I am so excited to finally get to start on this gorgeous mermaid that has been on my “to-do” list for a year. I had a horrible time finding the right fabric for it. I didn’t want to use plain blue, but anything I found that was overdyed just didn’t seem right. I finally found this beautiful hand dyed Jobelan from Wichelt Imports. It is called Caribbean Blue (is that appropriate, or what?!) and is 28 count. However, when I did the needle test, it was actually 25 count. (The needle test involves putting a needle through a couple of the holes in the fabric, straight up and down, then measuring exactly one inch over and inserting another needle at that spot. Then you count the number of stitches from the one needle to the other.) I tried this in various spots in the fabric and ended up with 25 count each time. This means the design would end up being larger than it was supposed to. I double and triple checked my math and found that the fabric was still large enough, so I decided to use it. Here is a picture of the threads laid out on the fabric. My camera really can’t do the fabric justice; it is a much deeper greenish blue than the photo shows. I also took the picture before I ironed the fabric. I did end up ironing it before putting it on my scroll rods so that it wouldn’t need much ironing afterwards.
I really love the gingerbread houses but now that our snow is finally gone, the sun is out, and the tulips are about to bloom, I need a summery project!
The next project I am stitching from the JCS Halloween Special is called Trick Or Treat, by Barb Cooley of Plum Pudding NeedleArt. This is a small design which is stitched using only DMC floss, so it should be quick and easy. I really like when designers stick with basic supplies for their projects. So many designers nowadays are using overdyed threads which, while creating an interesting effect, can be costly. Many of the designs in JCS magazine in the last couple of years use Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colors, Gloriana Silks, Gentle Art Sampler Threads, and The Thread Gatherer Silks, along with custom dyed fabric from Polstitches. Being a shop owner, I know that many stitchers cannot afford these items, and some simply don’t want to try using them. So I am glad to see some designers sticking with the basics, like in this design.
Another thing that bothers me about the designers who use primarily overdyed floss is that if you look at the charts themselves, they are extremely simply. Designers who use only DMC floss need to be able to create charts that are full of shadowing and movement. When using overdyed or variegated floss, the design can be very simple because the floss does the work for the designer. A snowman no longer has to have different colors of white in him to create depth. Flowers are the same way – one color of pink overdyed floss gives enough shading to eliminate the work of figuring out what DMC colors to use and where the shadows need to go. I am amazed at some of the designs that the magazines publish; they look like a 5 year old created them. This seems to be strictly an American thing; the British magazines generally use DMC or Anchor floss and either Aida or linen (sometimes dyed, but often not). The stitcher is not required to drop an entire paycheck to pay for threads, and the designers are actual artists who know how to create heirloom charts. I will stitch what I can out of this Halloween issue and the Christmas one that will soon arrive. But I am hoping that in the future the designs get back to “normal”.
Tonight I needed a break from stitching and decided to go through my stash of threads. Oh, what fun! I have picked up silks, cottons, and overdyes from various sources, but mostly shop closings. The rainbow of colors is simply breathtaking! And I love the feel of these different types of fibers. Hopefully these photos will inspire you to go through your own stash and find some things you can use to create your next masterpiece. Here is the first tote of goodies.
Inside, I found Weeks Dye Works Pearl Cotton:
Northern Lights silks:
Kreinik Silk Mori:
and huge hanks of Gloriana silks:
I also found a stash of what appears to be one skein each of the entire line of overdyed floss by JAR Designs in Florida. I don’t know anything about this company, and an internet search didn’t provide much information. It looks like they are out of business or just don’t have a website any more. The skeins are small, but I am sure I will find something to use them on!
By far, my favorite from this stash is the lot of twisted skeins of Silk N Threads from The Thread Gatherer. They are sooooo gorgeous! I can’t wait to find a project to utilize some of these. If I can bear to cut into them, that is! They are so pretty the way they are.