Monday, January 24, 2011

Size DOES Matter ! ! !

Ever wonder how much difference two silly little squares per inch can make? Huge, I tell you, HUGE !!!

I’m talking about plastic needlepoint canvas. What were you thinking?

For years, decades really, plastic canvas has come in two sizes - 7 holes per inch and 10 holes per inch. For those of us who did a lot of this work, we began to refer to them as the “big holes” and the “little holes”. It was a simple life. The majority of patterns out there were (and still are) designed for 7-hole plastic. The 10-hole was used for more intricate and delicate designs. Many tree ornament snowflake designs used the smaller size grid.

I have done plastic needlepoint for over 4 decades. (Yep, I really am that old!) I’ve even taught the craft, looking out at my first group of eager students about 34 years ago. I thought I’d come up against all the twists and turns of the craft, and, I thought I was too experienced to run into them on my own!! AHA !!! Wrong again my little brainiac!

And then along came some brilliant R&D department and they created 5-hole plastic!!! Brilliant idea. One can make larger items now. Or just stitch faster on the larger canvas. Maybe it will make a good training material for little hands or elderly, arthritic fingers. One little question, guys - Have you come up with new patterns to accommodate this larger monster plastic canvas? I haven’t come across any, have you?

This IS the finished room!!

I began work on the now infamous Barbie Music Room on December 2. I know the exact date because I also ordered new dining room furniture that day - the first time in 30+ years so it was a memorable date!!

On my way to select furniture, I stopped at Joanne’s and picked up the plastic I needed for the Barbie project. I knew exactly how many sheets of 7-hole plastic I needed. I trotted right in and was pleasantly surprised to find they were now making a larger sheet of the plastic grid. (One often has to piece it together to complete larger projects.) Those larger sheets would come in handy on this creation. I grabbed the requisite number of “big-hole” plastic and checked out quickly. (I already had the yarn I needed on hand.)

I started stitching right away when I got home. This was not my first rodeo. I’ve made a number of these Barbie rooms along the way and I know they take me a week to 10 days to complete. This one was for our little K’s Christmas present. I needed to get it done and shipped in plenty of time to appear under that Midwest Christmas tree.

I made great time on the first wall the first night. (There are 4 inner walls and 4 corresponding outer walls.) The next evening, as I neared the last ten lines of stitching, I discovered a counting error and needed to rip out about half the wall. I was disgusted with myself but these things happen when you do stitching projects. I was still able to complete that wall before going to bed that second night.

At some point along the way, it did dawn on me it was a little bigger than I recalled from previous efforts. I glanced it over and reasoned it had been a while since I’d made one of these Barbie rooms and, yes, they always seemed to be a big project. (Duh!!)

Okay, I admit it. Red flags were jumping up. (The larger sheets of plastic available in the store, the overwhelming sense that the single wall was a little large, etc.) I simply chose to ignore those inklings.

I quickly moved on to the next wall (identical to the first but with a small count reversal). This one went smoothly and was quickly completed. Again, I sensed it was a little big. (Again, I did not take time to check the measurements.)

The wall to the right was the third wall.
It featured a lot of detail work
for the "sound system."

The third wall required piecing since it is an extra wide section. I stitched most of the design (more intricate than the first two walls) before attempting to attach the extension. Standard 7-hole plastic comes in a 10”x12” piece, featuring 70 holes across and 91 holes long. You’d have thought the 14”x18 ¼ measurements would have caught my eye (brain) when I counted out my holes for the first two walls. Suddenly, it truly dawned on me just how HUGE this wall was going to be. Barbie was going to either need stilts or steroids to simply look out the window of this music room!!!

OMG!!! I was working with 5-hole plastic. Who ever heard of such a thing?!? Okay, I admit it. There were these cute little stickers stuck to each of those large pieces of plastic canvas claiming to be the “New Larger Grid.” I’d simply peeled them off and jumped right in there with my stitching. Who could I blame but myself?

I then had two choices. I could start over on the right size plastic canvas (which required a trip to the store) or buy K an American Girl doll who might fit the room better. Starting over was a little more economical at that point in time. At this point, I’d lost about 5 ½ days of stitching time. I would now need to hurry.

This wasn’t the end of the difficulties and obstacles associated with this project. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Barbie Room Fiasco!!

No comments: