she's a threadhead

FOR HOLDEN

Oh my. What a whirlwind of a time I’ve been having! After working my tail off for a company for the past few months, this weekend I was unceremoniously let go. It’s rather heartbreaking – I loved working there, loved the staff. But, the management made their choices and because I’ve been working as a “casual employee” I have no rights. It’s a total bummer. But, luckily, I’ve been able to console myself with my embroidery.

And LUCKILY LUCKILY, this city is filled with beautiful people, who love handmade things. One of whom, commissioned a birth chart similar to the one that I made my goddaughter.

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This birth chart was made using both cross stitch and back stitches, taken legally from a variety of online resources. IMG_2311

The canvas used was 18 count Aida in Navy, purchased from Maria at Stitch-It Central. The thread used was DMC Ecru purchased in-store from EweKnit in Toronto, Ontario.

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Similar to the previous birth chart I’ve made, the information include the child’s name, birth date, height and weight at the time of birth. As well, I included the weekday rhyme from A. E. Bray’s Traditions of Devonshire and the star sign, month’s flower and stone as well as the designation in the Chinese Zodiac.

IMG_2307The creatures included in this birth chart are little owls perched on a branch, sparrows swooping down in flight and busy little hummingbirds. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching the sparrows and hummingbirds, although I found the owls quite taxing and the visual effect was not as pleasing as I hoped. I doubt I will reuse the motif in the future.

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Similar to the previous birth chart I made, this piece was hand sewn over two dowels. This method is very effective for larger wall hangings.

Please let me know what you think – particularly about the owls! The customer was more than pleased, but he doesn’t know needlework like you folks do! 

If you’re interested in commissioning your own birth chart, send me a message using the “Contact” page. My rate for the custom design & execution of these birth charts is very reasonable! 

OK – I’m back to filling out job applications, joy.

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WIP – SUNSET

The last time I posted about this project, it was still in it’s infancy. I had a lot of fun reading folks’ guesses as to what it could be. Some people thought it could be a full moon – just in time for Hallowe’en, someone guessed it could be a minion and even a wheel of cheese! Followers of my Instagram figured it out pretty quick though, it is certainly a sunset.

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This project was worked on 18 count Aida cloth in Navy, purchased from Stitch-It Central. The canvas has been swell to work with, although next time I may choose a lighter shade as stitching dark-on-dark is very tiring on the eyes.

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The DMC colours used in this project were #791 (Cornflower Blue dark), #743 (Yellow medium), #742 (Tangerine light), #741 (Tangerine medium), #740 (Tangerine), #761 (Salmon light) and #793 (Cornflower Blue medium.) The threads were purchased from my LYS Eweknit, in Toronto, Ontario.

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I had the most fun stitching the “sunset” portion of this piece. The gradient involved four shades of orangey-yellow. I wasn’t quite certain how this would turn out, as I made the pattern using MacStitch, and had no real-life samples of the threads to be sure. How do you think it turned out?

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I know this image comes off as rather bland. Don’t worry though, this isn’t the project’s final form – I have a bit more tinkering to do.


UPDATE

It’s been an absurdly long time since I have shared progress on my stupidly large project. The piece involves 162, 500 stitches in over 50 colours. In order to not be burned out (and have this blahg be certifiably boring) I’m embracing the fact that this project will be with me for a long time.

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It may not look like much, because it certainly does not feel like much. With all the white empty space looming beside my individual stitches, it is quite easy to be intimidated. I’ve been beating that monster down by attempting to dedicate an hour of stitching time a day to this specific piece. It’s not going so well, I’ve clocked 17 hours on it since September 1st. But, tracking my hours has forced me to be more conscious of my creative endeavours.

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I must admit I do love taking pictures of this piece because it lets me truly see the image emerge.

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And in comparison to the photo from the last time I posted, it looks like I’ve made a huge dent. And my photography skillz have improved too!

How are your big projects coming along? Any tricks for keepin’ the flames burnin’ over the long haul?


WIP – BLOBS

Although I have a stack of finishes, or almost-nearly-entirely-completely-finished finishes on my craft caddy, I thought it might get a bit boring if I only shared the projects that I completed whilst I was on hiatus.

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This is one of the current canvases that I have hooped up. It is a custom commission for a friend and I’m pretty excited about it. So far I’ve used DMC #791 and #743 on 18 count Navy Aida. halfstitch asked recently, “which method of cross stitch do you use? The blob method or the parking method?” I answered with “Both.” Depending on the pattern for piece, one method always seems to work better. In this case, it’s the blob method. Look at those very unblobby, blobs!

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Last time I posted a work-in-progress, someone on the cross stitch subreddit was annoyed because I wouldn’t say what it was supposed to be. Well, poo-poo on that. I like surprises.

Can you guess what these blobs will emerge as? Internet high fives to whoever gets it right.

Bonus points for most interesting answer!


THE BIG ONE

Believe it or not, it’s been a month since I last posted about my commission. I feel like the past four weeks have been very productive and that is visible in the photograph, below.

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Here’s last month’s picture, for dramatic effect.

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On Saturday I finished the first page of the pattern – one down, 36 more to go, and I’m feeling surprisingly optimistic. I recently treated myself to a second DMC bin just for the threads from this project. It’s made a huge difference in the amount of time I spend looking for the next colour, because they’re now organized numerically instead of by shade.

My mind is still being blown that it’s almost June. I swear NYE was like, last week? My latest theory is that it’s because I spend so much time on the internet that this year is flying by. What do you think?

How are your big projects going? How are you feeling about it?


COMMISSION

I know things have been a little bit more quiet around here than usual. There’s one huge reason why.

Almost two months ago now, someone very close to me requested that I make an embroidery for someone very close to them. They wanted something “earthy.” We went back and forth for a few days, and decided on a pattern from Etsy. I ordered the pattern, and placed an online order for the canvas and all of the different coloured threads, and wasn’t too worried about it.

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Then the goods arrived. The aida cloth was huge. Bigger than anything I’d ever tried to stitch before, bigger than my goddaughter. But it was too late, as far as I know you can’t return craft supplies. And I had already paid for an absurdly sized cross stitch .pdf. So, I started working on it… a little. At 30′ by 36′ this project doesn’t really fit into my travel bag.

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The dimensions of this piece are intimidating. So much so, that for a while there I wasn’t crafting. I justified it by being busy with work and self-publishing, but I know stitching is my one true love and I was pushing it aside. To be honest, I felt guilty working on anything else. Despite the fact that I have a lot of other projects to-do for the upcoming months, some that I am very excited about!

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Then, a few days ago Kate at PDX Stitch posted about a large X-Files project that she’s been working on, and I was motivated by her commitment to her work. The next day I sat down and I really started to stitch away at the canvas.
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I am going to make an effort to post about this project at least once a month, if only so that you’ll support me as I work through 162,500 stitches in 54 colours. Luckily the person who commissioned it loves me, so they’re okay with the wait.

What’s the largest project you’ve ever stitched? Do you have any techniques for keepin’ at it? Or any words of encouragement?


FOR NATHALIE

A while back, my friend Nathalie posted her favorite Freaks and Geeks quote on Facebook. I am also a huge fan of the series – who doesn’t love a high school version James Franco and Jason Segel? As well, I’ve wanted to give cross-stitch pattern making a try, since I bought the MacStitch software on a whim, and need to start justifying the purchase. So, I offered to make her a stitch.

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Nathalie is also a huge feline lover, she’s the only one of my friends who has made the pilgrimage to the Cat Café in Montreal, thus I added a pretty kitty to fill out the frame.

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Once the stitch was complete, I backed it to fit a 5′ by 7” frame and I added a douglust.com label. The upcycling of a blank postcard was super helpful here as the dimensions were already pre-cut.

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The final piece before I delivered it to Nathalie yesterday, she was pretty thrilled with the result.

I was also pleased with the whole experience, so I’ve added a new section to douglust.com. Visit FREE PATTERNS for a .pdf download of the pattern! I plan on updating it regularly, and if you have any requests for patterns, email me using the CONTACT form.