Monday, October 20, 2008

Naughty Blogger

I haven't blogged a lot recently as it's come to my attention that I do in fact have a life. That was a shock to me because I'm a pretty boring, stay at home, antisocial kind of girl. To discover that my days are full(or maybe since my laptop is the only computer in the house I'm forced to fight for it when I want to use it and sometimes it's really just not worth the battle), my computer time has been limited. I have done some knitting on my Alien Illusion scarf from Stitch N Bitch. I started this scarf probably four years ago. It was whenever the first Stitch N Bitch book was released. I've restarted it many times because I would mess up and not know how to unravel stitches so I just unraveled the whole thing and start over, this happened at least four times over the years, maybe more. But I don't mind, with each unravel I become a better knitter. I now know and completely understand how important it is to know what side you are knitting on, DUH, and to make sure that you know right side from wrong side. I'm kind of slow. Below is my progress from maybe a week ago, I've started a third Alien face and am at the halfway mark on him already. Click to enlarge the picture Yesterday was my birthday. My friend Pam, gifted me with the Pistoulet coffee server. It matches my dishes and my addiction to coffee, and my love for all things that take up kitchen counter space. The top is for storing coffee, underneath there is a spot to store your coffee filters, the left side has a place for your spoon and the right side has slots for sugar packets and coffee creamer packets. To say I love it is an understatement.

To keep this in the theme of coffee, that wonderful elixir of the gods, here is my finished Coffin Buzz. The complimentary chart can be found here:
Paulette, thank you for such a great design!
I will preface this by saying my photography as usual sucks but I hope you get the idea of what I did to reach the framed finish.

I stitched the design on 28ct antique white monaco which I purchased on clearance at A.C. Moore for $1. The floss is DMC 3371. Which I got for maybe 35 cents at A.C. Moore or 29 cents at JoAnn. I wanted to dye my fabric after stitching because I am not an experienced fabric dyer. I am not, disciplined and would probably ended up with antiqued hands before I finished stitching my project. So once the stitching was done I wanted a blotchy, leaky attic look to the fabric. I wanted to try something other than just coffee dyeing so I started out blotching up the fabric in places with some RIT Golden Yellow dye. I want to stress that I have no idea what the effect of RIT dye will do to fabric over the next 50 or 100 years. I don't care. I'm not a conservationist. I'm someone who can't always afford to purchase hand-dyed linen but loves the affect so I, in some cases, decide to do it myself. If I'm able to enjoy the finished project for any length of time then it's served it's purpose for me anyway, any time after that that my needlework survives and others can enjoy it well that's gravy. When the youngest son saw the fabric as it appears in the picture below he commented that it looked like the cats peed on it. Obviously my cats need more water in their diet:

The top part of the fabric is a bit darker than the bottom because it sat draped over the bowl for 20 minutes or so while the bottom bit got a dunking in the dye. I let it dry in the sun. Then it took a bath in some two day old coffee with a few tablespoons of vinegar. Does anyone remember the Wife Swap episode where the Manhatten wife went to the home of the family in Mississippi(I think) and was grossed out that the morning coffee was still sitting around in the pot that afternoon? Uh it is not unusual for coffee to sit in my pot for a day or two. Especially if I'm wanting to use it for something and keep thinking I'll get to it that afternoon. So yes, this coffee sat in my pot for two days because I hated to pour it out and also I'm trying to cut back a bit on my coffee drinking and wasn't sure if I'd make a pot the next day and no way am I going to make coffee just for the purpose of dyeing some fabric. So call me gross. I can deal.

Then I once again let it dry in the sun. After that I put on some gloves, the vinyl food service kind that you can pick up at the Dollar Tree for $1. I poured some RIT Tan dye on my finger tips and started blotching up the fabric. I wasn't thrilled with the progress so I poured some in my palm and flung it at the fabric. Flinging dye onto fabric is a very technical and precise process, NOT! When I was finished this is what I had:

I let it dry for a bit in the sun. Then decided to "set" the dye job by tossing it in my dryer with an old kitchen towel. Over all I was pretty happy with the result.
Below you can see it framed. I found the frame at the Store Who Shall Not Be Named for $5.

Here's a detail of the frame:

Yes, I mounted it on sticky board, yes I used RIT Dye, No I did not follow any kind of conservationist tips for preserving needlework for future generations. I did this because it was fun, because when it comes right down to it I am a ghetto cross stitcher. I still use the evil aida at times and don't mind it one little bit.
As needleworkers we all try to use the best quality supplies we can but also as cross stitchers it's so easy to get stuck in the idea that we have to use this linen or that thread and we don't venture outside our comfort zones. Sometimes I wonder if this is why cross stitchers get absolutely no respect in the crafting world except from other cross stitchers. Knitters, crocheters, quilters, they all use patterns just like we do, but for some reason our little Xs don't seem to get the respect that a knit and a purl stitch have acquired and that breaks my heart.
The needlework that is created from the little X is profound and we cross stitchers need show the world that we rock the needle as well as any other crafters that take their needle of choice in hand. We are their equal. Let's step up, put the funk in those Piecemaker 26 needles and show the crafty world what we are made of!


staci said...

Hey! Your Coffin Buzz turned out wonderfully! Really loved the very scientific and controlled approach to it, lol! That's MY kind of project!!!

Nic said...

I love your Coffin Buzz. I was reading the last JCS (takes a long time to come to the UK) and there was an article about finishing threads for 'heirloom quality' projects. I don't get that - look at old samplers and they *aren't* perfect, it's mostly accidental that they've reached us. I'm stitching for *me* (and sometimes friends and family) not unknown strangers a hundred years from now, so I'm going to join you in stitching as I want to, right here and now :o)

Anna van Schurman said...

Hey, Happy birthday fellow Libra! Glad you are back. Though I wish you had less of a life.

Suz said...

I think your piece came out magnificently. Just awesome.

Also? I'm stealing the term "ghetto stitcher" because it's freakin funny. I don't follow the heirloom "rules" either. My family was bickering over which finished pieces they want when I keel over (most of the relatives were also 20-40 years older than me!). I told them all I want to be draped in my pieces and set afire on a boat, ala the viking warrior funeral thing.

That shut them up and made me realize I don't care if my pieces last forever.

Cindy said...

Your finish is awesome!! I am all about breaking the rules :)

Mariana said...

This turned out fabulous for a first dye job. I love how it looks.

Michelle said...

I love how this turned out - thanks for the inspiration of thinking outside of the box!

Karen said...

LOL! "Ghetto stitcher." I love it. Wow. I'm impressed. It takes a special person to cast caution to the wind and dye something already stitched! It came out beautifully! When I catch myself wondering what will happen to my stitched pieces when I'm dead and gone, I always remind myself that it doesn't matter! No one will care as much about my stitching as I do. I love Suz's idea of being draped with them and burned!