This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘cross-stitch’

Lady with Unicorn Update: Third Row Finished

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 10, 2017

Lady with Unicorn

Just wanted to brag about finishing another row in the endless embroidery. Did I mention that it contains over 180,000 stitches?

If you’re working on this piece, don’t give up! The tablecloth is a killer and takes about twice as long as the other pages, but the lion and unicorn bodies are easier than the fruit salad that surrounds them.

Here’s the whole photoset.

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Lady with Unicorn Embroidery: Almost at Half-Way Point

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 8, 2017

IMG_3157

I’m still working on the never-ending “Lady and Unicorn: Sense of Hearing” embroidery. I’ve just finished the second row of charts, which means I’m just a few rows above the halfway point! (The last row of charts isn’t a full page.)

This piece is 318 x 410 stitches (total: 130,380 stitches), with 133 colours (mostly blends of two strands). It uses about 20 different shades of red. Good thing I don’t mind looking at the colour.

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing
Chart

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Lady with Unicorn Update and Other Stuff

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 30, 2012

Sense of Hearing: Lady with Unicorn

By now y’all are probably thinking I traded in my needles and thread (not to mention beads, bobbins, lace pillows, fiber, and spinning wheel ….) for a camera and tripod. This blog originally started as more of a crafty blog and changed direction slowly as I ventured out with my camera. So here’s proof that I still remember how to use a needle. I haven’t posted an update since last October because I hardly worked on it this year.

I’ve just completed the third page of 25 pages, about 22,000 stitches. This pattern is “Sense of Hearing: Lady with Unicorn,” purchased from Scarlet Quince.

Stats:
318 x 410 stitches (total: 130,380 stitches)
130 colours (good thing I like red, because I’m seeing a lot of it)
18-count Aida (= 18 stitches/inch)
Started Nov. 23, 2009

Holiday Cooking

A couple comments from Perky Poppy reminded me that the High Holidays are almost here! Time for me to tie on my bright red, floor-length bistro apron and disappear in a cloud of flour…

Here are links to my Rosh Hashanah posts from last year. I’m reviewing them so that I can put together menus. If you have any ideas for a killer appetizer or dessert, pass them on! 🙂

Rest of Life

I haven’t been posting much recently and I’m way behind on my photos (still stuck in the Florence set!) because I’ve been so busy teaching a course at work on Enterprise Architect, a UML tool. I was sent to the UK for a four-day course this summer (with a side trip to Stonehenge) to learn the program.

I’ve prepared lectures, exercises, guides, and just finished a second session with the system architects. That leaves about two more sessions with architects, who-knows-how-many sessions with component owners and developers (they’re an unknown quantity), and one session with the technical writers. My brain hurts just thinking about it. But at least it will get easier with time. The only thing that doesn’t end is the technical support and hand-holding….

I’ve got a couple photo jobs lined up but they’re non-paying, so I may or may not blog them. One of them required me to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), which means you won’t hear about it before it takes place.

Getty emailed me about one of my images. I opened a Getty account, forgot about it, got a reminder (from a real person — imagine that!), and dutifully uploaded a high res copy. It was a good lesson in the necessity of archiving my images in their post-processed form. I don’t want to repeat the experience of staring at a RAW file and thinking, “How the heck did I process this three years ago?”

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Embroidery from Abandoned Bag

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 28, 2011

Embroidery recovered from bag

I’m a magpie. When I see a discarded object that looks interesting I bring it home. This bag, left on top of a garbage bin, caught my eye while I was on my way to work (in my neighbourhood it’s very common to leave things that others might want, like outgrown children’s clothing or old towels, in a bag on top of the bin for others to take). I photographed it because it was obviously handmade and heavily patched. When I noticed that there was a bit of Arab embroidery on one panel, I stuck it in a plastic bag and put it in my backpack.

Abandoned Bag

My husband was really grossed out by my bringing it home but the bag wasn’t smelly or terribly dirty. It was a bit damp from the previous night’s rain. Here’s a photo of the bag spread out, with all the patches and home-made strap exposed.

Abandoned bag

The bag evidently began life as a cushion cover. In the next photo you can see that a clever recycler used the zipper of the cushion cover as the bag’s closure. The back and front of the bag were made from the same cheap, black Aida cloth typically used for tourist-shop embroidery. A red, flowered print lining had been inserted.

Abandoned bag

Taking the bag apart was a lot harder than I imagined because the lining and straps had been machine-sewn with heavy-duty thread and close stitches. It required quite a lot of cutting with a seam ripper to dismantle the strap and lining. Taking the cushion cover apart was even harder because the fabric and thread and zipper were black and the cushion cover was lined with a lining that had started to adhere to the stitches. At this point, the dismantling process became a lot dirtier. The bag itself was fairly clean, but years of use as a cushion cover had allowed particles of dust and dirt to seep through the threads of the black fabric and to be trapped between the liner and fabric. I put a towel over my laps to protect my clothes and the chair I was sitting on because so much gunk was flying around.

At the end of the process I had a pile of rags and dirt on the floor, along with well-laundered tissues and bits of thread. The grey and white rags on the left are the original lining of the cushion cover.

Abandoned bag

Here’s the back of the embroidery. There was a little damage in one corner where part of the design had been caught in a corner gusset. Otherwise, the embroidery was intact and in fairly good shape, although faded.

Abandoned bag

The photo at the top shows the embroidery panel after I washed and left it to dry. It’s typical tourist-shop embroidery, nothing special. The shape is meant to mimic the bodice of a traditional Bedouin dress but this piece was not a recycled dress panel. The fabric is too flimsy, the piece is too small, and the fabric was an exact match with the back of the cushion cover. The thread is cotton, probably perle 8. It’s not of sufficiently high quality to frame (like the old mola that I found sewn into a bag at a craft show), but I’ll find a use for it.

Update (Mar. 28, 2011): Someone requested that I post the measurements. I totally forgot! It’s 31 x 29 cm (11 inches high x 12 inches wide).

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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 27, 2011

I know, I know — I posted an update on February 1, 2011. I’m only posting this one because it’s (almost) a milestone. I’m (almost) finished the second page of charts.

It’s harder to count the actual stitches now that I’m no longer working in blocks, but I estimate that I need to do another 200 stitches to finish this page. That means I’ve worked about 14,430 stitches, about 11%. Wow, I didn’t realise I’d reached the 10% milestone!

Miscellaneous data:
Purchased from Scarlet Quince
318 x 410 stitches (total: 130,380 stitches)
130 colours
18-count Aida (= 18 stitches/inch)
Started Nov. 23, 2009

Lady with Unicorn, Feb. 26, 2011, Update

Here’s the previous update photo, taken at the end of January:

Lady with Unicorn Update

The piece is going so much faster since I stopped “parking” my stitches. If you’re not sure what parking is, Scarlet Quince has a tutorial. I’m not saying parking doesn’t have its place in a needle-geek’s arsenal. It’s just that in this case it’s not necessary, probably because I’m working on 18-count Aida. If I were working on a much higher thread-count fabric (like Gary Schneider, who started Golden Kite’s “Picture Gallery, with Views of Modern Rome,” on 26-count linen, 1-thread over) I would probably need to park my threads. In my case, the results didn’t justify the extra work and needle-threading. And if you don’t have a clue what kind of needle-threading this technique (pun alert) entails, here’s a photo taken with the parked threads:

Lady with Unicorn, Nov. 7

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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

Lady with Unicorn Update

I’ve finished the first page of the Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing! I’ve worked just a little over 11,165 stitches, 8.5% of the total (130,380 stitches). I began this piece over a year ago, on Nov. 23, 2009. Pattern is by Scarlet Quince, based on the 15th century French tapestry.

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing

Progress has been very rapid since I gave up “parking” my threads. After a couple years of religiously parking, I asked a fellow cross-stitcher and much more experienced embroiderer, Karen (Where the Stitches Cross), whether I could stop parking my threads. Her sensible reply was, “Try it and see whether you like the results.” I couldn’t see any difference, probably because I’m working on 18-count Aida, so I gave up parking completely.

I’m not saying that parking is not a useful technique. If I were working on a piece with a very high thread count, I would recommend parking. But parking means that you’re constantly threading needles when working on a piece like this with 133 different colours. Karen is working the same piece on 20-count fabric. Her progress is very impressive! Here are her photos.

The Flickr set showing the progress of my piece is here.

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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 3, 2010

Lady with Unicorn update

I haven’t posted updates for a couple months. I put the project away just before Passover and it took quite a while for me to get back to it. I started this project on Nov. 23, 2009. In this photo I’ve completed 5135 stitches. That’s 3.9% of 130,380 stitches.

I enjoy working on the flag because there are large areas of red or blue. The mille fleur areas outside the main figures in this design are torture at times! It’s a good thing that I can use the pin stitch for starting and ending a thread. That means that I don’t have to unclamp the frame from the stand and flip it over to work on the back. All the work is done on the front.

Sometimes the whole enterprise strikes me as rather quixotic. After I worked for three years on Teresa Wentzler’s English Garden Sampler, I framed it and hung it in my living room. I don’t think a single person has ever commented on the intricate stitching or delicate shading!

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing

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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 3, 2010

I just realised that it’s been a while (over a month) since I last posted an updated of the endless embroidery.

Lady with Unicorn Update - Mar. 3, 2010

I started this piece on Nov. 23, 2009, and have worked 4686 stitches out of 130,380. Almost 3.6%!

Purchased from Scarlet Quince
318 x 410 stitches (total: 130,380 stitches)
130 colours
18-count Aida (= 18 stitches/inch)

Here’s a view of the finished piece:

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing

The set of progress photos is posted on Flickr. I saw the original tapestries when I was backpacking through France while in grad school, years ago.

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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 22, 2010

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing - Jan. 18, 2010

Started Nov. 23, 2009. 3529 stitches completed. Hey, that’s 2.7% of the total!

Actually this is almost half of the first page of charts.

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing

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Lady with Unicorn, End of Year Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 31, 2009

Lady with Unicorn, Dec. 31, 2009

It has been just over five weeks and around 2800 stitches since I started this embroidery (Nov. 23, 2009). The floor stand for the frame helps enormously. I highly recommend one if you tackle a large embroidery project.

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing

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