Saturday, March 28, 2015

Work in Progress + A Kit Review: Red Gate Stitchery

I instantly feel in love when I saw these kits from Red Gate Stitchery: embroidery for necklaces, bracelets, key fobs and more.  I bought two complete necklace kits, plus an additional pendant blank (no embroidery floss). 

Frustrated with my lack of completion in my other projects, I turned to this, hoping to enjoy the process and to finish up relatively quickly.  Well, as with everything, there were (are) complications.

I think I am going to love it when it's finished, but there have been setbacks.  The kits come with everything you need to complete the project, including a John James brand embroidery needle.  Actually, the first kit came with two needles.  And I've already broken both.  So I'm wondering if I'm using too many strands of floss.  The kit comes with several strands of both pink and blue floss, more than enough to complete the necklace.  In the instructions, it is written to "separate out one strand of the floss that came with your kit."  So, does this mean separate out one tiny individual strand and embroidery with that??  I find that unlikely, especially given the photo of the result on the website.  Or does it mean use one whole strand of floss (with the six tiny individual strands that floss is normally composed of)? 

So, here's a photo of the kit, sans original needle:

And here's a link to the finished product as shown at the Etsy store.  It seems clear to me that this was made using one complete floss thread...not separating out one from the six.  Well, when I tried all six together, I broke the needle on the third stitch.  So I decided to use only four out of the six strands.  And I broke the needle halfway through the project.  On certain stitches you have to go twice through the same hole, and with the diameter of the hole and the thickness of the floss, apparently the needle isn't strong enough. 

So that's a small gripe because the supplies aren't sturdy enough, and I certainly can't complete the project if I follow the directions to the letter. 

I ended up starting the project over from the beginning (with my needle), and with a different starting-off place, because I wasn't loving the outcome in any case.  The directions indicate to use the side that has darker holes (laser burn marks) as the back and not the front, but I actually preferred the look of the burn marks contrasting with the embroidery floss.  I followed the directions as indicated at first and found that I really liked the back much better.  And I couldn't simply switch sides because there was the little tail end tucked in at the beginning of the work, so I undid it all and began again.  Lesson learned.  Follow my aesthetic and not the package directions.

Anyhow, here it is in progress.  So far so good with my embroidery needle.  I'll tell you if it breaks, but I really hope not!

Another comment about these kits...the price does seem a little high.  I paid $28.00 (USD) for one kit.  I could definitely have bought a cute necklace for half the price.  But of course, for me the main pleasure is making it myself and then wearing it afterward.  Still, is it just me or does that seem a little high?  Am I just too used to low pricing because of sweat shop labor and economies of scale?  Honest opinions, please.

The chain was an unexpected bonus and I'm happy to have it, but I hope it's of superior quality than the needles, otherwise it'll be turning my neck green!  I'm envisaging making these as gifts, so I'll be testing on myself first. ;)  That's the only reason of course, ha!

And here's the other kit I bought:

I haven't made any comments to the shop owner on Etsy, but I think that would be a good idea.  Maybe it's just me, but maybe it's a recurring problem with the needles.  They'll never know if no one tells them though...

Anyhow, back to stitching!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Knitting/Frogging in Progress

I was inspired by this post to show some of my in-progress works.  Right now I have some giant messes on my hands...

This is being frogged because of the two different colors of red yarn (noticed too late in the game, n'est-ce pas):

For some reason I am unable to find that one thread to just pull and unravel it all, so I'm forced to unknit it really.  Very time-consuming.  And odd.  This was a project from a Rowan magazine that had so much potential, but the result was bad, bad, bad.

In addition to the two different colors of red, the neckline turned out super funky.  I think I'm not good at decreasing into a V-neck while maintaining a lace pattern...

And this project is another mess.  I feel like there's a mistake in the calculations somewhere (or possibly it's just me) because I've started it twice and followed the directions very faithfully (I believe) and the anchor-motif at the join gets messed up every time. 

I started it a third time and tried eliminating all the decreases, but that still didn't work.  And there are no comments about this being a problem in Ravelry, so I think it's just me.  But still, it's not working and I don't know why, so it's being unraveled.  At least this one unravels easily!

And there's never two without three (or four, or five), so this project needs starting over a third time as it is still too small ... I think. 

So basically I need a win.  I need to make something relatively simple and from my stash.  OK, here I go back to trolling my Ravelry queue. :P