Monday, June 30, 2014

K Diamonds Completed

I spent a little time last week to work on the diamonds in Spirit of the Southwest. I decided to start with the small diamonds which consists of (star?) Eyelets.

K Diamonds completed
I did start on the J Diamonds (the four big diamonds around the middle Octagon). The first layer uses Rainbow Gallery Panache thread and I'm realizing something. I don't enjoy stitching with very silky/slippery thread. I've tried DMC satin floss before and I didn't really enjoy the experience. I can't argue with the results. From what little I did stitch yesterday it is going to look amazing when it's done. But all I could think is: I have 3 more to do and I have another Panache thread card that I'm going to also have to use :P


I've been working on Spirit of the Southwest and my Hardanger piece, but my second WIP is completely drowning the first. All the white on top is from the cut-work (I'll post a picture soon) and beneath all that is a little leftover thread from Spirit of the Southwest.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Time to Bring out the Scissors

I finished stitching all the eyelets on my Hardanger piece this weekend. At the beginning I was very hesitant, I wasn't sure if I was stitching them correctly. Once I started stitching using a "sewing" method instead of the "stab" method it became more natural and I was able to get a nice flow going. This pattern has been a great learning piece in helping me get the hang of Hardanger embroidery.

Eyelets all done
I am still worried about the next step thought. The pattern itself doesn't tell you what the rest of the stitches are (especially the filling stitch for the center). I've been looking at the other tutorials Mamen has on her website and googling, trying to plan the next step. I've also been studying her pictures of the finished piece. For example, she has cable stitches on the finished piece that don't show on the pattern:
Cable stitches
Tomorrow, I don't have work (Happy St-Jean Baptiste) and I'm hoping to start the cut-work then, IF I'm not too tired. Don't want to make a mistake at this stage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Third Layer Completed

I finally finished the third layer on the Octagons, I got distracted by my Hardanger piece. This weekend I decided enough was enough, I need to finish this before I can go back to my Hardanger project.

After finishing the tent stitches, I sat down with the design booklet to prepare for the next step. I managed to read through the instructions for 3 of the Octagons before I started getting overwhelmed LOL. So many instructions and details, I have stickies everywhere to keep track of everything. Plus, I'm not stitching in the original colorway so I have to note the actual thread color I will be using.

With that said, I won't be stitching the inside of the Octagons yet. I will start small by stitching the inside of the diamonds and work myself up from there.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Weekend

I had a very productive weekend due to the fact that my dad and brother decided to spend Father's day Weekend at home in front of the TV to watch FIFA. The women on the other hand decided to go out.

On Saturday while my sister and mom went to the museum and shopping, I spent my morning stitching and later on at this amazing cafe a co-worker introduced me to: Le Céramic Café-Studio.

It was awesome to be able to just sit and do something crafty and not have to worry about the materials (or the clean up). The way it works is that you show up, pick a ceramic piece to paint and they provide all the materials. Once you're done you give it to them to bake and you come back to pick it up in a week. There is also a cafe attached to it and they have a menu of sandwiches and drinks. I'll post pictures up once I get my piece back.

Back to stitching. I've now finished all the stitches with the #8 Perle Cotton and have started stitching with the #12.

I did a few eyelets but I'm not sure if I'm doing them correctly. Should the hole in the centers be bigger? Should I be pulling more on the thread? They don't look as pretty as in the Hardanger book I got. I think more research is required before I continue.

Close up
I also got the chance to stitch on Spirit of the Southwest on Sunday. I'm still stitching Tent stitches, should be done sometime this week if I don't get too busy on my Hardanger piece.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In the Zone

Last post I was kind of hating buttonhole stitches, but now I like them :)

I guess I just had to get a nice rhythm going. The hard part was figuring out how to stop and start a new thread, but once I figured it out it was great (check this link and look for Buttonhole stitch edging). Can't wait to start on the next layer.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning Hardanger

Now that I finally have all my stash I can start learning Hardanger. I finished reading Jill Carter's Beginner's guide to Hardanger. It's good, but I did notice that it is missing some stitches used in Hardanger, like the Buttonhole stitch. I guess that stitch is not considered a beginner's stitch. I think I'll have to look for a more advanced book (someone has already recommended Janice Love's Hardanger Basics and Beyond), but for now it's good.

I decided to start off with a small freebie pattern (before tackling the kit I bought) and decided on Mamen's Tapete caramelos. Mamen is a great Hardanger designer, I've been eyeing many of her designs. Once I decide I really like stitching Hardanger, I will probably buy more of her patterns.

Here is what I have so far. I took the picture at night so the lighting isn't so good. I've enjoyed all the stitches so far except for the Buttonhole stitch. I'm sure if I find a great tutorial on doing Buttonhole stitches I will learn to enjoy it. Yesterday, I did a quick google search for diagram instructions on how to stitch it, but I don't think that will be enough. I notice just looking at the picture that the right corner of the row is not the same as the left corner. I think I will undo that before I continue.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's All Here!

I finally received all my stash this week.

First up: I upgraded my Heartside Lap Stand (I use it more as a table stand) by adding a Stabilizer Bar and Adjustable Brackets. This means that I can now use my frame with Q-snaps and Stretcher bars. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did it was a snap. I've already used it this weekend and it's great. I'll have to try it with a Q-snap soon.

Lap Stand in Action
Second: I got stash from Thistle Needleworks. I found Joanne's blog and saw her version of Donna's Fantasy Lace and had to have it. It took me a while to track down a shop that had the pattern, but luckily Thistle Needleworks did. I spoke with the owner Judie and she put together everything I would need to stitch it. It's not like I needed more kits in my stash, but I really want to try out Hardanger.

Donna's Fantasy Lace kit

Third: Mary Corbet had written a review on a book called Guida al Ricamo Hedebo. I've been getting very curious about white work embroidery and pulled thread embroidery, so I decided to see if I can find myself a copy. Turns out Trilium Lace, located in Gatineau, Quebec, has a copy of the book in stock. I've been browsing their online catalog for months now, slowly building a list of things I'd like. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. Trilium Lace specializes in Bobbin Lace and Needle Lace, but also embroidery. They have a great selection of books that are imported and carry a lot of specialty items you'd need for lace making. I decided to get fabric to try out some Hardanger patterns before I tackle the kit and 2 books: Guida al Ricamo Hedebo and Beginner's guide to Hardanger by Jill Carter. Both seem to be hard to find, so if you've been looking for a copy, try contacting Trilium Lace.

I wish I could say that this marks the end of my stash enhancement for a while, but I already ordered another needle-minder from the Nimble Needle :P I couldn't help it, it was so cute.

Update 2014/06/05: I spoke too fast. I came home and found a package in the mail from Nimble Needle (I love that store). I paid for it last Friday and it was shipped right away. Plus, they have a $4.99 Flat shipping rate that doesn't exclude Canada , as so many stores do :(

Here it is next to my current progress:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Second Layer Completed and More

I managed to finished the second layer of the Octagon border. I was also able to finish the back-stitching that went in between the two layers.

Two layers with back-stitching
A closer look
I really enjoyed stitching with the #8 Perle Cotton and I love the shiny effect it gives. However, by the third octagon I was really ready to move on to other things.

I've already started the last layer on the Octagon border, this time it's the Tent Stitch. Hopefully, I'll have pictures by next week.