This is my (reboot) newest gigantic WIP. Mirabilia’s “Enchanted Mermaid”. I started it in Spring, 2012 but really didn’t work on it over the summer, well, because it was summer! This is my second attempted Mirabilia piece. The first was “Winter Queen” but I abandoned it. The reason I gave up was that I was still more of a novice back then but have built up more experience and confidence leading up to this pattern. This one, though, I cannot wait to see finished with all of the fancy treasure beads and seed beads, etc. I dyed the fabric but really kept it super light though….I was afraid of ruining it. Since I am back in University full time now, I can only limit my cross stitch time while I am listening to audiobooks for school to maximize my time.
Although the white Amaryllis is the focus, I really liked this design because it includes ivy.
I believe each picture is so unique and so different to each person who views it. Now some of you may love the Amaryllis way more than the ivy, or neither, or just like the pot.
When stitching, what matters is that you really enjoy the picture you are creating because, in my opinion, you are putting in a lot of personal hours to shape the finished product and take pride in the outcome right?
However, there have been several WIPs I’ve abandoned that were failed experiments or I had too many frogging episodes (that’s where you keep ripping out stitches incorrectly placed in the design).
Do I regret leaving some work behind never to return? Nope, not at all. And yes, I thought I would love the design when I started but the process became arduous and dull. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Enjoying the process could almost be more important as the result. I say the same thing when I go clothes shopping: “do I love it?” No? Then don’t buy it. The cliched saying, “life is too short” holds true for not loving what you are doing, buying, wearing, etc. By mentally performing the “do I love it?” self-check you save yourself a lot of remorse. It’s okay to leave something behind if it doesn’t work for you because then there’s room for something new, fantastic, and truly enjoyable.
Shape. Biomorphic shapes represent biological or organic things. I really like these Lollipop Flowers because of the exaggerated circles which still look natural on top of the soft-edged rectangle backdrop. They kind of look like fried egg flowers or futuristic mums.
Although the pattern calls for DMC threads, instead of following the colours exactly, what I did was find what threads I have on hand that is close to the model and experiment. So far so good. I used 2 threads over 4 squares and a variety of solids and overdyed ‘The Gentle Art’, ‘Weeks Dye Works’, and ‘Crescent Colours’ and I think it is working out well. It looks like a have a new and different picture which is a bit refreshing because I am not sure exactly how it will end up. A bit of a surprise I guess. Kind of cool!
Although it is hard to see, I dyed the brown fabric with a slightly darker brown to see what kind of effect of one colour on top of another. It is almost too subtle. In fact, if I did not tell you about the dye, you probably may or may not have noticed. However, despite the failed dye experience, the upside is that if you never experiment you will never learn what works and what does not work (generally and catering to your own personal tastes).
Now, having said earlier about not following the pattern, I have nothing against stitching the pattern exactly as suggested especially if you have a kit because it would defeat the purpose of buying a kit. However, if you have your own fabric (no matter what colour), separate floss (no matter what kind/colour), and some intrigue and imagination you can create your own picture that is unique and wholly individual that is not only a one-of-a-kind but a treasured piece from the didactic experience (didactic = intending to teach).
Hello fellow stitchy enthusiasts! It has been some time hasn’t it? How are you? Me? Not bad thank you. There have been a few changes and sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. I can tell you that I think this is truly, well…..true.
Full-circle change back to sameness can be good or bad. Sorry if I seem a bit cryptic. I really do not mean to be because as I am writing this I am thinking about my recent sacrifices seeking change and found a lot of no change at the end of it. Wow. I feel satisfied yet at the same time am experiencing a little of ‘now what-i-ness?’ type-thinking going on. Have you ever felt the same or similar?
You may be asking so what does what I just mentioned have anything to do with my cross stitch? Well, let me tell ya! 🙂
One thing I really like about this picture is not only the design but the concept behind Frankenstein and his bride. Both had experienced something that transformed them from something inanimate to animated. In their case, it is electricity. So I am thinking, well, what kind of jolt is needed in my life to reinvigorate and re-animate my life? See where I’m going with this?
With M. Ali’s recent passing, one of his quotes really stood out to me where he said “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Where does courage come from though? Do you get this kind of strength from other people? From yourself? Is courage about being different or trying different things? Jeez, I really do not know. Do you?
This cross stitch fabric was dyed by me using Dylon dye on about 18-ct. Aida cloth, stitched 3 over 1, and specialty threads used: DMC Precious metal effects E317, DMC Antique effects 415, DMC S414, DMC S762, and Kreinik fine braid #8 101.
Alfonse Mucha is probably one of the most recognized Art Nouveau artists out there and has yet to be surpassed. Originally from the Czech Republic he lived from 1860-1939 and left behind a legacy of organically-styled paintings made for commercial advertising.
His neoclassical look takes on a slightly ethereal style using long-haired females with shapely figures, flowing hair, billowing fabric and sensual flowers. Mucha’s feminine elements make his work ever so softly enchanting and also seems to draw in the viewer’s eyes into a fantastical world that only appears to exist for only for the briefest moment you are looking at the picture. His work is currently showcased in Prague at the Baroque Kaunický Palace. I have not been there and since I love Mucha’s work so much I hope to visit there one day soon. Are you an art gallery type of gal or guy? How many different places have you been to or are you overdue for a little culture and diversity?
As far as fine art, I’ve been to the AGO in Toronto, ON; MOMA in NYC, NY; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA; the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg; FL and have seen M.C. Esher’s work in Acton, OH during a tour. I’m sure I’m missing a few from this list.
As much as I love art and art galleries, and it would be awesome to visit them all I’d like to also make a personal pilgrimage to every planetarium out there. Planetariums seem to give more of an overall visual and audio experience than just a viewing experience (I mean, c’mon hey, there is only so much staring at paintings and sculptures one can do in a day right?) Visiting the Strasenburgh Planetarium was one of my best childhood memories growing up and I was very sad that Toronto closed the McLaughlin Planetarium many, many years ago. But I digress…..
Here is a little trivia for you: if you have watched or still watch the sitcom “Three’s Company” from the 80s, there are a total of 3 Mucha paintings in the apartment (but only 2 are visible in the majority of the episodes and the third is…well, guess you’ll have to keep an eye out won’t you?). Do you know the name of the British sitcom that “Three’s Company” is based on? And….can you spot the Muchas? :o)
About the cross stitch: The fabric is 28-count white evenweave and the finished size is 9.45” x 23.62” and is part of Lanarte’s Classic Collection kit including all threads and one needle.
Key West, Bahamas, opening scene (of Malibu) on Two and A Half Men as well as the lilting song spot of “By The Sea” in the movie Sweeney Todd. All of the aforementioned scenes features glimpses of cute cottages or handsome homes near the ocean front. Although in reality, it would be nice to own 11 islands like the magician David Copperfield and have as many fun sand huts as I want but, for now, this is all I can manage at the moment LOL 🙂
What is really nice about this piece is that it captures the essence of the sun, sand and breeze with no hint of corporate, clock-driven, hectic “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” schedule and so far I have not found anything “too” about it.
You’ve heard of the art form of “too-ism” right? No? Sure you have…”It’s too hot outside”…”I’m too full”…”She’s too (?)”…”He’s too (?)”…”It’s too spicy”…”Oh, I don’t do it too often”…”It’s too expensive”…”School’s too hard”…”The mountain’s too high”…etc. (Maybe that’s why the game show “The Price is Right” has lasted beyond Bob Barker?)
Seriously though, it seems (to me) that if anything is “too” in either a minimizing or maximizing fashion we seem to re-direct our attention towards something or someone that is not “too” much of anything in order to seek a comfortable equilibrium (with the exception of excess and pleasure until the after-effects kick in and the “too” cycle starts all over again). We’ve alllllll been there! 🙂
So, as I was saying, this cross stitch project isn’t too hard or too difficult and despite that it is a larger piece, it has been very enjoyable to work on (with the exception of the time that I ripped out a lot of correct stitches that I miscounted as a result of being too tired…yeah, that realization wasn’t pretty :0))
The finished piece will be 18″ x 7″ on 14-count white cotton Aida (22″ x 11″). This is a kit, so all of the floss is provided along with an organizer and two needles. One for stitching and one for couching. What’s couching? Just fancy stitching on top of already fancy stitching for artistic effect.
As this work develops, you may notice a few details such as the light source (of the sun) seems to be of late afternoon (maybe 2-4 p.m.?) with a gentle wind travelling from west to east that you’ll see compliment the direction of the sailboats, flying kite and swaying grasses.
Are pigs really that big of a deal around here? Like with March 1st coming up and being National Pig Day (USA midwest) and all….
While I think about March 1st and why it has been declared a National Pig Day, I will have to piggyback this idea off of another while I put my pigs in a blanket in the oven.
I wonder if my friend will like his birthday present of “101 Manly Uses for Bacon”? I put his present down next to my books of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, E.B. White’s ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and ‘The Three Little Pigs’ to wrap up and send to him a little later.
As I sit at the kitchen table and sip my coffee, I watch the neighbour’s boys toss around the pigskin for a while. Then I go into the other room and turn on the TV for a bit and see all of Jerry Springer’s guests hurl pig-phrased obscenities at each other for about a minute (which is all I can stand).
Maybe I should clean up the house so it doesn’t look like a pig sty even though I’d be happier than a pig in sh*t if I didn’t and just sat around and ate like a pig though. Ah, so what if I become fat as a pig? Later, I’ll just become a guinea pig and try a new diet next month or something.
What’s that loud noise outside? Oh, it’s just someone on their HOG driving by, I guess that person is living pretty high off the hog if they can afford a motorcycle like a Harley Davidson. Meh, hogwash, those motorcycles aren’t that expensive I guess.
My friend ‘so-and-so’ is calling me and she tells me about squealing on her friend at school while she confesses that it’s all really just hog slop. She says she has to go because she has to play a DVD for her kid about Winnie the Pooh and his pal Piglet. We finish talking and after the baking is done I decide to go hog wild and buy up a lot of left over chocolate from Valentine’s Day. I changed into my Miss Piggy/Muppets sweater then put my hair up into pigtails and got into the car.
While I’m driving to the store, I start to think about “This little piggy went to market…” I’m sitting at the light and I look over and see another car’s passenger hamming it up by telling some animated story to her driver. I drive past a billboard promoting the movie Babe with the phrase in bold letters “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”
After shopping, I’m waiting in line and take out my cell phone to watch some old Looney Tunes cartoons with Porky Pig. And of course, like a pig in a poke I give in to a few temptations of buying some magazines without really flipping through them first. As I leave the store I thought about that outfit I saw but thought if I bought it, it would make me look like I was making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear because it wasn’t my style.
As I’m driving home, there is a lot of traffic because of road hogs and I wanted to change into another lane but the other driver wouldn’t let me in and let me know it by yelling out “in a pig’s eye!”
Once home, I put my spare change in my piggy bank and see my boyfriend is completely hogging the couch because he has a touch of the swine flu and is tired from bringing home the bacon. I’m wearing a sweater that is too hot so I’m sweating like a pig and take it off and after sitting down I realize that I just cannot figure out why March 1st is National Pig Day. Maybe when pigs fly it will come to me.
This cross stitch was made on 14-count Aida cloth and dyed with black RIT dye and bleach washes to lighten the fabric.
This piece is stitched on a 28-count Ivory-coloured Lugana cloth, dyed with Dylon’s Velvet Black and stitched with one thread over one. The dyed piece’s dappled effect reminded me of the moon’s surface at a magnified level and I found the pattern to match after the dye experiment.
If you are not entirely familiar with your different cloth types for stitching just yet, Lugana cloth is an evenweave fabric. Evenweave looks like a piece of graph paper and Lugana is a smaller version of Aida cloth, which is a larger evenweave. The nice thing about working with an evenweave fabric is that it provides an easier way to count your stitching against the pattern, allow for overall stress-free stitch placement, and nice uniformity.
What makes Lugana different than Aida is not only the size difference (Aida is typically 14, 16, 18, or 22) and Lugana has a higher count such as 25 or 28 but there is also a texture and dye-ability difference which I will get into in a bit.
But what do all these numbers mean? Well, just like your computer monitor or TV, the more squares or dots per inch means a higher or stronger resolution and the less squares per inch means, well, it looks more blocky the bigger it gets (Minecraft is a good model). Think of micro (small) vs. macro (big). So, for example, in this piece there are 28 stitches per one inch. The pattern size is 77H x 163W. H = height and W = width.
By doing a little math, you can figure out how big or small your work will be. For example, let’s divide 77 into 28 and 163 into 28. Remember we are still working in inches, so the design will be 2.75”H and 5.82”W on a piece of 28-count Lugana cloth. The size of the cloth I am using is 5” x 14” which is important to know as you need to have an extra few inches around your design. If you don’t have a few extra inches of fabric around your design, you run the risk of it unravelling or making it hard to stitch and/or frame. See how it works? It’s called scalability.
Getting back to the graph paper example, it would translate to 28 squares per inch and in the case of a TV or computer monitor 28 dots or pixels per inch (dpi or ppi).
So, why isn’t there an Aida cloth that has a 25 or 28 count then? It’s the ingredients used to make the cloth. Aida is made out of 100% cotton which is of course good right? It is but only to a degree. The cotton fibers are too large to work with after a 22-count and the evenweave openings look more like pinholes instead of uniform squares making it very difficult to work with as far as stitching may go.
In order to get around this problem, Lugana cloth reduces the amount of the cotton blend and increases an intermingling of part viscose rayon. The combination is roughly a 50/50 split give or take a 1%-2% difference between the blends. Viscose is plant fiber and viscous rayon is plant fiber that goes through an additional chemical process to smooth out the fibers a bit more. With smoother and more refined fiber, smaller weaves can be achieved. The overall texture between Lugana and Aida is smoother/flatter versus slightly coarser and raised fibers respectively.
As you may have already guessed, plant fiber and cotton fiber absorb water and/or dye differently which definitely has an impact on your specific or experimental dye job of creating artistic-looking cloth for the background of your work. Cotton will absorb liquid more quickly and rayon will slightly repel liquid before absorption. Picking out the right cloth is a combination of personal preference and technical requirement for the piece you wish to wonderfully create and both fabrics are lovely to work with in their own special way.
As a few of us begin to move from the Spring of our lives into the next season, sometimes we just start to…change and change without prior warning. Hey! What’s up with that???
Now you may or may not be thinking that this solely relates to age but I believe that there could be more.
Maybe the ‘more’ is a cross-pollination of thoughts and ideas made from your own eye and ear observations, or others’ opinions massaging and assaulting you, or your own positive and negative experiences producing a different hybrid flowering of your own perceptions.
Or how about this: it is the accumulation of life struggles that instead looks like a savings account built by pennies of experience locked away somewhere to be drawn from at a later and more convenient time.
But if you’re more favourable to the maturity thing, I know I’ve come across several people younger and older than me that are more insightful than someone double in age from me or themselves.
It’s fascinating what triggers a transitional shift that touches off a new period of where we think we are and where we believe we are going.
Where are you in your life right now? No, seriously, where ARE you?
Me? It appears that my life is taking shape based on the late Charles Bukowski’s prose. I recently withdrew my application from a potential government-based position after 14 weeks into the process and remain on the cusp of finishing my degree and have 5 courses left (one full-time term). Five doesn’t sound like a lot but please believe me when I say it’s the equivalent of two full-time jobs (and without pay).
Since making the firm decision of going back to university FT in 2012, please believe me when I tell you that I hit every xylophone bar of different emotions between the academic process and the strain of sacrifice for the illusion or real security of a greater good.
The range moved back and forth from happiness, satisfaction, frustration, exasperation, feeling fed up/beat up, renewed, defeated, broken, healed, “jailed” and “on parole” (from school terms of course and not the penal system), feeling successful, feeling like a failure, satisfied, scared, euphoric, depressed, feeling invisible to feeling seen and recognized, losing self-esteem, gaining insight, and all at the same time it’s as if I ran a marathon while standing still for the last few years.
During school, I lost one of my pets due to long-term illness, and for a while almost lost a parent too for similar reasons. No amount of care, compassion, or support will ever completely stall the status of someone’s else life or death situation. It’s a different season that sits just outside the regular calendar (for all of us I guess..).
So maybe you’re in the same situation as me where you may be parachuting down from some remote point and the ground is now coming into focus but are unsure which direction you should head into once you land.
After school is complete I would love to move somewhere new and start a unique and different life (been researching 1-2 states in particular). It seems that I have already done and experienced everything I can where I am now.
However, I have never been much of a mover from home to home (no really, I should change my name to Stonehenge ha ha). I feel terrified to make a huge change on my own and yet all the while worry about the regret from letting fear take the lead keeping my life on ice and do nothing.
Have you ever felt this way? Do you know anyone with or without regrets over life changes? Is there anything that makes you feel fearful that you want to get past?
A small note about the cross stitch, I dyed the linen piece with green, yellow, and blue RIT dye using brush strokes and the fabric count is between 28-32 pt.
Iconography. You know who this is without me giving any “deets” (details) which I think is kind of cool actually.
That is the beauty in seeing an image and understanding who or what it represents and all of its associations without an explicit explanation. If you have ever read a Dan Brown book: think Robert Langdon.
This is my first experimental design (I have a grand total of 2 btw) that has ever made it to cross stitch completion and I am glad it is still a “back burner” thing because it is very, very time consuming and frankly not very easy LOL.
There is a lot of agony that comes from finalizing details and design (fashion designers unite and groan all together!) ha ha.
As an example, for those of you who know your shoes, I was hemming and hawing over whether to add socks to be sported with the Mary Janes. Am I right? Small, yet important detail.
But the main reason that I wanted to post this is that I wanted to show now matter how a small an idea or big of a desire anyone has, you can make it real and it does not have to be perfect on the first go.
Now this may apply to you differently and in your own way but whatever your dreams are, start small and try and take some steps to make it real and see how it goes. You can always change your mind 🙂 But challenges are good (e.g. “ahem”…linen vs. aida/evenweave..”ahem”).
So, this micro cross stitch is just that….very tiny (1.5″ high) and at the time of making it (at night) it was a little tricky to see good placement for back stitching (Ottlite was too far away).
Although I did not mark this remnant, I believe this is a 22-count Aida cloth that I cut up from a larger bolt and experimented with green RIT dye (I still have to try Kool-Aid, coffee and tea and see the different outcomes).
Instead of dipping it in a wash, I just used a paint brush and painted from the bottom up and also from side to side in one application.
So hey, now I can say I have designed and “published” my first cross stitch picture. I can’t wait to hear about and see some of the steps that you are taking in your life for your desires to come true too!