Posts Tagged ‘DMC’

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Posted: September 20, 2017 by zenstitcher in Chart, Grey Cat Dreams
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An Original Finish: Clitarita!

Posted: September 11, 2017 by zenstitcher in Stuff
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I feel pretty proud to introduce a preview of this design here at Grimalkin Crossing: Clitarita, a counted cross stitch project stitched on 28 count black monaco, using two strands of DMC cotton floss “over two.” This is fresh off the hoop, I haven’t soaked it yet to plump up any of the fibers — but that coverage is already f’n fabulous.

Design and Copyright by Alesia Matson 2017

Clitarita was inspired by the magnificent, magical, infinitely perfect design of the human clitoris, and by my love of Art Nouveau colors and curves.

I designed it because I need a new bag in which to keep my favorite deck of tarot cards + book, and because I want to make it myself. It was pretty important for the new bag to feature something I’d stitched, but the more I looked at designs that I thought might be appropriate, the more I realized that I really just wanted to stitch a clit.

A pretty clit.

So, here we are. The world could do with 100 more pretty clit designs for counted cross stitch, so like, now there’s only 99 to go.

The story behind the name is as follows: The WTFYW Cross Stitch fb group has had stitch-alongs (SAL) every month this year, and we’ve featured themes for beverages (alcoholic and otherwise), and for the sexy bits of the human body, and in a group chat I sort of recklessly (well, actually drunkenly) promised something along the lines of a mojito backed up by a vagina — Vagito — and I never could get anything right that I liked.

Then there was that depressive relapse, and I lost interest in just about everything, again. Anyway, when my current tarot card bag began to unravel at the bottom seam and I needed a new design for it, I spent about a week getting this down on paper, then reached for colors that were meaningful to me.

  • The pink is not only because some of my favorite clits are pink, but also because I made peace in my decades-long war with the color pink just generally, and wanted to commemorate that I got my power back out of it.
  • The blue is for a pair of eyes I will never see in this life, and…
  • the green is kind of margarita green so I can touch back to Vagito, anyway.

So, there you have it. Now I have to solve the ever-looming, long-delayed software issue at my workstation, because I MISS DESIGNING these things and I don’t intend to be thwarted on this any longer!

Thanks for reading along. If you are interested in stitching a version of Clitarita for yourself, stay tuned. It’s coming!

Some Late Progress Pics

Posted: May 13, 2017 by zenstitcher in Progress Pics
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I haven’t done much here with progress pics — Sue and I share this space, and writing endless little posts about the bits of progress we make on a daily basis never appealed to either of us. Lately, I’ve been sharing individual WiP pix on Instagram, but this week I found myself with a bundle to share. 

First up: Celtic Yule (nee Christmas). This is on white monaco, which is a 28 ct cotton fabric. I’m stitchin over two threads, with two strands of DMC cotton flosses for cross and quarter stitches, and one strand for backstitching. I’ve been working from left to right on the top half of this one and have the poinsettia’s cross stitches nearly done. Next time it goes up on the stand, I’ll be doing a lot of backstitching.

Design by Vickery Collections. Stitching by Alesia Matson

I have said it many times: I love the palette of colors Mike Vickery uses. It’s distinctive to my eye now, after completing two of his designs previously (I see I’ve got neither of them available here — I hope to fix that soon). After this one, I’ll very likely buy another to dream over for a bit — they’re addictive.

Next up: Caffiene Fix. Sorry for the blurry corner there. Linen is hard to stitch on, too. This 28 ct Irish linen, again stitched over two, DMC floss, two strands for cross stitches, one for back stitches. Originally, I liked the “illustrated” look of this, and I still do — but I’m finding the back stitching in this one tiresome, I have to admit.

Design by Rhona Norrie. Stitching by Alesia Matson

I only work on this one during elder care times. It’s one of the few things my mother in-law actually, visibly, and verbally likes every time she sees it — and it’s new to her every time, too. As much as I disliked her personally when she was still sane, she was one of the few people I knew personally who understood the effort it took to stitch something by hand, and always appreciated it when I gifted her with something I’d stitched. So, we have that, at least.

Next up: Trust the Grind, my homage piece to the San Francisco Giants. This one is my design,and I’m stitching in on “antique” 28 ct monaco, over two. DMC, two strands for x’s, one for |’s. I’ve just got the one last banner to do on the center bottom section. The top center will feature the iconic SF logo. In columns down either side I’ll be stitching the team’s retired numbers, some favorite short, pithy sayings, and something else that hasn’t quite made itself known to me, yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

My dream is to get this finished and framed in time to take it down to the Stitch & Pitch at AT&T Park on July 18th of this year, and find a way to get it to the team, somehow. The obstacles to seeing this one come true are many, but for now it’s just a matter of getting through the stitching. I almost feel like I cursed the guys by designing and stitching this for them this year, which has been awfully grindy already — culminating in that 17 inning marathon last night, that they won with Buster Posey’s walk-off homer. It’s super hard to trust that grind when you’re in the middle of it, but it’s really the only way to get through it. 

Last up is the family tradition stuff. I’m getting started on the “Contortionist Santa” ornaments early this year, since I’ve got to do four J’s and one K, and the best times to squeeze these in is when the baby dragon is down for her nap. The baby dragon is my great granddaughter. My elder son is joining his life with a woman who’s got three kids of her own, and a baby granddaughter. That’s how I got a great-granddaughter before I really had much practice being a grandmother. 

I offered to difference the J’s by color. 

They all like pink best. facepalms I made my peace with pink a few years back, but really….

DMC 956, I think

These are done on 14 ct aida. I used to do them on Rib-bands, but I’ve got some better ideas on how to finish ornaments now. They stitch up quickly, which is good, because that little girl doesn’t always sleep for long, when she goes down.

If you’re wondering if I have a thing for contortionism after a certain snarky farewell to 2016 I did, well, I probably do. ๐Ÿ™‚

The last project I’ve got going is a Maleficent-inspired design I picked up on Etsy, but I’ve made a mistake in counts and have some frogging to do before I get a pic of it. 

Thanks for reading along!

A DIY Tea Chest [photos]

Posted: April 20, 2017 by zenstitcher in Finished Stitches
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If you’re like me, you’ve been keeping things back over the years because you just know they’re going to come in handy some day. These silly little plastic cassette tape boxes have narrowly avoided the recycling bin here because I discovered that they make terribly cute little keepsake boxes, and they provided yet another outlet for my stitchy projects. This one ended up rather nicely for a first run!

For holding a cup’s worth of loose leaf tea, or possibly two.

As some of you know, my husband Michael and I are fantasy fiction writers, and before that, we were fantasy/sci-fi role playing gamers. Both of these pursuits only encourage idle research into such topics as, oh, say the right poison for blow darts (curare works), or the construction of aqueducts, or where the Hittites came from, or, lately, the cultivation and production of loose leaf tea. I’ve had my flirtation with those delicious, fragrant bundles of heaven in a cup already, but this time it was his turn — and he backed up his research with his money, and has been keeping us in couple of delightful blends, when we can afford it. Since he’s gone back to work, he’s begun taking a fancy thermos-style go-cup with him full of tea (that stays HOT all day, I’m envious of this particular bit of tech), and on the trips where he has to spend the night, well… I decided he needed a tea chest, and he loves my stitching enough not to argue with me. 

I started with one of these plastic cassette tape boxes, and covered the bottom and sides with some washi tape. 

Choosing the design for the stitchy was easy — Michael is/was a third generation commercial fisherman, and there literally is salt water in his veins, I swear. He loves all things nautical, and I’d caught these nautical card charts on cross-stitching.com (I think) awhile back, and on 16 count aida, it was a perfect fit. I trimmed it to size, then frayed the edges. I ran a coat of Fray-Check around the edges in an attempt to keep them from fraying any further.

 

I got into my craft felt box and pulled out a scrap of white and trimmed it for backing: 1.75″ x 3.75″.

And because I am not worried about archiving or conservation, I used Mod Podge for fabric to fasten the felt to the back of the stitchy. I fully expect to have to replace this at some point, because it’s a travel accessory and in this house, we use those hard.

Here’s a nicer shot of the washi tape covering on the sides and bottom. I took some pains to match up the design. It’s not perfect, but it’s close!

And here’s a shot of the turquoise felt I secured to the box with double sticky-sided tape, and more of the same on the white felt backing. You know what’s coming next, right? 

Now: If the double sticky-sided tape doesn’t hold up well under wear and tear (I’m dubious), I’ll correct that with another slathering of Mod Podge. So here it is, an upcycled plastic cassette tape box, DIY cross stitch tea chest. ๐Ÿ™‚  So there you have it — what do you think?

Vive la Resistance!

Posted: January 25, 2017 by zenstitcher in Finished Stitches, Subversive
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My “zen break” today included finishing this.

The design is mine, and there were mistakes in the chart that I had to fix on the fly, but overall, I’m happy with how this came out. It’s stiched on 32 count cotton evenweave, with two strands of DMC cotton floss stitched over two threads. 

After it comes out of the soak, it’s going to become the cover for my little bluetooth keyboard. I’ll be wresting our sewing machine into submission (it hates me) (and that’s mutual) to stitch some kind of material around the border, and finishing it with some elastic, I think, to provide a little “grip” around the edges.

Shit. “Rebellion” is abotu two stitches higher than “place is.”  Grrr…. Not fixing it now.

A Woman’s Place

Posted: January 3, 2017 by zenstitcher in Chart, Subversive
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Okay, so I did a thing. I owe the idea and the font for this from one Nicole Iaquinto, of my subversive stitchy-sisters on Facebook. The rest I pretty much worked out on my own using skull sweat and StitchFiddle.com.

BIG IMPORTANT UPDATE: This is where the original idea for this project originated: https://www.etsy.com/listing/487007120/a-womans-place-is-in-the-rebellion-pdf  The stitcher-artists’ name is Jenna Palmieri. I’m so sorry I couldn’t find this info before I did the post, but I’m super-happy to include it now. ๐Ÿ™‚

In honor of Carrie Fisher, who is and always Princess Leia and General Organa. And dedicated to all those Princess Generals who are in our lives, every day. โค

Creative Commons Copyright 2017 -- please credit Alesia Matson and Grimalkin Crossing with the find.

My gift to the fabulous community of cross stitchers for 2017

Clicking on the image should take you to the media page and the full-size PNG.

I also made a PDF available, hopefully, by clicking this link.

It is not awesome, and I apologize for that. I’ll be replacing it with a better version when I get some software that will run on my Ubuntu 14.04 setup.

I have left room for a little customization at the bottom on either side. Light sabers would hella cool, for instance. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll be stitching up the first model for it here shortly. If you beat me to finishing a version, let me know?

My Fond Farewell to 2016ย 

Posted: January 1, 2017 by zenstitcher in Finished Stitches, Subversive
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…or something.

This is how I felt about it.

Yeah yeah, good things happened, too. Blow me. We ran out of nasty adjectives for 2016 in September and have been making them up in sheer improvisational rage ever since. I make a practice out of not wishing my life away, and even I’M glad to see that calendar roll over, at long last.

My subversive tribute to 2016 was stitched using The Country English Posture Alphabet of 1782 — holy mother of whatever, click that link if you haven’t read up on this find yet — which, of course, had subvert me please written all over it. I mean that almost literally, because on the little rhymes that were originally published with these dudes were included on the back. Tell me this isn’t a dude just begging for it:


Anyway. GET FUCKED is stitched on ivory 14 count aida cloth using two strands of DMC stranded cotton flosses for the x’s, and one strand for backstitches.I modified the charts with some further subversion by actually giving them skin tones that weren’t paper white. And then, of course, some of the hands underwent surgery to reflect with greater accuracy my complete distaste for the year just past.

Unfortunately, I’ve got a tall stack of things that have to be framed before this can be. I’ll post another pic when that happens, hopefully sometime in a much happier 2017 for all of us.

A Little Holiday Stitching

Posted: December 28, 2016 by zenstitcher in Finished Stitches
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I did gift a few stitchies this season. When my niece Xtina reached out to me after the US election, it turned out to be one very sweet silver lining to what otherwise has been a shit-show of a year. She and her wife and their two kids are an adorable family, and I hope one day to see them all in person. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did these for the kids, Phoebe and Elijah:

Elijah’s Santa Star is by Kooler Design Studios’ “I Love Santa” ornament collection. It’s stitched on white 28 count monaco, “over two” with DMC cotton flosses. then personalized it with his name and the year. All x’s done with two strands of floss. Back stitches are done with one strand. I finished it on self-stick foam mounting board, covered the back with craft felt with my trusty hot glue gun, then hand-braided that fucking cord because my fucking cord winder was fucking MIA and don’t get me started on where it turned up, just yesterday.  ๐Ÿ˜ฆ  Anyway, I tacked down the braid with more cotton floss, then fastened three jingle bells to the top because Christmas.


Xtina told me that her daughter liked mermaids, and purple. Armed with that, I can whip up just about anything. 

Design template from The SnowFlower Diaries

The template for this comes from  The Snowflower Diaries‘ Summer Mermaid chart. As you can see, I’ve taken a few liberties with the design and color choices. These are all cotton flosses, stitched on light blue 28 count monaco “over two.” The mermaid’s booby covers and fishy parts are done in one of the DMC variegateds (can’t recall the number just now, ask in the comments if you’re interested and I’ll look it up). The flower stem is a variegated green from The Gentle Art. The rest are standard DMC, color fast and no-fuss for as long as I’ve been stitching with them. ๐Ÿ™‚ All x’s done with two strands of floss. Back stitches are done with one strand.

I finished this in similar fashion to the Santa Star. This one needed an extra layer of backing between the glued-down fabric and felt, so I cut a piece of chipboard (non-corrugated cardboard, like cereal boxes) to size and sandwiched it between the two. Then the edges were hella rough, so out came the purple 1/4″ ribbon to seal that off and neated it up a bit. Then the hand-braided cord, tacked on with floss, and more jingle bells because why wouldn’t you.


Now for the super fun part. I had to improvise and problem-solve on the fly to get these finished and I’m hella proud of them.

Stitchy design by Marie Barber. The rest is all me.

Upcycled aluminim tins make excellent gifts as gift boxes.

I’d stitched the Mackintosh Roses project twice, I loved it so much, and have been sort of waiting to give them as a pair, because I’d never have been able to decide which to part with, otherwise. They were from the UK magazine Cross Stitch Collection. I’d subscribed to their digital version for a couple of years, and probably will again, honestly. I really like the designs they feature, and got more to stitch out of those digital mags then I’ve got time to stitch them in, especially now. These were stitched on two different kinds of 28 count Irish linen, over two, using two strands of DMC cotton flosses for the cross stitches, and one strand for back stitches.

Measure measure measure omg cut!  I hate cutting that close to my stitchies, as anyone who knows me will tell you. I was successful, not once but twice, then sat down with a big glass of wine afterward, to calm my nerves. After I got settled, I used Fray Check to seal the edges, and brushed a little Modge Podge for Fabrics over some carefully measured squares of craft felt both to stiffen them and to provide something a buffer between the linen and hot glue.

The gift boxes were aluminum tins. They looked something like this:

We don’t recommend this product, fwiw.

Now, who ships plastic-sealed flea collars in pressed aluminum tins, ffs? I dunno, they didn’t work so great for our dogs, but the tins had way too much potential to be pitched in the recycling bin. Then lo and behold, I found myself with a need for two gift boxes. 

Steel wool to scrape off the gloss and some of the dye in the paint, then tape off where it fits together because the paint would just get rubbed off with use, anyway.  Several coats of bright white spray paint later, I had them inside to line the tops and bottoms with craft felt. I filled them full of assorted LIndor Chocolate Truffles, tacked the stitchies down to the tops of the tins with hot glue, and squee’d a little at how awesome they looked.

Xtina sent me back a pic of them, where they’re living in their new home. I couldn’t be any more tickled.


Now, for the subversive part of the post.

  1. DMC had a mentorship thing going for awhile (this is before their Commonthread thing). I got a spiffy pin for applying, and also some tiny beginner kits to use to teach counted cross stitch. I pitched four of them into that box before I shipped it. The famly that stitches together can be subverted together — that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. ๐Ÿ˜€
  2. GET FUCKED went into the soak just a little while ago. So glad I started using Fabricare (you may know it as Orvus) on my stitching, HOMG. What a huge difference it’s made. I used to use whatever dish soap I had on hand with a splash of hydrogen peroxide, but not anymore. I can never quite believe what all comes out of the fabric and flosses after a few hours. Makes me realize just how dirty an old broad I am, but I really don’t want that kind of grime preserved for posterity. :-p

Festive Mermaid Ornamentย 

Posted: November 25, 2016 by zenstitcher in Finished Stitches
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Keeping with the stitching to preserve what’s left of my sanity. My niece reached out to me after the election and we’ve been able to reconnect and catch up a bit in the days since. She’s one of the few younger folks in the family who’ve spoken up to say that she likes my stitching – and that she had a couple of kids who’d appreciate receiving hand-stitched ornaments. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope it’s true.

I took the template for this from a summer mermaid chart from the Snowflower Diaries and had a ball making changes based on what I’d been told of her preferences. What fun.

Looks like a party to me!

This is 28 ct light blue monaco, stitched over 2 with cotton flosses. The flower stem is a variegated green from The Gentle Art. The rest of the flosses are DMC. 

I’m still mulling how to finish it. There’ll be another pic when the get that part sorted.

DMC Matte Finish Floss!

Posted: November 8, 2016 by zenstitcher in Information, Stuff
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HOMG I’m dying, here… 

I love playing with texture as well as with color when I stitch. When I consider beginning any project, I’m also thinking about which flosses can be switched out for a metallic finish, or the super-saturated sheen of a silk floss, looking for where a change of texture or reflectiveness can improve the aesthetic of the design.

Imagine my delight when I opened an email promo from DMC this morning and found this:

I honestly can’t wait to get my fingers on this stuff. Each fiber I’ve ever tried has a unique “feel,” as well as a distinct sound when it’s pulled through cloth that’s been stretched tight in a hoop. These tactile pleasures are part of the experience for me as much as the visual impact of the result. Discovering something new like this in my hobby does a bit to redeem 2016 from the “crap status” ranking it so richly deserves.

Thanks, DMC.