Happy Sunday everyone!
Today we embark on the wonderful adventure of stitching the first in the Mucha Princesses Series, which are the patterns that were designed by Ashley and are now for sale over at MakeitPink on Etsy. The patterns are sold individually or as a set. These are complicated patterns and not for the feint of heart. Guaranteed to test your skill level! There are only a limited number being sold and once they are sold out, there will be no more, PLEASE, pick your princess!
The original artist, Hannah Alexander, has given permission for Ashley to create patterns from three of her princess, and I'm starting with Merida. If you look through Hannah's gallery, you'll actually start wishing she would allow more to be made into patterns, but as this is a test run....you know how this could or could not work out (I'm hoping for good things...her art is beautiful).
Every Sunday I will endeavor to stitch a bit and explain some of the potential hazards of this pattern as we go along. I suppose hazards might be a bit too strong of a word, but for a novice stitcher it could be....and hopefully by sharing what I've done along the way, this pattern and the others, will make more sense and help you have a brilliant stitching experience. (I already am and I've barely begun)
Seriously, the pure joy of taking on such a project....I have no words! I have TW (Teresa Wentzler) to thank for teaching me different ways to read a pattern and how to make those stitches work. Wonder if she ever thinks that after all these years she's STILL teaching people new things? I hope she pats herself on the back daily for her achievements.
Now, back to Merida!
First thing, and always, the most important thing: Always read the directions. (Yes, I have reason to stress this one rule and that is for a different blog post) Ashley did provide excellent instruction, but kept it simple. Even still, read them carefully. Make sure you follow the instructions. If you do not understand something or have questions, don't hesitate to ask! Ashley is always available to answer questions about a project.
Example: Me: "I think I'll use a 28 count evenweave"
Ashley: "If you do that then your beads won't lay properly and could create gaps where there shouldn't be any"
Well now, guess I need to get some 18 ct as the pattern states first thing! So I chose some 36 ct White/Silver Evenweave fabric. (For the beginner: A higher count on fabric divided by 2 will get you where you need to be. 28 ct is 14 ct if you stitch over two. This only works on fabrics OTHER THAN Aida.) I deliberately purchased a 35" x 36" piece as the other pieces I found were too small. This is a 9.5 x 22 3/8 sized pattern and we still need that extra 3" all the way around.
My next struggle was with which needle would work the best with this fabric?
I know there are flat rate sizes of needles to be used for sizes of fabric, but I have found that it doesn't always work that way for me.
Issues of shredding floss, holes too big or too small, there's a list that I'm confident everyone has experienced when trying to follow the "rules" of needle and fabric.
I started out with a John James size 5 embroidery needle (stuck myself twice in the thumb) and made my first two rows of stitches. 36 ct fabric is SMALL, so it made sense to try that needle out first. The stitches are a little sloppy for my taste, but we are testing a needle here, so it's fine. Then I changed out with a John James Tapestry Petite needle size 26. Imagine my surprise when things just flowed!
You are now wondering why I keep mentioning John James. I'm a serious fan of this brand of needle. The eyes never shred my floss, I have yet to snap one in half and they don't bend like the cheapo kit provided needles do, nor do they rust or lose their shiny shine.
Finally, we get going. Next step is to figure out how to make those little stitches on the fabric that are on the pattern. Over 1 is the answer.
Don't be afraid to stitch these little guys! There is back stitching involved that will prove to you that this over one stitching was worth it and does not look "dumb". It will blend so nicely with the back stitching later you will laugh with crazy glee!
I am aware the first segment is a bit windy, but with any project, getting started is a process all by itself.
Now that we have things moving right along, the following Sunday blog posts shouldn't be as long...unless we learn something new! My plan for now is to stitch up Merida's hair. Ashley wanted to see the hair, so Ashley will get to see the hair. It is my complete pleasure to oblige.
Segment two will discuss the easy to read pattern and whatever else pops up while stitching.
Until next time.....Keep on Stitchin'