Hello everyone! I have LOTS of news and rather than sticking all the different bits in their corresponding threads and spending ages doing it (I'm supposed to be working), I thought I would do THE MEGA POST and put everything all in here! So grab some popcorn, sit back and prepare yourselves!
1. The Big Finish That's right folks, she's finally done it, only 18 months behind schedule, over two country changes, three back-to-back sweltering summers and nearly 8 months without a chair to sit on, last weekend I finally tied off my final thread on Teresa Wentzle's The Minstrel!!! I'm SO glad to have finished it and I'm really rather pleased with the finished result. I'll be getting it framed soon and will have another photo then:
And close ups of the beaded border:
2. DIY Meets Technology Over Christmas I finally finished making my very own dream needlework stand, custom designed for my Lady and the Unicorn project. It's absolutely HUGE and the dowels are really thick. It completely dominates our living room- just the way I like it!
And then in the Januray sales I splashed out and bought myself the ultra high tech ultimate magnifying lamp to make my Command Centre complete!
3. New Projects Call Then on the very same day as my wonderful new mag lamp arrived, so did all my floss I'd ordered on Ebay for my new SQ L&U project. It was a very exciting day!
A veritable sea of floss:
4. And New Frustrations Too Of course on the very same day I finished The Minstrel my fingers were just itching to try out my new Command Centre in all its glory, so I whacked on the next new project straight off the ranks - Down On His Luck, designed by Fiona Jude of a famous Australian painting by Frederick McCubbin - and got down to some seriously frustrating business! You see, I've decided that this will be the piece I use to teach myself parking so that I can decide if I want to do it or not for my L&U. Well I jumped on the net and I found this rather good tutorial http://community.livejournal.com/cross_stitch/722655.html although I must say I don't understand her 10 stitch block thing, and then tried to give it a go myself. Well, I must say that maybe I'm asking too much of myself at once, this first session incorporated my first attempt at parking, my first time stitching two handed one above one below, my first time using a magnifying lamp, and my first time using a needlework stand. After much swearing and unpicking and restitching and reunpicking and rerestitching and more swearing, my first (many) hours of work yielded the following single line of just under 70 stitches, most of them only a half-cross!!
I am just having all manner of problems! First of all I don't really understand parking very well so I'm just sort of fumbling around trying to figure it out. I think I have the basic principle but I'm very confused about what to do about gaps. I want to work horizontally across the entire length of the picture, and I've understood that most people work in blocks, so I've divided it into quarters of about 65 stitches across, but even still I seem to have to carry colours an awfully long way if there are only a few stitches on either side of that block and nothing in between. I understand that I may need to have several needles threaded with the same colour for the entire breadth of the picture but surely not in the same block, no? I don't understand!! And then I just can't figure out how to arrange the parked threads, if I leave them dangling down with the needles still threaded they all get tangled and if I loop them up and stick the needle somewhere at the side then I get caught on them whenever I flip the frame over to work on the back!! It's driving me insane!! I've started working with the doubled-ended needles and generally I find them quite good, except that the floss gets in some absolutely incredible tangles that are just not physically possible with normal needles. What to do?
And then there's the whole trying to stitch two handed thing- god it's hard!! I generally have pretty good dexterity in my left hand (having broken my right arm twice, I can write fairly well with my left now), but I'm keeping my left on top and leaving the trickier job to my right underneath the fabric, but I still find it really awkward and almost impossible to railroad as well, let alone get even tension!
And then there's the looking through the magnifying light as well- it's great, you can see everything much bigger and the light is really powerful, but it's very difficult to get the light in exactly the right position so that all parts of the target fabric are in focus and you can still get your hand in under there to stitch, plus any little knock and you are quickly feeling nauseous looking through the oscillating lens!
And then to complicate matters even further (as if that were necessary) this part of the pattern uses both full cross stitch and half crosses, in the same colours but with different symbols, and for figuring out where to place your needle to park depending on which direction you're going in on that row, it's an absolute catastrophe!! So, you can now understand all the swearing that was going on! I usually find stitching a very relaxing thing, but this feels more like war! I'm determined to stick with it though, because I'm ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that as soon as I get used to all this palaver it's going to be much much easier and faster and better than working with a hoop in one hand. Please god let that be true!
Wow! I admire your perseverance. You are much braver than me...I didn't like the hoop in one hand method so I went back to stiching in hand & have not moved forward with any technology. So I'm basically as old school as you can get!
First off - WOOHOO!!!!! on the finish!!! It looks wonderful!!!!! The border is gorgeous - you definitely can't fault TW for her borders, as murderous as they are! Well done, very well done!!!
Secondly, man oh man is that stand a thing of beauty!!!! Very nicely done!!! I want DH to build me one, too - but it's pretty far down on his list at the moment. And look at all of that floss - you could open a store, if you didn't already need it
Now, as for your new situation - believe me, you will not get the hang of parking right out of the gate, unless you are super-human! It took me 6 months of L&U before I was very comfortable with it - and then, as I've said, I gave up on it after a year and a half, as I find it to be much more time-consuming for no noticeable benefit, other than a "slightly" neater back. With L&U, the amount of confetti in the pieces pretty much tells you a neat back is not going to happen - consistent, I think, is the thing to look for.
As for the multiple threads of the same symbol and how far to work, etc., you will just have to work and see what works for you - do not go by any tutorial as written in stone!! In my opinion, if you want to work across the entire design one row at a time, parking may not be an option, or you will have to decide for yourself how far you are willing to carry a thread, as opposed to starting a new one. And the dangling bits will organize themselves, too - I never had a tangle in the 2 1/2 years I've been getting L&U out and putting it away, since I have a bunch of parkers below page 1 - which will likely annoy me to no end when I get back to Page 6. I have used the multiple needles, and single needle - but either way, I took all the needles off when I was done for the night. Some days I could deal with/needed mutliple, and other days, I could only keep track of one, so that's all I would use.
And you very likely are throwing too many things at yourself all at once, with the parking, two-handed, magnifier & a stand. When I started parking, I had already been two-hand stitching for some time - and really, really hate to have to hold anything these days, though obviously all my little pieces & travel projects don't get the floor stand treatment And then it was a few months after I started L&U that I threw in the magnifier - which, btw, I only use occasionally. I haven't used it on L&U for a very long time - I just don't have the need lately, and you're right, it takes some getting used to. If you really, really don't need the magnifier, just position it so you get the benefit of the light (mine is just a magnifier, which clips onto my stand, very small - my light is separate and sits to my side).
Do NOT give up!!! It is going to take some time to work out your methodology, because what is comfortable and works for one person could be completely wrong for you - though those ideas give you a place to start. If you can cut down on any of the new things at first, do so, getting comfortable with one new thing at a time. Easier said than done, I'm sure, but you clearly accomplished great things before all the new additions, just back down a step or two and gradually build up.
And you may reach a point like I did, when I decided that the way I worked L&U need not be different than the way I work any of my other pieces - I never parked on a TW, so what's different on L&U, other than sheer size? Nothing - in fact, it's easier, with no fractionals & backstitching!! You may also reach the point where parking is the best thing E-V-E-R and you'll use it on everything with many color changes. Either way is okay!! But I sincerely believe it will take months for you to make a fair judgment on what's going to work best for you - and keep you enjoying the process, because that's really what it's all about, isn't it? If it becomes work, then it's no longer your passion - and who wants to keep working on work???
I'm cheering for you!!!! It will eventually click, or it won't - and if it doesn't, don't feel bad; I did for awhile, and then I looked at the progress I made after I decided to work as I usually do - it was a noticeable difference. But I can honestly say I gave it a fair shake!
There are only 2 rules - thread goes through needle, needle goes through fabric. All else is open to interpretation and subject to change without notice!!!!
Great Work! and well done on getting it all finished !!! ( can you hear the applause coming from the direction of the Netherlands? )
I better not tell my hubby that I've just fallen seriously in looooooooove with your floor stand.. ok, yes, it's a dose of covertousness, a very big dose LOL.
I looked at the link on parking threads... wow wee mother bee.. don't know how people manage it, I tried it once ( years ago now) and it wasn't for me, I caught , snarled, mangled and eventually unknotted with scissors, frogged and started again, every thread dangling on the back, and on the front, even with they were threaded into the fabric at random intervals, to put it polietly it was like inching towards the cliff of insanity... for me the best method is the one you can manage, and for me at it's definiately not parking ( " parking" for me was more a case of stalling, getting bogged and stranded ) ...
BRAVO to those of you who managed to master it without wanting to do yourself ( or anyone else handy) in....
floss...? here's what i got made for my floss... a colleague had a hobby making this kind of thing, I paid materials and labour costs...wasn't cheap but I saved up and he made it for me...
10 drawers of thread bliss ( after a LOT of winding onto bobbins).... there's a top section that isn't currently living with the bottom section that has 24 little drawers ( no photo) where all the needles, and general sewing bits go...
10 drawers of thread bliss ( after a LOT of winding onto bobbins).... there's a top section that isn't currently living with the bottom section that has 24 little drawers ( no photo) where all the needles, and general sewing bits go...[/color]
Holy cow - those drawers are awesome!!!!! You know what? My next husband is going to be a woodworker - it's just becoming a requirement... Or I need to hit the lottery so I can either have something like these made, or have the time and place to learn how myself
All these wonderful things!!!!! I'm still using the plastic boxes for my bobbins. Most of my extra money goes into activities and games for my wonderful, beautiful, light of my life son. (he's autistic) Oh yes I have a bad case of envy.
But I did show DH the frame. He reaction........Oh, so that is what you have been wanting, why didn't you say so, I can build that. (such a guy!)
Wow, thanks for all the amazing comments (and encouragement) guys! And Kiwi, your floss cabinet is absolutely divine!! I want one!!
I'm pleased to report that I've made a bit of progress since my first post and feel a lot more comfortable with what's going on! I've found a good position for my mag light so I don't even notice it's there, I've sorted out the tangle problem with my threads, I'm getting used to the stand (and loving it!) and have pretty much wrapped my head around parking (at least the theoretical side of things!). I'm still very awkward and slow working two handed, but it's definitely better than before, and now I'm tackling the whole how-do-you-get-your-hand-round-to-the-back-when-you're-working-on-the-middle-of-the-fabric? dilemma; I think I may have to go under rather than around, but I just need to work out the logistics of it... Anyway, it's all going well, I've got five lines done in the first block and three in the second and I'm getting faster every time I do some! Hooray! It's still a lot slower than the way I usually stitch but I'm not thinking about that for the moment because I'm just having fun learning something new! That's right, I'm out of the war zone and back having fun, but it's still WAY too early to consider listening to my audio books whilst I stitch- there is no autopilot when it comes to parking and I need all my attention focused on the canvas!