Monday, May 27, 2013

Finished Product!

Wow.  Well readers, it took months to finish the needlepoint pillow.  And I got so discouraged along the way that I didn't post about it till now.  Apologies....

But, here's the final product:

The flat area is basket(weave) stitch, after which this blog is named.  The rougher areas are the Smyrna cross stitch (its a cross with an X over it - super simple).  Those represent trees instead of the marsh grasses surrounding.

The pattern is taken from an aerial picture of an estuary on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, just north of the Osa Peninsula.  Can't be exactly sure which river it is, but makes for a wonderful souvenir of our trip.   And since its not too long till the one-year anniversary of that trip, I'm glad to be able to look at the finished pillow every day!

Sure learned a lot with this project!  I have to admit, though, that I'm a little burned out on embroidery.  So, I'm going to move on to some other projects and won't blog for a while.  Perhaps I'll be back after I get tired of knitting and quilting!



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gorgeous New Swatch Card

I ordered the Appleton Swatch Card and it just came in the mail!

Even the box is pretty, yes? But the wool is even more beautiful.

In fact, it's so pretty I had a hard time putting down the camera!

I will be away from the blog for a couple of weeks to attend to other projects, but am making good progress on the Rivers Pillow project, and will update you when I get back to writing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Inspiration - Jenny Hart

More inspiration, stitchers!

So, you know that I'm on the hunt for artists who use embroidery in a modern, contemporary way.  Well, Jenny Hart, of Sublime Stitching, says it right on her website:  "No Geese in Bonnets."

Thank you, Jenny!

Do check out Sublime Stitching for awesome kits and transfers, advice, tutorials, and inspiration.  And go to Jenny's other site, Embroidery as Art, for a wonderful collection of inspirational posts of Jenny's work and the work of other artists.  This is my favorite, I have to admit...a Jan 2010 Happy Birthday to the great Dolly Parton:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yarn Sizes and Canvas Colors - Lets Call it Impressionistic!

Oh dear...

All that figuring about how much yarn, and fiddling over the colors.  Missed a basic element of needlepoint craftsmanship on this first needlepoint project.  My yarn is a little too small...and my canvas a little too keep the white of the canvas from showing through.

You see it, don't you?  I do too.

Ugh, but I do not want to start over...just transferring the pattern to this canvas took an afternoon (it's a big pattern!).  I also know that I'll never get around to finding the right canvas if I quit now.

So, being a gal who never takes a u-turn...we're plunging ahead.  Going to call it Impressionistic and learn our lesson thoroughly.

What went wrong?  Well, the canvas is bright white for one thing.  Also, all the literature I read said that Appleton tapestry yarn is made for canvas with 13 holes per inch.  And my canvas is 11 holes per inch.

Practically the same, thinks me.

No dear, each stitch must cover 15.4% more space than it would on a 13 mesh canvas.  And the yarn was just right for the smaller stitches, so now its a tiny bit too small for the larger stitches.

Oops.  Lets hope I have enough wool....

OH, the suspense!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Inspiration - Matthew Cox' embroidered contemporary art

Embroidery is getting a very contemporary update from artist Matthew Cox.

His work, which combines embroidery with x-rays, is shown in this New York Daily News slideshow.  And this piece titled Heartthrob #2, David Bowie; garnered the cover of the Chicago Reader's 4/12/12 issue.

Wow.  That's taking an art form in a whole new direction!

What do you think?  Like it?  Hate it?  Completely confused by it?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do I Need a Swatch Card?


For this needlepoint project, I ordered yarn off the Internet, sight unseen.  There aren't any needlepoint shops that I can access easily by public transit (I love being car-free in Chicago, but there is the occasional tiny drawback).  So, I'll be ordering off the Internet regularly.

Since color is so important in the yarn arts.  Or any arts, for that matter, it's important to have an accurate view of your supplies.  But computers just can't substitute for the real thing. I need to buy a swatch card?

Well, here are the blues that I bought for this project (Appleton 324 on the left and 322 on the right):

Can you tell the difference?  I can, but barely.  They will work just fine for this project, because they look nice together.  But, I would have liked a teensy bit more the greens (Appleton 403 on the left and 404 on the right):

OK - those look awfully similar, too.  But this pillow is an abstraction and all about subtlety anyway!

The Appleton yarn I'm using for this project is very nice, and they have hundreds of standard colors.  Swatch cards are available for around $50.  So...I'm going to put it on my wish list, save up, and find an excuse to treat myself.  Besides...all those colors are so pretty and inspirational!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Needlepoint Yarn - How Much Do I Need?

Oh boy...were we really talking about embroidery math before I took a break?  I think we were.  Incentive:  If you make it to the end of this post, you get a picture of the pretty yarn for the project!

And much yarn do I need?  I scoured the Internet, and general consensus seemed to be that tapestry-weight wool covers about 9 square inches per 11 yard  skein.

My design will be 12x16 inches (to fit on a pillow), so that's 192 square inches.  (12 * 16 = 192)

Which is just under 22 skeins.  (192 / 9 = 21.33)

I'm going to order 25 skeins to be careful.  I'd rather have too much yarn than too little.

I divided my nifty homemade pattern into 2 colors of blue and 3 colors of green.

The darker parts are green and the lighter parts are blue.  I'm guess-timating that my pattern is 40% blue and 60% green.  Of that, I think that the blues are 1/3 darker blue and 2/3 lighter blue.  The greens will be about 1/2 medium green and 1/2 darker green, with a smidgen of a very dark green.

So, once I chose the colors and fiddled with the rounding error, I ordered:

7 skeins Appleton 403 Sea Green Medium              ((25*0.6)/2 = 7.5)
8 skeins Appleton 404 Sea Green Medium-Dark    ((25*.06)/2 = 7.5)
1 skein Appleton 406 Sea Green Dark                   ("smidgen" = 1 skein)
7 skeins Appleton 322 Dull Marine Blue Light        (((25*0.4)/3)*2 = 6.7)
3 skeins Appleton 324 Dull Marine Blue Medium   ((25*.04)/3) = 3.3)

And its so pretty!

I will get to work on this project soon. But it will take some time for me to finish.  While we all wait for a final product, I hope to introduce some new features to the blog.  Thank you so much for reading.