Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 10, a Halloween treat!

I just couldn't stop at only 12 stitches, or even one strand! I'm loving the way this is stitching up--it's so much fun!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 9, and the outline is done!

I couldn't stand it any longer--and I thought it would be so quick to finish stitching the outline--WRONG! Lots of re-counting, but now I've got it in place and I'm ready to start seeing some color appear on this canvas tomorrow! And hopefully then my photos will be more interesting!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 8

(another rotated photo--what is going on?)

12 more stitches outlining the heart--ecru pearl cotton really doesn't show up much on the congress cloth. If I didn't have so much other stitching to do I'd race ahead on this part of the project, but the discipline of the 12 stitches is at least giving me time to work on my other stitching!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 7, and a new start

It's hard to see the progress, I know, but there are actually 12 stitches on that canvas--I promise! I've changed my first project to Merry Kitty Christmas Heart and since today (and the next several days) are very busy all I'll be able to do is get 12 stitches into the canvas. But enough days of 12 stitches will result in getting that heart border outlined eventually!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 6, an important lesson

Size does matter. Or rather, it counts.

I've had to abandon my start on the Redwork Cat Sampler. The 28 count fabric I was using just wasn't right for the project. Several of the stitches just wouldn't work, and the floss looked too heavy. Gay Ann actually posted some information about this very subject on her website today and it really helped me to make the decision to abandon this attempt.

I'll have to start over, which requires making a trip to the local needlepoint store to get the proper size stretcher bars and some canvas cloth. And since I'm starting over, I might as well order silk floss and silk perle from Vikki Clayton.

My problem is the congress cloth. I really like the color scheme I was using, but the local store is only going to have congress cloth in white or black. As I see it I've got 3 choices here:

1. change the color scheme
2. learn to paint the canvas myself to change the background color
3. find a good on-line source for colored congress cloth

Any suggestions?

This is an important issue for me, as I not only want a mushroom color canvas ground for the Redwork Cat Sampler (which I am stitching in black) but I also want a moss/sage green canvas ground for the Redwork House Mystery (which I want to stitch in blue) and a yellow canvas ground for the Redwork Friendship Sampler (which I want to stitch in green).

I've decided that this year I'm going to concentrate on my Gay Ann ornaments and hearts. So far I own 10 patterns in this category, many of which are already kitted up. Tonight I dug out my 8x8 bars, an 8x8 square of congress cloth, and the plans and thread pack for Merry Kitty Christmas Heart. I've got to get some masking tape to tape the edges of the canvas and then I'll be ready to start. Maybe I can finish all 10 of these projects this year since none of them are large (or even medium-sized) projects. And still have time for some of my other stitching.

At least, that's the plan (and the goal) right now!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 5

(I don't know why the photo is rotated...but I don't have time to try and fix it.)

Life interfered today and I didn't get to do as much stitching as I had hoped to. I went to a long lunch with some friends, to celebrate the 96th birthday of my friend Mike's mother. A good time was had by all!

I did finish the first pass on my Plaited Stitch Adaptation, and I started the return pass. Even the adaptation is proving difficult, and I'm still wondering if the fabric is going to work after all, or if this is going to end up needed to be a re-start...I think I'll know by the time I finish all of the steps to this band. But I'll certainly work the Redwork House piece on Congress Cloth, and most likely that's what I'll use for the Friendship Sampler, too, when I get around to working on them. I need something with a more open weave.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 4--Adapting the Plaited Stitch

Today I'm working on the first row of Plaited Stitch--step 3B--and I've run into a problem which I believe is related to my decision to stitch my sampler on 28 count evenweave rather than 24 count congress cloth, as the instructions call for. The holes on the evenweave are considerably smaller than the holes on the congress cloth, and the Plaited Stitch calls for me to insert the needle into the same hole several times--and I'm having trouble finding the right hole.

After quite a bit of practice, and rather a great deal of frustration, I have decided to adapt the band somewhat. I've anchored a thread on the right side of the fabric and I'm working the row in two steps. Step one, I'm working all of the bottom-left-to-top-right part of the stitches (the bottom leg), and then I will return and working from the left side of the fabric I'll work all of the bottom-right-to-top-left part of the stitches (the top leg). I'm sure it will give a slightly different look to my row, but I don't find it to be at all noticeable to the naked eye.* And the decision has kept me from becoming so frustrated with the project that I put it away until I could get new fabric and start over. Which, realistically, might not happen for...well...who knows?

It's been a good exercise for me today--and based on today's experiences I may make some changes in my plans for the other redwork pieces in my stash--the Friendship Sampler and the Redwork House Mystery. Originally I thought that I would work them on evenweave also, but now I'm reconsidering that decision, at least until I look at the instructions for those two charts more closely to see if there are any stitches that might not work out on the evenweave.

I'll finish the right-to-left pass before I put this piece of stitching away for the evening. Tomorrow I'll stitch the left-to-right pass to complete the row.

But first, I'm going to go cook dinner for my dear husband!

*Remember-- I'm not stitching this on congress cloth. If you are and you choose to follow this adaptation of the Plaited Stitch your results may vary considerably from mine!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 3--Horizontal Bands Appear!

Today I started stitching on the first of the horizontal bands that really help to make this piece. The first three have been simple--the next one appears to be a bit more challenging. I'm going to practice steps 3B (Plaited Stitch) and 3C (Cross Stitch Variation) on some waste fabric either tonight or tomorrow before I go any further! (You'll notice that I've anchored my strand for step 3B already--I don't want to lose my place.)

This is the last strand of floss from the first length of floss that I cut, so I've used roughly 5 strands (or lengths) of floss so far. You'll also notice that I've cut away some of my basted center channel--I needed to place a stitch into the same spot on the fabric as one of my basting stitches and I didn't want to risk splitting the thread and creating a problem later, so I just cut away a little section of the channel.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 2

Another strand-and-a-half. Still lost count on the vertical band, so I've decided to move to the next part tomorrow and I'll finish up the band as I move down the sampler--less counting that way--and I'll close up the bottom as the very last step in the project.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 1

This is about 2.5 strands of floss (single strands). The hardest thing so far is counting the number of stitches I need to make on the vertical borders--both on the chart and as I make them. I've lost the count of the vertical stitches made so far, so I have stopped working on those rows and started on the upper interior band of the border. I'll get the count back when I start working on the interior vertical band.

I'm going to end up with extra fabric at the bottom, the result of the length of the q-snaps and also the difference in the count of congress cloth (24) and my fabric (28). I'm sure I'll find some use for the extra, but I do wish I had started down a bit further.

I'm very happy with my fabric and fiber choices so far.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Red Cat Sampler is ready to start!

I'm using DMC floss and perle cotton (310) on 28 count mushroom evenweave fabric, all from my stash.