Solved!

The sun has come out, bunting and flags are flapping festively in an invigorating breeze (or a freezing gale, if you ask my husband), and "Fruit" has been saved – what more could a girl want?

It worked pretty much as I’d planned (makes a nice change …). First I unpicked the two affected Kloster blocks; this was made easier by the fact that one of them was actually where I’d finished off a thread anyway.

Repairs step 1

I then re-worked the Kloster blocks, making sure I didn’t pull too much. This was really exactly like the experiment in which I worked double-sided Kloster blocks as though they were thick wrapped bars. And they came out looking quite good! The back is a bit bulky with all the extra finishing on and off, and if you look really closely, and you know which blocks they are, you can see they look slightly different in the corner where they meet, but I doubt anyone will notice once it’s hanging on a wall.

Repairs step 2

By the way, I think I worked out why the snip happened in the first place: looking closely at some of the Kloster blocks, I saw that where two stitches go into the same hole (on a corner, where the two Kloster blocks share a hole) the second stitch had sometimes pierced the first one. This means that some of the first stitch (perhaps a single ply) is not pulled away from the "cutting edge", and so gets snipped more easily – and if it doen’t get snipped, it will show up in the corner of the cut area. Something to bear in mind when I’m stitching corners!

Another thing I noticed was that the cut ends didn’t show up at all in the re-stitched Kloster blocks. Makes me wonder whether it might not be possible to use the "cut first, then work Kloster blocks" method by default, especially in smaller pieces. Hmm, I feel another experiment coming on …

Not a crisis

Sometimes you say or write something and suddenly you realise that you’ve been using terribly overblown language. I’d started by calling this post "Crisis!" but looking at it a bit more soberly, and bearing in mind all the real crises going on in the world, it is of course nothing more than an annoying inconvenience.

Having said that, it is a very annoying inconvenience, which at worst would mean discarding a more than half-finished "Fruit of the Spirit" and having to stitch it again. And all because of a careless snip of the squissors.

I’d finished stitching all the Kloster blocks and cross stitch on the top two-thirds of the design, which is as much as I can do without moving it on the scroll frame. There were still some decorative stitches to do in Petite Treasure Braid, but when I’d done three in the whitish Pearl colour I’d chosen, I wasn’t sure about the effect. Perhaps a dull gold would be better? But I was at my weekly stitching group at the time, and didn’t have the dull gold Treasure Braid with me, so I decided to start cutting. As I was poking in my cut ends, I realised that I’d snipped a stitch in one of the Kloster blocks. (The left-hand picture shows the front, the right-hand one the back of the work.)

Snipped thread front Snipped thread back

In fact as you can see I’d only caught one of the plies with my squissors, not the complete perle thread, so at first I thought I might be able to push the cut ply to the back and make do with what was left of the thread. But unfortunately no amount of poking and stroking and judicious cutting has yet produced a result that I would be happy for other people to see – especially as I hope to give it to our church when it is finished, and a gift for the house of the Lord should be as good as I can make it.

So tomorrow afternoon I will very carefully take out the two Kloster blocks that are affected, and very very carefully try to stitch them again around the cut area. I am encouraged by the experiments I did some time ago with the double-sided Kloster blocks, which involved a similar exercise (only planned). With a bit of luck the process won’t be too frustrating and infuriating! But it may be just as well that this happened while stitching "Fruit", with its gentle reminder of Patience and Self-control …

Frozen Flower progress

Frozen Flower is proving to be a bit of a headache; at least the larger of the two designs is. After tinkering with the bars and filling stitches several times I have decided that I will need to delete the entire cut area from the chart and start from scratch – as long as I try to change the existing pattern I don’t think I’ll be getting anywhere.

The process hasn’t been helped by the fact that so many other things are going on, from choir practice to church meetings and from school concerts to quiz nights (our team came third, in case you’re wondering). But this weekend I will have a bit more time, and my goal is to have Frozen Flower recharted by Sunday afternoon. To encourage me I ordered some perles I’d be needing from Sew & So, which arrived yesterday, so I’m all set to go!

And whatever happens to the larger Frozen Flower, at least the smaller version is coming along nicely. I like the way the blue and white work against the dark fabric, and I’m enjoying doing the woven picots, which fortunately are coming out pretty much as I’d envisaged them. It’s nice to know that even if the larger design turns out to be a lost cause, most of its characteristics will be preserved in this smaller one. And because the real fabric-and-thread stitching always looks so different from the chart, here’s a sneak preview of some of Frozen Flower’s 3D effect:

Frozen Flower

…and more yellow

Well, I’ve got most of the new shade of yellow done in Patches, and it looks much more like the effect I had in mind when choosing the original colours – sometimes you just need to see them stitched up to see whether they’ll work as you intended. Time for a sneak preview then; there’s one more (lighter) shade of yellow to come, for the woven bars and filling stitches, and the beads are also a lighter yellow, but here is a glimpse of what it looks like so far (click on the image for a bigger version). By the way, one of the things I’m really enjoying while stitching this is to see the different textures emerge – the Rhodes stitches especially are very tactile and positively demand to be stroked!

Patches texture

Yellows

How annoying colours can be! Doing a version of Patches on hand-dyed fabric (a beautiful rich variegated yellow by Sparklies) I carefully picked two shades of DMC yellow perle to form the basis of the design, and purely by accident found in my stash a lovely shade of Dinky Dyes stranded silk which went with them perfectly.

I stitched the darker shade of perle and the silk and that looked fine, then added the first patch of lighter yellow and it just looked wrong. It’s the exact shade of the lighter yellow in the fabric, but it simply didn’t gel with the rest. Argh!
So I tried a slightly darker yellow to see if there would still be enough contrast, and that fortunately did work. Phew! So unpicked the light yellow and am now steaming ahead, hoping to finish Patches later this week.