Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Canada !!

I have been wanting to post a 2 sided biscornu for quite some time, and have been playing with the idea of contrasting sides.  I had also been thinking of posting the free bee I designed as a needlecase to accompany one of my Chair Necessaire designs, Graphite.
So all these ideas were thrown into the melting pot, and what you see is the result.  I have added maple leaves and stitched it in red and white to give it a very Canadian appeal.  Click here for the pattern.  Stitch it twice, once with red on white and again with white on red.  The fabric and threads are available in the shop; we have pre-cut 7" x 7" pieces of 28ct Lugana, for $2.00 a piece.

If red and white is not your colour choice, you could also stitch in autumn colours, such as rust and cream; it is a leaf after all.

Finishing Instructions:

With both squares stitched trim away the excess fabric.  
Cut beyond backstitched line approximately 8-10 fabric threads or 1/4" to 1/2".

Match the corner of one fabric square to the middle of one side of the other fabric square.  Secure your thread to the back, knotting it into the backstitched line.  Then bring the needle up through the hole in the corner of the backstitched edge. 

Slip under the first backstitch to the left of the corner you just came out of.  Then pass beneath the centre backstitch on the other piece.  Finger press the fabric edges along the backstitched line and match up the backstitch from one fabric square to the other. 
Whip-stitch the sides together by slipping under the backstitches.  
Do not pierce the fabric.
Continue until you reach the corner of the square, of which you started in the middle of the side.
Finger press and fold  fabric around the corner.  Match up the backstitches and continue whip-stitching the sides together by slipping under the backsitches. 
 Continue sewing around the biscornu in this zig-zag pattern until only one side remains open.
Carefully stuff the biscornu using pillow stuffing or fiberfill.  Make sure the corners are well stuffed.  Finger press the centre to preview the finished effect and if you like the fullness of the biscornu.
When satisfied with the fullness of the biscornu, whip-stitch the last side closed.
Thread your needle with Dental Floss.  Dental floss is very strong and the knots will not slip when pulling the thread tight.
Bring your needle up through the centre of the Biscornu and then stitch through to the other side again.  Stitch the same path again ensuring not to stitch through the same hole but close to the centre.

Pull tightly and knot using a square knot.  Stitch both dental floss ends through to the other side again, pull tightly and knot again.  
The dimple in the Biscornu is now secure.

Sewing on the shank button.
With one of the dental floss ends sew through the shank hole of your button.  Tie the dental floss ends tightly under the head of the button with a square knot.

Thread both dental floss ends through your needle and pull these ends through the centre to the other side of the Biscornu.

Sew your second button into place with a square knot.  Pull dental floss again through to the other side.  Push button aside  and carefully trim ends.

And there you have it, you're all done !!!!
Congratulations; it looks great

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary !!

This past week, my husband and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  On Tuesday I was surprised in the shop with the delivery of a beautiful bouquet of a dozen long stemmed red roses.  How wonderful they look in my kitchen bay window.  I will be enjoying them over the next  week or so.

Wanting to share these wonderful roses with all of you, I have embedded a chart below of a dozen roses.  I had originally designed this pattern for Gitta's 20th Anniversary 5 years ago. Gitta's is a fully stocked cross stitch / needlepoint shop I run with my mother, Gitta.

Click here for roses that will last forever!
Enjoy,  Kathrin

Friday, June 17, 2011

What's in a Sampler ?

Take a closer look !!
Samplers have educated, influenced and inspired us through the ages.
During the 18th century and earlier, samplers were used to teach young girls the art of stitching and their ABC's.   Parent's would hang these in the parlor, so prospective suitors could see that their daughters were educated and accomplished needlewomen.  These were skills the girls would need for their married life.   Each country and even different regions of a single country would have a limited number of fonts and motifs available for the girls to show their creativity and skill. These motifs were basically only those that their teacher would have collected throughout her life.  During their married lives their sampler became a sample of motifs, borders, and stitches that could be copied onto clothing and household linens.   They would also share these with other women in their community, and certain regions became known for their unique style of patterns.

With the industrial revolution it became less important for women to hand sew and embroider.  Girls were still taught how to stitch, but as women would enter the work force embroidery became something only for the young or privileged.

Today it is the accomplished embroiderer that tackles these samplers of old, originally stitched by 8 to 11 year old girls.  Some of these historical samplers are loved and treasured through the generations as a family heirloom, many are also found in museums and some even discarded in antique shops.  Some have the motifs and specialty stitches beautifully arranged  and on others they are scattered.  My theory is that these pieces must have been a type of doodle cloth, onto which the embroiderer would have practiced or copied a new stitch or motif from other women she would have visited.  It is thanks to these women that these patterns are available to us today.

We first came across Hannah Beeby's sampler in the shop.  One of our customers, a descendant of Hannah's sister, Sarah, wanted to have the sampler re-framed, so it may be enjoyed for many more generations.  We all fell in love with it, and were permitted to chart the sampler.  Ietje, one of our instructors in the shop set out to chart and research the sampler.  It was through her efforts that Hannah and the sampler's history can be appreciated by many.  Ietje stitched her sampler in Splendor silk with colours that closely matched the original colours.  Ietje's sampler hangs in the shop, and the pattern leaflet, Hannah Beeby 1816 Sampler (TD-8), is available through Gitta's.

A sampler is much more than a framed picture, it is a sample or collection of stitches, of alphabet fonts, of design motifs.  It is a representation of the stitcher's family, many girls would add their name and age, as well as the names of  their family members.  Thus the sampler becomes a written  history.  It is a sample of a  woman's worth, of her creativity and skill. 

It is the samplers of old that we appreciate today,  but it is our samplers that will become the heirlooms of tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Key's done!

I had a hard time making up my mind if I should blend the gold with the variegated silk or not, as the variation within the silk was not that visible. But not wanting to ignore my own instructions I stitched it as directed on the pattern (posted in my June 3rd blog).  And then it dawned on me, the key chain is clear, so rather than seeing the back of my stitching I decided to stitch it again using two strands of silk and omitting the gold.  The handle is unchanged, but I flipped the teeth to the other side of the key shaft, and the initials I stitched in 1 strand of the gold on the other side.  Now with both completed,  I still can’t make up my mind which I like more.

Lay the key chain opening over the stitched piece to mark the cut line, by pulling out those linen threads.   
Then run a bead of Fray Check along the track created by pulling out the linen thread.  As a warning - be careful Fray Check does not dry clear.   I cut off  too much of the bottle tip, and too much liquid flowed out at once.

The Fray Check soaked into the linen beyond my cut line.  So I dabbed Fray Check over the entire fabric. Fray Check, once dry stiffens the fabric so before it dries pull on the linen to straighten it.


Once dry, you can cut along the track that was created when you pulled out the linen thread, without the fabric fraying.  


When all cut out, lay the two pieces back to back, insert into the key chain, and push cover into place.

And here it is all done.
P.S. At Stitch night this evening (Wednesday, June 8, 2011) we came up with a few suggestions regarding the key chain, and I wanted to share these with you : 
1) Instead of Fray Check, white glue could be applied with a tooth pick.  The white glue will dry clear. 
2) I had thought about using perforated paper, as it can be cut to size without fraying.  However, I had needed a 20 stitch count/ inch.  Depending on the stitch count of your design it may fit into the key chain on 14ct Perforated paper
3)  There are 4 different key chain shapes available at Gitta's.  These can be viewed on Gitta's website and are $2.95 each.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A weekend of Stitching

Heading up north for the weekend.
Of course the first thing I have to pack is my stitching bag.
This is our first Cottage weekend this year, so it will be a working weekend as well.  All the garden furniture, and gazebo have to be set up.  I'm hopeful that between all the Cottage chores I'll get some stitching done -  I know I won't run out of projects to stitch.

I needlepoint in the car, and with my Coffee pillow finished I needed a new needlepoint project ( not that I don't have any at home).  One of the shipments that arrived this week were silk screned double weave canvases from Europe.  I loved them all, but the colours in this one will look great in my sitting area off of the kitchen.  Another shipment that has recently arrived in the shop is of needleart tools and keychains.  I searched through the shop for some cute little house or car design that would fit into one of the key chain openings.  Then it hit me, the perfect motif would be a key.  So why not design one quickly to take with me?  Click here for this origianl key design.
Of course the Garden Fair sampler has to be taken, and my final project I am taking is my little surprise for all of you on Canada Day.  I had been working on this over the past week, but then the key chains arrived.
Other projects that I have been working on lately are the NeedleWorkers MarketPlace website for April 14-15, 2012, the new Designer Collaboration Sampler for the Market, my exclusive workshop for Gitta's Getaway 2012, and the mate for my Coffee design, Tea.  But I decided to take this weekend off from all of that and stitch! How fun is that!  Have a great weekend.

I'll post the photo of my key chain next week, with the finishing instructions.