Monday, October 20, 2014

A Snowball for Kathy S. in MD

Last week, I finally finished the snowball I made for Kathy S. (a.k.a. Clothqueen) and mailed it to her in Maryland. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Our goal was to swap in September, but I failed miserably with our deadline.  Thankfully, Kathy was quite patient.  She asked for an African themed block, which was completely new to me.  I had a few ideas, but failed to find a fabric that even closely fit what I had in mind.  So, I took a different approach.


In 1999, a friend and I both cross-stitched a baby blanket for our sons following the 1993 Graphworks International Inc. booklet "Baby Afghan Safari" designed by Mary Bartley Stockett and Norman B. Brown. (Please note, I am not affiliated with the book. However, if you access Amazon.com through my website to make a purchase, I earn a small credit toward a gift card.)

I made a few adjustments to the trunk, so it would connect, and did not complete the lower section of the elephant for this project.  (Apparently, I also failed to note the back-stitching on the water spray was blue in the pattern.  Oops!)
 

Confession time.  I don't know why I thought it would work this time, but I decided to try cross-stitching over a single square with 2 strands of floss on 32-count linen again (because it would fit onto my snowball stitched so small.) The only other time I made that insane attempt, I threw in the towel.  Every row of stitching squishes the fabric below it together, making it almost impossible to see where to place the needle.  By the time I was 1/4th of the way done with the elephant, I almost tossed it and started over.  But, there was so much time invested, I opted to keep going.  It was s-l-o-w progress, further hindered by the fact that I could only see to work on it at all near the window in the early morning light.  I am not about to point out all of my mistakes.  (I might confess a few x's actually go over one strand from side-to-side, but may have caught 2 strands from top-to-bottom. Removing threads to fix the errors was literally not possible.)  In the end, I think the errors were hidden well enough.  I was still quite happy with him when he was finally completed!


The seam along the right side of the elephant was embellished with a simple stem stitch in a similar shade to the fabric.  Blue size 8 perle cotton was used to create "waves" beneath the elephant using the triangular buttonhole stitch.  And the section at the bottom was embellished with a Cretan stitch and topaz seed beads.


The tree was the element I was most excited - and intimidated - to try.  I did a Google search for "African trees" and looked through the great variety of photos and sketches.  Then, I set to work creating my own.  I couched down two brown shades of size 5 perle cotton for the trunk and branches. At the base, small straight stitches of "grass" were added using the same variegated green I used for the leaves.


If the elephant had not taken me so long and put me behind schedule, I believe the tree tops would have been made with French knots.  To save time, I couched down 3 strands of a green variegated floss, beginning at the bottom and folding it back and forth to create the desired set of leaves.  I love the way that turned out.

Kathy, I do hope you like it! Thank you SO much for swapping snowballs with me!  I just love the snowball you sent me, and I look forward to swapping again the beginning of next year!

Hugs,
Renee

12 comments:

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I think this is the cutest snowball I have ever seen! Such an adorable little elephant....

Renee said...

Thank you! I agree! I just love the elephant cross-stitch. In spite of my mistakes (due to the teensy-tiny stitches) I love the way it turned out.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I love what you did with this snowball. How very creative to couch those leaves. Did you invent that technique!?! So cool. I love the elephant too.

Queeniepatch said...

You have been very patient and completed that challenging x-stitch. Bravo! It's a charming snowball.

Annet said...

You've put a lot of effort into this cute snowball. Your tree is gorgeous, love it's design.

Renee said...

Thank you! It was my first time couching in this manner, and I have not seen it used this way before, but I am certain if I searched long enough, I would find that someone else has! It was a fun "snowball" to create.

Renee said...

Thank you, Queenie! I am very pleased with the elephant. Working it on 32-count linen was quite the challenge!

Renee said...

Thank you, Annet! Looking at the Google images of trees, I found I preferred the ones with some curve to them. It was really fun to make!

Wendy said...

That's lovely! Such patience to stitch over 1, patience, or madness?

Renee said...

Madness! No doubt. But it was small enough for the snowball!

littleorphanskein said...

I'm always in awe over your trees, and this one is no exception. Wow I love it. The whole snowball is cool but that tree is freaking amazing.

Renee said...

Thank you! I think this was my favorite tree yet. (Although, my spooky tree was pretty fun!)