Tuesday, November 11

Houston Needleroll by Chatelaine - a "re-Finish"

This is a long, long winded happy dance story, because this piece has a ton of history.   So kick back and enjoy, or just skip ahead to pretty pictures.

Once upon a time, I lived in Houston (and other parts of Texas).   Once upon a time, I met Jo, formerly of Dinky Dyes fame.   We "met" on the TWBB when she was still living in Australia, but she would spend time in Houston courtesy of her husband's job, so we got to meet in real life, too.   And then she ended up moving to Houston, even on "my" side of town (if you've ever been near sprawl-city USA, you know that's got meaning).   In 2005, she hosted Martina, of Chatelaine fame, in Houston while she did a tour of the US and we had a really awesome Houston get together with a really fun group of stitchers.  Martina, awesomely, created a needle-roll design to commemorate the Houston GTG, featuring Dinky Dyes silks (the pack included all the high quality materials one associates with Chatelaine, including delicas and pearls!).

Most of the stitchers there! Someone posted this photo on the FB recently, so I snagged it.

I actually finished it relatively quickly (1/15/2006), and threw it in the finished bin.   I hadn't finished it into a needle-roll for two reasons - one is that I'm not the biggest fan of needlerolls, and two, because it's so freakin' pretty, I wanted to do something that showcases it better than rolling it up.

Recently, during the great reorganization and "better storage" attempt for my finishes, I ran across this piece again, and while I really love it, there was a major problem.   It had my married name initials on it.   One of my biggest regrets in life (seriously, one of the only thing that actually still makes me angry at myself) was changing my name after I got married (most people are surprised that it wasn't the getting married itself portion that actually works me into an internal lather).   I love my last name.  I think it's way awesome, and it's just who I am and who I have always been.   However, I was under a lot of pressure to change my name and some months after getting married, I did, like an idiot.    And as soon as I was divorced I promptly changed it back... but... well, that damn last name and/or initial pop/s up in the most irritating of places, and in this piece that's a lot of over one stitching to frog.   I couldn't just pick out the extra letter because then it would be obvious and totally off center.

The finished piece from my stash.  
The Shame!  The Horror!   Or, at least, one initial too many.

I didn't have the pattern any more and I couldn't remember what threads were used.   The letters I need were stitched, so I could have graphed it out or worked from a photo or something, and I have the entire line of Dinky Dyes silks, so I'm sure I could figure out the color used, but eh, the work.

Which brings in my wonderful pack-ratty ways.  

While hunting for threads, I rummaged through my "non-DMC" thread/fibre box and I found a binder ring holding the left overs from the skeins of the silks used in this piece.  Score!   So Maddy's Rose was there, and that part of my problem was solved.

I emailed Martina to ask if I could just get the alphabet (or rather, at least the three letters I needed).  I know she keeps a lot of stuff as digital files and I was hoping this would be a quick and easy solution to my ish.  Because I had the original it wasn't impossible, at all, to figure out on my own but I was hoping for the easy way out.  And right about that time, Martina had to deal with some personal issues, and I felt totally terrible for asking (I mean, I didn't know, but I still sure as heck wasn't going to pester her again).

And that's right about the time I was going through my external hard drive looking for pictures and information so I could finish setting up the galleries and stuff on this blog.   And I found a folder that had all of the cross-stitch stuff I'd done with Patternmaker, the program I had used in the past.   I primarily used it for the placement of letters and numbers (especially for things like wedding samplers, where inputting it into the computer and printing out a pattern was infinitely better than hand drawing on the chart).

And lo'  I had a file called "Chatelaine alpha"    It was my four initials.   Delete the fourth, spread out the letters a bit, and find the center.


I posted back during the TUSAL update, that picture of the ort jar with the pink bits of fuzz, and that was the product of tearing out all of those letters stitched over one.

Such a tiny amount of fuzz for such a large amount of work.

What I did not take a picture of was that I made a couple of boo-boos when nipping out the letters (it was a combination of picking at with a needle and using the best, skinniest, and sharpest stitching scissors in the universe - a pair of Fine Science Tools Iris Scissors - sadly they don't sell the particular model I use anymore).   I accidentally nipped the fabric and had two holes.   One was rather sizable, the other one was pretty minor.  This is 32count, so getting out over one stitching is just especially brutal.  I'm not too upset that I wasn't perfect about it.

Thank the Sweet Baby Octopus, I've done cutwork and am pretty good about fixing mistakes (if I bother), and after I finished being sad/annoyed/whatever about the holes, I cleaned up the holey bits, peeled off threads from the edge of the fabric and re-wove it so that no one would ever know my dirty little secret (well, anyone reading knows my dirty little secret, but good luck finding it in my piece).  

So, after it's all said and done, with all of the drama of the annoyance over my old name popping up to vex me again, the loss and find of the threads and letters, and the damage and repair I did to the piece: I'm done.

Looks so much better no?  I mean, correct initials, the ironing.  Life is good.

I've always been amused at the neat little nest the pearl gets to sit in.

Stitched on platinum linen.

This shot cracks me up because the beaded area in the center looks so wonky from here.  Hah.

I had already stitched this spot in 2005, so when I finished in early 2006, I didn't change it.
After all, it was commemorating the GTG in 2005, so it felt apropos to keep it like that.

This is really just to show off.    The small hole was completely covered by the stitching, so it ended up being a non-issue.   The large hole I managed to cut is actually only partially (maybe half?) covered by stitching, the rest of the damage (and repair work) is in a completely un-stitched area, but even I can't see it and I know where it is.

It's funny, because when I looked back at the original blog post about finishing this piece, I mentioned how much I didn't like the fabric choice, because I felt that the colors didn't pop as well as they would have against something like antique white.   And while working on this piece (again), I kept thinking about how much I love the fabric choice, because I feel like it's pretty and delicate (never mind soft and wonderful to work with).   I can't imagine liking another fabric choice more.  

So that's the long drama of this piece.   I do find it interesting how some pieces have so much more history and emotion behind them than others.   I can tell long stories about some pieces and nothing about others, but I still love them all.  I guess I'd have to, otherwise I would just chuck them instead of putting the energy into them.


  1. Looks great! I ended up doing the same thing with my name and hyphenating. I wasn't under a ton of pressure but felt if we have kids it will be easier and I made sure to hyphenate so I got to keep my identity as I think of it. I'm still married so hopefully won't have to worry about it but I still haven't changed my name on my driver's license...it's been 3 years... ;)

    1. Thanks!
      I've never wanted kids, so having a similar name was not an issue for me (I think it makes sense in that regard). Texas wouldn't let me have four names, so I had to shorten it to three, and that only cheesed me off more ;)
      They also allow you to use whatever name/s you want, as long as you aren't trying to engage in fraud... when I moved here, they made me use my "legal" name and it was irritating to switch everything over when I finally got it changed back.

  2. Great story Amazing how you were able to find everything you needed for the change.

    1. Thanks! I felt so lucky to still have everything!


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