Wednesday, May 26, 2010

At sixes and sevens


A state of total confusion and disorder, or of disagreement between parties.

Sorry for the lack of updating. Here lately, I have either been sick, depressed, or otherwise indisposed towards creating anything. I really do need to just push past whatever I'm feeling and just get on with things. The blogging will help, I think. My workspace is in a wretched mess and i really do need to organize my non stitchy stash a bit better. Money is really tight at the moment, so I have to use what's available, not that I mind that at all. I just need to push past the feeling like crap and get back to the business that is life. God knows I've wallowed enough, so now it's time to take care of some projects before I hopefully become gainfully employed and then have little or no time to do these things. (Not that the fate of Western Civilization rests on whether or not my card making supplies have a proper home, mind you! :P).

I took a poll on my SanMan board as to whether or not First Harvest needs a border and the overwhelming majority said yes. 39 yes's to be exact and three no's. Trouble is, I am having a hard time deciding just *what* to put as a border. The ladies all had wonderful suggestions, and I am probably going to add a border, and make it to where you can stitch the border or not, as you choose. I need to redo the chart as it is right now and then fiddle some more with the border. I have two ideas, so perhaps this afternoon I will take pencil and paper and have a go at it. I still have no idea of how designers do this all day. At times this has driven me bat shit crazy with what's gonna go where and will this picture in my head really look like that when it's actually *stitched*? Some things just get lost in translation, yea? and I have a bad habit of really not looking where I leap, I just flit off and do things. And then I have the utter audacity to whine that I have no idea of how or why I end up where I do. /shakes head. When Einstein said that the true definition of insanity was repeating an action over and over again and expecting a different result, he surely was talking about me. :)

Well, I am off for now. Got some other blogging and stuff to do. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! :)


Respectfully submitted,


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Process

Designing this simple sampler has been a work in progress, literally. Yesterday, my desk was covered in fibers, fabric, graph paper and the occasional cat. In addition to iTunes loaded up with a customized play list, the air was littered with the dulcet tones of ripping out of threads and the use of not so lady-like words. o.o I have no idea of how designers do this all the time. It's been rewarding to do this, but at times, I've questioned my sanity as to why I was even doing this. Getting out of one's comfort zone is all well and good, but I have a tendency to jump in with both feet and not bother with pesky details such as actually planning things out. That is my darling Hubmeister's area, and he is very good at it. I'm more of your "Ooooo...... SHINY!!!" type. This does mean, however, that the Hubmeister and I complement each other quite thoroughly. :)

At any rate, here is the photographic evidence of the journey I have taken with this sampler. It's been interesting and a bit frustrating here and there, but it was oh, so worth it in the end!

My desk area. Jake, my iMac (Yes, I name my computers. No, there is nothing wrong with me! :P) was taken off my desk to provide me with more room. The desk I have is not really all that large or comfortable, but then again, 25 bucks of particle board from Wal-Mart does not five star accommodations make, eh? :)

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Then, I notice something. I had originally wanted the container that the tomato trellis to be a half whiskey barrel type of affair. My mother had these when I was growing up and I plan to eventually put Frank into one. Right now, Frank's current digs are a LOVELY black plastic bucket, which, while black may be slimming, it really isn't the sort of affair that I want my him to continue growing and thriving in, yea?

At any rate, I had chosen colors in the 640 range to emulate the colors that are in an aged half whiskey barrel. I had even contemplated tweeding some of the colors for an even greater effect, however, this was short lived when I realized that the colors just COMPLETELY disappeared into the fabric, thusly:

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Okie doke. Back to the drawing board, then. Ah! Terracotta! That's it! Into the DMC bin I went and came up with 3328:

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I got all of not a complete row of half stitches in before I decided that it wasn't terracotta-y (yes, that is a word, at least it is now! :P) enough for my taste.

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Okie doke... time for another DMC bin dive. Decided on DMC 3830. Ah, that's better! :)

And whilst I was changing colors, I had to change the DMC list that was used. Now this wouldn't be an issue, except that the eraser that I have on the pencil I'm using quite frankly sucks, so I have to use White-Out in order to correct anything. After a while, I look down and noticed that I was getting into my work:

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The Hubmeister then noticed that I had some on my elbow as well. According to said Hubmeister, I am not so much into my work as I am covered in it. :P

Ushi, on the other hand, had her own reaction to the proceedings:

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So, after much fiddling and ripping and figuring out where things were gonna go, I present to you, the finished product. Stitchy notes first as always!

Design: First Harvest

Designer: ME! :D

Fabric: 28 count natural raw linen

Fibers: DMC 347, 372, 676, 937, 938, 3830, and 3865.

I decided to stitch the tomatoes on the trellis with a mix of cross stitches and the dreaded French knots, with long stitches, whole and half cross stitches for the vines and leaves.

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My friend Shannon suggested that the bee and the lone tomato be swapped, but I kinda like the way it looks like the tomato sort of just went off on its own :). I designed this sampler so you could move things around, change colors, fabrics and basically just make it your own. I need to work on cleaning up the chart again. Kelly over at Thoughts From A Stitcher has graciously offered to assist me with that and I think I am probably going to take her up on the offer. While I am comfortable flying by the seat of my pants, age and experience (read: getting into trouble a lot! :P) has taught me to take help when it's offered and be thankful and grateful you got it.

Well, I am off for now. I need to get the chart re-done and in some form of cohesive format. My friend Shannon asked me if I have any idea for my next chart and I didn't even hesitate. I said YES! Then was shocked that I actually said that, LOL!

I am off to do my designing chores. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! :)


Respectfully submitted,


Monday, May 10, 2010

A day for firsts...

This is my first time posting to this particular blog. I have a stitching blog, a gardening blog, a thread and fabric dyeing blog, and now a cross stitching design blog. I am toying with the idea of integrating the fabric and floss dyeing blog into this one, but iuno yet. Yes, I know this isn't brain surgery, but on the other hand, hand dyeing fabrics and flosses really has nothing to do with designing cross stitch charts. However, one can also argue that that particular argument seems not to have stopped Sharon Crescent over at Crescent Colours , yea? I mean, she hand dyes silks and cottons and also has a framing line, plus she designs some as well. Ah, well, I'll figure it out eventually! :)

The reason for this blog is today, I spent some time designing a sampler to commemorate the fact that I had my first ever tomato harvest a few days ago. It was an exciting time for me, and I suppose that's how samplers got started. Something happened and someone felt the need to save the memory for posterity, as the first photograph wasn't taken until 1826. (Daguerreotypes didn't appear until 10 years later.). So, I set about this morning crafting a sampler of sorts. This is not as easy as it looks. First one has to have an idea, then one has to further refine it, as you can only have so many elements into a sampler before it turns out something that is so overcrowded, that to me at least, it looks overbearing and unwieldy. I am heavily influenced by Sandy of SanMan Originals , Diane Williams of Little house Needleworks , and Nikki Leeman Needleworks . As I get older, I seem to have lost my taste for overly complicated and fiddly cross stitch. I want to enjoy it, not have it become a chore, know what I mean?

At any rate, here is a pictorial of the creative journey I took this morning. :)

The workspace:

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An artsy fartsy picture of said desk:

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What I came up with:

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Next, it was time for choosing floss colors:

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Time for a floss toss!

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I need to find a smaller grid graph paper, and plot the design out again, as I would love to offer this as a free gift design. Right now, it is very big as I used two sheets of 4 sq/in graph paper taped together. The design itself is 18 x 54, which is roughly 3 7/8" wide by 1 1/4" high. For a 14/28 count fabric, 12 1/2" by 10" would be needed for fabric. If you wanted to do a 16/32 count fabric, a 12" by 9 1/2" piece of fabric would suffice. (An 18/36 count would make it 11 1/2" by 9 1/2").

I have chosen straight DMC colors for the project, but you could use any that you wanted to, really. Throw in some bee buttons or charms and really just have at it. I deliberately left off the vines and the tomatoes on the frame, as I think one should go all Bob Ross on it and put them wherever you flippin' well please :). I can see the vines done in regular backstitching, long stitches, chain stitches, feather stitching and stem stitching. I also deliberately left off tomatoes as well. I can see them done in 'regular' cross stitches, french knots, beads, and colonial knots. I can see them stitched with 'plain old' cotton floss, and with silks and even silk ribbon. One strand, two strands, and even 'heirlooms' with tweeded floss . I see so many possibilities, which is why I am presuming that I never get a thing done, which includes my own design! HAHA! :D

Well, I need to bolt for now. I've found some free graph paper online, so I need to get that printed out and re-chart out the design. I also have to attend to the household with dinner and the like. :)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day today. And remember, you can do more than you think you can! :)


Respectfully submitted,