Monday, March 3, 2008

Adventures in Linen

First, I want to extend another thank you for all the wonderful comments I have been getting on this modest blog. It has increased my enthusiasm 10-fold if that was even possible! You are all so wonderful and warm. Michele told me I would feel welcome and she was absolutely right!

In other news, I ran into a wonderful new blog this morning called Snippets and Stash by someone who has reportedly been a lurking blog commenter for a while now with no blog of her own, Staci. That officially makes me not the newest stitching blogger - but still more than likely the newest stitcher. I can already tell I'm going to enjoy her blog quite a bit. She's considerably more crafty than I and now I get to oogle her work along with everyone else's!

And now on with the linen show -

Last night I stitched for the first time on linen. And even though I chickened out and didn't make it to my LNS for fancy linen (K in NY says LNS linen is nicer), I was satisfied for my first dabble in the linen world. Baby steps! I had planned to start with a Blue Ribbon Designs freebie Michele sent me, but quickly got ahead of myself and decided to try this lovebird freebie from Midsummer Night Musings since the colors are so yummy and I'm desperate for spring! It took me over 3 hours to finish the bird and that's all I have accomplished at this point. I get a little ambitious and a little over-confident. But I think I did well all things considered. Carol's advice about picturing a tic-tac-toe board proved very helpful, and it quickly became natural to stitch over-two, as everyone said it would. I didn't cut the linen as big as I feel like I should have. I used a fabric calculator from to determine the size of the stitched piece, and I thought I had measured several extra inches on all sides. But it's looking like I'm not going to be left with a great deal of extra fabric around the outside. How do you all measure fabric for your pieces?

I'm going to keep practicing with smaller projects on the DMC linen before I make it out for a special trip to get the nice stuff. Any suggestions on good linen brands for when I do make that giant leap to that dreaded LNS?


Michele said...

your bird is lovely! wtg for your first stitching on linen :)

staci said...

Your bird looks wonderful, isn't that a great pattern?! And it looks like you haven't had any problems stitching on the linen :)

I think picking linens (as well as fibers etc) is all about personal preference and if you already have a project in mind. If the fabrics are behind the counter, ask to see and touch them--they shouldn't mind, in fact I'm sure they're used to it!

Carol R said...

Hi - just wandered over from Michele's blog and thought I would say hello and welcome you to blogland. I am fairly newbie blogger too as I only started mine last New Year's Eve - some people got drunk and partied in the New Year - I started my blog! I have been stitching for over 30 years though and have lurked on blogs for ages.

I love your little bird - he is so sweet. I look forward to watching your WIP.

Jennifer said...

GREAT job for your first try on linen. And K is totally right - the fabrics available in your LNS are so yummy. You'll love it. But different stores carry different brands and types of fabrics, so your best bet is just to ask the people that work at the shop. As others have said, I have almost NEVER run into an unhelpful or unenthusiastic salesperson in a needlework shop. I'd say most, if not all, people who work in one do it for the love of the craft, so they really are helpful and generous with their time.

This is my preferred fabric calculator - you just plug in your dimensions and you're all set.

K in NY said...

Your bird looks great! Don't worry about speed, I'm even slower than you are. And I'm okay with that :-)

I dont use a fabric calculator, that requires too much advance planning :-) So I just use math. If you're stitching over 2 threads and there's 28 threads per inch, that's 14 stitches per inch. Divide your chart's stitch count by 14 to get the dimensions of your project. For 32 counts it's 16 stitches per inch so divide by 16 instead. Etc.

Then you add some extra inches for the margin. I usually do 2 inche margins for a small (50x50) project and 3 for medium to large (because it would suck to run out of room after stitching a ginormous piece). But remember, that's 2-3 inches per side! So when you cut the fabric it's [calculated dimensions] + 4-6 inches when you cut.

Of course when you get to the LNS the staff there can help you size your linen, and if ask them to walk you through the process they'd probably be happy to help.

Linen Stitcher said...

Woo-hoo! Your bird looks fabulous!! I can't claim credit for the tic-tac-toe tip, but I remembered it because it was so perfect. Glad it helped. I usually figure my fabric size for each project by hand, but I just checked out the calculator link that Jennifer gave you, and it's great!! Definitely give it a try. As for favorite linens, pretty much anything they have at an LNS would be wonderful. There are such great color variations and choice in stitch counts that, with a little guidance from the LNS staff, you can't go wrong.

Jenn said...

Your little bird looks so cute. When I'm picking out fabric I make sure there is at least 3 inches of extra fabric on all sides.

Dawn said...

Your little bird is so sweet! Looks excellant on your first linen experience :)

Sally said...

Fantastic start on linen Kim. Your little bird is so cute:)

Dawn said...

Your bird looks wonderful!!

I leave 4-5 inches on each side of my large pieces ( usually my framed pieces) and for the smaller ones I plan to finish off I allow 2-3 inches on each side. I just figure up all my calculations myself.

Susimac said...

Thanks fpr commenting on my blog I love your little bird great start on linen.
I love Permin linen to stitch on its really nice.

Michelle said...

Your little bird is so cute! Enjoy stitching on linen - it is so nice. Zweigart has wonderful linen if you are looking for solid colors (ivory, cream, natural, etc.). Silkweaver has beautiful hand-dyed fabric if you're looking for that. And Lakeside Linens are sort of that in-between vintagey feel. When you go into the LNS, you'll be able to feel different linens and decide what you like.