Sunday, February 14, 2010

Camo Tap Pants Done! Stars Started!

The SharonG tap pants are done!  I finally finished the last few rows of t-stitched background yesterday.  Hurrah!

Here is the set unframed.  It is supposed to be sunny today so I should get a good photograph of them framed for tomorrow.

I put my Stars for the New Millennium canvas on Evertite stretcher bars last night and recounted the border to figure out where I stopped working this several years ago and where I needed to start to work on Stars again.  I realized after reading the instructions I have not finished the right hand corner yet.  I am undecided whether to do the corners before I work on the top row of borders or not.  I guess I'll make up my mind tonight.

It struck me again sorting through my threads (which I have in labeled floss bags and arranged on large rings with Color A on its own ring, Color B on a ring together, etc.) that Stars is a threadaholic's delight.  I know I worked out what the thirty-six different threads cost for this project before but I don't remember the totals.  So I used Needle in a Haystack's and Alex Paras' Needlearts sites to look up costs for each skein in each of the four sets of colors, using Tony Minieri's own colors as an example.  (The other colorways in the book use various brands, depending on what is available in those colors and types of threads.  But Tony's set is a good benchmark.)

Color A threads total (without tax or shipping charges if you have to mail order) $33.20,  Color B threads total $25.65, Color C threads total $19 and Color D threads total $10.40.  I know I'll need several skeins for some threads but I didn't take that extra cost into consideration.  The total for threads if you buy everything new for this project in Tony's colors will top $88.25.  The Stars booklet itself is $55 or so.  I would think budgeting $150 for the project is reasonable.

But I bought very little new myself for this project. My friends Linda and Mimi sent me some threads and I had most of the colors necessary already.  I even have about 20 other skeins of other thread types in reserve in the basket that holds the Stars threads in case my choices don't work out.

Bottom line:  this is not a cheap project, which is even more reason to stitch each quilt block as separate ornaments in various colors from your stash.

But I'm working the entire project.  It is just too beautiful to take account of the thread costs.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Needle Comparison and New Needle Minders

You may remember that I won a set of gold and a set of platinum needles from John James in one of Gone Stitching's blog radio contests last fall.  I've been using the needles in my last 3-4 projects and meant to tell you a bit about what I think about gold and platinum needles since then.

The John James gold-coated needles are lovely.  They have a nice golden coating that gives them a unique look.  I have acid hands so the coating only lasts where I grasp the needle through about 6-8 hours work of stitching but if you don't have body chemistry like mine, you will enjoy the look of these needles a lot and the coating should last a very long time.  These needles squeak as they go through NP canvas.  This eventually wears off but it seems odd when you first start working with the needles.  In all other ways the gold John James needles are the same quality and type as regular John James tapestry needles.

The John James platinum needles look like any other John James tapestry needle but they have a smooth surface that glides well through needlepoint canvas.  Eventually my acid hands wear this coating away also, but it takes 2-3 weeks of regular stitching each night (I estimate 20-30 hours at least) for this to happen.  They are a pleasure in the hand to use although they look identical to regular John James needles.

Would I pay extra for these two types of needles?  Probably not.  My Piecemaker needles feel as good as the platinum John James needles and their coating lasts a lot longer.  I can't really tell a lot of difference between the platinum John James needles and their regular needles after a few weeks of regular use.  However, if you are a true sensualist that responds to the look and feel of your needle, you may really enjoy the golden look of the John James gold coated needles or the smooth glide of the John James platinum coated needles.  They are certainly worth buying and sharing among your guild membership to see what they think.  We don't pay enough attention to our needles.  They (along with our scissors) are a tool we use constantly.  A few special needles are probably something a stitcher should treat him- or herself to at least occasionally.

To see the John James gold and platinum needles, browse the Colonial Needle website.

Speaking of needles, I use magnets on my canvas almost all the time.  While working the miles of t-stitch on the lingerie set background, I turned the needle minder I was using (one of Kelmscott Designs' monogramed letters with cherubs) upside down for the row of backwards tent and right side up for the rows of regular tent.  This helped me remember what I was supposed to be doing for that row if I was interrupted.  Kelmscott has two new designs out this winter. The Hearts Afire pattern is shown above and you can see it and also the Hummingbird and Flower design at this link.

All the current Kelmscott magnet patterns, including the monogram one I am using, are visible on their website.

If you want something more unusual, how about the pewter St. Margaret design from Krazy Kats Fiberhaus?  They also have a St. Michael, a pig with wings, a cat with mouse, and a scallop shell and more, all in pewter.  These are all based on Medieval motifs and will be something very different from more widely known magnet suppliers.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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