she's a threadhead

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.

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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?


FIRST HALF FINISHED

A long time ago, before I moved into my new apartment, I was happy to finish the first half of this pillow for my friend Andrew. It’s been a work-in-progress for YEARS and I’m really glad that I now get to shove it back into the stashbin until I get around to starting the second half.

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I still do not feel super comfortable with the misogynistic overtones of this piece, but it was a requested quote and I no longer have to bring it out in public – so there ya go!


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?


WIP – COMMUTER

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about rotations – the number of projects individuals are working on and the blocks of time which they dedicate to each. I know some people alternate stitching on evenings vs. weekends, while others switch it up every day or week.

I have a slightly different method. When I’m at home, I generally dedicate all of my craft time to a single large project. Occasionally, I might work on multiple small projects and shift my attention whenever I start to feel bored or guilty. But that’s rare, I try to not have too many things on the go, because I hate it when projects get left behind.

However, my most dedicated time to work on crafts is while I’m on the go. I almost always have a project with me, when I’m making my semi-daily commute from one side of Toronto to the other. I like working on my journeys because it keeps me from becoming overly nervous in a packed streetcar, and allows me to see those two hours of my time as productive.

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Above is the current piece of needlework that I’ve been lugging to and fro. Longtime readers may remember it from last summer. This canvas is going to be the front of a double-sided pillow for my pal, Andrew. I’m not too keen on the derogatory statements, but they were specifically selected by him. This project travels around in an ugly, repurposed lunch bag given to me by an employer when her kids were done with it.
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This kit also includes the yarn which I’m using for the background, and a small pair of children’s scissors. I prefer using cheap scissors while I travel, so that I’m not overly upset when they get lost or fall on the floor.
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On a similar note, the projects which I take on public transit are stitches that are in need of large blocks of colour. I don’t like having to reference a pattern while I negotiate leg room. While I’ve seen quite a lot of knitters on the TTC, so far I’m the only stitcher.

Do you take your crafts on the go? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with me? What do you use as a project bag?


SKINNAMARINK

I’ve been waiting ages to share this creation. I’m glad it has finally been delivered and this post can go to air!

When I found out that my friend Sarah was pregnant with Elizabeth, I wanted to make her a present that was sentimental, but also used up a bit of my stash. After poking around the internet for ideas, I decided to make her a needlepoint pillow for her nursery. While Sarah’s baby shower happened in October, I had to take a break from this project to focus all of my creative energy on Elizabeth’s stocking. In January, I finally finished the whole canvas and sewed it up.

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This project was quite a learning experience. Although I’ve made one needlepoint pillow before, this canvas was much larger to work on. I began by printing out the lyrics of a popular children’s song and tracing them, using a Sharpie, onto the needlepoint canvas.

IMG_1611Then I used colourful yarn, also used for my flowered headband, to fill in the letters and the crescent moon, because this baby yarn is so thin, I had to use to strands per stitch (2 ply) in order to insure the proper coverage. The background yarn was much chunkier, so, I only used one strand per stitch. This led to a very interesting texture difference of the pillow.

IMG_1623After the canvas was fully stitched, I sewed it up using a simple envelope method. The backing fabric is also from my stash, I have no idea where it came from – I’ve been using a large portion of it as a tablecloth for years! It’s so pretty though, I knew it needed to find a better home. I’m also pretty impressed with myself, because the pillow form I used to stuff this cushion, I made out of recycled scraps of fabric.

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Sarah was quite pleased with the pillow, and I’m happy her and Elizabeth will be able to enjoy it.

However, I do feel this project was a learning experience! Most importantly I’ve realized that pale colours on a cream background do not provide a strong platform for text-based pieces. There needs to be a defining line in order to make the message more readable, and allow the stitches to pop. As well, with my needlepoint, I feel the need to explore a variety of background stitches. Mostly because stitching thousands of tent stitches takes an amazing amount of time, but also so that different textures can be a highlight of the project.

How about you? Have you made any projects lately to use up your stash? Any needlepoint pillows which you’d like to share?