Work in Progress Wednesday

I am not sure if this is suitable for a Wednesdays post but it is a work in progress, it does move slowly and it is big! On that criteria I am including it. Of course I am talking about my band sampler. This week it grew. The reason I questioned  if this news was appropriate is because I am not sure if I will reach a deliberate end. Obviously eventually it will end but how planned that will be in under question. In case you dont know what on earth I am talking about visit the Sampler FAQ page and you will get the back story.

sampler pieces

For the last two years I have been merrily stitching away on my For Love of Stitching Band Sampler . Last week I decided enough of them had accumulated and it was time to gather all the pieces together, stitch them together and add them to the big roll.

The first time I extended the sampler I took photos and described the process. So if you want to know how it was done pop over and read this blog post about it. I figured joining the strips was a bit of moment so took a photo.  This is what the sampler looked like when I joined my most recent work to the previous sampler.

sampler on sewing machine

Now the roll looks as big as my sewing machine!

sampler roll next to the sewing machine

How big did it grow?

The band sampler is now 96 feet 5 inches (2,938.78 centimeters), or  32.138 yards which is 29.3878 meters. It is 15 cm  or 6 inches wide.

Believe it or not that figure really annoyed me as how can I not add to it and at least make it 30 meters or say 100 feet!

Anyway that is my work in progress report for this week I hope this quirky thing makes you smile.

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Work in Progress Wednesday

This year I hope to have the odd entry where I share some of the processes I use. Most of them I think of as simple little techniques or approaches to a problem. They are methods I have developed over the years and I hope that readers find them useful.

I have had lots of email about  how I work my band sampler. So make a cuppa here is a bit of a natter about it.

With all projects I try and keep things as simple as possible because I have found the more challenges any one project has, no matter how small that challenge will be,  the more complex the project becomes I am less likely to do it. I will either look at it and think it’s all too much, or start it with a flurry of enthusiasm and then tire of it and I then have a UFO on my hands.

So with my sampler there is no rules. I change, fabric, stitching style, colour, thread type whenever it feels right. I call it freeform improvisational samplering for a reason and it suits me. I journal on it when I feel like it and not when I dont. The only rule I have is its width. In other words in my head I say I am going to stitch a sampler 6 inches wide.  That is it! I decide everything else as I go. I dont say I will use 27 cnt linen or I will only use these colours or admit to any restiction.

Deciding what width the sampler is important because it is really about what feels right in your hand. If you are thinking about one of these types of samplers my tip is to choose a width that you can easily experiment on. You need to be able to stitch a bit then move on. You don’t want it so wide that it takes an age to cover the area and you are tired of it after a row! You want to be able to experiment, enjoy it then try something else, enjoy it and move on again – painlessly!

I use a hoop or occassionally I put the sampler on a small stretcher. Mostly however I use a hoop. My tip is to choose a fabric width that allows for a hoop that feels right in your hand. Many people make the mistake of choosing a hoop that is too big. I find an 8 inch hoop is about as large as I want which means a 6 inch sampler width is good. Some hoop sizes will feel to big others will feel cramped so choose a size your hand is at ease with. Try a few scrap cloths and just see what feels right.

Once the hoop size is decided subtract by 2 inches. So if you choose 8 inch hoop – make your sampler 6 inches wide. If you choose a 7 inch hoop make your sampler 5 inches wide. What ever width you decide on you will need a few inches of fabric either side to allow for the hoop. It’s not complex or difficult or mysterious. It is simply the width of the sampler plus a few inches so I can hoop it.

embroidery design printed out on paper

Anyway for the new year I am starting a new sampler. This is a piece of linen 9 inches wide. Late December I started to define the edge. It is not all done yet  as you can see but will be. It is defined enough for me to see what I am doing and the rest of the border can be stitched at things like stitchers meetings. (Tip I always have some really easy stitching to take to meetings as usally I am chatting and I want something in my hand I dont have to think about too much).

I decided to use one of my Friday freebies to record the date. In a graphics program I scaled the design down and printed it on paper.

transferring a design

I then placed the paper under the linen and traced the design using a sewline fabric pencil. This is a pencil that is like a lead pencil and you can erase the mark it makes using an eraser. You can also use a regular HB pencil. If the fabric had been too thick to see through to trace I would have taped the design to a window and traced it off as I did in this tutorial.

start of 2012 sampler

I did simplify this design further and eyeballed the date but that is the start of my sampler for 2012! I might add the bud sprigs part of the design I am not sure yet – anyway its a my work in progress for the moment.

I hope this little bit of stitching chatter has been useful. If you have questions ask in a comment. I will answer in the comments to as then everyone can read it

If you are starting a sampler you may find this resource list I put together useful.

Sampler FAQ
For the full back story on this piece visit the Sampler FAQ page.

Do you want to browse previous articles in the series? You can find them easily in the Love of Stitching Band Sampler category.


Discovering colour schemes

I have been playing around with some of the photos I took when in Brussels. I am thinking about the colour scheme for the section of my For Love of Stitching band sampler.

 This is the first photo taken at the Grand Place Brussels.

I selected an are of interesting colour and cropped it. Then I used a web based colour scheme tool, colorsuckr to pull out the colours.

 

This was the result and I quite like it. I would leave out the two grey colours down the bottom.  With those gone it feels light and a little shabby chic and I like the crack of bright pink. As a colour scheme for the next section of my sampler it would be good as the spring weather was perfect.  

The second photo was also taken at the Grand Place in the evening. This photo appealed because of its limited colour range.

 

Once again I used colorsuckr to discover a colour scheme.

This was the result. I really like the mix but to be honest I expected  a little more midnight blue. I don’t think I will use it on the band sampler in the next section as to me this colour scheme feels too summery but I think I might use it for something else. 

Needless to say both colour schemes generated by colorsuckr  got pasted into my studio journal. I will ponder it further before I make a final decision. 

 

Look at what I have done!

For the last 20 months or so I have had strips of embroidered fabric accumulate on my design wall. As I stitch sections of my sampler it goes up on my design wall so I can live with it for a while but I decided that it was time to take them all down, piece them together and add them to my band sampler. I am giving a design and stitch workshop next week and plan to take it with me.

As you can see the sampler zig-zags over the table. This really is a case of blogging influencing what I do. It is not so much that I have stitched in order to blog but every second day I write about a band on my big long sampler and I have been doing this steadily over the last 20 months.

What this process of blogging means is that the sampler is constantly fore grounded in my thoughts. I have quite naturally, I think picked it up more than I normally would do. I did not realise just how much it had been in my hands until I pieced it together. I am sure without writing constantly about it I would not have stitched so much!

How long is it now?

74ft 8 inches or 24.8 yards

2275 cm or 22.75 meters

Which ever way you measure it that is long! It still fits easily in a suitcase and as a teaching aid I think works well.

Next week apart from TAST and my regular posts about the sampler and crazy quilting details I will not be doing lot here. It will be a busy week for as I will be flying up to Queensland to give a 2 day workshop.

Sampler FAQ
For the full back story on this piece visit the Sampler FAQ page.

All posts in the series are in the category  the Love of Stitching Band Sampler.