Monday, November 28, 2011

A Christmas present more than a year in the making.

A little over a year ago I was over ambitious and started a piece of needlepoint for my boyfriend's mom.  My plan was to make a decorative pillow and the face would be entirely needlepointed.  The piece was roughly 50,000 stitches.  I somehow thought I could finish this in a month.  I was both wrong and crazy.  By Christmas it looked like this:

It was pretty clear that this was not going to happen, so I put it away and it stay out of sight and mind until April.  Nothing keeps a project going like ignoring it.  I started back up again and in June it looked like this:
The end was in sight!  Well, there I go getting ahead of myself again.  I still needed to fill the colors on Smokey's head and white for the entire background.  I really prefer the completely covered look, especially because Aida is not a pretty pillow fabric.  There are roughly the same number of stitches in the design as in the background (a least there is no pattern to follow).  By the middle of October I had finished filling in the colors in the dog and started filling in the white.  In the last two weeks I have put my nose to the grind stone and by the beginning of last week it this was all I had left:
This may not look like a lot, but each of those rows were still 60 stitches across.  I had to finish because I had asked my Aunt Lani to help at our family Thanksgiving celebration last Saturday.  I worked until the bitter end including finishing up an extra line of orange around the outside edge on the 1 1/2 hour car ride.  By the time I arrived, I had a couple stitches to go and then it looked like this:

For honesty, here is the back.  I definitely have some small knots but at least all the colors stayed in the lines.

At first when I started the pillow I though we would just add a back border of fabric on the front and a matching black back.  My Aunt Lani suggested I make a log cabin quilt design on the front in various black fabric.  After much discussion about fabric combination and layouts I started to sew.  I have only used a sewing machine a handful of times in my life and probably the last time when I was 8 making scrunchies.  It was slow going and almost every seam was ripped out 3 times before I got it right.  Here is what it looked like mid-sewing.
And here is the back.  There is a lot of thread in the finished product.

And here it is, the final product!!!!!!!
And here is my Aunt Lani who is the most patient person in the world and helped me through the 13 hour process of the final product.  There were definately some downtime in the day because it was out Thanksgiving.  Here is a picture of Aunt Lani and me with the pillow:
It was a long hard process but the finished product looks amazing if I do say so myself.

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