DMC Coloris Variegated Flosses

The new DMC Coloris variegated flosses have just been added to my Etsy shop!

dmc coloris 24 new variegated flosses

These 24 flosses are outstanding additions to DMC’s already excellent line of variegated threads. These are all true multicolor combinations, where most of their predecessors have more subtle color combinations.

These are so new in the States that it’s a little tough to find information about them. DMC USA has not updated their website yet with Coloris information, however the DMC UK site has a little information and five free charts.

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when opened the boxes containing these flosses – it was so fun! I’m sure my husband got tired of me repeatedly saying “oooh” and “wow” as if I were watching fireworks. But these combinations are just so different and striking that I couldn’t help myself.

Here are a few of my early favorites…

DMC 4501 ColorisDMC 4501, called Fleurs des Champs (Wildflowers), is a springy blend of watermelon pink, green, and light teal. It reminds me most of the inner layers of a watermelon rind.

 

 

 

DMC 4502 ColorisDMC 4502 is called Camellia and is a springy combination of bright pinks, green, and light blue.

 

 

 

DMC 4506 ColorisDMC 4506, Primavera (Spring), is a gorgeous blend of green, blue, and yellow.

 

 

 

 

DMC 4507 ColorisDMC 4507 is called Bougainvillea, and it’s a gorgeous group of teal greens, blue, and dark pink. It reminds me most of peacock feathers.

 

 

 

DMC 4523 ColorisDMC 4523, Vent du Nord (North Wind), is a lovely combination of light purple, light blue, and sandy browns.

 

 

 

DMC 4520 ColorisOne curious note: I think DMC 4520, called “Christmas Story,” is identical to the older DMC 4042 “Very Merry.” I will have to compare them in more detail, but in the meantime I’m wondering why they repeated this combination.

 

 

These DMC Coloris variegated flosses are just lovely and I really look forward to stitching with them. I also think they will look great in any of the multitude of crafts that can be done with variegated floss (check out my six-part series on variegated floss projects!).

Compass Needlepoint Finished

Here’s my compass needlepoint project finished and framed!compass needlepoint project compass rose finished

persian needlepoint kit and pattern ancora imparoI’m absolutely thrilled with the result. It’s just gorgeous, and as good or better than I even imagined. I designed this compass rose project in 2013, hoping it would be a quicker project than my earlier Ancora Imparo needlepoint. However, once I got into the design of this compass, I realized that the number of stitches necessary would be roughly the same as in Ancora Imparo. So much for being quicker!

I started stitching this compass project in January 2014 and finished up in February 2016. It didn’t take up all of my crafting time during that period as I was working on other, mostly cross stitch, projects concurrently. This compass needlepoint even crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice! I have vivid memories of working on this project while sitting on the patio of a house in the mountains of Asturias, Spain.

This project was inspired while we were traveling in Europe; it is based on a compass rose made of tile pieces on the patio of the charming Cuq en Terrasses hotel in France. The hotel is in the countryside near Toulouse, and it’s one of our favorite places to stay in the world.

Here you can see the needlepoint early in it’s execution, next to it’s model.Compass Tile WIP #3

You can see that I made the project a little more colorful than the original, but stayed true to it’s earth tones. At that point I had outlined and partially filled in nearly all of the first row of tiles except for the four gray tiles of the primary compass directions (north, south, east, west).

One of the reasons I stitched the primary direction tiles last is that, as I did in the center circle, I wanted to use the double stitch in that area. As I discovered through this project, double stitch works great on a square area; however, in an irregular shape, it can turn into quite a challenge. To conquer that challenge, I created a helpful tutorial on how to tackle the double stitch.compass needlepoint compass rose close up 1 double stitch

Above, you can see the two colors I used in the double stitch. The long cross stitches are in dark grey, while the short cross stitches are in a dark grey-blue. When I was choosing colors for this project, I thought the blue would make a nice visual compliment to all the earth tones without contrasting too much.

compass needlepoint compass rose close up 2Above you can see that with the all of the brown flosses, I slightly blended the colors, mixing 5 strands of one color with one strand of a contrasting color. I did this to better represent the speckled color and texture of the original tiles and to add a little visual interest.

You can also see the Tent stitch used in the radiating tiles of the center square, the Hungarian stitch used in the background of the center square, and three of the stitches used in the border blocks. In total, I used 20 different needlepoint stitches. The reference book I used for the stitches is an old favorite of mine, 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them by Hope Hanley.

To read more about the execution of this compass needlepoint, here are my posts over time: Getting Started, Update 1, Update 2, and Update 3.

The pattern for this project is now available in my Etsy shop, and it could also be made into a custom needlepoint kit as well. While I love the earth tones in the stitched example, I think this project would look great in lots of color combinations. Please contact me if you would be interested in seeing some other color options with this project.

My husband and I may not be able to spend all our time at Cuq-en-Terrasses, but now we have this compass needlepoint project as a beautiful reminder of our wonderful stays there. There are also a few more of their patio tile patterns that would make great needlepoint projects… stay tuned!

MST3K Turn Down Your Lights Cross Stitch Pattern

This MST3K Turn down your lights cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!mst3k turn down your lights cross stitch pattern

This image unfurled at the beginning of Mystery Science Theater 3000 from Episodes 201 – Rocketship XM to 404 – Teenagers from Outer Space. This span includes three of my personal favorite episodes: Cave Dwellers, Pod People, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. “Turn down your lights (Where applicable)” is a welcome and happy sight to fans of the show.

If you’re not familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000, it is a classic comedy show that originally ran from 1988 to 1999. It cleverly skewered terrible movies with it’s characters making funny comments during the movies and performing sketches during the intermissions.

It won a Peabody Award in 1993 and was nominated for several Emmy Awards. To this day it remains popular and maintains a large cult-like following. It is so popular, in fact, a MST3K revival recently became the biggest Film and Video category Kickstarter project of all time, raising $6.3 Million for 14 new episodes in 2016. The casting for the new episodes includes Jonah Ray as the host, with Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day as the new “mads.” I just can’t wait to see how the series continues!

mst3k cross stitch pattern the answer my friend is blow it out your assThis is my second MST3K themed project, the first being this funny quote from Episode 614 – San Francisco International.  It’s a terrible movie, cleverly skewered by Mike and the ‘bots. It was written as the pilot episode of a series that lasted six episodes. The TV movie appeared in 1970 and featured Clu Gallagher, Tab Hunter, Van Johnson, and David Hartman. When it went to series, Lloyd Bridges played the airport security chief, a role he spoofed later in the movie Airplane!

This MST3K Turn Down Your Lights cross stitch pattern is perfect for all MSTies (fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000) present, past, and future (and for everyone who has a lot of dimmer switches).

Keep circulating the tapes!

React with Love Cross Stitch Pattern

This React with love cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!react with love cross stitch pattern

This project is my reaction to the enmity, conflict, and ignorance in the world. If we react to certain situations in a positive way, toward kindness, trust, and understanding, the world might be a happier, more constructive place. [Of course, there are situations where love is not the immediate answer. For example, I don’t advocate welcoming physical threats to ourselves, our families, or our friends. That’s not what I’m addressing here.]

It can be overwhelming as there is so much conflict out there: between religions, between nations, between political parties, between neighbors, between co-workers, and even within our families. I find that concentrating on individuals rather than groups helps alleviate some of that overwhelmed feeling. Every two people have something in common, if only the fact that we exist. Even from a meager beginning we can develop our commonalities into a better understanding. This project can serve as a gentle reminder to work toward this goal.
handshake

[Handshake by Sakina-san via Flickr]

In an interesting coincidence, a conflict has come up between me and a good friend while I’ve been writing this post. This friend said that putting all Muslims on American soil into internment camps, much like the US did to people of Japanese ancestry during World War II, is a good idea. I was flabbergasted and deeply disappointed; how could someone I consider a friend espouse such a ugly, fearful idea?

My reaction? To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was not “with love.” It was disgust and exasperation as my husband and I argued fruitlessly against his idea. The next day, my reminder to “react with love not fear” kicked in as I started really thinking about what to do next.

My main thought was: EDUCATE MYSELF. Because I didn’t have the best information on hand at the time, I didn’t know how to respond intelligently or even coherently when my friend first brought up his awful idea.

I feel there are two big points to address: the first is about Islam and Muslims vs. radicalized Muslims, and the second is about the about the idea of internment camps. I happen to be friends with a really lovely Muslim couple, and I will ask if they can lead me to information that will address the first point. As for the second point, I happen to know that Japanese-American actor George Takei (he played Sulu on Star Trek) was in an internment camp as a child during WWII. He is an internet powerhouse and a champion of fighting the idea of internment camps, so I will search the internet for his most persuasive arguments on the subject.

DSC_0287

[Manzanar by Jason Neville via Flickr]

Will I then share these pieces of information with my friend? You bet. How will I do it? I’ll present the clearest, most succinct and rational ideas I can find and ask him to read them. Will he read them? Maybe not, but this is a person who generally respects my ideas, so I have hope that he will. Will this information change his mind? I don’t know, and that has to be okay.

Even if he doesn’t change his mind, my understanding of two big topics will expand. In the future, if I am confronted by anyone else with similar prejudices, I will be better able to react with love and in a more constructive way.

Self & Conflict

[Self & Conflict by Soul Patcher via Flickr]

My story above is just a tiny instance of conflict between a handful of people. Think globally and look at a situation as complex as the unrest in the Middle East. There are thousands of years of root causes of the violence there, from religious differences to political upheaval, from oil to opium, and countless more. It would take a multitude of scholars’ lifetimes to unravel the web of conflicts and truly understand all of the major points of view. How does one react with love toward something this overwhelming?

Obviously, there are no simple answers (how I wish there were). But this is a good example where focusing on individuals rather than groups helps me. I find myself often thinking about war refugees and their situations. If we act toward a refugee family with fear, with ignorance, distrust, and isolation, then they may have good reason to become our enemies. However, if we greet the family with love, with a desire to understand them better, with kindness and compassion and with opportunities for work and education, then they may have have good reason to become our friends.

Like I said above, every two people have something in common, if only the fact that we exist. The most simple acts of kindness can open up channels of understanding between people. I hope that this react with love cross stitch pattern may help remind us of that idea. 

Hexagon Table Runner Project

This hexagon table runner project was inspired by a number of things.

hexagon table runner project

First, I was just itching to play with my fabric stash. After several years of working solely on cross stitch and needlepoint projects, I wanted to play with the colors and prints of fabric again. I do love my stitching projects, but my heart really sings when I see fabrics juxtaposed in interesting combinations.

All Points Patchwork - coming soon!Second, I had never tried English paper piecing (EPP) before. When my friend Diane of Craftypod released her latest book, All Points Patchwork, I was intrigued by the technique. I was too busy with other projects to participate in any of the EPP blog hops at the time of the release, but working with EPP had been lingering in the back of my mind ever since.

Third, I wanted a table runner! I thought that a pair of my wood file cabinets could use a splash of color on top. With those three inspirations in mind, I set out to make my own EPP hexagon table runner.

Before I go further, I should explain that I had not yet purchased All Points Patchwork when I created this project, and I sure wish I would have. It is a treasure trove of all things EPP: tools, techniques, tips for creating with each shape, and design ideas. Further into this tutorial, I’ll share some things I would have done differently if I had read the book first.

Design

The design of this project was adapted from this “Modern Hexie Table Runner” project by Laura Hartrich. I liked her use of multiple background fabrics and a hexie layout that created gaps in the pattern to reveal the background. Her project is great; however, where her hexie layout was asymmetrical, I wanted to create a symmetrical arrangement. And where she used a simple applique technique to attach her hexies individually to the background, I was wanting the full EPP experience to join my hexagons together before appliqueing them. laura hartrich modern hexie table runner

I knew I wanted to use 1-1/2 inch hexagons so that this first attempt at EPP wouldn’t become too hard to manage. I also knew that the top of my two file cabinets measured just under 43 by 19 inches, and I didn’t want this project to overlap the edges of the cabinets at all. After some experimentation I ended up with this layout:

hexagon table runner project dimensions

1-1/2 inch hexagons “on their sides” as shown (rather than arranging the points at top and bottom) measure 2-5/8 inches high, so 5 rows add up to a total of 13-1/8 inches. A single 1-1/2 inch hexie measures 3 inches wide; however, 3/4 inch of the width of the NEXT hexie overlaps with the first hexie. Therefore, every column of hexies adds only 2-1/4 inches of width to the project. The seventeen columns of hexies shown here adds up to (3″ + 16 x 2-1/4″) 39 inches.

IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I would have used hexagon graph paper from the beginning. Regular graph paper just didn’t get the spacing of the hexagons correct. This led to quite a mess that I didn’t catch until much later in the project when I removed the templates behind the hexies. I had to take out a bunch of seams, re-insert templates behind eight of the hexagons, re-position and re-attach five hexagons, cut all new pieces of background fabric, and I was left with barely enough backing fabric to do a wrap-around binding for the quilt. Lesson learned: use hexagon graph paper!

Fabrics

hexagon table runner project fabrics[Note: this photo shows the hexies BEFORE I sewed them together!]

The design was pretty well established so then I scoured my fabric stash, looking for candidates. I’ve been on a light blue kick for a little while now so shades of blue feature prominently. I also knew that this runner would be on a stained wood surface, so I wanted a few browns in the mix. From my collection, I ended up using fabrics 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9. Then it was off to my local fabric shop to find prints for the background and the backing. There I found fabrics 3, 6, 7, and 10. I think it’s a good and slightly funky mix!

Background

I used fabrics 3, 6, 7, and 10 in the pattern you see below (10,3,7,6,10,3,7). I knew that 6 was going to be my backing and binding fabric, so I used only one piece of it in the center as opposed to the two pieces each of 3, 7, and 10.hexagon table runner project background

The background pieces were cut at 13-1/2 inches tall by 6-1/2 inches wide. That left enough for a 3/8 inch seam allowance between the pieces and an overall usable width of just over 40 inches. It turns out that I needed every bit of that 40 inches as the combined width of the hexies sewn together was 40 inches, one inch wider than the 39 inches I calculated. I think next time, I’d cut the pieces 14 inches tall by 6-3/4 inches wide, just to be safe.

I knew I was going to applique on the edge of the hexies and I knew there was some probable un-quilted space between the hexies and the edge of the runner. I also knew I wanted to anchor down the background a bit before I appliqued the hexagons. So at this point I layered my batting and backing fabric, pinned the layers (you can just see the white pin heads in the photo above), and quilted in the ditch between the seven pieces.

Templates

hexagon table runner project templatesTo create my own hexagon templates, I used Incompetech’s graph paper generator to make an original template on normal office paper. I cut out a hexagon and then traced it repeatedly onto manila file folders to make the templates. This tracing probably made the hexies a smidgen larger than they should have been, and this may be why my sewn hexies together measured 40 inches wide rather than the 39 I calculated. IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I may have followed Diane’s recommendation that beginners use precut templates; however, with so few hexagons necessary for this project, I might still have created my own. Next time, I would make them with much greater precision, possibly printing the Incompetech hexagons directly onto the file folders.

Hexagons

hexagon table runner project fabricsThe layout calls for 38 hexagons. Although I made some (11) hexies from the background fabrics, I made the remaining 27 from the other fabrics. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fabric 1: 5
  • Fabric 2: 4
  • Fabric 3: 3
  • Fabric 4: 5
  • Fabric 5: 4
  • Fabric 6: 2
  • Fabric 7: 3
  • Fabric 8: 4
  • Fabric 9: 5
  • Fabric 10: 3

Fortunately, even before Diane published her EPP book, she uploaded videos to YouTube that perfectly explain how to create hexiessew them together, and then remove the paper templates.

hexagon table runner project first hexieAfter watching these videos, I started basting my own hexies with ease! Once the fabric was cut, it took me less than three minutes to baste a hexie. I couldn’t believe it was so easy, and I felt silly for not having tried EPP before. At right is a photo of the first hexagon I had ever basted – it was a proud moment!

 

 

 

 

After all the hexies were basted, I laid them out on the background and played with their arrangement. I didn’t want any of the fabrics to overlap themselves in the background, and I wanted to balance out the location of the dark and light fabrics. This was the result:hexagon table runner project hexie layout

From here, I sewed the hexies together using Diane’s video instructions. After a good steam pressing, I removed the templates and was ready to applique the big piece of EPP to the background.

Applique

I took a great deal of care to lay out the EPP on the background: noticing where the pieces in a column lined up with the background seams, making sure that the top and bottom edges of the pieces were horizontal, and ensuring that the extreme left and right points were centered vertically. I then pinned the everlasting crud out of the EPP to make sure that it wouldn’t shift as I appliqued.

I first sewed around the seven gaps in the EPP and then sewed down the entire outline in one long take (see the red lines in the figure below).

hexagon table runner project applique

IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I would have appliqued about 1/8 inch from the edge. As I did it, I appliqued about 5/8 inch, and I’m seriously considering whether I should resew it at the recommended 1/8 inch. The table runner looks fine as is, but if I were to wash it, some of the fabric on the back of the hexies might slip out and that would be a hassle to fix. I also think it would look a little better with the 1/8 inch distance when viewed up close.

I cleaned up all my thread ends and then buried the tails between the layers of the quilt.hexagon table runner project thread ends before and after

Binding

Last, I did a wrap-around binding (where the backing fabric becomes the binding) with a blind stitched finish on top. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave myself much fabric to do the wrap around, but I did manage, barely, to make it work. Just don’t look too closely at those corners, please!

Here is my new table runner in it’s new habitat, on top of its file cabinets, mere moments before it was filled with all the debris of modern life.

hexagon table runner project 2

I love it, and I’m looking forward to making more in the future. Maybe some holiday-themed hexagon table runner projects will follow!

Willy Wonka Cross Stitch Pattern

This Willy Wonka cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!willy wonka cross stitch pattern so much time and so little to do

This pattern features one of the famous quotes from Gene Wilder’s character in the 1971 version of the movie. As the visitors to the factory have just walked in the door and are removing their coats, Willy says: “So much time and so little to see. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.”

Only after I stitched the photographed example did I realize that I got the quote slightly incorrect! In my mind and on IMDB.com the line is “…so little to do,” whereas the line in the movie is clearly “…so little to see.” Nevertheless, this project will appeal to fans of the movie and to busy people everywhere (and who of us isn’t busy?).

photo of gene wilder as willy wonkaThe border of this pattern is a homage to the floral fabric in Willy Wonka’s waistcoat. With it’s purple, pink and white flowers on a background of black and light purple, it’s an enduing part of Willy’s ensemble.

 

 

 

 

 

On Spoonflower, there are two separate versions of this fabric, as well as two different “Golden Ticket” fabrics, a reproduction of the “lickable wallpaper” fruit pattern, and a rather unusual fabric of Willy with the Oompa Loompas.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. At it’s release in 1971 it received good reviews and fared decently at the box office. Since its release for television and home video, it has become a cult classic with quite a few devoted fans.

Dahl didn’t like this version of the movie, saying it strayed too far from his original book. One can understand his concerns, considering the change of emphasis from Charlie to Willy, the introduction of Slugworth as an enemy, and the inclusion of seemingly random literary quotes from various authors. I’ve also heard that the lyrics of the Oompa Loompa’s songs were completely different than what they sang in this this first version.

willy wonka cross stitch pattern so much time and so little to doDahl’s family was much happier with the Tim Burton-directed version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp from 2005. Although they are much different movies, I happen to like them both. Ah, but when it comes to quotable lines, the 1971 version certainly takes the (chocolate) cake.

 

This Willy Wonka cross stitch pattern is perfect for all fans of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and for all of us with hectic schedules.

US Highway Cross Stitch Pattern

This US Highway cross stitch pattern and kit are now available in my Etsy shop!

us highway cross stitch road sign

The pattern is based on real US highway signs. The stitched example, Highway 89, is a roughly 1250-mile stretch from the Montana-Canada border to Flagstaff, Arizona. It is nicknamed “The National Park Highway” as it links seven national parks including Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It also provides access to numerous other national park areas including national monuments.Bryce Canyon

[Bryce Canyon by Suzanham via Flickr]

Another fascinating location along Highway 89 is Thistle, Utah. According to Wikipedia, it is “a ghost town that was destroyed by a lake resulting from a landslide in 1983.”Thistle, Utah

[Thistle, Utah by Rick Smith via Flickr]

The US numbered highway system was approved in 1926. Before then, “auto trails designated by auto trail associations were the main means of marking roads through the United States.” With names like the “Bee Line Highway,” “Glacier to Gulf Motorway,” and the “Old Spanish Trail,” these trails’ names definitely sound more romantic than their numerical replacements.

Route 66 is probably the best known of all the US Highways, although it was officially removed from the highway system in 1985. It spanned roughly 2450 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Before the numbered highway system, this path included parts of three trails: The Lone Star Route, the Ozark Trail, and the National Old Trails Road. It was the migration path for thousands of people during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s and again during World War II. It inspired both a popular song, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and a successful TV show in the 1960’s. Eventually, the growth of the Interstate Highway System rendered Route 66 obsolete, however many parts of the old roadway have been specially designated as “Historic Route 66” and set aside for preservation.Route 66 Hackberry (Arizona USA)

[Route 66 Hackberry (Arizona USA) by Perry Tak via Flickr]

I can easily customize this pattern for any of your favorite highways. Create a reminder of a favorite drive or road trip with this US highway cross stitch pattern and kit!

This pattern is just the latest in a series of US and state highway sign patterns. Others in the series thus far include Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, Washington, Montana, and an Interstate sign… Check ’em out!

Statistics Cross Stitch Pattern

This statistics cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!statistics cross stitch pattern - statistically speaking most people are assholes

The quote for this statistics cross stitch pattern comes from an episode of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central. During one of their #Keepit100 segments, host Larry Wilmore asked the panel (and I’m paraphrasing) if your dog and a stranger were drowning, who would you save, the person or your dog? Rory Albanese replied “If it’s an adult, I save my dog every time because statistically speaking, most people are assholes.” Here’s the clip (you can skip ahead to 1:34):

Keep in mind, I don’t subscribe to this theory most of the time… but there are those moments. As soon as I heard this quote, I scribbled it down and knew I would stitch it someday.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, The Nightly Show is hosted by Larry Wilmore, who did frequent segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The show debuted in January 2015 and can be seen just after The Daily Show. Although the show might have started off a little awkwardly, I think Larry and his staff have really hit their stride in recent months. The show packs a lot of laughs, fresh, diverse viewpoints, and some great [bleeped-out] cursing. That Larry is a self-described “blerd” (black nerd) appeals to me as well.

statistics cross stitch pattern - statistically speaking most people are assholesThis pattern is packed with mathematical and statistical symbols for various constants and functions. The first “t” is tau, which is a symbol used to represent Kendall’s rank correlation coefficient. The first “a” is alpha, which represents the level of significance, also know as the type I error rate. The second “t” is an addition (plus) sign.

The “S” in “speaking” is an integral sign from calculus, the “E” is a capital sigma that represents a sum, and the symbol for “n” represents an intersection. The “y” and the “G” are both related to Goodman and Kruskal’s gamma. The border pattern is comprised of lower case sigmas which represent the all-important statistic of standard deviation.

It was necessary to take a few liberties with subscripts that complete the pattern and add a little visual interest – but the t sub i very easily could represent interior temperature in engineering applications.

This statistics cross stitch project is perfect for statisticians, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and smart people. It’s also great for curmudgeons and your favorite anti-social grumps!

MST3K Cross Stitch Pattern “Blow it…”

This MST3K cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!mst3k cross stitch pattern the answer my friend is blow it out your ass

 

The project is a funny quote from Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode 614 – San Francisco International. It’s a terrible movie, cleverly skewered by Mike and the ‘bots. It was written as the pilot episode of a series that lasted six episodes. The TV movie appeared in 1970 and featured Clu Gallagher, Tab Hunter, Van Johnson, and David Hartman. When it went to series, Lloyd Bridges played the airport security chief, a role he spoofed later in the movie Airplane!

Most of the plot revolves around an elaborate attempt to steal a large shipment of currency that looks surprisingly similar to boxes of Rush albums. One subplot involves a young boy, Davey, who manages to steal a small airplane and get airborne with no flying experience whatsoever. “You know, people are gonna hate you for quite a while after this, Davey.”

While the Urkel-themed host segments haven’t aged well (in fact, you will probably want to skip them altogether), the quote “The answer, my friend, is blow it out your ass” is a classic riff! You can see the entire episode on YouTube…

I used two DMC Variegated Flosses in this project: 4220 Lavender Fields in the lettering, and 4020 Tropical Waters as part of the border. I generally use brighter colors in my projects, but I wanted to make this look a little softer, a little breezy, a little like the Joan Baez version of “Blowing in the Wind.”

This MST3K cross stitch pattern is perfect for all MSTies (fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000) and for everyone who appreciates a funny and rude cross stitch project.

For those of you who have read this far and don’t have a clue as to what MST3K is, read this Wikipedia article. A MST3K revival just became the biggest Film and Video category Kickstarter project of all time, raising $6.3 Million for 14 new episodes in 2016. Can’t wait…

Keep circulating the tapes!

Glow in the Dark Thread Review

I’ve created this glow in the dark thread review as I was genuinely curious about two things: how to use the Kreinik’s line of glow in the dark (GITD) threads and the difference between the Kreinik and DMC’s E940 GITD floss. I carry the DMC floss in my Etsy shop and it has proved to be very popular. However, DMC has only the one color of GITD floss where Kreinik has seven colors and eight different sizes/types of thread.

The participants:glow in the dark thread review - all the threads I tested

Clockwise from top left you see Kreinik Blending Filament in Grapefruit, #4 Braid in Watermelon, #8 Braid in Lime, #16 Braid in Lemon Lime, #32 Braid in Tangerine, 1/16″ Ribbon in Blueberry, #8 Braid in Grapefruit, and the DMC E940 floss.

Kreinik also has #12 Braid, #24 Braid, and a 1/8″ Ribbon, but I decided against trying them out in lieu of the 4-8-16-32 progression you see above. Kreinik also has a seventh color, Grape, but it is only available in 1/16″ and 1/8″ Ribbons.

I used the Kreinik threads in cross stitch on 18 and 14 count Aida fabrics. I also used the Kreinik threads in tent or basketweave stitch on 18 and 14 count needlepoint canvases and in 7 count plastic canvas. I didn’t necessarily use every thread on every canvas – as you’ll see below, some of the combinations of thread and fabric were impractical.

With that in mind, let’s see how these Kreinik threads stitched up on a variety of cross stitch fabrics and needlepoint canvases. Let’s get started with the 18 count Aida…
18 ct aida light

The Blending Filament is interesting stuff – it’s a bit like stitching with very fine fishing line. It is composed of lots of extremely thin filaments that love to fray at the ends of the strand. I was able to thread it in a #26 tapestry needle pretty well. Using this color filament on white material took supreme concentration to make sure that all the stitches were done correctly. You can barely tell that the filament is there – it just adds a little plastic-y shimmer to the fabric.

The only issue I had with the Blending Filament itself on this 18 count Aida was that the strand frayed pretty badly while I was stitching. This didn’t happen with the filament as prominently on any of the other fabrics or canvases I tested. Below left you see the back of the Aida, and on the right you see the front. Keep in mind this filament was not necessarily designed to be used like this, so this is not a big deal. I just wouldn’t recommend using it in this exact same way.
18 ct aida issue with blending filament18 ct aida issue with blbf1ending filament

 

 

 

 

 

The Watermelon pink #4 Braid provided great coverage on this 18 count Aida, where the Lime green #8 Braid was a little too heavy (you’ll see how I made a few cross stitches crossing two at top just for fun). Using these Braids is like stitching with a heavy waxed dental floss. Rather than form knots, the threads tend to kink like a garden hose and they like to fray at the ends of the strand. I could not thread either Braid into my #26 tapestry needle. Unlike cotton floss that can “squish” into a needle eye, the #4, #8, and #16 Braids have no ability to compress whatsoever and needles with bigger eyes are necessary.

Stitching with the #4 and #8 plastic Braids produces an interesting texture on the fabric that I’ll call “crunchy.” You’re stitching with plastic, so “crunchy” is to be expected! It’s just different than the more soft and pillowy stitches that result from using cotton and wool.

Ah! But how do they glow? Well, they glow great!
18 ct aida dark

You can see the light coverage of the Blending Filament, the good coverage of the #4 Braid, and the lumpy coverage of the #8 Braid.

Up next is the 14 count Aida…
14 ct aida light

Again, you can hardly see the Blending Filament. The #4 Braid has some coverage, but the #8 Braid is about perfect on this 14 count Aida. I tried a little of the Lemon Lime #16 Braid, but it proved to be just too thick, distorting the fabric and holes pretty badly.

Stitching with the #16 Braid is like stitching with a very tiny paracord, so it doesn’t kink up quite like the #4 and #8 Braids. Finding a needle with an eye big enough to accommodate this Braid that won’t distort the fabric can be tough. And in the dark…
14 ct aida dark

the results are similar. The Blending Filament and the #4 Braid don’t quite cover the Aida effectively. The #8 Braid is about perfect, and the #16 Braid looks lumpy. Also, there’s not much difference in color between the Lime #8 and the Lemon-Lime #16 Braids.

On to the needlepoint canvases! First up, 18 count…
18 ct needlepoint canvas light

In tent stitch, the Blending Filament is hardly visible, the #4 Braid doesn’t quite cover, the #8 Braid gives a little more cover, but the #16 Braid is the one that effectively fills in the canvas.

Here I used the 1/16″ Ribbon in both tent stitch and backstich. The ribbon is flat, so it is quite easy to thread through a needle and it doesn’t tend to fray much. It does require constant untwisting and manipulation to keep flat. In tent stitch, it covers well but looks a little crowded. Ah, but in backstitch it really looks great! You can easily see the light color and the shimmery texture. The slight difference in the brightness between the tent stitch and the backstitch is true-to-life – the tent stitched portion really is a bit darker than it’s backstitched counterpart.

In the dark…
18 ct needlepoint canvas dark

the results are similar. The Blending Filament and #4 Braid are definitely visible but don’t cover at all, the #8 Braid is better, but the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon cover well. The ribbon in tent stitch glows a little brighter than the backstitched section, but it’s not a huge difference. There’s also not much difference in color between the Lime #8, the Lemon Lime #16, and the Blueberry 1/16″ ribbon, whereas the Blending Filament in Grapefruit definitely looks more blueish. Interesting!

In 14 count needlepoint canvas,14 ct needlepoint canvas light

almost identical results as the 18 point canvas. The Blending Filament, #4 Braid, and #8 Braid aren’t enough to cover, while the #16 Braid and the 1/16 Ribbon covers nicely. The Ribbon looks better and less crowded in tent stitch than it did on the 18 count canvas, and again the backstitch looks nice.

In the dark, again similar results as the 18 point canvas:
14 ct needlepoint canvas dark

Nice coverage by the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon.

The last material I tried was 7 count plastic canvas.
7 ct plastic canvas whiteI started with the #4 Braid, and here you can see that it, the #8 Braid, the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon don’t cover the canvas at all. The Ribbon in cross stitch is enough to cover the plastic canvas grid but leaves the holes completely open.

Here I tried the #32 Braid for the first time. This braid, unlike it’s smaller siblings, does flatten out. It seems to be somewhat hollow in the middle – the closest comparison I can offer is that it’s like stitching with a tiny Chinese finger trap – and it has a bit of spongy give to it. Like using the ribbon, it does require some manipulation to get it to lay flat. Even the #32 Braid in tent stitch doesn’t fully fill all of the holes in the canvas (the photo shows the coverage as being a little more generous than it is in real life). However, the #32 Braid in cross stitch completely covers the canvas and fills the holes.

In the dark…
7 ct plastic canvas dark

the #4 and #8 Braids are barely visible, the #16 braid and 1/16″ ribbon are bright but don’t cover well. The #32 Braid glows great, but the full coverage is only in cross stitch. Here you can see better the difference between the color of the Blueberry Ribbon and the Lemon Lime #16 Braid, and the Tangerine orange of the #32 Braid is clear.

Thus far, this review has been all about using the Kreinik threads. Now here’s how the DMC floss compares with it’s closest Kreinik counterpart.
14 ct aida comparison light

On the left is Kreinik #8 Brain in Grapefruit, and on the right is two strands of DMC E940 Floss. I chose the #8 Braid as it provided the best coverage on 14 count aida, and I chose Grapefruit as it was the closest in color to the near white of the E940.

On the top, I did a few backstitches of varying lengths, and then I stitched six rows of cross stitch. It’s pretty clear to see that when it comes to behaving like regular six strand cotton embroidery floss, DMC has a clear advantage. It is soft and pillowy, whereas the Kreinik Braid has the “crunchy” texture I talked of above. The Kreinik produces a noticeably thicker and more sparkly stitch rather than the lower profile and matte finish of the DMC. The backstitches in DMC lie flat and behave well, and the Kreinik backstitches are a little more unruly.

And how do they glow?
14 ct aida comparison dark 0 seconds

They both glow well, but I’ll give the edge to the Kreinik, especially when it comes to the backstitching.

How well does the glow last over time? Here’s the glow after approximately 30 seconds:
14 ct aida comparison dark 30 seconds later

and again after approximately 60 seconds:
14 ct aida comparison dark after 60 seconds

The two are just about equally effective. Please keep in mind that the glow after a minute is more detectable by the human eye than by my camera. The glow is easily seen for much longer than just one minute!

So, after all this review, what would I use? Well, if the white color of the thread in daylight was fine, and I was doing cross stitch or needlepoint in 14-18 count, I’d use the DMC. It really is that much easier to use in those applications. However, if I wanted the stitching to be a color other than white or I was using plastic canvas, I think the Kreinik would be my choice. I would also use the #8 and larger Kreinik Braids and Ribbons in embroidery as couched threads (you can read more about couching here and here).

The DMC is definitely designed to act like six-strand embroidery floss, whereas the Kreinik is designed for a wider range of applications. How both of them are used is up to your creative talents!

Have you used any of these DMC or Kreinik glow in the dark threads? How did you use them and what are your impressions?