Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Questions and Answers

First, I want to thank you readers for a very special birthday gift. That day I recorded the one thousandth page view of this blog. I appreciate all of you who take the time to visit this blog site and hope you will return often. The first week in October I'll be posting the first of several articles about types of needlework which -- while they may be unfamiliar -- are great fun to do. We will revisit cross-stitch and bargello this season, too, with new techniques, materials, and pattern ideas. Also watch for more interviews with other artisans of the Annake's Garden group. Today I'm answering some questions raised by the last few blogs.

What hook did the jewelry lady use to make the wire bracelet? (An Interview with Our Jewelry Artisan,  July 1, 2013)

She used a European #19, which she says is about the same size as a G hook. It is an aluminum hook. She prefers aluminum to plastic because it is smoother and does not warp out of shape with use. We thought you would like to see a photo of a necklace she made with the same hook. She is now experimenting with crocheted ring designs.

Crocheted copper wire necklace with copper beads
Crocheted copper wire necklace with copper beads

Why is the rose picture in needlepoint so much smaller than the rose picture in cross-stitch when they are made from the same chart? (A Rose is a Rose, Part 2,  August 1, 2013)

The gingham for the cross-stitch has 4 squares to the inch in both horizontal and vertical lines, so it has 16 squares per square inch. The needlepoint picture is done on #7 canvas. That means it has 7 squares of mesh (think of them as square holes if you like) to the inch each way --- or 49 stitches per square inch. There are approximately 3 times as many stitches on a square inch of the #7 canvas than there are on a square inch of gingham (3 x 16 = 48). The more stitches per square inch, the more squares of the pattern you can squeeze into a single square inch. So the needlepoint rose is only about 1/3 as large as the cross-stitch rose. The larger the number of stitches per inch, the smaller the scale of the finished motif. These comparisons are approximate, because the gingham varies slightly from one manufacturer to another and the bars on the plastic canvas are thicker than either cloth or canvas threads.

Gingham check size comparison
1/4" Check Gingham (blue) vs. Baby Check Gingham (pink)
Let me give you another example. “Baby check” gingham is also about 7 squares to the inch, or 49 squares per square inch. Imagine that you do a cross-stitch in each square, following the rose chart. You would make 49 cross-stitches on a single square inch of gingham. 16 goes into 49 about 3 times, so the cross-stitch rose on quarter-inch check (16 stitches per square inch) would be about 3 times as large as the same rose done on the “baby check”. While the first rose is large enough for a pillow, the second one would be perfect for the bodice of a little girl's dress or the pocket of a party apron.

Stitch size comparison for different fabrics
A pattern on 1/4" gingham, monks cloth, baby check, #12 aida
Monk's cloth is another embroidery fabric with approximately 7 stitches to the inch, so a design on plastic canvas would be roughly equivalent in size to the same design on “baby check” gingham or monk's cloth. The same design on #14 needlepoint canvas or #14 Aida cloth (196 stitches per square inch) would be considerably smaller. The photo will give you an idea of the differences in scale among four non-canvas fabrics.

I still don't understand what a “quillow” is. (An Interview with Our Quiltmaker,  August 16, 2013)

A quillow is a small quilt or throw with an appliqued pillowcase attached to one edge. The quilted part folds up neatly and slips into the pillowcase to make a pillow. Nice for naps, travel, a child's quiet time, etc. See the photo-montage below for the proper way to fold a quillow. Neat, isn't it?
Quillow folding photo-montage
Folding up a "quillow"

Fabric yo-yo
A Fabric Yo-yo
What is a fabric yo-yo?
(An Interview with Our Quiltmaker,  August 16, 2013)

A yo-yo starts out as a circle of plain or patterned fabric. I use a 4-inch embroidery hoop to draw my patterns around, but any small circular object in the 3- to 4-inch range would do. Turn under a quarter-inch all around and stitch it down with small running stitches and a gathering thread. Pull the thread until you have a small purse-like object with a little puckered “mouth” in the center. You have made a yo-yo.

Yo-yo Christmas tree shape
Yo-yos sewn into Christmas tree shape
They are usually used (often over a lining) to make throws, vests, tote bags, etc. They are sewn together edge-to-edge only where they touch. Sometimes the centers are embellished by sewing a button or a ball of ball fringe inside the “mouth”. (See the Christmas tree shape made with yo-yos.)

Our quiltmaker, however, made somewhat larger yo-yos which she appliqued onto her quilt. Don't they look like flowers? The whole quilt reminds me of a garden in a painting by Monet or Renoir. Yo-yos are a good way to use odds and ends of leftover fabric.

Yo-yo quilt
Yo-yo Quilt

What is a waste knot? (Easy Cross-stitch on Checked Gingham,  August 26, 2013)

Ordinarily we don't knot our embroidery threads. When starting a piece of stitchery, however, we need to secure the first strand so that it doesn't simply pull through the fabric and out again. So we knot this thread. Push the needle down through the fabric some distance from where you plan to begin stitching. Pull the thread through the fabric so that the knot stays on top of the work. When you have used all but about two inches of the thread, end that strand by running it under the stitches you have just made, whipping it around them, or weaving it back and forth from one stitch to another. Then snip off the waste knot, pull the strand to the back of the work, thread it into a needle and secure it in the same way. All other strands are started and ended under existing stitches, so no other knots are necessary.

Do you ever sell the samples you use to illustrate your blogs?

Yes, indeed. A few of the photos are from our archives and the pieces have already been sold, but others are on our Etsy shop site, or will be added soon. Some photos were of works in progress which now are in the process of being framed, quilted, made into pillows, etc. We are constantly adding new items to the shop. Just keep checking for them. If there is an item shown on a blog post that particularly interests you, and you don't see it on the shop site, just ask us about it (see our “Contact Us” page). We will be happy to tell you if it is available.

Thank you for asking!

Yellow rose needlepoint

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