Friday, January 31, 2014

Just Nan SAL - Month #1: "Rosebuds"

I'm excited to introduce this project to you not only because this is my first entry into the Just Nan SAL but also because this is my first time stitching on Evenweave fabric!!! As you may remember, I was gifted this lovely pattern from Just Nan by Meggie, and it marks my first experience with this designer. Here is the leaflet:

I followed the colourway exactly, but mine turned out a little darker and leaned more toward the mauve than the pink. According to the chart, the model was stitched on "Zweigart 32 CT Antique Lavender Belfast Linen", which may have affected the way the colours photographed. Overall, I think mine has a more vintage feel but I like it :)

When it came time to choose my fabric, I was at a bit of a loss. Because the center is partially worked with a new-to-me Specialty Stitch called the "Mosaic Stitch"(which seems to be a smaller version of the popular Needlepoint favourite, the "Scotch Stitch") and there are Eyelets (a Diamond Eyelet in the center and Algerian Eyelets in the corners), the design cannot be stitched on Aida cloth. I couldn't find any 32 count linen here, but the design also gives measurements for 28 count.

After some fruitless hunting around in my local fabric store for some linen by the meter, I chanced upon a package of white 28 count Evenweave from M.C.G. Textiles at Michaels. This American family-owned business is new to me, and I am so very impressed with this product that - as I mentioned in my last post - I immediately went out and bought another package halfway through stitching Rosebuds :)

Here is the front and back of the package - the fabric is larger than I expected (20" x 27"), and retails here for $9.99 CA. Although the fabric is folded, the creases were light and easily came out when I sprayed them with water and let the fabric air-dry for about fifteen minutes. No ironing was needed! And that's a big plus for me ;)

The fabric itself is softer than Aida cloth, with a nice drape. And the colour is much brighter than it appears in these photos, a lovely true clear white with bluish tones rather than yellowy cream. But what impressed me most is the, well, evenness (for lack of a better term!) of the Evenweave! The threads are plump and close together... you can see in this extreme close-up of the center area (before beading). This is a HUGE deal to me! I've looked at lots of other Evenweaves, in person and online, and while less "slubby" than Linen, the threads are seldom regular. And that drives me NUTS! Also, there were no flaws, bumps or loose threads in my package either.

Made of "100% Combed Cotton", the product descriptions on the packaging and the website also state: "Our fabric is a woven 3 ply yarn. Carefully woven in each direction which details a distinct box to hold for ease in stitching". This makes the strands easier to count, I think. It took me a while at first to adjust to working over two threads instead of one, but the regularity of the weave was incredibly helpful!

The 28 count Evenweave at M.C.G. Textiles is also available in a smaller 15" x 18" package and a larger 30" by 36" package. There are five neutral colourways in the range - White, Antique White, Mushroom, Khaki and Rose (more of a mauve) - and a really neat sample pack with 12" x 14" cuts is available. You can see the Evenweave options here, and the best part is that they're all currently on sale (site-wide too)!

The company also sells several other needlework fabric options, including pre-finished items to stitch on. And M.C.G. Textiles manufactures Aida cloth in a variety of counts and some beautiful colours (with sample packs too!), including a gorgeous opalescent line called Starlite Aida! They also sell Linen imported from Belgium.

This is definitely a product I'll be using again, and that I highly recommend trying! It's really disappointing that the lovely colours and the sparkly Starlite line aren't available here locally, but I'm considering trying tea/coffee dying to get a tan colour.

I'll let you know how that goes, if it goes (and if you have any advice, I'm all ears!).

Here's a few pictures of my progress on Rosebuds :) It was a very fun stitch and worked up quickly! Besides the Specialty Stitches, the rest is all in whole cross-stitches, and although there are a lot of colour changes in the flowers you usually have at least a two or three stitch block so it's not like working confetti (thankfully!).

The pattern called for two colours of beads by a company called SJ, which I think is SJ Designs. According to the site, they carry Japanese imports, and the colour numbers no longer match those given in the chart. One was a "White Pearl" and the other was a "Rose Blush", which is basically a pink pearl finish from what I can tell.

While I had equivalents in Mill Hill Beads, the white didn't show up against my fabric so I made some substitutions that - although I wasn't sure of at first - I'm now very happy with! The colours I chose were MH #02016 (Green: Crystal Mint) in place of the White Pearl, and MH #02024 (Purple: Heather Mauve) for the Rose Blush :)

The pattern states to attach the beads with a half cross-stitch using a colour to match the background, in this case white. That's what I'd usually do too. But since I was substituting iridescent transparent beads for opaque ones, the white just washed them out. Both colours were not-quite matches to my floss, as they were too pale.

So I used the dominant floss colour to attach each bead (in this case, 503 with the Crystal Mint, and 316 with the Heather Mauve) which showed through the glass enough that the beads then matched the floss near-perfectly ;) Neat trick, hey?!

You can see the beads with the threads through the holes in the top photo, and how the beads look from the front in the bottom photo. I also used a whole cross-stitch for bead attachment, as I normally do, but I made the stitch over only one thread of the Evenweave (just below the bead) so that the floss didn't show up on the white. I'll have to remember that in future ;) The beading around the Diamond Eyelet in the center is different that way - squarish instead of aslant - but I was okay with that.

Here's how Rosebuds look before and after the beading:

When I was first planning the project, I thought about leaving off the beads entirely (since I didn't realize using the floss colours would make the match so good!), but I'm very glad that I changed my mind because I think the embellishment adds a lot to the design. In fact, beading seems to be a design characteristic of Just Nan patterns, and if Rosebuds is any indication, the sparkle makes them lots of fun to stitch ;)

I'll leave you with a close-up of the lovely heart-shaped Celtic Knot in the center:

The Just Nan Stitch Along (SAL) 2014 is hosted by Zeb at Keep Calm and Cross-Stitch! Anyone can join at any time, including non-bloggers :) Come stitch with us!


Brenda said...

Congratulations for your first time stitching on evenweave fabric!!!

I learned how to stitch on linen from a JN small kit. At the time it was only $10 but it had the chart, linen, DMC threads, needle and beads included in the packet. I have been hooked on linen ever since that small kit.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with next month.

Zeb said...

Oh my! That is GORGEOUS!!! :O

And I love your choice of fabric and your bead choices! And pardon the gushy gushy but I love a girl who can take GOOD photos of her stitching... I get to actually APPRECIATE the stitching!

Thank you!

Ági said...

This is really pretty, congratulations. :)

Miss Lilly said...

So pretty! :)

Mii Stitch said...

Congrats on finishing your first evenweave project! I hope you're hooked :) Evenweave is definitely my favourite! I've already bought fabric from this company... this is all they've got in my local shop!!

Emma/Itzy said...

What a gorgeous finish! Well done :)

The Knitting Cross Stitcher said...

So pretty❤️
I am stitching more on 28ct fabric these days I never thought I would but I am liking it more and more.

Pat said...

Lovely finish - I will have to look for this chart! I really appreciate the detail you gave about attaching the beads because that has always been a bit of a challenge for me!
MI Pat

Unknown said...

That came out so well! Great choice on the floss colors used for the beads. I'm glad your first project on even weave went well.

xsfav14 - Chele said...

This is gorgeous! Awesome job! I love all the pictures!


Stitching Noni said...

What a beautiful design and I love your pictures of the various stitches and bead attachments :)
I haven't signed up for this SAL, but after seeing these gorgeous designs I am slowly being tempted.....
Hugs xx

Jo said...

Gorgeous finish Aurelia

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments!!! I greatly appreciate all your kind words :)

@ Brenda: Thank you! It's a wonderful suggestion to try a kit to get used to stitching on linen, that way everything is planned out and it's a small investment. I'll be keeping an eye out for little kits for sure ;)

@ Zeb: Aw! *blushes* This is hilarious in an awesome way because I dithered for a full week over posting these pics - I thought they were too dark and maybe a bit blurry :( My beloved but elderly camera has been having a few issues lately and I've been a bit stressed about it. So your lovely encouragement couldn't have come at a better time, and I really appreciate it!!! *Hugs*

@ Agi: Thanks so much :)

@ Miss Lilly: That means a lot coming from the Queen of Pretty Things LOL ;)

@ Mii: Thank you! I think I'm definitely hooked :) So glad to hear that you've had good experiences with this brand too!

@ Emma: Thank you ;)

@ Lesley: I'm so glad to hear that you're trying 28 count too, I didn't expect to like it as much either. But I honestly don't know how some people stitch on 28 and 40 count though! *eek*

@ Pat: Rosebuds is a lovely design, so glad that the tips on bead attachment were useful! I find it a bit challenging as well, and am always trying out new methods ;)

@ Sarah: So glad you like the colour choices, thanks so much for your kind comment!

@ Michele: Wow, thanks so much for your lovely comment ;)

@ Noni: Ooh, do join us!!! The best thing about this SAL is that you can jump in anytime, even just for a month or two :)

@ Jo: Thank you so much, that means a lot coming from you, you do such beautiful work ;)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful finish. I have used fabric like that and I think it is the best for learning to stitch on vengeance fabric. I love your decision on your choices for the beading. You did a great job. Thank you for taking us along on your journey. Hugs!

Joysze said...

Congrats on a beautiful finish. Great job on your first evenweave. :D

Meari said...

I have used that brand of fabric too, and it's very nice.

Rosebuds turned out beautifully. It's such a pretty chart!

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I love these small squares. I have stitched this one too and subbed the beads for what I had in my stash.

I am so surprised you have never stitched on evenweave before. I predict you won't want to go back!

There is an nice list somewhere online which shows all the DMC equivalents for the Mill Hill beads so you can always match your thread to your bead colours.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

And here is the link!!

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments, and that chart is so great Jo - I'll be sure to add it to my Resource pages ASAP :)