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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Needlepoint canvas Vs Aida cloth on: July 18, 2013 12:36:50 PM
I'm working on a swatch to prove I can spin a yarn suitable for needlepoint, and I have the aida, and don't really want to search out the needlepoint canvas.  Good to hear it should work.  I'm just going to do a simple basket weave stitch 2x2 square.  We'll see how it goes!  And if it doesn't work, I'm sure I've got enough of the sample yarn to do another Cheesy

I know I'm slow on the reply here, but I'd really like to see your results of the spinning. And back-stitching on Aida or needlepoint canvas shouldn't matter... fractionals can be done on Penelope canvas... As far as stitching wool on Aida, I'd be more concerned that the threads would rub as you stitched (the holes aren't nearly as big as the same size of mono-canvas.)  What were the results?
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Substituting linen for aida? on: July 01, 2013 01:27:39 PM
You may want to double check that it doesn't have a lot of fractional stitches -- splitting those blocks in aida can be a real pain. If it does, and you still want to stitch it on aida, if the original was 32 count linen, you want 16 count aida, and if you're using fractional stitches, you may find a sharp needle helps for those!
3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Embroidering on Burlap? Suggestions welcome on: July 01, 2013 01:24:11 PM
I'd stitch it while the fabric is still square, if you're going to cut it into a circle for the skirt. I'd also probably interline it with a lightweight quilting fabric of a similar color to the burlap, (baste through both layers every two inches or so in a grid and pull out the basting lines as you stitch...) then put it all in a hoop or frame and stitch through both layers. Make sure the grainlines match, or you can get weird stretching when you make it into the tree skirt.

Then when I was done I'd probably line the whole thing when I made it up in something pretty to hide the stitching entirely. But I sometimes overdo things, and get a bit anal about it! Hope this helps!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Needlework shops... on: July 01, 2013 01:19:46 PM
I'm 'splorin'! I just found this old article on Etsy by Jenny Hart, and got to wondering. How many of y'all hang out in your local needlework shop, petting and exploring new thread options, learning new techniques and just exploring the history of the craft? I did, until my local shop closed. And now I'm limited to needlepoint (the other one was mostly cross stitch... so I taught them as much as they taught me!)

Anyway, fascinating article, and I really am curious. How many of you even HAVE a local shop nearby any more? Do you shop there? If not, why not? If you do, what do you like about it?

5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Question about Linen and prep (wash? iron?) for hoops on: July 01, 2013 01:15:55 PM
I am just getting started with hand embroidery. I have some simple designs that I will be transferring to linen to make some nice decorative hoops. I haven't worked much with linen but wasn't sure if I should pre-wash it and/or iron it?

I'd definitely pre-wash it, and if your threads allow, wash after stitching, too. I second the suggestion of Mary Corbet's NeedlenThread.com website for information, and I'm currently working on a series on ground fabrics, too, if that might help: http://stitchingwithashimmy.com/2013/05/31/lets-talk-about-fabric-part-1/

6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Needlework Retreats List on: October 29, 2012 09:47:46 AM
Months ago I promised to report back on the list of retreats I managed to find. I'm still tracking them down, and I've added a week-long beach retreat of my own (see Stitching with a Shimmy, below)  For those of you hoping to get to one, I hope this helps!

Stitching Retreats

A gathering of Embroiderers - Williamsburg, VA - October & February

Camp Wannastitch, Preston, AZ Spring, Fall

Cecelia's Samplers Retreats - Fall, winter Spring, Summer

Celebration of Needlework Shows
Not so much a retreat as a festival! YAY festivals!
St. Charles, MO  September
Nashua, NH, May

Cross Stitch Pals - Myrtle Beach, NC Early October

Cruise with Sue Hillis? Last I saw was January 2012 I wanna go1

EGA National Convention
EGA Regional Conventions

Moonlight Stitching Studio (Quilting or crafting) West union, IA
Build your own retreat - This sounds like fun!

Needlepointer in Everett, WA - October, February & May

New England Stitching Retreats - Fall & Spring

Nordic Needle - Fargo, ND  April

Stitcher's Hideaway - October, February, July

Squam Art Camps

Stitching with a Shimmy - February 16-23, 2013

The StitchWorks - Tulsa, OK, Fall & Spring

A Stitcher's Garden - Syracuse, NY - Spring

Shipshawanna Retreat - Middlebury, IN  October

Shepherd's Bush - Utah -

7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Favorite Fill Stitch on: September 17, 2012 06:53:44 AM
Satin stitch on small areas.
Long and short stitch for satin stitch look on bigger areas
Roumanian couching
Bokhara couching
Just plain couching.
Trellis couching/laid work
battlement stitch
Chain stitch
Split stitch
Stem stitch makes a really cool and sturdy filling stitch
French knots
Bullion knots (makes really cool hair or lion's mane)
Detached buttonhole stitch

Jacobean crewel work was often HUGE (leaves, 12 inches long) and filled in with elaborate filling stitches, so it's a really good embroidery form to study for filling large areas.

Practically any stitch can be used to fill an area, depending on the texture you want. I had a hand-made poodle skirt from the 50s that my mother left me: the poodle was completely stitched in french knots, with a chain stitch-filled collar and leash. Chinese embroidery from Suzhou embroidery uses "random" short stitches to create an impressionistic look to the final piece. It's an amazing painterly effect.

Let me know if this helps or not. I can find examples of most of these if you want to see them. Smiley
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: What stitch should I use? on: September 14, 2012 11:26:22 AM
I second the suggestion of blanket/buttonhole stitch to hold down the edges and create a decorative edge. If you want something that won't show, you can use sewing thread the same color as the topmost layer of felt and just make a series of very small vertical stitches from the edge of the applique on the background fabric, into the felt applique.

There's a tutorial for blanket/buttonhole stitch here:

And another here:

I love doing felt applique.. Have fun with it!
9  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Evenweave linen (zweigart Kingston 55 count) not even on: September 14, 2012 06:15:54 AM
You've got me. I went the Zweigart site and they don't have this linen listed at all, although I see it offered through other online needlework shops. However. Things I've found with linen in the past make me think that your problem is probably just the nature of the beast.

Linen threads are never completely smooth. This means that parts of them are always going to be thicker than others. If you absolutely HAVE to have completely square crosses in every case, 100% linen isn't the fiber you want for your fabric. Usually the variations work out over the course of a project: stitching over multiple threads evens out the stitches and everything comes out smooth, more or less. Sometimes you get a piece of fabric that's more slubby than usual, and you can end up with the issue you seem to be having. When you get into higher counts, sometimes the warp thread will stretch when it's woven, since it's under very high pressure. This can stretch out the count in that direction.

So if you're looking for perfectly square stitches, you want something other than linen. That said, I've never seen evenweave fabrics in threads other than linen that come with a higher count than about 32. This doesn't mean they don't exist: only that I haven't' found them. I've been known to stitch on plain dressmaker's fabric when I need a higher count.

My suggestion for you on this design is to play around a little. Since you seem to have a definite skew in one direction, try stitching over 3 threads warp wise and 4 threads weft-wise, which may square your stitches. Smiley

Hope this ramble helped a little!
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Needlework Retreats and Festivals... on: September 14, 2012 05:54:03 AM
I am doing research for a possible retreat on the North Carolina beach in February 2013. Do y'all mind answering a couple questions?

One week, large beach house (8 bedrooms) 14 attendees plus 2 teachers.
1 counted work class including full kit of supplies
daily bellydance classes (optional)
grab bag of needlework goodies.
Kitchen available to cook your own meals (meals not provided)
Lots of extra time to relax
Local cross stitch/needlepoint/knitting store down the road
$500. for the week
Add an additional $100 kit and teaching fee if you'd like to learn to make temari as well.

The questions:
1. Would you sign up for this?
2. Is the fact that only two bedrooms have two beds in them a problem? The rooms are large, the beds are queen or king, and to make it work for this cost we'd have to do double occupancy (for a single room I'd have to add an additional $300 to break even...) which would mean someone would have to sleep on the floor or beds would have to be shared in 5 rooms...

I'd really like to make this happen. I find retreats at hotels a bit sterile, and I'd like to do something a bit more personal.
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