Monday, May 26, 2008

Oriental Fan Part 4

I'm a day late this week; I normally like to post on Sundays. It's my lazy day when I get stuff done that I WANT to do and not what I NEED to do!

The fan face is DONE! Well, almost...I ran out of the color for the back stitching of the leaves. That's why the leaves on the far right side look a little wonky. Back stitching is the greatest thing...without it my leaves just look like green blobs of color; they lack the definition that only back stitching can provide.

Seeing as Dimensions has been so kind to me recently by sending me a new Elegance of the Orient pattern, I didn't want to bother them again over the one color I am lacking. Instead, I went online to find the DMC equivalent. If you Google Dimension to DMC Conversion then you get a plethora of charts that give you the color code that matches. A word to the wise here: DMC and Dimensions do not dye their floss with the same stuff. Therefore, the DMC equivalent is NOT the same color. It's just the closest match that they make. Sometimes the floss looks the same but mostly it is a completely different color and the difference will be noticeable in your project. Anyway, I found the color code I needed and trotted off to my local craft store to see if it was even remotely the correct color. Well, they didn't have it! So, I sent another email to the kind people at Dimensions. In hindsight, I think this is a better plan anyway. They should know that their kits don't contain the right amount of materials and hopefully, if they receive enough requests for more floss, they will start putting enough in the kits. I have NEVER completed a Dimensions kit that has had the correct amount of materials: I always run out of at least one color or there is so much of another that I wonder what they think I'm doing with it all! I have now taken to saving the leftover scraps of floss from previous kits so that I can use them when I run out during a new project. I am amazed at how often I dip into my reserves!

Where was I? Oh yes... I have finished the face of the fan! Next, I didn't really feel like doing the spokes of the fan just yet. It will be boring...lots of the same color over and over again. Also, I think I might need to unpick the small section of the spoke that I have completed because I think it might be a little sun bleached. I like to work outside in my yard on sunny days. Perhaps not the best idea, but c'est la vie! Anyway, so instead of doing the charcoal spokes that will go on forever, I decided to get started on the background! Did you think this was going to just be a boring fan in the middle of some fabric? Oh no, much better than that! Just wait and see how lovely this is going to be when it's done! I love the background of this piece because the effect of the half cross stitches make it look almost like some pencil sketches of fans and leaves. Gorgeous! Also, I wanted to do the background for a bit because half cross stitches and back stitching go SO quickly! I love this kind of instant gratification!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dimensions Came Through!!!

I am so thrilled! This week Dimensions sent me a replacement copy of the Elegance of the Orient pattern that was thrown out while I was in hospital. I am so excited to start working on this project again. But that's not all my good news! I also received a new pattern for a project called Lissandrea. I have been ogling over this piece for ages and now that I have it I can't wait to get started on it.

Now, this is where I have to exercise a bit of self restraint. In the past, I have tried to work on more than one project at a time. This doesn't work very well for me. I find I start confusing symbols in my head and stitching with the wrong colors! (Very frustrating!) Either that or I am simple spreading myself too thin and I don't see much improvement on any of my projects and then I get discouraged.

So, for the time being I will just have to be a good girl and do one thing at a time. I will finish my Oriental Fan, then move on to Elegance of the Orient, and then do Lissandrea. This way I can get very excited about the next project that is coming up and that excitement will be the inertia I need to work hard on the project at hand! I hope...

Oriental Fan Part 3

What have I done this week? Well, let's see. I stitched another flower and some leaves and did their back stitching. I also started to stitch yet another flower. I did some more back stitching to create the accordion folds of the fan. Oh and I did some of the black back stitching along the left edge of the fan just to see what it would look like! Cross stitching is teaching me patience! LOL!

As usual I try to keep my work looking uniform. I have found that the easiest way to do this is to keep all of my stitches looking the same. All of my stitches should be left over right crosses. To help me do this I use the following tip. If I am stitching downwards I start from the bottom left corner of the stitch and work from left to right and then back from right to left. This way when I go to start on the next line down my thread is not coming out of the fabric in the place where I want it to go down again. Also, when stitching upwards I do the opposite. I start my stitching from the top right hand corner of the stitch and then work from right to left and then back again from left to right. This is a simple method that I have found to keep all of my stitches as uniform left over right crosses and it also helps to keep the back tidy too!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oriental Fan Part 2

Another week of work is under my belt on this one. I still haven't heard from Dimensions about my Elegance of the Orient pattern and so I guess I'll be working on this project until it's complete!

This week I did a bit of the red border on the left side and a bunch of the ivory background so that I could do the back stitching to create the effect of the accordion folds of the fan. Next, I did the back stitching on the first flower and its leaves and part of the second flower. I LOVE the effect that back stitching provides! It really makes the art work come alive!

I try to keep the back of my work neat and so I try not to jump more than a few stitches. Instead, I will finish and restart the thread in the new place. I've been experimenting with a new trick to keep the back neat. I have been weaving my thread through the back of my work so that all of my stitches are either vertical or horizontal and never diagonal. Let me elaborate:

Say, I'm stitching the following pattern (Ignore the underscore on the second row. It's not a stitch; it's just helping me create placement for this blog)


I will start top left and stitch the first row so that I end up back at top left. But here's my new trick: When I start the second row, instead of just going directly to the bottom left where the stitching begins, and therefore creating a diagonal line on the back, I weave my thread through the back of the first stitch of the top row and then down. By doing this, I have gone horizontally through the first stitch of the first row and then vertically down into the second row and kept with the natural pattern of the stitches I'm doing. I'm AMAZED at the results!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Oriental Fan

Considering the fact that I am unable to work on my Elegance of the Orient project, I have started a new one in the interim. It is called Oriental Fan. (I seem to do a lot of Oriental patterns because my husband adores them! Our home is decorated in that style and so they fit in nicely!)

I have been working on this project for about a week now. It doesn't look like much yet but it will be gorgeous when it's done.

I tried to get a lot of the metallic stitches over with...I hate stitching with metallic thread. You have to be so careful not to let the thread twist because it knots SOOOO easily.

I read on another site a very good tip for keeping the back of your work neat and tidy. To start fold one full (uncut) piece of thread in half and thread the two ends threw your needle so that you have a loop at the other end. When you make your first stitch, weave your thread threw the loop at the back of your work! That way, to start your stitches you don't have to tie a knot (heaven forbid, LOL!) or weave them threw about an inch of stitches. Brilliant tip!

Elegance of the Orient

April 27, 2008

This is called Elengance of the Orient. It is the second (Jewels of the Orient being the first) of a series of three that I am trying to complete for my home. This is also the first time that I have used stretch bars for my work and am really enjoying it. My stitches are normally pretty even and so the Aida doesn't get too warped but the stretch bars really make it stupid-proof!

I went in to the hospital on April 29, 2008 for heart surgery and I brought this to work on. While I was asleep someone threw out my pattern because they thought it was GARBAGE!!! I am so crestfallen over this! I have contacted Dimensions (the company who make the kit) and have asked for a new pattern because I don't really want to purchase a whole new kit. I am waiting to hear back from them but neadless to say this project has been put on hold indefinately...

Peaceful Silhouette Progress

March 29, 2008

April 5, 2008

April 13, 2008

April 17, 2008
Let's start by posting my previous accomplishments.

All is Calm

Jewels of the Orient

Peaceful Silhouette