kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I popped into /r/CrossStitch and found it consumed with talk about Target bags? Turns out the dollar bins at the entrance to stores are selling various bags of perforated faux-leather and the cross-stitching community spotted them. SteelyKid and I had to go to Target for something else, so we grabbed a few small makeup bags; she immediately decided that she was going to stitch one as a watermelon slice and spent a happy while last night marking up the pattern template a Redditor made and going through my floss stash to pick colors. She's chosen a full-coverage design, so we'll see whether she actually finishes the stitching, but if she doesn't I will. (I think I'm going to try and do a Captain Marvel symbol on one of mine.)

Other links:

  • The NYT on how museums decide what to get rid of.

  • Carvell Wallace profiles Samuel L. Jackson:

    This becomes clear to me when I later interview him in the country-club restaurant and he sprinkles n-words and motherfuckers about the dining area like handfuls of glitter as Grandpa- and Memaw-type club members look awkwardly into their eggs Benedict. He behaves not only like a man who belongs here but also like one who basically owns the place. His casual inattention to the perceived authority of white power structures is so deeply woven into his way of being that in his presence it seems bizarre that anyone, anywhere, would think to behave differently. A lot of people like to say they don’t give a fuck. Samuel L. Jackson simply doesn’t.

    (Both the above via Go Fug Yourself.)

  • Chad took this two-second gif of a giant crane chomping a campus building, which just really amuses me.

  • This story about the oldest American picture book still in print is a journey. (Via Tom+Lorenzo.)

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kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
So this Overdyed Red Dragon by Dragon Dreams was a gift at Christmas 2008, a.k.a. the Christmas after people heard that I'd started cross-stitching again to make stuff for SteelyKid's room. I started it in 2010 on a scroll frame (skeletal picture), but that meant it went very slowly because I do most stitching on my lunch break at work, and bringing the scroll frame in seemed a little much.

After experimenting with stitching in the hand, I took it off the scroll frame in November 2015 and brought it into work; at that point I'd finished the body through about, oh, draw a line up from the edge of the right-most claw. Up close, you can see where the stitches become a bit fuller because of the change, but I don't think it's obvious if you aren't looking for it. So I finished the body and did the metallic threads, the backstitching of the solid parts, and the belly scales. And then I came to a screeching halt when the thread I had for the wings was the wrong color—it was what was specified by the pattern, but the manufacturer must've changed the color. I went on A Quest to find overdyed thread with a lot of red, blue, and purple: made a couple of trips to moderately-local stores, ordered literally half-a-dozen things off the Internet (half of which required test stitching to rule in or out), and finally gave up and ordered the same color as the belly scales, except in silk not cotton. Way less blue than the model, but it was the best I was going to do.

I do regret that I stitched the wings on the short diagonal, not the long one, which I think would make more sense anatomically, but I started with the top narrow section, had to rip out substantial portions at least twice (not counting all the test stitches), and so I was very much not in the mood to redo that entire section when I got to the first wide section and realized what I'd done.

Here are some pictures! Taken with my phone, because I get very direct sunlight into my office at a certain point in the day and taking pictures with indoor overhead lighting is always unsatisfying. The fabric is a pale steel-grey/blue-ish, not white. Click to make ginormous.

four images )

Anyway, I did this first as kind of a test run for the other dragon pattern I received that Christmas, as they are both large and use metallic thread. There's one little thing I want to do before I start that, but then full speed ahead! (I think I'm going to try stitching it in the hand, just because it is so fast for whole stitches, but we'll see how it goes; wrangling a much wider piece of fabric might be too difficult. Though if I don't, I'll probably go with Q-snaps instead of the scroll frame, for convenience.)
kate_nepveu: quasi-botantical design stitched in green thread on cream fabric (blackwork)
The designer who created the blackwork patterns for, among other things, the bookmark in this icon has all her patterns on sale at Etsy for $2 each (unfortunately this is because she has to shut down her shop because of new regulations in Turkey, where she's from).

I know a few of you stitch and have admired her work before, so there you go.

(I still haven't been reading DW, sorry, and now I have to go prep for oral argument tomorrow)
kate_nepveu: quasi-botantical design stitched in green thread on cream fabric (stitching)
For Chad's mom's Christmas present, I made a snowman on a blue background from a kit. I don't have a good picture because I didn't remember until after it was framed, meaning reflections like whoa, but here's a little one just to prove that I did it:

small picture )

I'd never stitched on dark fabric before, nor with a single strand of floss (a deliberate choice by the designer, to give it an airy feel); the latter turned out to make stitching rather unforgiving, so I gave up trying to stitch in the hand and broke out the Q-snaps, which was definitely the right choice.

(I also tried framing it myself but the foam board was too thick for the deepest ready-made frame I could find, and I didn't trust my ability to line it up properly without using pins and foam board. Oh well.)

Next up, finishing the red dragon. I am currently backstitching the body, and then I just have to fill in the wings and body and I'm done, so that's exciting.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Edit: actually I took it out of storage and am way closer to finishing the body than I thought, so I think I'm going to push ahead with what, I now remember, was a kind of improvised vertical pattern, and see how it ends up.

obsolete )
kate_nepveu: quasi-botantical design stitched in green thread on cream fabric (stitching)
Since the spring, I've done the backing on that red-brown-gold knotwork bookmark, did a blackwork bookmark for a Con or Bust winner (no picture; it's the same as the last one here only in blue), and finished the third cross-stitch for the Pip's room—he liked the polar bears, but then he noticed that SteelyKid had THREE cross-stitches in HER room, so I promised to make him another.

Here's a lousy picture: )

I modified the pattern slightly by taking out the superfluous second "Red" and stitching it over-two, adding in quarter-stitches where appropriate to smooth out the edges.

Next up: Christmas present for this year; then kit up another snowflake bookmark for [personal profile] pameladean for travel but focus on finally finishing the big overdyed red dragon, so I can finally, FINALLY tackle the Wentzler Celestial Dragon. (Both of these were presents to me for Christmas 2008, so, they've been waiting.)

(This means I am firmly discouraged from making another set of Christmas ornaments for people as presents, even if I fell down a hole last night of Mill Hill's kits. I took copious notes instead.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
This one's up for auction at Con or Bust (I'm offering a custom-made one, too).

Click to enlarge:

red knotwork front full

The weird waviness is it being unduly flattened by the scanner, because I tried for way too long to get accurate colors with a camera and GIMP and could not.

Pattern by Teresa Wentzler (and a giant pain, it varies the height of the rows it puts in and so I had to take a ruler and pencil in lines so that I could have a proper 1 square = 1 stitch chart). Stitched over two on Antique White MCG evenweave; main stitching in silk, Caron Waterlillies, Cherry 101; satin stitch and Algerian eyelets in DMC pearl cotton size 12, Ecru (best way to do satin stitches EVER); backstitch in DMC 801 (done over one on the diagonals); shiny bits in Krenik #4 Braid Beige (013).

The colors don't quite glow the way I wanted when I saw the silk in the store, but I'm pretty happy with it all the same.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I finished this snowflake bookmark a while ago, but haven't got around to editing the pictures until now.

I modified this pattern from Kincavel Krosses to make it shorter—and as you can see, it's still really too big for all but hardcovers:

[Image: bookmark over open copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell]

I could've left the border off, but I was stitching without a hoop or frame for the first time and I was having so much fun—so fast when you're doing whole stitches!—that I kind of didn't want to stop. SteelyKid saw it as a WIP and demanded it, and she doesn't care if it's flopping out of her books, so it's fine, but yeah, I have no idea why the original design is so long and still purportedly a bookmark.

details and more pictures )

So that's that. And experimenting with stitching the hand went great—I didn't even have to think about the tension in the stitches, it just came naturally. Works less with for things with lots of quarter stitches, a.k.a. the knotwork bookmark I'm finishing now, but OMG fast on whole stitches. I'm a convert.

(If anyone wants, I can give them the edited image file I used for the pattern, because shortening it means moving the interior slightly to center it.)

(Also posted to [livejournal.com profile] cross_stitch.)

kate_nepveu: quasi-botantical design stitched in green thread on cream fabric (stitching)

Revised from a comment I posted a while ago (in the last thread on the first page of comments here), prompted by tomorrow's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell post (no, really! Cross-stitching, slash, and a man wearing a ship on his head, all coming to a Tor.com near you.). Someone asked if I'd taught myself to cross-stitch, and I said I had when I was a kid: "Pretty much your threshold for 'looks good!' is 'all stitches go in the same direction' and 'no big lumpy knots on the back,' so it's pretty simple. => There are bunches of tips for making it look _great_ to close inspection, but start with the basics and see if you like it."

Here are the basics that I came up with on the fly, slightly cleaned up. )

Questions? Disagreements? Demand for a 201+ discussion? (I was planning to save that until my next finish, or at least until I need advice on it, honestly, but we can set up a dedicated comment thread here if you all want.)

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I made SteelyKid three dragons for her room, which were done a few days before she was born.

The Pip's two polar bears, by the same designer (Laila Ansbergs) . . . well, I took them to be framed today, and they'll be ready by his birthday too! Just, uh, his third birthday.

Anyway! They came out really cute, and he's very excited about them, so in some ways the delay is good. And this time I remembered to take pictures before I got them framed:

two pictures, click to enlarge )

Now that's done, and time to think about the next project! I think I am going to do this winter bookmark to see if stitching in the hand works for me—if I can get the tension right, it would be so much faster, though I still don't know if I'd like it for big projects, which are what's truly up next. (Also have to ponder colors for it. Thoughts, anyone?)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Food notes:

Last night I got a club sandwich at the Fox and Connaught pub out the east end of ExCel. The thing is, if you insist that bacon not be crispy, as the English do, then you really need your bread to be actually toasted in order to have a satisfactorily texture-balanced club sandwich. This was not. (Also the chips paled in comparison to the ones we'd had earlier in the day.)

Possibly as a result, I was in the mood for something crispy at lunch today. Walking down the interior of ExCel, I ended up having a pasty as the best apparent value, which was hot and crispy but was subtly, well, foreign-to-me in flavor. Not that I blame it!

So for dinner I ended up having a sandwich from something that may have been called the Upper Crust further toward the west end of ExCel, which was ham & mozzarella heated up to melting on a sourdough baguette, and was very simple and satisfying and also not ridiculously expensive.

Then I had what purported to be a chocolate orange cheesecake from a place that does make-your-own-sandwich at lunch (can't remember the name), which was a lot more like mousse than cheesecake and possibly didn't agree with me, causing me to leave early tonight. (But I felt better pretty quickly.)

Other notes:

Between panels, I went to a stitching meet-up in the fan tent, and I had such a good time. We commiserated over lessons learned the hard way, showed off projects (either what we'd brought to work on or through pictures), admired different techniques, and used the wonder of smartphones to show each other pictures when we weren't sure if we were using the same terminology. By luck I was sitting near several cross-stitchers, and now I've seen evenweave stitched in the hand, which I could never get the hang of, and which I will have to try again because it looks a lot faster. And a couple of the people were self-taught and identified as newbies, so we got to talk about things they'd like to know and give them a few tips and reassure them that they were doing fine, all would be well, and it was just really delightful.

. . . wow, I have no idea what I was going to type next, I think I really need to go to bed.

Four panel day tomorrow! Breaking out one of my new dresses to give myself strength.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I have finished a stitching project! And now I need something to do with it.

It is a pattern of interlocking knotwork in four variegated autumn-ish colors (tan, pink, red, and green). It's designed to be a bookmark, and I could finish it that way by stitching around the edges with thread the same color as the fabric and, optionally, leaving a fringe around some/all of the sides (an example is behind the cut). However, it might be a little big for a bookmark, as the stitched area is about 2" x 8". (I would not put a backing on it, as that would make it quite thick, so finishing it as a bookmark means the back side of the stitches will be visible. They are very tidy, but I'm happy to take a picture to prove it.) It could also be framed, in which case I would leave it as-is.

I will ship anywhere in the world, free. If you're moved to donate to Con or Bust in thanks, that would be great, but it is 100% optional. In the unlikely event that more than one person has asked for it by the end of the week, I will pick a random number. So if you like it, don't be shy! I would like it to find a home with someone who appreciates it. (I'm not keeping it because I don't need a bookmark or something to hang on a wall.)

A picture: )

(I have just written a bunch of stitching neep and then changed my mind and saved it to a file; probably I'll post to [livejournal.com profile] cross_stitch once I have pictures of its definite final state and post a link here.)
kate_nepveu: quasi-botantical design stitched in green thread on cream fabric (stitching)

I stitched Christmas presents again this year, this time "Charmed Ornament" kits from Mill Hill Beads. I really liked how these came out, and they were mostly quite fun to stitch too.

pictures of six ornaments )

For all that these were fun to do, I'm taking a break from stitching gifts this year, because I haven't made any progress on my other projects.

Oh, and if anyone wants the leftover beads, let me know. I can look up the precise types if necessary. Claimed!

Also posted to [livejournal.com profile] cross_stitch.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I have just mailed off the last of my commissioned bookmarks for [livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust, which makes it a good time to take stock of my stitching projects and their status.

Top priority now: Christmas presents (to be revealed later since they are for people who read this). I have no idea how long these will take (they involve a lot of beads, which I've never done), and if they aren't done by Christmas then I'll have to think of other presents, which is why they get priority over:

Two cute polar bear designs for FutureSibling's room, "Hide and Seek" and "Make a Wish". These are by the same designer as the dragons I did for SteelyKid's room, which seemed appropriate (also saved me a lot of searching for good patterns). I feel bad about not putting these first, since FutureSibling will be here before Christmas, but, well, it's not like infants can see that far for the first little while anyway.

Then I have two big projects and some travel projects.

The big projects: I am still theoretically working on this red dragon, which is actually not that difficult or lengthy a project, it just lives at home [*] and hasn't had deadline pressures associated with it. And when I'm done that, I have Teresa Wentzler's Celestial Dragon waiting for me, which I really want to do: it's going to be so much work but so amazing when it's done.

[*] I do a lot of stitching either at lunchtime at work (in less hectic times) or when traveling. At some point I may just give up and bring the stand frame into work and keep the little projects for home.

The travel projects: a while ago, I started one of these knotwork bookmarks (second from right on the bottom); I really like the colors I picked and look forward to finishing it. I also would like to eventually do one each of these blackwork bookmarks; I've done six so far, and have pictures of five up at the LJ cross-stitch community.

There, that's all sorted and set out for easy reference. What are you all working on, craft-wise?

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Via [livejournal.com profile] cross_stitch, a site with a lot of free cross-stitch and blackwork patterns. I particularly like this bookmark, which is sadly appropriate at the moment.


Dec. 9th, 2010 10:52 pm
kate_nepveu: ocelet in profile, lying on shelf with head hanging slightly over edge (ocelet)
  • I have a Starveling Cat in Echo Bazaar now! Thank you again, [personal profile] yhlee. I can't express how much this amuses me. Anyone who's playing that I don't already know, leave your username in comments and I'll follow you under my game account.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (recorded off cable, half-watched while stitching) is not a very good movie. Granted, it wasn't a very good book. But I wouldn't have thought it possible to make the action sequences of the ending so boring on-screen.
  • Reinventing the stitching wheel, part 25 in a series: linen turns out to not be a good fabric for blackwork.
  • My car needs major repairs for the second time this year. I will not have put enough money into it to equal the payments I would have made on a new car this year, but I'm worried that I'm on the downward slide (it's a 2003 Prius with almost 94K miles). And I'm sad that I no longer love it. Any suggestions for feeling happy with one's older car again?
  • The problem with Horton Hatches the Egg is that Horton is a Mary Sue, specifically the kind where the virtue of the protagonist is demonstrated by piling absurd pain and indignity on top of absurd pain and indignity. (Like an early Mercedes Lackey novel, or an SGA post-"Trinity" fic, except that Horton hasn't blown up a solar system.)
  • I haven't done a SteelyKid post in ages, so those of you who don't follow Chad's blog won't have seen this recent picture. I have to point it out because it is so characteristic: open book, bare feet (she will not wear socks if she has a choice about it), random item of clothing she saw and insisted on wearing, stuffed animals, and big grin. That's our toddler.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Because clearly what my spatial-ability-deprived self needs in order to do nice clean reversible blackwork is to photocopy the chart really really big and take a pencil to it.

Also, wow do I not love Caron's cotton floss.

But all that is for a later time. Now, bed.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

News flash: gridding fabric is even more boring than I imagined.

Bonus: I'll have to do the same for the chart, too. At least there I can use a ruler.

I'm not actually convinced that this will end up saving me time on the current project, but at least it will give me practice with the technique for when I tackle the next, much more difficult one.

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