Happy Veterans Day!

No stitching news today, just a heartfelt happy Veterans Day to all who served, and thank you for your service!

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More uncovered treasures!

I was cleaning out files from a file cabinet in the course of my attempt at office organization, and found yet more treasures. This time, it was a couple of file boxes of stitched samples.

I took a class at a stitching festival a long long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away – wait a minute, that’s a different story unrelated to stitching! Anyway, it was the kind of class that really appealed to me, lots of different stitches but no specific project. At the time I was interested in learning as many stitches as I could (still am, but now that I’ve learned a few thousand there are fewer to learn!). The class was offered by Margaret Lee Riegel, and I don’t remember if I took more than one class at that time, or took additional classes later. Nevertheless, I know I took more than one because I have the evidence.

The class was a very unique one, and I’ve not seen it repeated at other venues. There were 20 or so cards, each with a different stitch diagram, and a window cut out so you could mount your stitched example.

Here are several of the cards. Each one has Margaret Lee’s logo, the stitch name, a description of the stitch, and a place to record how the sample was stitched.

This is the inside of one of the cards. You can instantly see what a wonderful resource this is: you can see the back of the stitched sample, a thorough description of how to do the stitch (and in this case, step by step through the stitch journey), then a wonderful diagram of the stitch. Each card also has the copyright info (was it really 20 years ago?).

I did several of these, and stored them in a card box:

This will probably give you an idea of the size of each card. And, you can see how many I crammed into the box! And it’s not the only box of these that I have!

I don’t know if any of these are still available, or even if Margaret Lee is still designing/teaching, but these were so fabulous and so unique I thought you’d like to see them.

Next time I’ll show you how I adapted the idea for myself.

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Uncovered treasures

In the course of our move I’ve found some things that I had forgotten, and thought you might like to see them as well.

Years and years ago, before I became a designer but after I discovered something beyond cross stitches, I wanted to learn how to do different stitches. There are tons of resources for stitchers who want to go beyond where they are. At the time, I was driving an hour and a half one way to go to my “local” needlework store, and I found this lovely little resource:

What a wonderful little thing! Each stitch was beautifully illustrated, one to a page:

This is just an example of one of the stitches. The numbers at the beginning of the stitch are clear, with a little text to explain how to do the stitch. The copyright info is on each little page as well, along with a number (lower right) for each stitch. The cards on rings made it easy to flip to each stitch and turn the other cards back while working on the stitch. The small size made it really easy to slip into my stitching bag as well.

So, what did I do with this marvelous resource? I decided to create a stitched visual for each stitch, and put it in a band sampler:

I selected an overdyed thread, I’m pretty sure it was Caron Collection Waterlilies, then some thread to go with that overdyed. I also stitched the number of each stitch, so I could readily refer back to the ring if I needed to know the name of the stitch. I finished it into a bell pull so I could hang it over my desk, as an easy reference to stitches.

This was a most useful exercise for a number of reasons, even for someone who isn’t a designer (remember that I wasn’t when I did this sampler).

  1. Practical knowledge of a variety of stitches – it’s one thing to look at a stitch reference resource, another thing entirely to actually stitch it with real threads.
  2. Learning how to combine a row of stitches – this may seem obvious, but frequently in a stitch reference resource no information is given on how to get from one stitch to the next. Actually stitching a row of a single stitch gives that practical info that is sometimes missing in a reference. Do I need to alter the direction of a stitch to have the right pull on the next stitch? Will the carry threads show (especially when stitching a row of eyelets or other pulled stitch)?
  3. Learning to make adjustments – I had to decide how many threads to allow between each row, between each stitch (or have the stitches share holes), color placement, number of strands – in short, a whole lot of design decisions even though it wasn’t my design. Did this stitch look best with 2 strands or 3? Which color is most effective? Is this a good choice for an overdyed? In short, a process that helped me later when I started designing.
  4. A ready reference – anyone who stitches will sometimes encounter a project that isn’t as well diagrammed as we’d like, or with incomplete information. A reference like this fills in those gaps.

I’ve done other stitch resources like this and will share more later, but for today, here’s a wonderful idea for every stitcher. Pull out a stitch reference guide, some spare fabric and stash threads, and make your own stitch reference.

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Office progress – almost there!

I’ve been diligently working to get my office/studio in good working order, and I’m almost there.

I have a comfortable recliner to sit in while working on my computer, and for stitching. (Note: the Sheltie sleeping is not a permanent fixture!) I still have a few boxes to unpack and get my sewing machine/serger together, but we’re close.

I have my thread cabinets all lined up. I need to go through them to do some culling and organizing, but they’re usable as is for the time being.

It’s amazing how much thread I have, and yet I still have trouble finding just exactly the right thing for the current project!

My working table is set up on a cushioned mat, which makes it easier to stand and put kits together, or cut canvas, or bind the edges of the canvas.

I still have to go through A LOT of the tubs lined up against the wall. I’ve been through some of them, and have managed to get rid of some things, but I still need to get through the rest of them. One box at a time!

For now, I have a nice workable space. It looks a bit cluttered still, but I’ll get that in hand eventually. I still have to set up my video space, and I’m eager to do that so I can move on to the next projects I’m wanting to do. But progress has been made!

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Making progress in the chaos

I’ve started moving some things around and planning the organization for my new office space. It’s very slow going!

The first thing I did was to move all of my tubs of models. I have over 200 models, and need some place to store them. Only a couple of them are framed, so hanging them is not really an option. And, I can’t get rid of them. Maybe someday, but not today!

I started with the models because I knew what I was going to do with them. The rest of the stuff, not so much.

The next thing I tackled was the stores of printed charts (not a whole lot since I print on demand), threads for kits, kit supplies, and some other things. And I discovered something very important: it’s more important that I bring about some order, than culling and getting rid of stuff. I can do that another time, a little at a time. Right now, I need to get things off the floor, in some semblance of order, so I can move some furniture and tables around. Some of the furniture is going to different rooms, and tables are being swapped from one room to another. My husband’s office needs to be brought to order as well as mine. So I revamped my priorities a little, just to get things stored away. I was able to empty several boxes, combine some things and get rid of some things, just not the wholesale cleansing that’s needed.

So the racks now contain my printed charts, supplies for kits and some other things that will be gone through later. The red containers at the end are my rolls of canvas. The large cabinet will contain beading supplies and some other things eventually. Progress is being made!

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