well...we partied hard last night and I'm a little hung over from pizza and birthday cake :)
But we had a big, good time and the boys and their buddies had a big good time eating pizza, cake and ice cream and a couple liters of soda. Then gorging on video games.
My stitching share was not stitched by me...
but it was finished by me....
I'm sure most of you know that...
Brooke's Books has a free advent calendar animals that you can stitch.
I thought they were darling, but I never stitched any of them. When a client asked me to finish the first 7 for her and she sent them to me, I was agog at how beautiful they were in real life.
I adored the dotted white and red fabric that she stitched them on.
Here they are all finished.
She wanted them finished similarly because she's going to complete the set so I finished the white dotted ones with a white fabric embossed with white snowflake pattern, white cording and white bows.
The red dotted ones I finished with red material with white snowflakes pattern, red cording and red bows.
When I got them all done and laid out together...
well I was just amazed at how cute they turned out!
When my client got them...
she let her little girl hang them on their large cross stitch ornament tree...
Here is a photo she snapped to show me how good they looked in their "home".
I love to see photos that clients send me of how they use and treasure their stitching once I send it back. This one is no exception. And I LOVE that tree!
Vonna's Gizmo and Gadgets....
today I'm going to talk about a hot button topic: needles and needle size.
Now let's please review the rules on this because I think today's recommendation may cause some rebellion. . .
This is my opinion and my opinion only! Many people want to know what I use to stitch with because they think I'm an expert or something. Silly them!!! I'm no expert ~ I just like to stitch and am a stitcher like any of you. But I have stitched for 30 years and I know what works for me. So I'm sharing what I use. After fielding literally hundreds of questions of what do you use, how do you like...I just started compiling a list and asking people to wait until my 25 Days.
This does not mean: that it is the only thing to use, or what you are using is not correct or mine is better than yours. No not in the least. All it means is that I have found these products, in my mind and opinion I think they are the best ones and I'm entitled to my opinions just like you are entitled to your opinions. So let's play together nice in the sandbox, what do you say?
everyone uses them. Here is the low down on what I know...
For cross stitch you should choose a tapestry needle. Size matters and the smallest number is the largest size and the largest number is the smallest size. Basically the size of the needle shaft (and eye) is determined by the number...the higher the number the smaller the shaft and eye.
Tapestry needles can be purchased in the largest size: 13 all the way to the smallest size: 28.
Size to use...
I don't know what people would use the really large needles for, but essentially what a cross stitcher would use, flows something like this:
Now then...while generally I look at these recommendations, I don't typically pay attention to them.
because I'm a rebel and I do what I want. I don't base my needle size on the count of fabric I'm working on. Rather, I base my needle size on the "stiffness" of fabric I'm working on.
Let me describe more fully...
I do a lot of model stitching, therefore I see a lot of different fabrics. Some of the fabrics that I model stitch on, like Wichelt's linen is a little stiff. Its hard to push the needle through the fabric sometimes. But boy does it allow the floss to lay up perfectly! When I'm stitching on stiff fabrics no matter what the count, I find that its better to have a substantial needle. More substantial = fatter. So I use a 22/24 size needle on the lower counts (28-30 ct linen). However when I get to 32 ct stiff fabric, with the weave being tighter, I find that a 28 works best because I can slip it through the smaller holes easier rather than pushing it through like a bulldozer.
Now on a looser weave....
let's say: Week's Dye Works linen...I find that the larger the needle makes a bigger hole (when pushing through the fabric and laying my stitches that doesn't disappear after the stitch is made. (I am not KNOCKING Week's Dye Works, as I love their fabrics!! I'm just saying this as an exampler that their fabrics are a soft in texture, therefore laying stitches you have to be a bit more careful) .
If I use a larger needle like a 24, the "holes" that you come up and go down in to lay your X sometimes is very noticeable....so therefore on about any count of Weeks linen I use a 26/28 needle.
*I'm sensitive to how my stitches lay because of the Fair Entries I have submitted over the last 6 years. I get knocked every year on my "tension" at the beginning, I have to admit, I don't think my tension was good. Being knocked in the judges comments has made me sensitive to how I lay/pull my stitches and also to what size needle I use.
Therefore: my overall choice of needle size is more dependent on the fabric texture, rather than the fabric count.
What size do I typically use?
My go to needle size is: sz 26 - I use this size the most on high/low counts/over one. You name it I use it (except on stiff fabrics because I'll end up having a bloody middle finger from pushing it into my finger)
sz. 28 is the next most popular size in my needle nest. I stitch on a higher count fabrics a lot and I use this exclusively for 40 ct. fabrics.
And my old favorite is always a 24, I use this size generally on any count in the 28 to 30 count fabric range. But again determined by stiffness of the fabric I may use a size 26.
I have 22 size needles too, but I predominantly use them for frogging.
OK, its all about that Brand, that Brand, that Brand....
When I was just starting out stitching, I got what was locally available to me. I used good old DMC needles. in size 24 and went to town. These are good, solid needles. The eyes are typically clean (therefore your thread doesn't prematurely break). The only thing I noticed is that the coating (I imagine it is nickle) wore off and you would get a tarnished place where you held your needle after use. But that didn't bother me. I used them exclusively until about 9 years ago.
that is when I was introduced to my new Local Needlework Shop - "Fancy Works" and they carried Piecemakers. I tried a pack and it wasn't long until I invested in a whole gaggle of Piecemakers Needles. I had (and still do have) every size from 22 - 28. They are smooth, their eyes are smooth, they never break, the eye never wears or breaks. I've never had the plating wear off or tarnish. I use these until I lose them and I don't lose needles often. These needles in my mind are the best on the market. Give them a whirl and try them out. I absolutely adore them. And they are made right here in the good 'ol US of A!
About 3 years ago, I was gifted with a packet of Bohin Needles from France...
well I was dubious because I had been having a long term love affair with Piecemakers, but I gave them a whirl and I must say. Absolutely divine! Again, these are similar to the Piecemakers in that they are smooth, clean eyes, do not tarnish, the plating never wears off. I find these (and this might just be my imagination) just a little bit more thin (no matter the size) in the barrel of the needle. A little more delicate, perhaps. But with that being said, these are comparable in every way to my old love and workhorse needles - the Piecemakers. I've even cheated on Piecemakers and made a large order recently of Bohin needles.
The other needle brand I've used before is: John James Needles.
I do not have anything good to say about John James needles. So if you are a fan...don't leave hateful comments! I find that the eyes are frequently not clean, therefore my threads prematurely wear and often break way before their time. (and let it be noted before someone says something: I do use Thread Heaven and/or Beeswax on all of my stitching!!) I find John James needle to tarnish easily (but maybe I secrete some weird toxin or something on my fingers). I find the plating wears. AND believe it or not, I've frequently had John James needles eye break. Just completely break off leaving a very sharp shard of metal eye flying somewhere and for me to find it - typically with my bare foot. I bought different sizes, tried different times thinking it was me and something I was doing, but to be honest. Nope, same thing happens over time, eyes that are not clean and/or break easily. Therefore I do not recommend John James needles.
I know many people use them exclusively. I know many people like them.
But I do not like John James needles. I do not want them on a train, I do not want them on a plane, I do not want them in my chair, I do not like them anywhere!
So there you have it...
The type of needles I use. I'm a Piecemakers and Bohin needle girl. They are available anywhere at any Local Needlework Shop and/or Online Needlework shop AND of course they're on Amazon.
Bohin does have a nice "sampler" pack of needles in sizes 22/24/26/28 I get those frequently. But honestly needles are cheap enough to get multiple sizes in multiple packages and it won't break the bank.
Remember....this is our craft, our art...therefore spending a little money to get what suits you is important. We are creating heirlooms. Tomorrow tune in and find out about something else in my stitching basket.
That does it for Day #6...
until next time:
I'll be keeping my hands to work..
my heart to God..
while treating my neighbor with kindness and respect,
and trying to be the best me I can be.
It's hard, isn't it?
I may stumble and I may fall, but I pick myself up and I remember:
To thine own self be true...
I want to BE the change I want to SEE.