Archive for the ‘Kits’ Category

I finally returned to embroidery after about 5 years! I made some progress on the Swiss Folk Heart crewel kit mentioned here. It’s slow going but I hope it won’t take another 5 years.

Here’s a work-in-progress shot:


And a detail:


I think the embroidery is ehhhhhh (and the smartphone pics) but I’m not going to let that stop me.


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So, in addition to craft ADD I am a bit of a craft snob. When I got into embroidery as an adult it was ribbon embroidery that caught my attention. It was so striking and unlike anything I’d ever seen that it seemed better than anything else. I wondered how anyone could not be into ribbon embroidery if they’d heard of it and concluded most people didn’t know because it didn’t seem very popular. Well, that is the wrong attitude to have-pride goeth before the fall and all that.

I soon moved on to embroidery with cotton floss (it appeared to have it’s uses-that and my mother had a huge stash) and crewel work but I vowed never to get into counted cross stitch. I’ve moved on once again and the thing that’s caught my interest at last (hopefully permanently) is blackwork. I found working counted thread embroidery to be extremely relaxing and meditative. But I still thought counted cross stitch was lame.

It seemed too easy to me. Just following a pattern and laying down colors. Of course, this can describe all embroidery.

So arrogant! So judgmental!

I regularly search eBay for embroidery kits. In an effort not to miss any because sellers are often woefully inaccurate (or creative if you want to be positive) when they list I simply search for “kit” in the Needlecrafts & Yarn subsection of Crafts. In fact, I have a saved search set up to notify me when new things were added to eBay that matched my search terms. This is close to 600 items a day. How do I know this? Because I quickly made use of the RSS feed button at the bottom of the search results page and added the feed to my Google Reader and the reader counts each new item.

The new Search Experience eBay is betaing doesn’t include the RSS feature so I’ve opted out for the second time.

Casting such a wide net exposed me to all sorts of embroidery, including the dreaded counted cross stitch. But there, amongst the rough was this diamond:

Oh my god! RV Cross Stitch! Are you kidding me?! After cackling like mad I bid and won the auction. I don’t mean any disrespect to Full Hookups Inc. because if they hadn’t produced this kit I wouldn’t have been able to complete it. But it’s just so fantastical. And weird. Here’s a picture of the chart:

I hadn’t done counted cross stitch since I was a child so I did the best I could. I didn’t know to mark every ten blocks with thread or why one should work a section completely before moving on. As a result there are a few mistakes and why you’ve seen the development of the piece color by color.

I should have known I’d find counted cross stitch just as relaxing and meditative as blackwork and I’ve been thoroughly cured of my CSS prejudice. Well, except for the really lame kits.

I struck gold twice! I found another RV kit-this time for the Class C Motorhome.

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This is a kit I’m working on right now.  And this is all I have been able to finish so far. So when I say, “right now,” I mean, “whenever I’m least intimidated.”

It’s all satin and stem stitch with some french knots thrown in. Here are the instructions:

And here’s a detail of my stitching so far:

This is my first time working with crewel wool and I really like how dimensional it is. Unfortunately, the ground fabric feels mealy (kit circa 1977) and has a very loose weave. I’m having a really hard time getting good line definition with the satin stitch. If the wool goes between threads it leaves a huge hole so I need to pass it through the threads of the fabric but that’s not always easy.

I’d like to do backstitching on the lines like Mary Corbet of Needle’ n Thread did in this post but I don’t know if there’ll be enough wool. I can’t find crewel wool locally. Or at least I’m unwilling to drive around on the off chance someone has it. It’s a little frustrating. Here’s how much wool came with the kit:

The wool measures about 2″x7″ and the stamped area is about 13.5″x15″.

Finding this kit on ebay was a dream come true because I’d planned on creating monochromatic folk art embroidery myself. I still think it’ll look beautiful but I obviously need to re-think this project.

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The very first project of my return to embroidery was not the ribbon embroidery present for my grandmother. It was a Bucilla Creative Needlecraft kit No. 1958 called “Winter Morn.”

I chose this specifically because it reminded me of something my mother did. It was crewel (this used cotton floss) and there was a wagon wheel (this is sans wheel). But the perspective and general placement of the barn and the fence brought back strong memories of seeing her framed embroidery in the hallway.

Here are pictures of the instructions:

Detailed huh?  If sewing patterns are anything to go by I don’t know if we’d see this much information if this were a modern kit. This kit only required 4 stitches though: loop, back, couching, straight and satin.

It was a learning experience though. Here are some pictures of the work in progress:

I was working with a hoop then. It was easier for me to use a small hoop, since I was working really slowly and got very little done in one sitting.

Unfortunately, all that repositioning meant my hands came in contact with the fabric a lot and the pristine winter snow was quite dirty by the time I’d finished. I washed it and almost ruined the project. The red from the barn – but not the fence – bled like crazy. Nothing worked: salt, vinegar, gallons of cold water. This prompted a late-night run to the grocery store and I picked up something called Carbona Color Run Remover and Shout Color Catcher sheets.

I tested the color run remover and it did stop the bleeding but it also changed the colors. Reds became light orange, browns became green–it was almost worse. Maybe it would have worked differently with modern dye.

So then I moved on to the Color Catcher sheets and about ten sheets and several buckets of water later the color was stable. They really worked and I wholeheartedly recommend them if you’re at your wit’s end.

I don’t have a picture of the completed kit because I haven’t mounted it yet. It’s a behemoth – it requires a 22″ x 28″ frame!

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