Monday, March 31, 2008

Needlepoint bracelet

Thanks to everone who commented on my two March challenge pieces. I really appreciate the feedback.

Next week I'm teaching a class at my local embroidery group. It will be a needlepoint bracelet I made for myself a year ago. I spent the weekend restitching the needlepoint squares as samples and also so I could chart it because the first time I did it I just sat down with thread and a scrap of canvas and stitched. Some of the squares were obvious (basketweave, waffle, leviathan) but others were mysteries.

I really got into making little squares and ended up with two sample sets. I also sorted through the bracelets, added adhesive squares to my package of things to bring---to stick the finished needlepoint squares into the bracelets. (I ordered those a while ago from the wonderful people at Memory Maker.) I've seen these bracelets at Jo-Ann's, too. I got my designs charted, too. So the class is ready to go.

I stitched the original bracelet and lilac samples with Needle Necessities Kreinik #12 braid overdyed. I loved working with it and one skein was plenty.

Each needlepoint square is 12 threads by 12 threads on 18 count canvas. I've decided to post it all here so you can make your own fun bracelet, too.

The second set of stitches is done with Laura Wasilowski's hand-dyed perle 5 and I just had fun stitching. I ripped as much as I stitched and had an enjoyable rainy Sunday.

The stitches are row 1: random from the center, a spaced-out Leviathan (every other thread) (this is the name by which I know this stitch but when I looked it up for a link, the stitch by that name was the same as what I know as Smyrna Cross so I couldn't find a chart for it) and web stitch. In row two I tried a spiral, pinwheel design, an eyelet with some tie downs--I did one layer of very spaced out eyelet stitches, added diagonal stitches at the corners, another layer of eyelet to fill in and then I wove in another diagonal stitch at each corner, Pekinese stitch. The bottom row is satin stitch, plaid stitch, and knit stitch.

I couldn't find links to these last two, although I know there are out there somewhere. Plaid stitch mimics weaving and you can use it to duplicate tartans and other weaves. I just let the random colors of the thread make the pattern. Knit stitch is just two slightly elongated tent stitches (down 2, over 1), alternating direction \/\/\/\/. Each horizontal row encroaches on the previous row and the result looks like knit fabric.

To finish, cut the squares apart three to four canvas threads from the stitching, trimming the corners on the diagonal. Coat the back of the needlepoint with glue (I use Tacky). Then rub a light coating on the back of the unstitched canvas. This will soften the canvas. Once the canvas is pliable, fold it to the back of the stitching and make sure it's glued down. The only tricky part of this is keeping the glue that gets on your fingers off of the front of the stitching. Just take it slow and be careful.

Use a double-stick archival product to stick the finished squares into the bracelet. (Remove and discard the photo and plastic, unless you want to use one or more of your bracelet squares for photos. Instructions for that come with the bracelets.) I just prod and cram the needlepoint into the bracelet bead square opening, tucking the corners into the openings if possible. Some stitches are easier than others. The stitches with the least thickness, especially on the back, work best.

Since your sitches will be secured with glue, you don't need to worry about being careful about really securing the stitching with long tails and weaving in. I kept my tails very minimal and looked for ways to stitch without a lot on the back.

I have not yet tried the finishing on the squares with a lot of open canvas. I'm leaving those for the class so we can all learn. It could be that they're a mistake (which is why I stitched 11 squares (I cut out and didn't photograph two) for a bracelet that only needs six--earrings, anyone?)


Pat Winter said...

What a fabulous bracelet. I can imagine what your students will think. Beautiful and so original.

Lelia said...

FANTASTIC Marjorie : ) Your lucky students. I've never seen anything like this before. Very creative!!!