Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Fish Story

Life has been very demanding this month and my stitching time has been very limited so in keeping with the last entry here's another 'fish story' to share . . .

KOI POND from Cross StitchHappy. A free design available here.

I fell in love with this design the minute I saw it and knew I had to stitch it. I also had the perfect piece of fabric in my stash which had been haunting me for many years. When I began I had no idea that it was going to evolve into a stitcher's wallet but I wanted to use as much of the fabric as possible so the project g-r-e-w and g-r-e-w.

More about this particular piece of fabric. It was originally purchased with a specific design in mind but I didn't enjoy stitching on it so I ripped out what little I had started and put it aside. The fabric is not even (translation - uneven) which I didn't realize until all stitching was completed. The graphed design is square, however, the stitched design is not! Surprise!! It is longer than it is wide! (Lesson learned - beware of older fabrics at bottom of fabric stash that are unmarked and unlabeled.) I believe it is 22 count but for Koi Pond I stitched over 2 threads for 11 count. The DMC colors suggested were used with Kreinik metallics added for shimmer.

The wallet has a front and back cover with one inside page and is closed with a ribbon tie.

A scissor pocket is on the inside back cover, thread rings are on the inside front cover, felt needle pages are on the inside, and a separate scissor fob is included.

Here’s a picture of the page inside. I knew I wanted this extra page but had no idea how to attach it so I enclosed its edge within the front and back pages. (I tapered the bound edges of the inside page to reduce some bulk. ) Then I had the dilemma of what to do with this bulky edge so I added initials and the year. See what I mean by "evolved"?

The scissor pocket shows a repeat of the koi.

An extra piece of ribbon was added to gather thread dangling from the thread rings (hard to see in the photo).

Sizes are approximate: Closed: 3 ½” x 5”. This includes includes ½” on the edge for initials & year. Open: 9” x 3 ½”.

A lily pad was repeated on on the back and the water swirl was a perfect design for the scissor fob.

Here’s a closeup of the beads on the spine. I was thinking 'fish scales' when I added the beads.

I've had requests for a tutorial for this since it appeared on Cross Stitch Happy's site. I've tried to create one (after-the-fact is very difficult) but my attempts are very amateurish and unsuccessful, at least for publication. I did use the backstitch/whipstitch biscornu method for finishing. If I were to do this today I would stitch the front and back patterns, initials and year on one long piece of fabric. Since I really didn't know what I was doing everything is on a separate piece of fabric which made for a lot of extra and unnecessary work in sewing everything together.

If you decide to create something like this, please learn from my mistakes and it's a lot easier if you have a definite plan in mind before starting.

But sometimes the most fun is in the discovery.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


While visiting my sister recently, I took a picture of this little hanging that I made and gave to her about 6 years ago. She has a koi pond and I thought this would be a cute, if not unusual, gift for her. And, besides, she seems to really like my 'homemade' gifts. At least, that what she tells me to my face. (Maybe she just doesn't want to hurt my feelings.) Well, here goes. This was an experiment with wire, beads, yarn, and a non-frame finish.

"Goldfish" from Cats of the World in Cross Stitch by Jayne Netley Mayhew & Nicki Wheeler
18 count cream Aida (I think), DMC cotton floss, Kreinik blending filament

Here’s a closeup of the goldfish. I added Kreinik blending filament to the stitching for a bit of shine, some fuzzy 'seaweed' yarn, and various beads at the sides for even more shine and texture. And I didn't stop there. I quilted around the fish and dangled beads and shells from the bottom for even more texture and interest.

If you look closely you can see the quilted outline of the fish on the backing fabric (which is an entirely different story). This was my first attempt at embellishing with beads other than cross stitching them in. If I were to do this today, I would add lots more beads. Oh, yeah!! LOTS more! It was also my first (and last) attempt at twisting wire into different shapes. Not too smooth but I tried and, of course, I had to add the little charm to the hanging.

Because I love my sister!