Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tin finish

Recently I finished "Lorri's Heart" Tin for a friends birthday.

It looks very pretty and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out as it's the first piece I've finished as a tin top. My friend really liked it too.

I got the design as a kit with everything I needed, including the tin. The first step was to stitch the top as normal. At this point I discovered some really horrible silky thread in the kit that was absolutely awful to stitch with. I'm not even completely certain what it was - in one place it's referred to as White Silk Mori and elsewhere as Creme Silk from Needle Necessities.

Whatever it was, it was really horrible to stitch with - the strands kept separating and slipping out of my needle and turning into a yucky fluffy tangle! However, as I'm fairly new to stitching with silk, I've no other white silk in my stash. I therefore persevered as I wanted to retain the effect of the sheen of the silk.

I also found that the chart could potentially be misleading as one of the symbols used for the beads, a dot, was also used to indicate the position of the Rhodes butterflies on the chart.

However, despite these drawbacks, I think it was certainly worth the effort.

Finishing the tin was fairly simple, if a bit fiddly.

You mark the shape of the tin on to a piece of card and cut it out. The stitched piece is then attached to the card and then this stuck to the tin. However, between the card and the stitching you need some padding - I used a couple of layers of white felt. The stitching is then attached to the padded card with a mixture of glue and lacing to get a nice firm fit and ensure none of the edges of the fabric show round the edges of the card.

Finally, you can run a length of fine cord around the top of the tin to hide the area where the tin and the stitched top meet - it makes a much neater finish.

You can also cover other parts of the tin. As the tin was red, I covered those parts of the tin top that would still be visible after the stitched top was added with a layer of white felt. A finer, better quality fabric or ribbon would give a finer, more professional finish, but I was quite happy with the felt. Another time, I'll try something different.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my monster scroll frame! It really has made an enormous difference to my stitching and have finished part 1 of St Petersburg (photos to come soon).

Trish asked about the tension of the fabric on the rods - I confess that is an area needing fine tuning! The tension of the fabric is not consistent across the width of the frame. However, so far, it hasn't annoyed me sufficiently that I've done anything about it. I suspect that the curtain tape hasn't been attached to the rods in a straight enough line. Either I'll have to loosen off everything and re-attach the tape, or I might try rolling an extra piece of fabric round the rods beside my stitching fabric to tighten things up at bit.

Anyway, flushed with enthusiasm over this success and the luxury of being able to use both hands properly while stitching (no man-handling a scroll frame now it's on a stand), over last weekend, I drilled 5mm holes in the side bars of my 30 inch scroll frame (on which I have Medieval Town Mandala) so that I could attach the same stand/legs to this frame too. I'm not sure that I'm very good at drilling holes in a straight line, but the end result works a treat and I'm making excellent progress on MTM while waiting for part 2 of St. Pete.

Your Element Is Air

You dislike conflict, and you've been able to rise above the angst of the world.
And when things don't go your way, you know they'll blow over quickly.

Easygoing, you tend to find joy from the simple things in life.
You roll with the punches, and as a result, your life is light and cheerful.

You find it easy to adapt to most situations, and you're an open person.
With you, what you see is what you get... and people love that!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Monster scroll frame

So, the challenge was, how could I get a scroll frame big enough for my fabric for St Petersburg? 411 stitches is almost 30 inches on 28 count fabric, and then you've got to add on at least 3 inches around the edges!

I know it's possible to buy frames of 40 inches and more, but I haven't seen any online in the UK and it just didn't seem worth buying that sort of thing from overseas. After seeing a post on a message board, I decided to make one myself.

At home I have a table/lap frame (an ebay win) which I didn't really use as the frame part of it hasn't been a good enough size for the pieces I've been working on recently. If I could make myself some long scroll rods for it, then it would be perfect to use for St Pete.

So, first I checked the diameter of the rods currently in the frame (19mm) to work out roughly what I'm after. Then off to my nearest B&Q where I bought a 2.4 metre long piece of 18mm pine doweling.

On the way home from B&Q, I popped into Dunelm and bought 3m of 1 inch curtain header type of tape.

On the living room floor, I measured the rod and marked the middle. Next, out to the garden and a rummage in the garage (with advice from husband) to find a small saw and cut the dowel into two pieces.

Back inside again, I dug out a box of coloured drawing pins, cut the curtain tape into convenient sized lengths, fastened the tape to the rods with the drawing pins. Hammer required I realised after my thumbs got rather sore pressing the drawing pins into the first rod!

Things were looking good and I was starting to get excited!

Out with the sides and legs of the frame. I'd suspected that the rods might be slightly loose fitting in the frame, and I was right. They were so loose, they wouldn't stay in! So, out with the masking tape and a few layers round the ends of the rods had them fitting perfectly!

Finally, out with St Pete and some thread and I stitched the fabric to the curtain tape.

What do you think of the end result? Personally, I'm dead chuffed! And I can't believe I have a scroll frame almost as big as my couch! Oh, and St Pete now has significantly more stitching on it than in the picture!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stitchin' Pretty

This is what I love about Carol Tinson's designs - you're challenged as a stitcher to learn new stitches and techniques in order to complete her beautiful designs.

My current favourites in the Mystery Huswif are the Spiders Web Roses.

Spiders Web Rose (Carol Tinson)
You can see instructions at

Before I completed my first one, I was a little worried about what would happen if my thread got twisted while I was making the rose. I railroad all my top stitches and sometimes the bottom ones too (depends how the thread is behaving), and I didn't want to spoil the effect of the roses with twisted thread. However, I soon realised that it really doesn't matter. In fact, a little twisting can add extra texture to the rose and even improve the look of the end result. The main thing to do when stitching these stitches is to have plenty of thread on your needle!

The main point with this stitch is not to get your tension too tight - then I think you would have difficulty with the texture and overall look of the rose.

I've nearly finished part 1 now, although part 2 arrived by email earlier this week. Here's where I've got to so far.

Carol Tinson's Mystery Huswif
The photograph makes the colours look much lighter than they are in real life.

I've switched around some of the colours - I think the HDF Hazelnut is my least favourite. I've also left out the alphabet in the centre but have one or two ideas for other things to put in that band, as well as in the alphabet bands of part 2.

I just have to finish the leaves on the right hand rose and a herringbone band below, then I'll be ready for part two!

Ooh - and I've even managed a stitch or two on Nova this week!

Monday, March 05, 2007

To rotate or not to rotate?

Or should the title of this post be Obsessive Stitching? It's just the simple problem of how can I find enough time to stitch all the beautiful designs I want to stitch?

I don't think I'm really a rotation stitcher. I'm not keen on the idea of having to stitch a set number of hours/days/weeks on one piece before switching to something different. I'd much rather just be able to stitch what I feel like working on at any given time. So I don't think I'll start a rotation.

Maybe I'm more of a one-at-a-time stitcher - I'll start one thing and stitch it until it's finished before I start something else.

But if that's the case, then how did I end up with so many WIPs? And when am I going to find the time to work on them all, let alone actually finishing?

For example, take Nova by Genny Morrow.

Genny Morrow's Nova
I started this last October when I was up in Scotland staying with my parents, completed 3 squares, but I haven't done a stitch on it since and half the threads have walked .......

Nova, at least, should be easy to fix - how difficult can it be to stitch one square per week? (Or one evening per week if I'm feeling ambitious.)

Now I just have to worry about all my other WIPs .......