Compass Needlepoint Project Started

For the New Year I’ve just started working on my new Compass needlepoint project. This is another big project (fresh on the heels of completing my Ancora Imparo project), but I’m going to be using some fun needlepoint stitches that should speed up the stitching (a bit).

The pattern is based on a compass rose made of tile pieces on the patio of a charming hotel in France. An interesting twist on a typical compass pattern is that north will not point straight up on this project. You’ll just have to stay tuned to see how this will look!

Compass Tile WIP #1aThe project will be 16 inches (40.6 cm) square when it’s done.

 

 

 

 

Compass Tile WIP #1bFor this center part of the stitching, I’m using the double stitch. The double stitch combines a long cross stitch and a small cross stitch into a neat woven effect. You can see a finished example of how this stitch looks in my Denver Bronco Cross Stitch project post.

 

 

I’m doing the long stitches now, and will go back and fill the small cross stitches later. I won’t reveal the color of the small cross stitches yet, but I can guarantee it won’t be bright Bronco orange!Compass Tile WIP #1c

To find these pretty stitches I’m using Hope Hanley’s book 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them.I haven’t figured out all the stitches I’ll be using yet, but I’m hoping to have a lot of fun with this part of the project. I wrote a little bit about this book in a post about my favorite books and in a post about books that I’ve made projects from – take a look!

I hope you’ll follow my adventures with this new Compass needlepoint project. I’ll be posting updates as I get various parts complete. I’m excited about this one…

Update: Next installment on my progress is here!

 

Disclosure-y goodness: Ancora Crafts is an Amazon Affiliate and purchasing the book through the link will help support (in a tiny way) Ancora Crafts.

Five Books I Made Something From

This week’s Link Love theme is “Five posts you {actually} made something from.” Well, I have yet to make something from a post, but I have made projects from five books!

The only difficulty with this post is that I don’t have photos of most of the projects I’ve completed. This is silly, I know. Someday soon, I hope to tackle my collection of old photos. I’m going to toss out unnecessary photos, and digitize and organize the remainder. Then, hopefully, I can create a kind of craft portfolio.

In the meantime, here’s a little bit of info about these five helpful and project inspiring crafty books:

#1 Beth Russell’s William Morris Needlepoint

This book is just plain gorgeous, cover to cover. Beth worked at the Royal School of Needlework in London, and her designs certainly are a faithful interpretation of William Morris’ works.

I needlepointed the Artichoke pattern you can see below. Whereas the photo was finished into a cushion, mine is finished into a framed wall hanging. The two projects are nearly identical and they’re absolutely beautiful!

 

#2 Danish Cross-Stitch Zodiac Samplers (Dover Needlework)by Jana Hauschild

I purchased this funky tome not necessarily for the zodiac element, but more for the flower border patterns. Every month has a different featured flower and they’re all very pretty without being too cutesy.

I rearranged parts of about 9 of the borders to make an all-flower cross stitch project and gave it to a friend as a housewarming present. I hope I can find a photo of it as it was really lovely and cheery.

 

#3 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them: Fully Illustrated with Photographs and Diagrams (Dover Embroidery, Needlepoint)by Hope Hanley

This is one that yes, I do have a photo of the project I created. The book doesn’t include this sampler as shown – I just created the sampler, as I remember, on the fly with a scrap piece of small gauge canvas. The piece is only about 8″ x 10″. I would love to remember how I came up with the layout!

Needlepoint Stitch Sampler - 1996

 

celtic#4 Celtic Charted Designs (Dover Embroidery, Needlepoint)by Co Spinhoven

This book contains animal patterns (as you can see by the cover), geometrics, knotwork, and then some spiral patterns. One of the biggest spiral patterns I needlepointed in green, gold, red, and purple for a friend’s wedding. Her wedding had an Irish theme, so I thought it was appropriate.

My friend recently told me this great story about the project. “My aunt, my mother’s sister, came to visit on her way from Iowa to the LA area. When she came in the front door (huggy-huggy) she saw the wedding gift artwork/[needlepoint] you did for us. She touched the glass and said all sorts of Kansas-Missouri things, and then carried it with her when I gave her a tour of the house.” How cool is that!?!

samplerquilt#5 Design and Make Your Own Contemporary Sampler Quilt (Dover Quilting)by Katie Pasquini

If you have never made a quilt before, this book is a great place to start. The book includes instructions for three different sizes of quilts, including everything from how much fabric to purchase to how to finish the edges. I made my first quilt using this book.

I wish I had a photo of this quilt project to share. Not so much for the patterns, but for the fabrics I picked out (I’m still proud of my choices, 15 years later!). Fortunately, this quilt is still in my possession and I’ll get it photographed sooner rather than later.

 

 

Disclosure: Ancora Crafts is an Amazon Associate – your purchases from the links above will help support Ancora Crafts. I own every linked book in this post. I will only endorse products that I believe, based on our personal knowledge of the products, are worthy of such endorsement.

Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating – 2013

Once again following the lead of Diane and Tammy, I’m rounding up the “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating in 2013” as part of their “Share the Link Love” mission.

I started blogging in February of this year, and what an adventure it has been! I honestly had no idea of exactly what I was getting into, and to be honest, I still don’t as blogging seems to be constantly evolving (just read Diane’s post on the topic). Creating posts takes more time than I originally thought, but I’m happy to be writing again after a gap of many years. I’m also trying to emphasize quality of posts over quantity of posts, and that seems to keep me motivated and to be working. With all that in mind, here’s five posts I’m proud of (in no particular order):

#1 FIRST POST!

Hitting “publish” the first time was a pretty interesting experience. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling while I was being hopeful and curious all at the same time. It was also the result of a failure (but a fail-forward type failure).
Computer keyboard and touch pad

(Insert sound effect here: “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!”)

[Photo by darrenleno via Flickr]

The first AncoraCrafts.com was an e-commerce platform that I had spent a lot of time and money on setting up, customizing, and maintaining. And after an extended period of time, I never sold a damn thing on it. Not one. Hardly got any views. Obviously, I had to make a change.

Moving my listings to Etsy was the easy part, but changing the .com to a blog took a lot of work, mentally and digitally. Switching to a new web host and learning WordPress were two big hurdles. But the biggest challenge was in making the commitment to blogging – a decision I did not take lightly.

I’m very happy to say that ever since I hit “publish” on the first post in late February, although it’s a lot of work, I’m having a lot of fun with this blog!

#2 Followup on my ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinI published an interview with quilt artist Betty Busby in June. I have been in awe of her work since I first saw it and I was so curious about her process. In August she was gracious enough to give me, my husband, and our dog Scully a tour of her home and studio space in Albuquerque. It was a real honor and treat for all of us, and I’m really happy that I was brave and took the chance to ask her if she was available.

#3 Making a Better Blog

The Better IdeaMost of my very early posts on the blog are about my own projects and products, and that was fine. But in May, after doing a lot of reading about blogging, I had a kind of epiphany about the direction of my blog. I’m sure it will shift again someday, but this post sums up my current bloggy path.

[Photo: The Better Idea by (the brilliant) Peggy Dembicer via Flickr]

 

 

#4 Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

As part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May project, I put more information about myself out on the internet than I ever thought I would. Of all the 31 topics that month, I really enjoyed creating this post about my favorite books.Bill the Cat for President

 [Bill the Cat for President from Bloom County. Photo by tjosephson2 via Flickr]

#5 My Hexie Madness Series

I had done a few other crafty roundups before, but the hexagon series really stands out. I dug deep, spending days on the internet to find examples of hexagon crafts in all types of disciplines. I ended up finding some really outstanding hexies in interesting places. I tried to find as many tutorials and patterns as possible, but where those didn’t exist, I did find some excellent sources of inspiration. Love the leather pouffe and these popsicle sticks – so fun! [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

How about you? Share your “proud five” post over at CraftyPod!

Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

When I was young I was a voracious reader, and I read some books I probably wasn’t quite ready for at certain ages (reading Orwell’s 1984 at age 9 was a bit mind-blowing). I still love to read, but now most of my non-computer time is taken up with stitching. Unless I make the heavy investment in audio books, my reading time is limited these days. The last book I finished was Ender’s Game, shortly before I knew it was going to be a movie. Now I’m slowly reading The Devil in the White City, which has some great history about Chicago (probably my favorite city in the States).

Here are some of my favorite books and some reasons why they’re on this list:

Fiction

  • DUNEDune – It’s incredible what Herbert imagined would be possible for people to do with their minds and bodies. From a Guild Navigator’s ability to fold space, the strategy, control and timing necessary in a knife fight, to the Bene Gesserit’s ability to control their own metabolisms and use “the voice” to control others actions, it’s interesting to think if any of it is really possible.
  • Jane Austen – Aside from the obvious attractiveness of the male leads in the movie versions, her books show some of the status of women and the slower pace of change at the time. She also shows how being a selfish and inappropriate douchebag like Lydia Bennett can hurt yourself and others.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers – Her four book series from the 1930’s, Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon, are an unusual romance set in mystery novels. The author and her two lead characters are smart and tough, making these anything but pulp fiction.

Non-Fiction

  • 67picGonzo: the Art – Ralph Steadman’s art speaks to me like no other. But he’s not for everyone…
  • Creating the Not So Big House – Smaller houses and minimal stuff in them is GOOD.
  • Essentials of Geology – It seems to me we get into a lot of trouble when people don’t understand the scientific method. Geology is everywhere and it’s a great way to start understanding how real science works.

Craft and Design

Needlepoint Stitch Sampler - 1996

  • 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them – I made this fabu sampler using this book. The text has clear diagrams and tips about how to use and how to perform each stitch.
  • Design and Make Your Own Contemporary Sampler Quilt – I made my first quilt using only the instructions from this book. It’s a great place for new quilters to start.
  • Altair Design (now called Images and Images 2) – When I was growing up, as soon as I had markers and color pencils, I had Altair Design books, and I can say that the effect was profound. As you can see from some of my pieces and inspirations, I still have a strong inclination toward geometric patterns. You can see all kinds of different shapes and possibilities in the lines. These books can really let the imagination open up and the creativity flow!
  • This Persian Flower Needlework is based on a very small element from a historical design book.The World of Ornament – THE resource for historical design inspiration. Covering design from the Ancient Egyptians through the mid 1800’s, this massive tome is colorful, fascinating, and idea-generating. Ancora Crafts Persian Flower pattern and kits are based on a tiny flower on one of it’s pages

Humor

  • Bloom County – A very funny comic strip that was both sweet and cynical at the same time. It was highly influential on my current vague mistrust of politicians and the media. I still have my Opus and Bill the Cat stuffed animals 30 years later.

Bill the Cat for President

  • A Fistful of Fig Newtons – Jean Shepherd is probably best known for the short stories that combined to make the movie A Christmas Story. Stories from his books In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters were combined to make the movie script. And while I love these books, I love his book A Fistful of Fig Newtons even more. His takes on summer camp (“The Mole People Battle the Forces of Darkness”), dorm life (“A Fistful of Fig Newtons or the Shoot-Out in Room 303”), mess hall duty on a troop train (“The Marathon Run of Lonesome Ernie, the Arkansas Traveler”), and algebra (“Lost at C”) are hilarious. Shepherd always weaves a vivid and funny tale.
  • Scary - Gallery Of Regrettable FoodThe Gallery of Regrettable Food – I about wet my pants from laughter when I first read this book (at work, no less – a coworker had brought it in the office). James Lileks is a funny writer, and he found inspiration in some of the most disgustingly photographed food of all time.

 

Have any of you read these books as well? Do you have any suggestions based on what I’ve recommended above?

 

Disclosure: Ancora Crafts is an Amazon Associate – your purchases from the links above will help support Ancora Crafts. I own every linked book and product in this post with the exception of the geology book as I already own a heavy duty geology textbook. I will only endorse products that I believe, based on our personal knowledge of the products, are worthy of such endorsement.