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Topic: Houdini x-stitch -- Tada!  (Read 5610 times)
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BrocadeLion
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« on: April 08, 2009 02:20:41 PM »

I kinda doubt Houdini ever announced "tada!" at the completion of an illusion. But I like to. Sometimes randomly. Smiley

Here's my little tribute both to Houdini and to Teller, of Penn & Teller, for whom I made this piece.

Starting with a recognizable but relatively simple portrait of Houdini, I decided to go with six shades of grey plus white, which brought me to 7 colors. I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to find six discrete greys, but that seemed to me to be enough differentiation without going totally overboard.


Harry Before and After

I spent a good hour or more combing through embroidery floss bins, hunting for six cool/neutral greys that looked like they belonged together. Then grabbed a roll of the finest resolution cross-stitch fabric I could find, which turned out to be 28-count.

For a frame, I had an idea that I might be able to use one side of a pair of handcuffs. Without actually having the cuffs on hand, I took some guesses about average wrist size ranges, did the math and decided on a 2.5" across portrait. Little.


Houdini Close-Up

When I was about half way finished, I was at TJ Maxx doing random shopping, and in their home dcor department stumbled across The. Perfect. Frame. I was so excited, I snatched it up without even registering how much it cost. Of course, this was TJ Maxx, so it turned out to be about $3. The little red frame was not only the perfect size, but look! Rope/knot detail!


Houdini Frame Detail

So that's it, the finished project. What I thought would take me about 2 weeks wound up taking closer to 6. When I think about how much time I put into it, I keep coming up with 80 hours, which just sounds impossible. A couple of friends who have seen it in person have said they'd have a hard time giving it up, and suggested maybe I should just keep it. It's a tempting thought, but I couldn't do that. As is always the case when I make things for people, I can't keep it because it was never mine to begin with.

However, I do still have this big ol'roll of 28-ct fabric... Maybe Poe next.


Tada!

As usual, there is a slightly more blahblahblah version of this project on my blog.

Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2009 01:44:24 PM by jungrrl - Reason: edited to include specific blog link. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009 02:25:07 PM »

Fan-flipping-tastic!

It's really wonderful. I heart Houdini.
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toeknee
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009 02:35:05 PM »

This rocks! the frrame is perfect, I'm sure Penn will love it. Are you planning on giving it in person?
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009 02:35:59 PM »

son of a pup, this is just one of The. Most. Amazing. Things. EVER! i still want to figure out how to make pictures into cross stitch patterns but even if i finally do i'm not giving 80 hours to a project like this, wow, ambitious! totally worth it in the end though, just amazing. i'm blown away.
oh, and *This Rocks*. obviously.
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009 02:48:57 PM »

You did a wonderful job!  Did you use a program like PC Stitch for the pattern or just wing it? 
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Auri
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009 03:01:55 PM »

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Thats awesome!

Whats the message down the sides??? can see there is something there but cant see what!

Again.... WOW

Auri
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009 03:05:28 PM »

You don't need me to tell you how awesome this is. Honestly, with a piece like this, you dont need anyone to!

That said: THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the frame, oh my, the frame. The frame is very cool on its own. The story of finding a neat frame for a project is a cool story. But to find that frame for that piece is just to much!

You mentioned that you made the piece for Teller. Are you a fan and sending it to him or did he commission the piece? It sounds like there may be another neat story there somewhere (especially if you can get a pic of him with the finished art).
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2009 03:25:52 PM »

Amazing!  I admire your patience for such a complex project.
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2009 03:33:51 PM »

This turned out really incredible. I love how things will sometimes fall into place when you are working on a neat project. All of your hard work was worth it, because the piece ended up being gorgeous!
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2009 03:55:37 PM »

this is really fantastically done! And that you just eyeballed the shades in rummage bins to get them right - wow. You have an eye I envy.
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2009 03:57:10 PM »

That's amazing, you did such a fantastic job. I was wondering how far just 7 shades of floss would take you, I'm so impressed with how well you managed to pull it all together. This rocks!
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2009 04:09:36 PM »

AWESOME! Simply amazing.
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2009 04:31:55 PM »

That came out awesome! I have a question though. you said it was for Teller? Like for him? Like you made it in order to give it to him? Like you know him? Like you and Teller are pals? Like I'm leaving message for a person who knows Teller? Cuz if so you might be my new best friend and I might have to come live with you until Teller comes over for tea. With Penn of course.
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mojouk
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2009 05:37:31 PM »

This is awesome, it looks fantastic and the frame really is perfect. My grandpa is a member of the Magic Circle, and if his house wasn't already crampacked with infinite clutter I would give him something like this  Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2009 05:40:15 PM »

So very rad. You did an amazing job!
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2009 06:32:03 PM »

Wow, this is amazing & the finishing is perfect. Looks like a photograph.
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2009 07:08:02 PM »

Ohh, cool I dig it!
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2009 08:38:55 PM »

Holy macaroni! That is absolutely amazing!
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angelarose
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2009 09:15:51 PM »

This is so awesome!! Great work!!
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2009 09:34:33 PM »

I've been a fan of Penn & Teller for a long time and I finally had the immense pleasure of seeing them live in Las Vegas on my birthday (!!!) last year.  Then, like most of the people in the theater, I got to meet them afterward.

Man, they're awesome.  They're such nice, genuine guys.

And this project is perfect!  I cannot believe you spent EIGHTY hours on this!  I think I've finished... maybe one, MAYBE, cross stitch project, ever.  And I definitely hadn't put in eighty hours.

EIGHTY HOURS.

How did you have the patience!?

Great work.  Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2009 06:27:27 AM »

Um yeah...... what everyone else said.  Really great piece!
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2009 07:00:58 AM »

Thank you everyone! I can always count on craftster to make me feel like I didn't just totally waste 6 weeks of my life on something like this.

I created the pattern myself using Photoshop. I use the program all the time, so converting something to X number of colors is a process I'm familiar with. I separated out the colors on layers and printed each out in a huuuge grid so I could see what I was doing and then just went to town.

As for patience, it's a virtue I can *sometimes* claim. After getting in such an instant-gratification habit, every now and then it's really nice to spend a lot of time on one project. Made me miss beading!

I did make it for Teller, for his birthday. Originally anyway... but I missed that by a month. D'oh! I'm thinking about going to see them in Atlantic City next month, to give it to him in person. As anyone who has seen them knows, both guys will hang out in the lobby after their shows, meeting and signing autographs, until the last person has gone home. These are entertainers who understand where their bread is buttered and *genuinely* appreciate their audience. More reason to love 'em.

This is us several years ago, with another gift I'd given him (difficult to see, it's a silver dagger & rose pin).



ETA:
Oh yeah! One eagle-eye noticed there is a "secret" message in the margins of the piece. It's two words in Morse code. I won't give it away, but since it's very difficult to discern in the photos, I'll just say it has to do with Houdini's message to his wife. Wink
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009 07:04:03 AM by Dorion » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2009 07:06:09 AM »

This is wonderful. Smiley Amazing work!
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2009 07:45:48 AM »

Love it!  And please, please do Poe!  He's probably my favorite male author in the world.  And I'm really curious what kind of frame you'd find for him...
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katida
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2009 09:09:35 AM »

When I saw the project on the front page, I was like "OMG! Is that Houdini?". Glad to see it actually is!

Your work is really amzing!
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madeupnorth
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2009 12:09:43 PM »

Wow! Portraits always amaze me. Beautiful work. And nice choice of subject matter, too. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2009 03:25:19 PM »

i love how many of us are x-stitching portraits now!  this is totally great.
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2009 05:25:36 PM »

.....speechless.... ...
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2009 06:11:50 PM »

ETA:
Oh yeah! One eagle-eye noticed there is a "secret" message in the margins of the piece. It's two words in Morse code. I won't give it away, but since it's very difficult to discern in the photos, I'll just say it has to do with Houdini's message to his wife. Wink
This is what ramps it way past This Rocks! to this is too stellar for words. Awesome work!
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2009 06:51:22 PM »

Awesome!  Houdini has sentimental value to me.  That is who me and my dh's first conversation was about.  You did an amazing job.
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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2009 04:30:48 AM »

I can't believe you found SIX shades of grey that worked together so well! That's amazing!

Great job!
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2009 07:54:04 AM »

I am in AWE of your skills. For serious. Amazing job.
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« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2009 08:26:31 AM »

Just.  Awesome.  Grin
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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2009 10:59:47 AM »

Ooh, ooh! I know what the message says!

This is so cool! The frame is, indeed, perfect and the cross stitich on the 28ct fabric... *shakes head* I used to be able to do work that fine, but no more. Beautifully done, stunningly framed. I'll bet Teller is going to love this.
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« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2009 11:23:48 AM »

this is simply amazing.  what skill and awesome job with the shading/ design. 
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« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2009 03:43:33 PM »

That is just simply amazing..the detail is phenomenal and the frame is absolutely perfect..Great job and find Cheesy
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« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2009 09:29:07 PM »

Awesome!
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« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2009 06:48:55 PM »

That is so cool! I love it! I could never do anything like that...I wouldn't have the patience! Its an accomplishment if I can finishing something that takes more than a few hours! I would love to see Poe when its done, he's my hands down favorite author!

This rocks!
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« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2009 12:45:19 PM »

this is absolutely spectacular! and an impressively thoughtful gift!
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« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2009 04:45:16 PM »

So intense!
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« Reply #40 on: April 23, 2009 12:24:07 PM »

That is so cool! I love it! I could never do anything like that...I wouldn't have the patience! Its an accomplishment if I can finishing something that takes more than a few hours! I would love to see Poe when its done, he's my hands down favorite author!

This rocks!

Thanks! If I manage to do the Poe (or any other) portrait, you can bet I'll post it here.
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« Reply #41 on: April 25, 2009 11:19:48 AM »

Wow, i'm totally awstruck!  Absolutely amazing.  And I love the way you framed it too  Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2009 11:46:44 PM »

This is astounding! It almost looks like a photograph!

So talented to create a pattern like this from scratch!
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« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2009 03:59:54 PM »

Holy crap.  *does Wayne's World bow*
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« Reply #44 on: May 24, 2009 09:04:43 PM »

Great! How long did it take you to finish this work?
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« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2009 11:51:01 AM »

Great! How long did it take you to finish this work?

That's a good question... on the blog I estimated 80 hours, which seems RIDICULOUS. But I did work on it for weeks, so it's entirely possible. I'm not especially fast or efficient, and I tend to drink while I stitch. Wink So, 80 hours is probably right.
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« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2009 02:17:40 PM »

Thats cool! Cheesy
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