Jim Wurth’s Hearts and Flowers – Progress 2

I’ve been stitching each day but not making enough progress on things to show you. Finally got the center finished and started the next step so I could show it to you.

HeartsFlowers-2

Around the center from last time, I stitched 8 points stars in pale gray Elegance and then did a Ray stitch over them with red Marlitt. The four corners were padded with Grandeur and satin stitched over that with red Splendor. The last step in the middle was to do Four Way Continental in the space between the center and the stars with Kreinik silver braid #8.

I have just started the next step – 48 Jessicas done in #8 Kreinik braid in dark red. Next will be to fill in the open areas between the Jessicas and the completed center with Sprats Heads. I haven’t looked ahead to see what comes next. I only pull out about 5 pages at a time. There’s quite a ways to go still.

Nain Diamond Needlepoint Finale

I want to show you the final three areas before I show the whole piece. I love the little Theresicas in medium turquoise Impressions with a small X in Kreinik braid. This stitch is from Suzie’s Stitches volume 2. The Rhodes stitches in the diamonds were stitched with two shades of turquoise Impressions, a signature stitch of mine. The last set of hexagons around the outside of the piece are Ray stitches that meet in the middle done in Vineyard Silk, Jessicas stitched with Elegance and a copper bead inside each Jessica. NainNP-final stitches I can’t believe how fast this stitched up – and how much fun I had choosing the stitches and getting it all finished up! NainNP-4 I’ll get started on stitching instructions right away and hope to have them ready for purchase in a week or so. My only regret on this design is that the overdye only had two colors. I love the way it turned out since I love rust and turquoise! But I wonder if it would be better with an overdye that had 3 colors – more variations in colors to use. Also – if you are a person who wants everything to be exact and balanced, this design might not make you happy. The hexagons are not exactly “true.” They appear to be correct, but can be off a little. The stitches I chose for the hexagons help to keep the illusion of being exact. Just to let you know ahead of time. Update – I had promised that I would show you the two versions (cross stitch and needlepoint) side by side. Here they are.

Nain Diamond Cross Stitch - 2014

Nain Diamond Cross Stitch – 2014

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Nain Diamond Needlepoint – Progress 3

Now that the borders are all complete, it’s time to start filling in all those diamonds and hexagons. Like the cross stitch one, I started in the center area.

NainNP-2

The diamonds that cross the middle from left to right and to to bottom were stitched with Jessicas. They were small ones and just didn’t look right. I ripped them out and stitched a larger version that looks better. I started to add a Smyrna stitch in the middle of each Jessica (see the bottom two diamonds) and they are too small, so they got ripped out too. The centers now have a Wheat stitch inside the Jessicas. The diamond in the middle is rust Impressions, the next ones going out from the middle are medium turquoise Impressions and the outer ones are a darker turquoise Impressions. The area around the center diamond was stitched with dark turquoise Shimmer for the grid lines and rust Impressions for the cross stitch tie downs.

For the next round of diamonds, I used both shades of turquoise Impressions to stitch the long crosses and small crosses to hold the threads together. The hexagons at the middle level are stitched with the rust using a Vault stitch from Shapes of Needlepoint. The small Smyrna stitches and the tie down for the Vaults were stitched with medium turquoise Impressions.

Now to decide on stitches for the rest of the design. I hope to have it done in another week.

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Nain Diamond Needlepoint

Here we go again! I’m stitching the Nain Diamond, but in needlepoint this time and it’s going much faster. I’m stitching on 18 ct canvas and it will be about 10″ x 10″ when done. The one thing slowing me down in the design stage was how to make the diamonds. I couldn’t figure out how to make it pointed on all four sides. The final decision was to keep it pointed at the top and the bottom and flat on the sides since I was going to be doing Slanted Gobelin for the straight lines. I looked through a lot of stitch books and the stitch that intrigued me was Interlocking Gobelin. Could I do that on a slant? I figured it out and really like how it looks – and it’s super easy and fast to do. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t wait to show you this border completed. Look at the diamond on the right that is mostly rust colors. The stitches meet at the top and the bottom and overlap one stitch on the sides. Perfect! I have to turn the diamond a quarter turn for the outside diamond on the left and the right. Otherwise it would have a flat side facing out – not good. All other stitches in the entire design all face the same way.

I thought I would need at least two skeins of Watercolors for the borders, but it looks like I’ll be able to finish the borders with just one skein. Nice!  I’ll be finished with the border today and then can think about stitches to fill in the diamonds and hexagons. I’ve pulled threads to go with the Fiesta Watercolors in rust and turquoise (the cross stitch one was rust and teal). I have lots of choices – floss, impressions, Kreinik braid, Sprinkles, and maybe a few others. I want to use some special stitches to make this a little fancier than the cross stitch.

Here’s where I am on the project today, about three fourths of the way around:

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Border Rug – Progress 4

I’ve had interruptions every morning this week and haven’t had enough stitching time upstairs. I’ve been working my way across the first band by outlining each of the motifs to make sure everything would fit. Then I started working across the band one color at a time. I haven’t gotten very far on that, but the first of each motif is completely finished and I’ve started the border that will separate this band from the next one as well. Here’s a close-up of the ones that are done.

Band1-2

I said that I wouldn’t use any Rhodes stitches with two colors. So I tried a Ray stitch with two colors instead. I like it! In the first motif, the dark red is a Sprat’s Head and the light blue at each end is a Ray stitch. The second motif has Mosaic and Cashmere stitches in greens and off-white. The Ray stitch is Paprika and Natural (off-white). As I work my way across the band and complete the individual motifs, I’ll stitch the dividing border and the two thread separation between the motifs. I planned on doing the dividing border in Van Dyke, but I wanted it over 3 threads instead of 4. I ended up with a very tight woven band and I do like it, so I’m not going to rip it out and change it now. I also need to get more of the outer borders done on the right side. I have a lot to do over the next week. Hopefully it will get done this time.

Here is the rug so far:

BorderRug-4

It’s looking more like one of my rugs now – threads hanging all over the place. I try to start and end threads on top of the canvas since it is so large. By next week they will all be covered up and it will look neater.

Introducing the Border Rug – Progress 1

I started the design process for this rug in early December. Time to introduce you to it and get it started. I bought a book in the early 70s that reminded me of the rugs I had seen in Morocco. I’d only been back in the States for about 3 years when I found this book.

Cover

It’s a book of illustrations from North African Carpets, mostly Tunisia and Algeria. For the most part, they are all Berber designs. They have partial illustrations of rugs, but most of the book is motifs of all sizes and many, many borders for rugs. I’ve always wanted to do one of the rugs and now is the time. Rather than take one of the illustrated rugs from the book, I copied various borders that I liked, cut them out, and arranged them to form a border rug of my own. A rug with nothing but borders!

layout start

There is one border that will go all the way around the rug and others that will form bands across the shorter length of the rug. I bought a half hank of Cabernet Silk & Ivory thread and a few other skeins of colors I needed. Most of the threads will come from what I have in my stash. These are leftovers from other rugs I’ve done, such as the Mosiac Rug. So there will be lots of olive greens and rusts, and a few others (natural, black, light blue, light gray, etc.).

I used my cross stitch software to rough out these borders and a few that aren’t in the photo above, and started to do my practice stitching. I knew there would be spacing problems because of the cross stitch software so the practice stitching was even more important this time. My rug won’t look exactly like the borders shown above, but hopefully they will be similar.

I usually do a small border all the way around to set things off – using Slanted Gobelin over two threads. So I changed that up as well. There are three rows of Basketweave – black, natural (off-white), and black again.

Outer border

Then I finally started the first border. This is stitched mostly with Continental and Diagonal Mosaic stitches.

Border Rug -1

The photo seems a little dark – the burgundy is a little brighter. Working on the practice stitching for some of the other bands finds lots of repeats on stitches – Diagonal Mosaic, Ray stitches, and Sprat’s Head. This could prove interesting. Hope you will enjoy watching as I stitch it.

 

Koshga by Gitta – Progress 2

This has been sitting in my tote bag for a long time and I decided that I needed to work this old WIP and get it finished. I ordered two of Gitta’s rug charts and this is the first one. I started it in 2009, made a mistake in counting and the corners didn’t meet, so I put it away. In 2011 I got it out again. Since it’s on Congress Cloth, ripping out the whole top of the piece wasn’t an option so I threw it away. Getting out a new piece of Congress Cloth, I started again and got the top completed. This is being stitched in Continental/Basketweave using #8 peele cotton.

Koshga-1

Now, two and a half years later, it’s finally going to get finished! I’ve worked on it an hour or two for each of the last 3 days. Here’s where it is now.

Koshga-2

When it’s quiet here, I work on the black outlines for the various borders. While watching TV in the evenings, I can easily fill in the other colors. The bottom of the 4th large motif on the left is the middle of the rug. It will be 9″ X 5.75″ when it is done. There is one more border below the red one that is started. I want to get all the borders for the top half done before I start the center, so it will still be a couple weeks until that happens.

Antique Locomotive – Finale

Things seem to take a lot longer than I think they will. The background at the bottom of this train piece would be quick and easy – I thought. And it’s taken me many days. I’ve even brought it downstairs last week and worked on it in the afternoons for 4 days. But I finally got it done! I used two different overdyes – one beige and light brown and the second light brown and gray – to represent the gravel that is found along side the tracks and between the railroad ties.

The first photo is part of the background and the cow catcher at the front of the engine. I love the first part with the long ribbons laid carefully to form the catcher with black in the background for the spaces between the pieces of steel. The right side is more difficult since the pieces of steel fade away to the right and appear closer together. Then the artist Anne Cram had the steel in the center form a V in the middle – divided into top and bottom parts. I did the best I could but I’m not really pleased with the right side. I didn’t stitch them as painted – sets of stitches that gradually worked to make a slanted line. Using the ribbon worked much better – but challenging to get the black covered so when I laid a silver or red ribbon all the spaces would be covered in black. On the right, the light shows through the steel since it isn’t against the rest of the engine. It looks unbalanced to me.

Catcher&gravel

But it is completed and overall, I really do like it! It was just a painting of a locomotive, but I’ve added backgrounds and smoke, filled in the railroad ties, and outlined the numbers so they are more visible. I think he’s ready for the museum now, as soon as he chugs down the track just a little farther.

Loco-11

Peter Ashe’s Ghiradelli Square – Progress 1

I was going through my stash (it’s easy when you keep a database of everything in the stash) looking for something that would look great in just Basketweave. Couldn’t find one! But I decided to pull out this Peter Ashe canvas. He’s famous for his San Francisco canvases. This is Ghiradelli Square – a composite piece of the buildings around the square.

Ghiradelli Square

I’m in no hurry to get this done, but it’s a good piece to pick up from time to time when I just want to relax. I’m using Vineyard Silk for this project. The roof of the restaurant just begged for Slanted Gobelin in three shades of brick colors so I started there. All the dark buildings are brick so I’ll use Cashmere for them when I get to them. Just to the left of the restaurant roof is the side of a building and I have stitched that in Basketweave with Slanted Gobelin again for the corner stones.

The trees posed a problem for a while. Little branches all over the place. I’ve started to stitch the largest one in front with a small Ray stitch and it seems to be working out well. (Sorry about the stray thread across the photo.)

Ghiradelli-1

I’ve decided to stitch all the black areas with a very dark gray to soften it up just a little. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll continue to work on the tree a little at a time but haven’t decided where to go next.

Antique Locomotive – Progress 10

I’ve been working on the white background on the top for a couple of days now. I hope to have it finished tomorrow. But I’ve been working on other areas as well. The two smaller wheels are done, the rail the train sits on is done and the railroad ties have been stitched. The ties were stitched using all four plies of Bravo so they look rugged and heavy. I used Giant Brick stitch for those.

Loco-10

I used black Splendor for the spaces between the spokes on all the wheels to make the spokes and other parts of the wheels show up better. For the shadows under the train and between the wheels, I used dark gray Splendor.  The shadows are lighter so they don’t distract from the locomotive itself.

You can see that I’ve done a tiny bit of the background for the bottom of the piece as well. I’m using two different Needle Necessities overdyes for this – one with light brown variations and one with beige and gray variations. Stitched in Alicia’s Lace, I hope it will give the impression of gravel that is always used around the railroad ties and the ground near the tracks. Monday I will start the cow catcher on the front. I know how I want to do it and hope it turns out the way I envision it. I want this done next week, so I’ll be spending more time in the mornings getting it completed.