Monday, April 27, 2015

Week results

Schlock with gun - April 19th
This past week I have been able to spend some time stitching and am very happy with the progress that I have been especially on Schlock. 

I know that right now he is looking a little funny considering I have been working on one colour at a time.  By working this way it means that some of the shading looks extremely funny but that won't be for long.  I did get quite a bit done and that is even after I (well my husband helped) frogged one colour that I had completed last week.  Of course when do I discover the issue but only after I had finished all the sections requiring the one colour. 
Schlock with gun - April 26th

I guess being stressed and trying to stitch really don't go together too well and that proved it.  I was able to get all the areas restitched and even got a bit more accomplished so that did make me feel a little better.

Now as for the princess I decided that if I wanted to get it completed quickly I would be better to be doing it on 18th aida so I restarted it this week.  I am hoping that this piece will hang in a little girl's bedroom once it is done so figured it would also be a little bigger as well. 

Princess - April 26th
I didn't pick up a cross-stitch piece at all this weekend as I decided to give my hands a bit of a rest and do some knitting. I had a shawl that I have been working on for a while so figured it was time that I sat down and did a little bit of work on it so that is what I did Friday evening.

As I was knitting I was thinking about another shawl pattern that I had and wanted to figure out what colour I would make the next shawl out of.  I got it down to three colours that I had and they were indigo, rose and light blue.  I kept looking at the three colours and I couldn't decided especially between the two blues which one I wanted to use for the shawl.  Now this is where the problem begins.

Merino lace weight yarn - windstorm by Dye-Version
I decided that I would take the three colours and the pattern over to my husband and get his opinion on which colour I should use.  The problem was I took the pattern and when he looked at the pattern his comment was "it would really look nice in a variegated/hand-dyed yarn".  See the problem was not one of the yarns that I was holding fit that definition.  I was trying to stitch my project from my stash and not have to purchase a yarn for it.  Now the thing was that Saturday there was a Knitter's Frolic being held not far from us so that meant that I had something to look for while I was there.  Yes, my husband drove me and went in with me so that we could look at the different hand dyed yarns and see if there was anything that I liked.  Of course, there was a lot of different ones that I liked but I needed to make sure I would love the shawl once it was done.  After walking around the show twice I found two different colours that I liked so now the decision.  I asked my husband which one he liked after handing him the two I had seen and he helped me decide on the lighter of the two versions of the yarn, so I got it.

The yarn of course isn't in a skein but a hank so once we got home from our other running around I got the wool winder out and we set out to at least get one of the hanks wound so that I could start the shawl on Saturday. 

The good news is I started the shawl on Saturday and have been making some really good progress on it already.  The bad news is I didn't take a picture of the shawl yet so that is going to have to wait until I get the camera and the shawl in the same location.  The yarn in the picture is the yarn that I am using for the shawl and I am loving how it is turning out so far.

Well it is Monday morning and I have a lot of work that I need to get done today so I better get working on it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stitching progress

Schlock with gun - April 14th
This last week I have been getting some stitching done and am happy with the progress I have been making.

Schlock with gun has been getting quite a bit of attention as that was the main project that I was working on most of the week.   Considering it doesn't have a lot of colours in the pattern it makes for something that I can work on when I can tired and watching tv.

Schlock with gun - April 19th
Over the last couple of day I decided that I wanted to get the outline of Schlock and his gun completed so that was something that I worked on this weekend.  It also means that it is easier to work on the different colours because I now know where they go.

This project has been a lot of fun to work on because I know that this character looks like so even when I didn't have a lot of him stitched I knew what area I was working on so that made it easy to do.

Princess - April 19th
Now, yesterday I decided that I wanted to work on a project that is going to be a little bit of fun and it will also be a challenge for myself.  The reason I said it is going to be a challenge is there are quite a few colours in it and I have decided to try and add beads and even some metallic threads into it.  I figured that considering I have been working on some designs for a while now why not try something a little bit different.

The piece that I decided to work on is a princess and I will see how it goes because currently I have used two colours on it and you really can't see much of a difference between the two blues.

The other thing about this new project is I am doing it on 22 count aida and most of the models that I have been working on have been on 18 count aida and what a difference.  The 22 count seems to be so much smaller but it is just because over the last few months most of my stitching has been on 18 count.

I have worked on 28 and 25 count even weave quite often but I think it is just because what I have been working on lately the new piece seems so much smaller.

Not sure how much of the princess I am going to get done this week as I would like to complete Schlock before I really get working on the princess  but will see how this week goes.

Time to get some work done so that I can enjoy my evening stitching.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Designing with software

Over the last year I am been working on using some software to assist me in designing some cross-stitch patterns. I do say assist because I just don't let the software do the work and then I stitch it. For me there are a number of other things that I do with the image and the pattern that the software generates.

  • When it comes to the image I made sure that the colours are bright enough so that the software can see the different colours otherwise everything is going to be one colour when there should be lots of colours.
  • Is the background something that is easy to remove or am I going to be spending hours and hours trying to remove it.
  • Is the image something that could be easily translated into cross-stitch. Yes you can convert any image into a pattern but is it something that is going to be enjoyable to stitch.

Once I have made these decisions and am going to use a selected image I then convert it and then the work with the actual pattern begins.

  • Before even getting the image into the software there are a couple of decisions that need to be made. What size do I want the image to be when it is stitched and on what stitch count for the fabric. The size is going to be the basic size when it is stitched so I don't want the images to be huge otherwise no one will stitch it.
  • Once the pattern has been generated I still spend a lot of time on the actual pattern.
    • First – work on removing the background if I wasn't able to do that before the pattern was generated and sharpen the blending on the edges of the actual design.
    • Second – how many colours of floss are used when the pattern is generated and it is realistic. If the colour number is too large I then start working to reduce the colours and make it a little easier and enjoyable to stitch.
    • Third – how many stitches use each colour of floss. I am one of those that if I don't have to purchase a skein a floss for just a few stitches I am very happy. The first colours I try and change are for colours with less than 10 stitches on a standard size pattern. The only time I will keep a colour with under 10 stitches is if they are key to the design.
    • Fourth – start looking at the colours again and see if they can be reduced a little bit more so that single stitches aren't all over the pattern.
    • Fifth – print out the pattern so that I can sit back and look at it and how much floss it is going to take to do the design.

Items ready for stitching
Once the pattern has been revised to what I think I will actually stitch I then get out the collection of floss and start kitting the design so that it is ready for stitching. For me the kitting involves using index cards and putting some of each colour onto the cards so that I can stitch quickly. The other part of the kitting is putting all the floss colours onto a ring so that I have just those colours I think I will need available. All of this including the fabric go into a zipped bag so that it is ready for when I can actually start the stitching.

  • Work on stitching the piece and check for changes that need to be made on the actual pattern and make them on the working copy.
  • Take pictures after each stitching time to track progress on image as this assists in making sure colours look good.

After piece is stitched
  • Go back to the generated pattern and make the changes to the pattern that were noted during the actual stitching.
Stitching design and modifying pattern

So yes it may sound like getting some software can be easy for working with an image but there are still a lot of things that need to be considered.

Now before you think you can just stitch and sell patterns of anything you need to remember copyright laws and intellectual property. If the image is something you took great than you own it if it is someone else's work you need to get their permission to use it. Remember, even if you do get permission that permission can be revoked at any time and if that happens just move onto your next project. Places, planes and certain images can still be something you cannot stitch and sell even if you took the picture yourself.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A finish and a start

Schlock with Dice - finished April 14th
I am very happy to say that I finished stitching my first Schlock piece last night.  It was a pattern that I really enjoyed working on and am pleased with how it turned out.

Schlock with gun - new project
Last night I didn't have a lot of this piece to finish so as soon as I got home from the office I decided to try and get it finished.  Of course within the hour the piece was finished and I was looking for the next piece to stitch.  I do have a lot of pieces that are already started but I decided that I was going to work on another small project that shouldn't take me too long to complete.

The piece that I decided on was another Schlock piece but this time it is him with a gun.  The colours in the picture aren't as good as I would like but it give you the idea of how much I was able to accomplish last night.

It feels so great having this smaller projects to complete as they work up quickly.  Of course I am going to have to get back to some of the other projects that I have started.

Of course these two Schlock cross-stitch will be displayed in our home as my husband is a big Schlock fan.  I am going to wait to frame these two pieces until they are both completed so that I am make sure they both look good in the same frame.
Schlock with gun - April 14th

Work is now calling me so I better get to it and then this evening I will be able to curl up and do some stitching while watching the hockey playoffs.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stitching Progress

Schlock - March 29th
I am finally sitting down and working on a progress report of what I have been stitching for the last little while.

I started Schlock with Dice on March 26th and I have been able to find some time to stitch and I am making progress on it which is making me very happy.  Of course with everything else that I was working on I didn't get a progress report done after last weekend. 

I am seeing some really good progress on this project and the nice thing is it is a relatively quick pattern to stitch up.

Schlock - April 5th
This week I hope that I am able to get more stitching done on Schlock because I would really like to see it completed quickly.  I already have a couple more items for the next project that I am going to work on so I am looking forward to picking up the next one but I am going to get this one done before I start something else.

Being able to work on different projects is great but I have to admit that being able to focus on one for a while is so nice because I can then see some results and not just little bits.

Schlock - April 12th
The weekend at Ad Astra went well and I made a lot of new contacts so will see what some of them lead to.  The Art Show gave me some exposure and that was wonderful.

I am extremely tired as it was a busy weekend so I think today I am going to take it easy and maybe later I will try and get a little bit of stitching done.

Need to get a little bit of work done today and then I will see what I work on.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Art Show pictures and Model

Finished I am able to show what I have been up to for the last couple of months.  I have been busy stitching and yes Siux in Cosplay was my project that I was trying to get accomplished before April 10th.

Siux in Cosplay - Art Show
All the pieces are now framed and ready for Ad Astra which is this coming weekend.  The first two pictures are of the pieces that I will be putting in the Art Show and both of them will be up for sale during the show.

This last week we did spend some time working on getting all of these pieces stretched and framed so that they would be ready in time for the show.  Of course there are going to be a few last minute things that need to be completed but I am happy to say that I think I am almost ready for this coming weekend.

  Ad Astra is offering for two hours on Saturday (11am-1pm) free admission to the Art Show and Marketplace for those not sure if Ad Astra is for them.  This does mean that you can actually come by if you are in the Toronto area and see Sarah's two books, her prints and my patten. 

We are both looking forward to seeing a lot of our friends during this weekend so if you have the opportunity please stop by and say hi.

I will try and post an update to Schlock with dice later this week otherwise you are going to have to wait until next week to see the progress on him.