours, hate the thread. I'm using the Carrie's Creations threadpack in cotton. Ugh. It's nasty. I'm about ready to chuck it and re-order the same colours in silk and restart it. Plus, it's on 32 ct lugana and I'm using 2 strands. Again, ugh. I really love the design, and I really love Tracy's choice of colours. I even like it on the fabric I chose, which is Silkweaver's Parkland. So the question is, do I persevere, or restart? I'm almost halfway done, and I really loathe the thought of doing all of that all over again. If I restart, I'm afraid it will never actually get started. On the other hand, two hours every couple of months doesn't get much done either. For now, I'm persevering in hopes that someday I'll actually finish it. But I will never, never, never again use cotton thread for a new start!!! Thank goodness Carrie is doing silk now. And my cursor has disappeared again!! Grrr. Not having a good day.

Oooh there it is. Every time I insert a pic, it runs away and hides for a while. Anyway... another Ink Circles design is next, Cirques de Carreaux. Haven't picked this up in a while - not because I don't enjoy it, but because I couldn't find it. :oops: I located it recently when I cleared out and rearranged all my stash drawers! Now that it's found, I'll probably be working on it soon. I love the design and the colours are yummy. It's done in Gloriana silks, which aren't the greatest threads for over one, but they look nice. Yes, it's 1x1 on 28 count black (obviously) Jobelan. Ignore the cat hair - black fabric is horrible for showing it all!! I think the cats must have slept on this one at some point - when I have no idea, but it's well coated!!

Rosewood Manor's Great British Sampler is the next to get a turn. I worked on this one last week for a few days, until all the bloody backstitching got to me. It seems like every motif is full of quarter stitches and backstitched outlines. I started stitching samplers to escape from this lunacy!! It almost feels like a Dimensions project. I like Rosewood Manor's designs, and I just hope this isn't a common thing in all of them, as I have several that I either have already and haven't kitted up, or on my wishlist. I suppose I should pull them out to check. This project is stitched 1x2 on 40 ct Chantilly Cream by Lakeside Linens using the suggested colours converted to HDF.

Plodding on... this is Needlemania's Jardin d'Jour. I started this one to test out Vikki Clayton's 40 ct linen. I think I posted about it a while back, but this stuff is really lovely to stitch on. It's got a wonderful hand, is nice and thick and has really easy to see holes. If you've ever wanted to try a higher count but were afraid you wouldn't be able to see it, this is the perfect linen for you. Plus the price is great - for hand dyed colours it's still less than $50 a yard. Yes, a full yard. But I digress. It's stitched in HDF silk, the colours are two of Vikki's newer additions, BeMused (purple) and BePopped (pink).

Next up is my Frankensteined version of Dinky Dyes Irish Blessing. I made it taller and added in the flourishes from the top and bottom to both sides. I also changed the words, as I'm stitching it as a tribute to my cousin, Rachel, who passed away in January. I'm using three different Gloriana purples in it - Purple Night Sky, Purkle Fred and Ultra Violet. I don't know why I can never get the colours in this to photgraph right - they're much, much more vibrant than this. When I finish the stitching, I want to insert a photograph of my cousin in the middle of the design - IF I can figure out how to do it. This is another that doesn't get worked on a whole lot. In my wisdom, I decided to stitch it on 45 ct linen (Sassy's Crescent Cream) which after dying is more like a 48-50 ct, because I wanted to save on framing costs later on. Why was that such a stupid move? Well this design is full of fractional stitches and backstitching. I'll admit, the finished product looks fantastic, the knotwork is nice and smooth and rounded, but OMG what a PITA on high count fabric.

My next project is my token Drawn Thread design - I always have to have one of these on the go at any given time. They're my sheer joy pieces. Why? I love, love, love specialty stitches, and these are FULL of them. This one is Toccata Four, and I'm nearing a finish on it. I'll be putting it back on the frame today I think, unless I change my mind before then. I only took it off to take pics. It's stitched on 34 ct Cafe Au Lait linen from Legacy Linen. I love this stuff, it's my go to linen when I have a project that needs something in a lower count. It's not much smaller than 32 ct, but it's sooooo much nicer than Belfast linen. Very few, if any slubs, and very, very even. I know the Legacy and Graziano linens are much more expensive than Zwiegart, but it's sooooooo worth it in the end. They're just so much higher quality. If you compare Zwiegart to the horrid Wichelt linens, Zwiegart seems great. If you compare the Zwiegart to Graziano or Legacy, it's crap in comparison. And there I go off on a tangent again. lol This piece is stitched in a bunch of different fibers - Soie D'Alger for the greens, Gloriana for the blues, Silk n' Colors for the burgundies, and HDF for the creams. Just a note to anyone who is or is thinking about stitching these. I am following the thread usage recommendations to the letter, and there is no way that one skein of each will be enough. I'm on skein #2 of the light green and each of the creams, and skein #3 for the dark green. The blues and burgundies I'll only use on skein of, but they're 12 stranded, 6 yards, so basically 2 full skeins of the recommended. And I'll have used most of each of those by the time I finish. The only one you'll get away with one of is the spool of Soie 100/3 - it's hardly used. To be safe, I'd recommend grabbing 3 skeins each of the greens and creams, and 2 skeins of each of the blues and burgundies.

And my token Sampler Cove design - though I usually have multiple SC's on the go, but I finished two not so long ago. Well okay that's not exactly true. I do have about 1/3 of the Rhapsody in Red Ribbon Sampler finished, however, that one has made it's way into the UFO pile, for two reasons. My first colour choices were Black Iris Bloom and Dried Roses (both HDF) but when I decided to start it, I changed my mind and went with Rum Cherry instead of Black Iris Bloom, simply because I had spools of it already. While the Rum Cherry is lovely, I soooo want to stitch it in my originally planned colours. And the second reason - I started it over 1 on 32 ct Jobelan. It's lovely and delicate, but I'm really not enjoying it. I really prefer over two on high count or over one on 28 ct. It just feels very crowded. I don't mind if it's a small amount of a design, but I just can't face another 2/3 of the sampler this way. So I've decided to bit the bullet, order the spools of Black Iris Bloom and restart it. Man, I'm just rambling like mad today, aren't I? THIS is Tuscan Rose. It is stitched 1x2 on 40 ct Hayfields from Sassy, but this is dyed on Graziano's 40ct linen. The fibers are HDF silks in the recommended colours. This one is fun to stitch. It's wide enough to get a nice flow for each band, but narrow enough that each band stitches up very quickly. And the colours are just lovely.

And finally (bet you thought it would never end, huh?) this is Tuscany Hearts by Needlemania. It's stitched on 40 ct Hayfields as well, and also uses HDF silks - in pretty much the same colours as Sampler Cove's Tuscan Rose. That works well, because I can frame them the same way as matching pieces. lol This one stitches very quickly - what you see is stitched in about 2 sittings.

There are at least 3 more that will be added to this (not including my own models, though I'm not stitching any right now). Rosewood Manor's Quaker Diamonds is getting started as soon as it arrives, though I've decided to stitch it in Dinky Dyes silks, and of course on 40ct. The Valdani might be pretty, but it's cotton. As mentioned, I'll be restarting Rhapsody in Red as soon as I get around to ordering the threads. AND I really want to start Chatelaine's Romantic Rose Garden. However that one is posing a problem. I have the chart. I have the fabric. The overdyed silks and beads are on their way to me and should be here this week. However, instead of converting the DMC to HDF as I usually do, I decided that I hadn't used Eterna silks in a while and I really wanted to. So I ordered the Eternas instead. On October 21, paid for on October 21. Still not shipped. I've emailed 3 times and gotten no response. If this keeps up any longer I'm going to paypal for a refund. This is ridiculous. If there's a delay, I can live with that, but being ignored is something you just don't do if you want my business.

And now I think I need a nap.


  1. i am in total eye candy overlaod and actually do not know where to start as far as comments other than OMG i LOVE them all
    of course i adore Toccata 4... you know that it truly is a graceful timeless piece and i love seeing your wips of it... and the visual impact of your cirques piece is just wow...
    you really are an inspiration...

  2. Wow, Nicole--such a beautiful body of work--all of them are so lovely, so wonderfully stitched. I don't know how you manage to stitch so many at once. I am in awe! Thank you for showing these to us! Carolyn

  3. Thank you! Toccata Four is probably the most enjoyable piece I've ever done. There's a nice balance of plain old cross stitch and specialty stitches, so there is a really good variety to it. None of the bands are so huge that they become boring or repetitive. I can't wait to see what you come up with for this one JM, it truly lends itself to interpretation and you always interpret so well. :)

    Carolyn, I have to have lots of different ones to work on - I used to be a one or two at a time stitcher, but I found when I did that, I would only stitch a day or two a week because I just didn't feel like it. With this much variety, I can always find something I want to work on! I chalk it up to being an indecisive Gemini. ;)

  4. Holy cow - now that's an update!!! Wonderful works, all, and I can't wait to see the upcoming WIPs!

  5. Very beautiful works!! I'm without words! Thanks for share! Your new follower, Varla Lee from Italy.