Thursday, November 27, 2014

New Year SAL

Ok, everyone.  Hope those in the US had a great Thanksgiving!  I know that I ate too much but had a good time with my family.

I'm going to propose a unique stitch along for the coming year (apart from the Mystery Band Sampler SAL).

For those of you who do, or are planning to do, a HAP (huge a** project), let's make an attempt at one HAP finish this year.  Yes, I know, I've never seen the acronym HAP before either.  I just made it up.  ;-)

My definition of a HAP is this:  the smallest dimension of the stitch count is 300.  Did I mention huge?

Currently, I am working on 4 HAPs and planning on starting another one.  They are:
All of these, except Floral Finesse, are already in progress.  I'd really like to finish one...more would be better.

Apart from the project being a HAP, I'd like the only other criteria to be it has to be less than 50% completed as of January 1, 2015.

To participate:
  • Post on your blog that you are doing it.
  • Post in the comments here that you are doing it (so I know who to look in on)
  • Post on your blog, a picture of your HAP(s) as of January 1, 2015.
  • Link back to this post as the home of the SAL.
  • Do an update the first of every month on your progress of your HAP(s).
All the participants will be entered into a drawing to be held on December 10, 2015.  Those who post every month Jan-Dec 2015 will be given one additional entry.  Those who also complete a HAP, will be given one additional entry for each completion.  No, I'm not going to tell you what the drawing is for, but it will be stitching-related.

As of January 6, 2015, this SAL is least in regards to the drawing at the end of the year.

Happy Stitching!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Mystery Band Sampler SAL

I've decided to go ahead with the Mystery Band Sampler SAL!

The SAL will start January 1st, 2015.  There is a limit to the number of participants and the cost is $7 US per participant.  While the cost is in US $, anyone can join.  The currency conversion will be handled by PayPal (you don't need a PayPal account).

Some people have said they are getting error messages from Paypal.  Their payments HAVE gone through.  I will email each person when I get the payment so you'll know if it went through.

You will need to be a member of Facebook.  I will create a closed group for participants only.

If you want to join, you can purchase your spot over there ---->  at the top of the column.  
The SAL will close to new participants on January 7, 2015.

The information that I can tell you is:

  • The sampler will feature a variety of stitches
  • The sampler is mainly based on color (options below)
  • There will be a total of 20 bands
  • Stitch count is 119w x 155h.  On 28ct. this makes the stitched area 4¼" x 5½"
  • Only DMC floss is used
The supplies you will need:
  • Fabric in your choice of color, contrasting with your chosen color scheme would look best
  • Recommended count is 28 to be stitched over 2 threads
  • Fabric should be 10"-11" wide x 11½" - 12½" high.
  • DMC floss - will need white for all colorways, see below for lists
The color options are:
  • Blues
  • Greens
  • Yellows
  • Pinks
  • Grays
  • Purples
If you want another color option, let me know and I'll see if it will work.

Here is the DMC floss you will need for your chosen color scheme.

Blues:  White, 312, 336, 799, 825, 939, 3325, 3752, 3753, 3756
Greens:  White, 504, 564, 890, 909, 910, 912, 913, 954, 3818
Yellows:  White, 725, 726, 727, 728, 743, 746,  782, 783, 3078
Pinks:  White, 814, 816, 818, 819, 961, 962, 963, 3716, 3831
Grays:  White, 310, 317, 318, 413, 415, 535, 762, 3799, 3865
Purples:  White, 153, 154, 209, 210, 550, 552, 553, 3743, 3837

Any questions?  Just post them in the comments.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Answer #5 - Stitching a HAED - epically long post

This post was last updated on 28 November 2017.

This one comes from a couple of the Facebook groups that I'm on.
Tips for stitching a HAED?

Well, since I've completed 3 smaller, 1 SAL, 1 large one, and have 5 in progress, I'd say I'm at least a little qualified to answer this.

Some things to know.

Some of the pattern names seem to use a "secret code".  Here are the common abbreviations and terms:
  • MC - Max Color.  The chart has been modified to use as many colors as possible.  Usually around 240 colors.
  • Mini.  This is a smaller version, in overall stitches, of a design.
  • PTP - Petit Point.  Originally charted specifically for 40ct. fabric.  They can be stitched on any count  though.
  • QS - Quick Stitch.  A Quick Stitch is a small section that has been "cropped" from a design.
  • SK - Story Keep.  Proportioned like a bookmark.  I've seen them made into bookmarks or framed.
  • SS - Super Sized.  Charts that are maxed out in size. The larger dimension will top out at 999 stitches.
  • TT - Tiny Treasures.  Smaller designs. 
Don't be afraid to stitch a HAED.

They only use full cross stitches.  There are no ¼ stitches, specialty stitches or backstitches.  Apart from the infrequent use of Kreinik 032 #4 Braid (which I always switch to blending filament), only DMC threads are used (well, there are a couple of patterns that call for Anchor brand).

Don't let the size overwhelm you.

While most people think of HAEDs as massive, not all of them are.  The four finishes that I have were:  QS Hummingbird at 187w x 163h (only one color!), QS Dragonflies at 185 x 255 (again, one color) and Twilight Repose at 125w x 317h, and La Belle Dame Sans Merci at 575 x 389.

Now some of their other patterns are HUGE, I will admit.  The largest one that I own is SS Farewell to Anger MC at 999w x 660h.  No, I haven't started it yet.  ;-)

Don't over think it.

If you concentrate on how many stitches you'll have to do to finish, you'll give yourself a headache.  If you think about how many pages you'll have to wade through...again, headache.  I focus on stitching one page at a time.  My reward for finishing a page?  Another page on a different project, hence, my rotation.

Before you start.

Figure out what makes you most comfortable.  Do you usually use a hoop, q-snaps or a scroll frame?  Do you usually stitch in-hand?  Stick with what works for you.

Figure out what stitch count you want to use.  The "default" is 25ct.  I am doing 2 on 25ct. and I just don't care for that count.  I prefer 28ct.  If your eyes aren't up to the smaller counts, switch to what you can see comfortably.  I've seen WIP photos of HAEDs from 6ct. (huge!) to 40ct. (one of mine).  You will have to keep in mind that the smaller the stitch count, the bigger the finished size.  You will also need more floss than the pattern recommends if you use a count smaller than 25ct.

The Patterns - Printed vs. Download

Are you going to purchase a printed (hard copy that gets shipped) or a .pdf (which you download yourself)?

Printed Patterns 

Determine whether you'll need a regular or large print pattern.  If you have issues stitching on 25ct. or higher, I'd recommend the large print.  It's not a huge difference in size, but it will be easier to see especially if there are any similar symbols.  The other benefit to a large print pattern comes if you highlight the chart as you stitch - the boxes are bigger and accommodate the highlighter better.  ;-)

Cons to printed patterns:

The hard copy patterns take longer to receive because the postal service is involved.  They are also more expensive because HAED has to cover their cost for the printing.

Pros to printed patterns:

You don't have to worry about computer issues with downloading, saving and backing up, or the cost of printing them yourself.  The paper is also much better quality than even a print shop would use!

Downloaded Patterns

If you are going to download your pattern, you will only need the large print version if you are going to physically print the pattern and need the bigger symbols.  So many people are using their tablets to stitch from which means a regular print pattern will be fine because the tablet should let you zoom in.

Cons to downloaded patterns:

You do have to have some understanding of computers.  You may have to pay to print the patterns yourself (for paper users).  If you lose your files, you are out of luck.  Backup in more than one place!!

Pros to downloaded patterns:

You can use a tablet to stitch from.  The patterns are available nearly instantly.  Until you print them (if you're going to), they take up no room.  They are less expensive so you have money to buy more!

Material Packs

Personally, I have no experience with the material packs.  I can tell you that I have heard others rave about how good they are.  The only reason that I've never purchased one is due to my existing stash.  I have every color of DMC, most with multiples, plus a large collection of fabric in my favorite counts.  It just doesn't make sense for me to purchase a pack when I already have all the supplies.  Besides, that means I can spend my money on more patterns!

If you do not have a large stash like mine, it might be the best option for you.  If you don't have a LNS (local needlework shop), then it's probably going to be a good choice.

Getting Ready to Stitch

Get all your floss together taking into account what the pattern recommends and allowing for any changes you have made in your fabric count.  Make sure to check your dye lots!  Yes, floss does vary from dye lot to dye lot.  Most of the time, you'd never notice.  But if you're going to put in so many hours on a project, you don't want a wonky dye lot messing things up.  If you are stitching on a small count fabric, say 14ct., and the pattern calls for multiple skeins of black, for instance, you might want to invest in a cone of that color.  Yes, DMC comes in cones!  The easiest place to purchase them, in the US, is 123stitchJoann's also carries them online but they don't list the color number so good luck with that.

How I stitch.


I use scroll frames.  I'm addicted to my scroll frames and floor stand...seriously! Mine are from Artisan Design.  I have each of my WIPs on its own frame.  That makes them easier to store and makes it very quick to switch from one project to the next.


My master stash of floss is stored on bobbins.  I pull all the colors needed for a project and put them in numerical order on rings.  Each project has its own complete set of floss.  Most of mine use 310 (black) and every one of my projects has its own bobbin so that I don't have to grab it from another project.

Here's my PTP Floral Arrangement waiting for its turn in my rotation.  You can see how I have the bobbins on rings.  The photo is actually sideways and I was too lazy to change it.  Tilt your head to the right to see how it should be.


I purchase the patterns as digital downloads - PDF's.  I print one page at a time.  When I start a new project, I only print the cover page, floss key and first page of the pattern.  I put the cover page in a page protector; the floss key, I cut down, laminate, and 3-hole punch; the first page gets trimmed around the edges and usually pinned to the fabric.  Once I finish a page, I print out the next page and then store everything together in a 3-ring binder.  Then I move on to the next project in my rotation.  Here's God Speed waiting for its turn:

Actually stitching

I start in the upper left hand corner regardless of which page I'm on.  Check out my post on Finding Your Starting Point. I pick a symbol, cut a length of that floss and stitch until that length is finished.  I then pick another symbol in the upper left area and repeat.  If I'm working on a page with a lot of the same color, I will cut a length of that color, separate the strands, and thread all 6 strands onto needles.

I've seen a lot of people who use the parking method.  I have tried this and can do it just fine.  I just can't stand the messy appearance of all those threads on the front of my work.  If it works for you, great!  I use a highlighter to mark off the stitches that I've done.  I'm sure that Staples loves me just from my highlighter purchases!  I've discovered that my local dollar store (Dollar Tree - US) carries highlighters 3 for $1!  Woo hoo!

Here you can see my WIP on my scroll frame, attached to the stand.  The highlighted pattern is just sitting on my fabric.  Yes, I have a daylight lamp (Ott) and I sit in a glider rocker.  All my "gear" was gifts from my husband.  I only had to pay for the fabric, patterns and floss.  Yes, I am keeping him!  In the background, you can see my WIPs that are awaiting their turns.  This photo is old enough that at least one of those has been completed!

I hope this post helps overcome any trepidation you might have in starting a HAED!  If you have any questions, just post them in the comments.  I will answer them if I'm able!

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Answer #4 - Sistine Chapel

Well, since I've had a few questions specifically about the Sistine Chapel (SC) that I'm working on, I thought I'd answer them in a separate post.  So this is actually more than one question but I'm "bundling" them.  ;-)

Connie asked:

"I'd love to know how big this piece is gonna end up being when you get done. Number of stitches?"

All of my WIPs have their own progress bar over there -----> 

That will show how many total stitches, number of stitches done, and percentage completed.  For SC, I have completed 30,478 stitches out of 348,950 stitches.  That puts me at 8.73% done.

As to the completed size, I'm doing it over 1 on 34ct. linen.  The pattern is 350w x 997h.  That means the finished piece will be 10.29" x 29.32"  (26cm x 74.5cm).

Michelle asked:
"Because of its length and width it really doesn't fit on to a frame, I would have to fold part of it and work top section then the bottom section ?"

Michelle, that depends on a few things.  First, the frame.  Me, I'm a scroll frame addict.   SC fits just fine on one of my many scroll frames.  I get my scroll frames from Artisan Design and I love them!  Here's a picture:

As you can see, I have plenty of room on either side of the stitched area to allow for framing.  Also to the left, you can make out the clamp that holds my lovely frame onto the floor stand, also from Artisan Design.

The excess fabric is rolled up at the top and the bottom.  Since I started stitching at the top, you might be able to see that the roll at the bottom is thicker due to the extra fabric.

I can't imagine doing a large project in a hoop or even q-snaps.  The thought of not being able to have the excess fabric kept neatly out of the way makes my brain hurt!

Now, a couple of other factors that will decide whether or not it will fit on a frame.  Most, not all, HAEDs recommend stitching on 25ct. over 1.  I'm stitching over 1 but on 34ct. which makes my finished project smaller. If I had tried stitching over 2, the size would be doubled.  On 25ct., this pattern would be 14" wide x 40" long.  As you probably saw in the first answer above, mine is definitely going to be smaller than that.  So the fabric count and stitching over 1 vs. 2 are two other factors.

The size of your frame is the final thing to consider.  I haven't measured this frame, but I will estimate that my fabric is 18" wide so the rod is 20".  That is definitely not my largest frame.  This one is:

The stitched area on this one is 23" wide so that puts the fabric about 28" and the rods at 30".

Michelle also asked:
"...roll the material up in card board roll, so it doesn't get dirty?"

As you can see, the way I have the material rolled on the frame creates a "well".  In other words, the stitched area is recessed below the scroll rods.  The only part of the material that I come into contact with is along the bottom edge of the scroll rod.  Having the floor stand limits contact as well, but the way the fabric is rolled is even more important.  The side of the material that is exposed on the rods is the back of the fabric.  I stitch two-handed.  My right (dominant) hand is underneath the fabric and my left is on top.  My right arm does go under the scroll rod so it does brush against the material but only the back.  My left arm rarely comes into contact with the material but if it does, it's the back.

As I finish a row, or in the case of these two projects shown, two rows, I need to roll the material from the bottom rod onto the top.  I've never had a problem with the little bit of exposed fabric that I do come into contact with getting noticeably dirty.  Yes, this area does get rolled against the stitched area but I've never noticed any dirt or had any problems with dirt.  Since the projects I typically do are so large, they are quite frequently on the scroll frames for yearsLa Belle Dame... has been on the frame since at least 2008.

I hope this information helps.

Happy Stitching!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sistine Chapel update

Well, the last round of my rotation found me working on The Sistine Chapel.  I just finished page 4!  Due to the switch from Daylight Savings Time, I got in an extra hour of stitching.  My behind was a bit sore from sitting for so long, but it was worth it.

Here's my progress photo:

Next up is my focus piece, La Belle Dame Sans Merci.  The knight will finally start to get a body!  Plus, there will be a bit of sparkle as some of his armor uses blending filament!  I seriously, can't wait.  

Well, I do have to wait a bit.  The Seattle Seahawks are playing at 1:25pm and I have to watch them!  That means that my Dimensions ornament will see at least a little progress.

Happy Stitching!