Year of Samplers

Canvaswork Sampler: Big Fat Stitchez.

Canvaswork Sampler WIP

Ok, so how come none of you ever told me how much fun this canvaswork is?!?! You were trying to keep it for yourself, I know it!

Seriously, dudes, this one is crazy fun. Big huge needle, fat squishy yarn – BIG FAT STITCHEZ, YO. You can actually squeeze them. Squeezy embroidery!

Canvaswork Sampler WIP

As I said before, I’m just winging it for this sampler, and it’s a lot of fun working this way. The threads you see in the photo at the top are the only ones I will use (I think), and I’m just choosing stitches and placement as I go. It’s all very relaxing, since I usually do much more formal embroidery projects. With only crewelwork as an exception, this is absolutely my favorite sampler so far.

Canvaswork Sampler WIP

I’m heading off to Amsterdam for a week to see my Bestest Gal Pal and whatnot, so I’ll see you all in a week or so when I get back. In the meantime, if you haven’t started one of these canvaswork samplers, I seriously suggest you give it a try! (Read my first post about this sampler here.) I love mine so much, I’m even taking it on vacation with me – if you’re in Amsterdam and see someone making gigantic stitches in the park, stop by and say hey!

Sampler #7-8 Update(s)

Crewel Shading Sampler Progress

Well, d’oh. I didn’t finish. I did finish the peachy heart, as you can see – I’m really pleased that its shading shows up in this photo, I was sure photos would never pick it up. It’s not dramatic, but I think the colors are lovely! Anyway, still the gray to go, so I’ll have to keep working on this one as I start Sampler #8: canvaswork.

I haven’t started stitching anything yet, but I have done a little research and made some decisions about my sampler – most importantly, that I won’t be making any decisions about this sampler. Part of the process each month is planning out a design that will suit the embroidery style. But that’s my least favorite part – I need a break! And I never really do any stitching that kind of just goes along as it goes, with no plan to worry about. How lovely it sounds to just sit back and stitch away, not thinking beyond the wool in my hand. Yum!

So that’s the plan for this one – no planning. I have a bit of a neutrals-and-lights color scheme in my head, but I’m just going to wing the specifics. I have gathered together just a few basic resources for us to get started with:

  • Because I’m going all improv with this sampler, I won’t do a whole week-by-week stitch-sharing thing. I hope that if you join in, you will just go with the flow with me! But to share stitch ideas and inspiration, I’ve made a Pinterest board just for Needlepoint. (If you check it out now and it’s very sparse, definitely go back later on – Pinterest seems to be having some technical difficulties today and I couldn’t bear to fight with it any more. I’ll keep adding to the board as I go!)
  • For further stitch inspiration, find DMC’s needlepoint / canvaswork stitch guide here
  • … and About.com’s here.
  • This might not seem like much of a tip, but be sure to scan your stitch dictionaries for canvas stitches – they aren’t always separated into their own section.

I’m going to assume for the moment that if you’re reading this and interested in stitching along, you’ve probably done at least a little cross-stitch, which will give you plenty of background about starting and finishing threads and those sort of basics. But if you do have any questions, please shout – I love to help!

Sampler #8 Supplies: Canvaswork

Sampler #8: Canvaswork

I’m coming along nicely on my crewel shading sampler, so I expect to show you the FO on Monday, which is only a few days behind schedule for Sampler #8. So I’m not ready to start yet, but I like to show you the supplies a bit ahead of time, just in case you want to play along.

Sampler #8 will be canvaswork – what Americans call needlepoint and the British call tapestry (though not woven tapestry, of course). I remember doing some simple tent stitch needlepoint as a child, but I’m more intrigued by the geometric fill stitches like this one I pinned on Pinterest – about two years ago! That pin is by Karen Barbé, who does a lot of canvaswork in this minimalist style that I love and I suspect I will look to her a lot for inspiration while I work on this sampler.

All we’ll need for this is some canvas and tapestry wool – or, as you can see above, Perlé Cotton (thicker types would be best) or Soft Cotton. I’ll probably stick with the wool for the most part, but all of these can be used for canvaswork and I’ve seen some lovely samplers that make use of the different textures the thread types create!

Crewel Shading Sampler Progress (and so happy!)

Crewel Shading Progress

Much, MUCH better now. This project was bumming me out last week, but we’re much happier together now. I’m loving this crewel stitching so so much, it’s all I can think about!

The shades are still not showing great in photographs, but I did fix the first heart (the lighter blues) by bringing the lighter shade down further and treating it like a two-color heart. And since this is a sampler, it actually worked out ok to see how to work two-color shading in a shape, and how to deal with a thread color surprise on the fly. I’ve included the photo below, despite the nighttime-lighting awfulness, because it actually shows the shading in that first heart better than any of the daytime photos I’ve taken:

Crewel Shading Progress

The next blue heart, with three darker shades, worked just like it was meant to (shown below in progress). This one I shaded from top to bottom with no curves, and it was an absolute joy to stitch!

Crewel Shading Progress

Now I’m starting the third heart in soft peach-y shades, which I kind of suspect will be very, very close to each other but hopefully different enough to be visible. I’m quite addicted to this sampler now, I expect to be finished by next Monday, so only slightly behind schedule!

Shading Sampler update

Crewel Shading Sampler Progress

Oh, dear. It’s the 22nd already and this is all I’ve done?? Yikes. This is starting to look like one of those samplers I don’t finish in a month!

More importantly, this is all I’ve done and I’m really unhappy. Can you see what’s happened?

Although I chose consecutive numbers on the Appletons’ color card, these shades haven’t really worked out quite right. The bottom two shades (darkest and middle) do look right in the skein, but in stitch-reality, they are too close to each other and blend far too well. There is no real difference. And then the lightest shade did the opposite, taking a large jump, so it doesn’t blend so much as just overlap. Oy vey.

Crewel Shading Sampler Progress

(These aren’t great photos, I know, but the color difference showed better in lower light. And the truth is, the difference / non-difference is much worse in real life.)

Totally figures it’d be on the first heart I filled, making sure to crush my mojo for the rest of the sampler – but it does do a nice job illustrating the technique I’m attempting. You can see how my stitches are attempting to blend. If the shades were closer, you’d get a subtle effect so each single stitch wouldn’t stand out.

If this had been for a more formal project, I’d have stitch-tested my shades on a scrap before committing to them. As it is, I’ll probably have to treat this as a two-color heart and bring that lightest shade down to try for a more gradual / gentle blend. I’m not sure if that’ll actually work, but I do know that I cannot continue to work on this at night, which was part of my problem working on this first heart. This shading absolutely needs natural light!

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