Sunday, February 10, 2019

An unplanned sampler start : Frances Burwell by The Examplarery

I started the Frances Burwell sampler by The Examplarery on a whim while watching the Australian Open tennis championships - didn’t like the idea of just sitting there in front of the TV and also needed a way to stay awake at the weird hours if I wanted to watch the games ‘LIVE’.  After enjoying stitching on Frances Burwell and watching the Australian Open tennis games I have been working on this sampler off and again. 

I had skipped to what for me were the more ‘boring and repetitious’ parts during the games and leaving the more interesting bands as an incentive for me to return to it so that it would not be relegated to the ‘WIP (works in progress) drawer’ and be one more thing ‘pending’ on my list of things to do.

I have been remiss in posting some things that would be worth sharing - it may help some of you ... I will in the near future I promise.  

At the moment I am finally getting all my own ducks in a row and need the time to think and plan my path again - just grateful that I now can finally do so like I used to without making any caveats anymore ... my hands and my stamina are finally on track so my mind is free of trying to reign in my ideas and compensate and be patient for a bit longer.

This sampler has proven itself to be a good one while busy organizing things in my stash and in my mind ... 
here are just some photos for you all to see the beauty of this sampler ... Joanne Harvey’s instructions make it fun and easy also for ‘distracted, tennis watching stitching’ !
A perfect solution for stitching from stash on a project that otherwise would have remained in my stash for a lot longer ...

Added on February 11,2019
Some of you have asked me here, via email and on Facebook messages as to where to get the kit.  I know that one could get it directly from Joanne Harvey but I purchased my kit directly from Colonial Williamsburg - you could call them or order online ( and then put the name of the sampler in their search area - it is hidden somewhere in their ‘for the home’ tab).  I am sure any brick and mortar shop or online shop in your area could order it for you too.  

Monday, December 24, 2018

Finished Sarah Braizear yesterday

Happy to report that I finally got motivated enough this past Friday,Saturday and Sunday afternoon to pick up and finish Sarah Braizear on Sunday evening at 6pm .
I will write in greater detail later - there are a number of areas that perhaps my comments could be helpful to others working on this or other simple cross stitch samplers.  And yes, I did not forget that I have not posted on other finishes or projects for quite a while.

Anyway,  here is a picture of my finished sampler - unrolled it and even on 40ct. Linen ( Zweigart/ color : Summer Khaki) it is a larger sampler.  The design size turns out to be about 24”x24”  and I wonder where I will find the wall space for all these finished samplers !
And,  I am sure that the people who follow this blog already know where this will be going for a long while - I will be adding it to my finished projects drawers - now 8 of them (!).  It is another area I have to address ... one of these days!

So here is my latest finish :

Wishing you all a healthy and peaceful time  - May you celebrate the last days of this year exactly the way you like !

Monday, August 13, 2018

Continuing on with Sarah Braizear - Fabric preparation

Life has a way to accelerate into ‘busyness’ without warning sometimes .... I don’t mind being busy at all ... It is in such times that the fun stitching and projects like Sarah make a lot of sense !
Some glimpses of the sampler as it progresses ... lots of motifs that can be used in so many ways ....
If one had the TIME and Leisure that is ! ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜Š

Progress photo as of August 1,2018
40ct Zweigart linen, color Summer Khaki
& AVAS silks as listed 
 I have been meaning to update this blog for a while now;  many of you have been asking me questions either directly via email or through Facebook Messenger and within the Facebook SAL (Stitch- A- Long) group as to how I did certain things.  I will address these questions in time I promise.

I only want to discuss how I started this project in this post since many are planning on starting their journey in the upcoming days.  Again, this is just one way I have used successfully in projects that have a lot of elements  and will be stitched on again, off again, many times when I am tired, or traveling ( e.g. Dutch Beauty by Permin which I also blogged about).
 I have found that taking  the time to prepare things well for such 'side projects' right from the beginning pays off in the long run ... I am more apt to then just place the project on my floor stand and stitch a motif or two in an evening, it is easier to work on it when distracted by watching tennis, easier to pack and take along when traveling.  Proper preparation usually is worth the effort, and in many ways provides a way to start understanding and noting things specific to the project ahead.

 I set up this project at a very busy time between meetings this past May just so I could take it along on a trip at the end of the month even though I suspected I would not be stitching much in the evenings.  In fact, I didn't put even one stitch in while away ... but that is another story all together... it is always reassuring to have needlework along anyway, so no regrets in taking it along.

Just for clarity,  I will concentrate on just how I prepared the fabric first - I will follow up shortly with other details on stands/organizers/light/tools etc.... many of you who follow my blog have already seen some of the ways I transport things, some of my favorite frames and tools anyway.  Again, the methods I used here are just one way; there are many ways,  and each way works, each approach has it's pros and cons.  So,  things started out like they always do when I work with linen... the first step is to inspect both sides of the fabric for any issues with the weave, dirt etc.  Then, I determine the weft and warp of the linen and verify the amount of linen I will need  - this means checking the math once more to make sure the stitch count is transferred to the linen count correctly and then quickly using the tape measure to make sure I have ample fabric and marking it off with pins.   Then I take one side of the linen (usually the side that is least frayed) and pull one fabric thread out, usually the weft side first... I pull the linen thread out slowly but deliberately- this then gives me a nice channel to cut the fabric in a straight line ... I stop about an inch away from the pin with my initial cut.  I then go back up to the freshly cut edge and measure out exactly how much width I need and adjust the pin.  I then pull out one thread outside the pinned area and cut down along this channel, parallel to the initial cut; this then establishes the width of the fabric.  I then measure and pin the length accurately  along both cut sides and adjust the initial pin;  again I pull the thread outside the pinned area and then cut down to this channel on both sides and then across.  I then fold the fabric in both directions to make sure that the sides are even and finger press the middle of each side about an inch or two towards the center.  I then use my serger to serge all four sides of the fabric.  One can use a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine or baste/hem the edge by hand.  I know that some stitchers like to use FrayCheck or even masking tape - I personally prefer not to use them.
Usually I iron the fabric at this time,but before doing so I verify the finger pressed midlines again to make sure the linen did not somehow get stretched etc... I am not as confident with sewing machines so it is just a good way to check myself.  After ironing I gently fold and mark the midline on all sides with pins,  then use the measuring tape to verify, then I follow the midlines down to the center of the fabric and mark it with pins in both directions.  Now I examine this center point to see if my cross stitch would be in the 'right' place. I want the first leg of a cross stitch (/) to start on the left of a vertical thread - this prevents the cross stitch from  'disappearing'  within the weave of the linen.  It also is a good guideline to always be able to check each stitch and quickly find a counting mistake.... I can 'feel' when the needle comes up in the wrong place just from the resistance /the way the needle acts when being poked through the linen.  I do this also if I am not planning to start in the center but on the upper left side (3 or 4" from the top and side edge).  I mark this correct stitch center point then with a short bit of thread in both directions thus establishing the adjusted center/ edge point.

So,  it was late in the evening after an all day meeting that I decided to do all this fabric preparation  - I was well aware that these were not the best conditions but I also wanted to put my first stitches in on Sunday (Mother's Day) since that would be the only day I would have time to make sure I got the project off to a good start.  My next step was to examine the multipage booklet to see how the center lines up with the design.  I usually just mark the center lines with basting/runnung stitches but this time decided to count out and mark the grid exactly so that it would correspond with the charted pattern.  It was a sure way not to miscount.  It was also the reason I started this project in the center - it makes sure you avoid running out of fabric because you miscounted or having uneven margins etc...  I chose to stitch the bee, then the stag and then extended my stitching to each side marking off the motives as I got to them;  I also chose to run basting lines marking each page - the motifs and the center line grids gave me two ways to cross check my count, again assuring me accuracy irrelevant of how tired I was.  On Facebook there were lots of comments on having borders meet etc - I had never worried about that before - ever - but now was curious if all of mine would (!) so my approach evolved.... I will get into this and a few other points next time since I am running out of time right now - the birds are already ushering the new day of the week.... just wanted to get this out since I had promised I would over the weekend.

Hope this was clear enough - if there are questions, please post in the comments below ....

you can see the grid and motif placement here

For the grid lines I just used Gรผtermann thread - there is special nylon thread specifically made for gridding - it allows for easy removal at the end.  I have that thread but was too tired and lazy that night to go upstairs to get it ... I always remove the basting threads as I get to them while stitching - I remove them  and stictch and then sometimes go back and stitch the grid over the motif to mark the spaces ....



Monday, July 16, 2018

Continuing on one last evening with Sarah Braizear sampler

Have to now get serious and move away from ‘fun summer projects’ and get back to my other projects....
This simple sampler proved to be a great project for watching sports on TV these past weeks although I didn’t get as much done thanks to the excellent tennis at Wimbledon this time....

Got a lot done anyway - one last evening with this project tonight and then it will only be a project I will work on 1 or 2 evenings a month after a day at the office.... hard to leave this be though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Can't wait for the USOpen Tennis championships to start soon ๐ŸŽพ

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Update on Sarah Braizear

Stitching update : 
I am continuing on with Sarah Braizear 1829 while watching Wimbledon....  just noticed something - posting on my Facebook page and my blog also for those of you not in the SAL but who have the chart .... I will update this once Nicola has had a chance to clarify this.

...need clarification on color placement ...
came across what might be a discrepancy between what is charted and the color picture ...

picture of sampler in chart booklet

Post script : colors are correct as charted; It is just the way the light reflects off the silk threads.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ten day Progress on Sarah Braizear sampler

Just a quick post on my intermittent stitching while watching recordings of tennis championships and horse races.... stitching can be described as being  'interrupted' or 'intermittent'  at best because the caliber of play in the tennis championships has been extraordinary and watching the races at Ascot has been entertaining.  It is interesting to see how technology has given us easy access to watching the heart, passion, dedication to excellence in so many fields... music, art, sports - all areas where details matter just like in needlework.  They are perfect arenas to see how much can be achieved by the human mind and spirit if we choose to focus our minds and thoughts.
In any case, this simple cross stitch sampler has proven to be a good choice for summer stitching  - it is a good way to just 'cruise' and allow the mind to just plan and think through priorities regarding future needlework projects.  I was initially planning to work this sampler systematically but that became a bit too boring at times because of the repetition of motifs (slight differences) since it is a fairly symmetrical sampler,  so I decided to establish the perimeters and some other areas and just be a bit free with my approach.... enjoying the 'freedom' of this approach for the moment!
From the center to the right side

From the center to the left side

 From the left center to the bottom left border

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Summer Travel project

Materials gathered and packed for ‘travel’ ... well, had a busy time with lots of travel since and I managed to start the project in between meetings at home and take it along BUT no stitching was done at all ! It is okay though... my plan to have this as a side project is still in place - one day a month and during ๐ŸŽพ tennis ๐ŸŽพ
Chart and AVAS silks and 40ct Zweigart Summer Khaki

I will post updates on this shortly.  It is a larger sampler in simple cross stitch - kind of nice to have a simple project to fall back on during busy times.  I have plenty of simpler projects in my stash but got caught up in the excitement generated on Facebook;  it didn't help that I saw the chart before it had officially been released at a needlework store - it was still being price tagged etc.  but the design reminded me of how much fun I had had working on Dutch Beauty last year.  The stag is an age old motif and I have always enjoyed stitching it on other reproduction samplers, my own sampler designs and crewel work pieces...

Summer is upon us - the wild roses perfuming the air,  great tennis on TV, and the birds, frogs and crickets herald the progression of the seasons.... hope you are all enjoying each day and getting a bit of stitching in too!