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 ! 😅😊
|Progress photo as of August 1,2018|
40ct Zweigart linen, color Summer Khaki
& AVAS silks as listed
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 Gütermann 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 ....