Sunday, November 16, 2014

Craft Show Queries Answered

October 31 in the Springs photo by jlj
Autumn is craft fair season!
I apologize to those of you who have been checking this site for a new blog post. From mid-September to mid-December, Annake’s Garden is involved in quite a number of art and craft shows. We are often away from home; and we spend a lot of our time when at home loading and unloading, packing and unpacking, changing out displays, doing minor repairs and replacing the items we have sold. Therefore, I sometimes get behind in my writing, sample-making, and designing.

We meet such nice people at these shows, and it is especially gratifying to meet readers of this blog. I'm going to use this post to try to give some fairly prompt responses to recent questions and comments from such readers.

Are there going to be any more blackwork designs that we can download?

Yes, there will be more from time to time as I get a chance to work on them. I see they are appearing on Pinterest® frequently. I'm glad to see people are using them. At the bottom of this post is a page of quick and easy border designs in cross-stitch and back-stitch for you. (Just click on the picture to download them.) When we get into folk embroidery more deeply, you will find them useful. You will probably be doing them in bright colors rather than in black, however. These were done freehand, but should be easy enough to follow. If you are going to do a hot-iron transfer, however, you will want to re-draw them using a straight-edge or ruler. I'm also working on more of the small colored designs to be posted later

Why does your framed four-way bargello in the September 29th post look so different from the sample pattern? They're not the same shape or anything!

I keep telling you that even small changes in pattern lead to great differences in appearance. Believe me, the two are worked in exactly the same way, with two minor exceptions: I changed the way I did the very center and I did a satin stitch border around the finished design to blend with the picture mat. So what made the differences? First of all, the framed picture is done on #10 needlepoint canvas, which has 100 squares per square inch. The sample was done on plastic canvas which is approximately #7, with 49 squares per square inch. The plastic canvas sample is much easier for you to see in a photograph, while the stitches on the needlepoint canvas are smaller and closer together. Second, the framed picture is much larger, so there are many more rows than can be seen in the sample. The farther from the center those rows are, the more the outline is smoothed out, giving a scalloped edge. Third, the baseline, while in a dark color, is not the darkest color in the picture, making it less evident. Finally, I used more than twice as many colors in the picture than in the sample (13 as opposed to 6), so the colors don't repeat as often and the baseline color appears in different places in the pattern. Perhaps this close-up of the comparable are of the framed bargello next to the sample pattern will make the process easier to visualize.

That's the beauty of these four-way patterns. You can use the same one over and over with different color combinations, number of pattern repeats, and small changes in the centers and along the diagonals and no two will be alike!

4-way bargello picture -  pillow comparison
Here is another example of two projects using the same pattern, with variations - these were done more than 30 years apart!

I'm reading your posts on my iPhone and I can't count the squares on the pattern you say you did as a child. The picture's too small. Can you give me a counted-out pattern?

Simple needleweaving on plastic canvas
Another sample of the simple needleweaving stitch
Certainly. Start with Color A. Bring your yarn up from the back of the canvas, letting a couple of inches hang down to be woven into the stitches on the back later. Row 1: over 8 threads, under 2, over 8, under 2 across. Row 2: under 1, over 6, under 4, over 6 under 4 across. Row 3: under 2, over 4, under 6, over 4, under 6, across. Row 4: under 3, over 2, under 8, over 2, under 8 across. (See sample.)

With Color B, secure your yarn under Color A stitches on the back, bring your needle up through the same square of mesh as the end of the first over 8 stitch of color A. Skip 2 threads, push your needle down in the same square of mesh as the beginning of the next over 8 stitch of Color A. Continue with Color B to fill in all the skipped spaces in Rows 1 through 4, leaving no canvas threads showing. (See sample.) Repeat Rows1 through 4 until you have filled your canvas. At the end of each row, do as much of the pattern stitch as the canvas allows, bringing your yarn to the back of the canvas to secure it. The sample shows the same pattern (shown on trug canvas in large scale on the original post) done on plastic canvas in approximately the same colors.

I must confess that this is such a simple pattern that I often work a column of Color A from bottom to top rather than from side to side, then reverse my canvas and work back with a column of Color B. The advantage to doing it this way is that you can add columns of as many colors as you like, instead of just alternating two colors. This is a follow-the-weft pattern. Unlike the follow-the-warp patterns we have been doing, this kind of pattern can cover the canvas completely. These are patterns that work nicely for conventional needlepoint, as well. They can be used as all-over designs, fillings, or backgrounds.

How do I get my little girls interested in needlework? (From a discussion at a recent craft show.)

Do they make art in school that you put up on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board? If so, copy a favorite one onto cloth or canvas and help them learn a technique to make it into something permanent like a framed picture or a pillow. Or do the same thing with a picture from a favorite movie like Frozen”. Help them do a simple cross-stitch/back-stitch pattern (like one of the ones on the chart below [See the post for August 26, 2013 for directions for easy cross-stitch on checked gingham.]) and then applique it onto a T-shirt or sweatshirt. Encourage them to make handmade gifts for family members (especially grandparents) or their friends. Work together on costumes for school plays or holiday parties. Older children should be encouraged to make useful things for premature babies, elderly people, anyone in need. Often groups of girls can get together to work on such projects, socializing and developing social consciences at the same time.

Good luck on all your projects,

Downloadable blackwork stitch patterns
Click to download these blackwork stitch patterns

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