Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cheating... sorta...

Okay, it's not really cheating- I couldn't work on the Robot Quilt in the car yesterday or the day before, so I did some work knitting.

This is the class sample for one of my SAFF 2012 workshops. It's an exclusive pattern, and will not be taught again until late 2013. I am thrilled with how it's coming out, though I remembered pretty quickly why I usually don't knit Fair Isle in the car.

When we got home yesterday afternoon, I couldn't bring myself to drag the sewing machine downstairs so that I could sew the binding to the Robot Quilt and get it finished.
So, really, I had no choice but to work a little bit on the needlepoint canvas that I bought on eBay. The name is Arhelon, and my friend Kathy tells me that it looks like an Australian Aboriginal design. I was drawn to it because it's cool (natch), but also because all those little areas will make for very little boredom in stitching. I assume that big blank areas of solid color needlepoint are like big blank areas of stockinette stitch, which is the most boring knitting possible. When I excitedly showed my needlepointing friends the design, they said, "Oh my, you certainly chose a challenging design", which is the story of my life.
At first, I tried to use the scrolling frame that I also bought on eBay, but it quickly became obvious that the frame wasn't going to work. It's flimsy, it wiggles, and worst of all, it doesn't hold the fabric taut. So when we were in Sioux Falls, I went to Michael's and bought some art stretcher frames- cheap and easy, and they work perfectly. The above frame? Going in the garbage- I am not going to inflict anyone else with it.

Though stapling the canvas to the frame wasn't quite as easy as it ought to have been...

I did manage to get it done. The canvas printed portion is 12" x 12", and the stretcher frames are 16" long (that's from outside corner to outside corner, the inside opening is about 13", which is big enough).

I am still on a strict stash-busting campaign, so I'm using leftover yarns for this needlepoint. This yarn won't be as sturdy as commercial tapestry wool, but though I don't know what this will grow up to be, I do know that it's not going to be a chair cushion or footstool cover, so it's not going to get a lot of wear and tear. I hand dyed all of these yarns, except for the yellow (which is also hand dyed, just not by me), and the black, which is a wool camel blend. They'll all be mottled, which will give the piece some lovely random shading.

This is a 14ct mesh, which means that there are more printed lines than there are squares for the design (I had the option of ordering the design printed on an 18ct mesh, but I wanted to finish this piece during my lifetime), so I'm having to simplify and condense a little of the design, but I think it's going to come out beautifully. I know that it's against Needlepoint Rules, but I'm saving the outside border until last, because I'm not sure what yarn to use, and want to make absolutely sure that I'll have enough. Also, I may do some kind of textured stitch.
Here's a nice closeup of the colors. It has been easily 20 years since I've done any needlepoint at all (and most of that was on plastic canvas). My stitching is okay for a beginner, but I'm not going to take a pic of the back side- at least not yet. I am certain that it won't pass muster with real needlepointers (most of the sections are too small for basketweave stitch, and my hands slip into half-cross stitch mode without thinking, which I understand is a no-no).

This is going to be an adventure, fer shure. And before I do any more work on it, I WILL finish the Robot Quilt.

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