Needlepoint -- hints and helps welcome!

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I mentioned in another thread that I'm starting a needlepoint project and can use some hints and helps from experienced needle workers. My last needlepoint project was done maybe 40 years ago, so to say I'm rusty isn't an exaggeration. The 13-count canvas is nice and straight, the printing is spot on, and the edges are bound with masking tape. The kit came with some luscious colors of 3-ply wool yarn. I'm stitching with one strand. The nice lady in the yarn shop suggested starting in a corner and gave me a chart explaining basket weave stitch and continental stitch. 

 

I started in the lower left corner using the continental stitch. I stitched the first row from right to left, as it was comfortable to slant the needle in the proper direction. I tried to do the next row up from left to right, but to move the needle in that direction had to be done left handed and was too awkward. I ended up turning the canvas upside down and working the second row right to left again. And then turned it right side up to work the third row right to left. It's hard to see with the dark green I'm using, but it appears there is a slight difference in the slant of the stitches from row to row. It may be my imagination, but maybe that's not a good way to go. I'd hate to go much farther only to discover the surface has an irregular appearance.

 

Would I be better off starting in the upper right corner and using the basket weave stitch to angle my way across the canvas? Should I stitch the details -- figures, trees, etc -- before doing the sky and background? Can I combine the basket weave and continental stitches, or will they be different in appearance?

 

All helps and hints welcome!

 

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I don't doubt that the stitches you did upside down look slightly different, but I can't see it in your close-up. I think if that's how you're comfortable doing it then that's what you should do. In the end it probably won't be obvious.

 

Another option for the long rows would be to cut the yarn when you reach the end of the row and start over right to left for the next row.

 

In the center portion, I would stitch the people etc. before doing the background.

 

I don't really know the difference between continental and basket weave... I just stitch. :) There are always going to be some irregularities but I don't think your eye will be drawn to them when the whole canvas is covered, so I say do whatever feels comfortable.

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Yes, I would do all the details first and then the background.  This way you can alter those areas if the canvas is printed "off" in a few areas.  Meaning, you can fine tune the figures before the background goes in.

 

As for having to turn the work upside down, I'm not sure how you are doing the stitches.  Are you putting the needle through front-to-back, pulling through, putting the needle through back-to-front and pulling through; or are you angling the needle under the canvas and doing all the movement in one motion.  I find that even though it takes longer, the stitching is easier, cleaner and more consistent if you keep putting the needle through one step at a time.

 

I use half cross stitch when I needlepoint, so the back is mostly straight vertical lines.  From what I'm seeing in that top row, it looks like you're going from lower left to top right and then to the left for the next stitch.  That is going to cause a lot of bulk on the back and use more yarn.

 

For left to right, you should be going from lower left to top right, straight down in the back to the next lower left.  For right to left, you should be going from upper right to lower left, straight up to the next upper right.  On the back, you will have all straight stitches.  On the front, you will have diagonals.

 

http://www.dmc-usa.com/Education/Technique-Overviews/Half-Cross-Stitch/Half-Cross-Stitch-Technique-Stitch-Guide.aspx

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Thanks, Emily and Brae.

I use half cross stitch when I needlepoint, so the back is mostly straight vertical lines.  From what I'm seeing in that top row, it looks like you're going from lower left to top right and then to the left for the next stitch.  That is going to cause a lot of bulk on the back and use more yarn.

 

For left to right, you should be going from lower left to top right, straight down in the back to the next lower left.  For right to left, you should be going from upper right to lower left, straight up to the next upper right.  On the back, you will have all straight stitches.  On the front, you will have diagonals.

 

http://www.dmc-usa.com/Education/Technique-Overviews/Half-Cross-Stitch/Half-Cross-Stitch-Technique-Stitch-Guide.aspx

Thanks, Brae. I'm pretty sure I've used the half cross-stitch before. The continental and basket weave stitches that the shopkeeper showed me both cover the back of the work solidly.  You're quite right about me going from lower left to top right and then to the left for the next stitch. It seems wasteful and made me wonder if I'd have enough yard to complete the piece. 

 

I think I'll start on some of the figures using the cross stitch with the up and down movement instead of angling the needle to do it all in one motion. I can see how I'd have better control.

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I also use the half-cross stitch for petitpoint and most needlepoint (unless I'm doing bargello or some other particular stitch) basket takes 'way more yarn.  I also work the background and large area stitches last.  With a painted canvas like yours ignore what I posted in reply to your other post about starting in the middle; I only do that when I start with a blank canvas.

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I usually do full cross stitch, so I guess when I'm doing needlepoint I instinctively do half cross stitch. That must be why the diagrams of basket weave and continental stitches make my head swim. :o

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I'll just sit and admire your work because it's not something I've ever gotten the knack of.

My few feeble attempts never saw the light of day to anyone except me.

:cheer: Stitch on and I'll cheer and applaud. :clap:  

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It's done! Finished today. The piece is 15" x 18" ib 13-mesh canvas = 45,630 stitches (not counting the oopsies that had to be pulled and restitched).

The Baptism  by Clementine Hunter

Clementine Hunter (pronounced Clementeen) (late December 1886 or early January 1887 – January 1, 1988) was a self-taught African-American folk artist from the Cane River region of the U.S. state ofLouisiana, who lived and worked on Melrose Plantation. She is the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at the present-day New Orleans Museum of Art.

Hunter was born into a Louisiana Creole family at Hidden Hill; she started working as a farm laborer when young, never learning to read or write. In her fifties, she began painting, using brushes and paints left by an artist who visited Melrose Plantation, where she then lived and worked. Hunter's artwork depicted plantation life in the early 20th century, documenting a bygone era. She sold her first paintings for as little as 25 cents. By the end of her life, Hunter's work was being exhibited in museums and sold by dealers for thousands of dollars.

Lloyd was active as the president of the Louisiana Art Teachers Association in the 1980s and was fortunate enough to attend Clementine's 100th birthday party. I can picture her and Grandma Moses having tea and chatting in that great studio in the sky. :) 

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Got it back from the framers this afternoon. They did a nice job with it. Will post a photo when I figure out where it will hang.

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Figured out where to hang it but haven't taken a photo yet. It is framed under glass. From just a few feet away, it looks more like a painting than needlepoint. Not sure I like it, but the thought of its wool surface open to dust isn't very appealing.

There was so much yard left over, in lovely bright colors. Lloyd has been making small paintings lately (5 x 9) with bold shapes and luscious colors. It occurred to me that they would translate well into needlepoint. I got some 14-count canvas at Jo-Ann's. Had thought to photocopy the painting and use it to put the design outline on the canvas with carbon paper. But I'm wondering ... if I cut the canvase to 8-1/2 x 11 and used the nice straight selvage as the leading edge, will it go through the printer/copier? I think the only damage this might incur is a jammed printer. Has anyone tried this?

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In the case of needlepoint canvas I think Id stick with the photocopy and carbon paper idea.  In addition to jamming some of the "fuzz" from the canvas threads might gum up your printer.  Did Lloyd ever finish his papermache sculpture?

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4 hours ago, havanaholly said:

In the case of needlepoint canvas I think Id stick with the photocopy and carbon paper idea.  In addition to jamming some of the "fuzz" from the canvas threads might gum up your printer.  Did Lloyd ever finish his papermache sculpture?

I don't think fuzz will be a problem. The canvas is quite smooth, like it has been lightly starched. I did wake up at 1 am thinking of the inkjet squirting color through the holes in the canvas and thinking it might be wise to iron it to freezer paper as when printing on lighter weight cotton.  Also thinking I need to check the back of the printer for a way to open it so the canvas can shoot straight through, thus not having to make the bend to come out the front.

The sculpture is 90% finished. He has decorated many of the surfaces with various kinds of silver glitz and mirrors. With the white paint everywhere else, it really shines. He needs to neaten up some of the corners with silver braid or a line of clear crystals or similar, and there are a few more small areas that need to be addressed. Every so often he gets a little brainstorm and another area gets to sparkle. 

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Lloyd's sculpture sounds totally awesome!

I think your idea to iron the canvas to the freezer paper is excellent.  I'll be interested to hear how it works.

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Taxes finished and off to the tax man, so I've given myself permission to get into my next needlepoint project. I scanned one of Lloyd's small paintings and printed it on 14-count needlepoint canvas this morning. I trimmed the canvas to size very carefully so there was nothing to snag and led with the selvage as it passed through the printer. It printed beautifully. See it here. I didn't iron it onto the freezer paper as I was afraid it would be too bulky for the printer to accept. 

I'll be using the wool left over from the Clementine Hunter needlepoint, so some of the colors will have to be adjusted. I really like the finish that the wool provides, deep, rich, luscious colors. I did a tiny sample patch and found a difference in the surface texture between the 13- and 14-count mesh. I like the smoother surface of the 14-count.

 

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How exciting!  The artist selected to do this year's Pensacola Jazz Festival poster was Sidney Carter, and he was in attendance, painting and showing his paintings and prints, which are fabulous, and we met and chatted with him, and in addition to being a drop-dead hunk of eye candy he is one of the nicest men you could ever meet!

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I recently opened a needlepoint kit that I have had for a while, the kind with the printed canvas. The design is not printed squarely with the canvas grain. It is 3 to 4 rows off. It is a fairly large project that I don’t want to spend oodles of hours on only to find out it will never look right. 

Any advice would be welcomed.

thank you,

Debbie

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The tedious way would be to invest in some graph paper and copy the design onto that with colored pencils, then turn the canvas over and stitch the blank side using your graph.

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33 minutes ago, Papillion said:

Any advice would be welcomed.

Probably not what you want to hear, but I would carefully repackage the kit and donate it to a thrift store. 

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What brand is it? You could try contacting their customer service to ask if they'll send you a new piece of canvas. I have contacted companies like Dimensions and Bucilla a couple of times for issues like this and they took care of it.

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