Sunday, June 26, 2011

Anakin/Vader Sampler...And Han Stitched First

So...I did an interview for the incredible MrXStitch site and you can check it out here. First off, thanks to them for having me and thanks to everyone who have had such positive and kind words since. I promise it makes me sound waaaay cooler then I really am.

One of the photos used I have not actually posted here because it's such a weird subject to me but as a wise man once said "Start at the beginning...and when you get to the end, stop". The piece I did is a sampler. The quote is from Star Wars Episode I. We have only seen Anakin Skywalker for a couple of minutes at this point and when asked if he was a slave he got visibly angry and I thought that what he said, coupled with the Vader helmet would look really cool together. As a fan, I think that this quote carries through the entire saga as to how Vader may have felt his entire time as a cyborg and his ultimate return to the light side.

Anakin's First Flash of Anger

That's the story on the piece itself. Here is the chaos the piece has wrought: I am a Star Wars nerd through and through. I had an extensive (read: two rooms) collection of action figures, every novel, tons of strange collectibles, two tattoos and even named one of my daughters after an expanded universe character! As a rule I usually do NOT dress up as a Star Wars character for Halloween because it seems to obvious. Soon after I started stitching I decided not to do any Star Wars pieces for the same reason. Then I stitched Luke.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On My (Sessler's) Soapbox

I did this piece back in 2009. I may have posted it before but I'm not looking through old posts and chances are good I was probably drunk anyway.

Aside from stitching and going "way back" to the original NES, I am a video game fanatic. Yes, stitching, being a father and trying to be a grown up have slowed down my advances but I do try to get a good shooter or old-school reissue (Dreamcast Collection for 360, anyone)? So back when I watched a lot of G4TV I had an itunes subscription to "Sessler's Soapbox". A place for one of my favorite journalists/TV Personalities to say whatever he wanted. How could I not love that? I mean, what do you think this blog is?!?

So in 2009 X-Play/Adam Sessler gave a 5-out-of-5 review to some game I still have not played. Naturally he was attacked by the idiots who often spend a lot of their time bitching about game reviews and for once The Reviewer Struck Back! He called several posters out by name, read the dribble they left online and then asked if they fucked their mothers! The comments by the posters were not only a disagreement of the review but an attack on the reviewer's journalistic integrity. He closed the podcast with this advice for those who he called out and their ilk:

Advice from Adam Sessler

I know it's not my most detailed work but A) this is wordy as fuck! B) I didn't really know how to decorate it so I went with little cross stitches in the orange and blue of the show. X-stitches for you see what I've become?

I've always thought, especially when your job is to give people your opinion, this would be awesome on an office wall. I finally got the balls to show it off to Mr. Sessler in the only way I could think to: Twitter. He responded in kind. He called the piece awesome and me The Cross Stitching Man (I'll take it). He also was receptive to my sending it to him! So it goes out today and I really hope I get a picture of him with it (yes, I asked). But honestly, the attention joy of the experience has been awesome. I truly thank Mr. Sessler for being awesome, open and The Man to his fans!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I've Taken My First Step Into A Much Larger World

Yes, yes. I have been waiting until today to post this. For those that don't know (read: may have a life) today is 5/04/11, or May Fourth, as in May The Fourth...Be With You! You can't unread that! And if you think it's just me, it's not! Today is the traditionally recognized Star Wars day!

A little background on yours truly: Born in 1980 (The year the Empire struck back), I can't remember the first time I saw a Star Wars movie. My grandparents had V and VI on VHS and I watched them all the time. I saw the special editions when they were re-released to fund the prequels and by the time Episode I came out I was old enough (19 and legal, baby) to stand in line for all day and night for the midnight premier! Today I have two Star Wars tattoos, a collection of every novel and most of the books, my oldest daughter is named after an expanded universe character and the only reason I don't have the two-rooms of action figures is because I sold them for an engagement ring!

Oh, and like Ben hiding on Tatooine, I decided long ago I was probably never going to cross stitch anything Star Wars. I don't dress up as Star Wars characters for halloween either. It always just seems kinda...obvious. Well, no more!

I really love cross stitched portraits and I actually want to do one of a friend but I thought I should start "simple":

A New Hope 4-18-11

I loved the way it played on the Shepard Fairey/Barack Obama poster, and in fact, it actually had the words "A New Hope" at the bottom. After waiting so long for to finally do a Star Wars piece, and LOVING the way it came out, I decided not to add them. I really wanted to keep it closer to a portrait and further from a political joke (which I am usually all about)!

Not to get poetic but doing this piece has changed my life...or at least a big portion of it. I am doing more Star Wars pieces (Vader sampler up in a few days!) and I have found an AMAZING amount of Star Wars stitching by other people that I feel compelled to share with the rest of the world.

How? Well, even though it is Star Wars day, it's also Star Wars month. With every episode of the film saga releasing in May, I hope to add a new episode to the stitching community very soon. In the meantime, if you or someone you know stitch Star Wars or Star Wars-inspired pieces (or just a piece) feel free to add it to the Han Stitched First group at flickr! This should give you an idea of where the month, and the future (no matter how long, long ago) is headed!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bored As Heaven

Ok, I'm not bored at all but I have wanted to do this piece for a while! I have a little book where I draw some of my ideas for future stitch projects and every once in a while one project will just get stuck in my head. During the time I was working on my Luke Skywalker project that is exactly what happened.

I knew I would have to give in and do it but I really didn't want to take that much time away from Luke. I had recently found a couple articles online about using half stitches in place of full cross stitches in an attempt to finish projects faster. Some use different thickness threads, some use three strands of standard thread instead of two, but of the projects I had seen they all seemed very well done. The process itself reminded me kind of starting stitching with needlepoint. I had to change the stitch direction on the right horn to make it look right. It's not my favorite thing I've ever done but at least it's done. I do like the idea of using half stitches for a project but I think it may work better on full pictures and not so much outlines or letters.

Bored As Heaven

I know things have been slow but rest assured I have been working (stitching). There are a couple more posts written and ready so expect those soon. And there is a new site in the works (separate from WJ:IS) and there's more on that coming soon too!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Because I Need A Little Hope

Windy is still in the hospital and the doctors have started throwing out the prognosis' no one really wants to hear.

After finishing Hell and realizing I did not have the tools, nor the funds for the tools, to move on the the next project I anticipated doing I went back to the .img (that's image file for those not nerdy enough). I knew my next project was going to be closer to 25 colors and images of people, castles, aliens and cars. I also am REALLY digging the idea of stitching a portrait of a buddy of mine. I saw a pic of min a while back and the idea has been in my head for a while.

So some common ground was needed. I found an .img in my .img which was more portrait-ish then anything I have previously done. At 10,000+ stitches in 13 colors it seemed like it might be right up my style . So on 2/15/11 I started "A New Hope" and this is where I am at now:
Luke 3711

The detail in the eye area is killing me with single stitches of a single color. But I am bring a good boy and following direction...for now.

The other markings are pencil. Because there is so much blocking in the same color I have found it helps me breaze through if I just mark it off. Then all I need is the project, thread and needle. No space for color charts and lists or what-have-you. So the face is generally at home and the rest is while out...or home and tired of looking at the details. Here's an earlier pick of just the four main colors.
All Marked Up 22411

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Got 99 Problems But A Stitch Ain't One!

I died a little inside with that one, and let's face it, I probably deserve it.

Sorry folks but with the usual issues of bills, rent, kids, job interviews and sadly Windy remains in the hospital, there has not been a lot of stitch time...let alone a lot of blog time. But I have been stitching and as I sit here on a Saturday morning, I am trying to get a little blogging done. So let's get it on:

After finishing "Hell" I really was at a loss as to what to do next. Yes, there are a couple more pieces planned for the punks not dead series but those require new colors and new cloth and new equals money. Unless you mean "new to you" but I don't think that really works in cross stitch. Exception.

So I started with going back to a piece I had lying around: Bender! I always wanted to put something around a background. I borrowed a book from the library and found a darning pattern and ran with it. I always imagined it with a dark-ish green. I have no idea why but I did.

Bender Rodriguez (Redux)

There is so much I would do on that piece if I did it again. Oh well. I still love it.

Speaking of love, Valentine's Day also came and went. As usual it came with a cross stitched love note to my dearest Windy. I have wanted to use the heart pattern a lot and I love this song by the Groovie Ghoulies.

Happy Valentines Day

I am working on a new project since February 15th and it is coming a little slower then I would have liked but so is everything else. I hope to start showing it off soon.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Finishing a Finished Piece, or Punk Is "Framed"

So the "Hell" piece, along with The Joker, are going to London for the Stitch and Craft Show! Nice, right? Well that led to some questions about how I plan to finish it. When last we posted, "Hell" was done, but not finished.

It's still not. But only because I am being completely anal about it and just have not finished the finishing! But I did finish the finishing on the previously finished "Punks Not Dead" piece.

I plan on all the pieces in the series, at least initially, to be finished with a duct tape "frame". For this piece it is red. For "Hell" I just got back from the store and got black duct tape. But why? For "Hell" alone I have some great ideas on a frame from making one out of chain-link fence to Windy's brilliant idea of spray-painting a fence onto a traditional frame.

It's all about the time and place these pieces represent. Before I found the amazing Julie Jackson and her life-changing book, I was a broken and beaten shell of a man. Completely destroyed and physically handicapped from a failed relationship, I was broke, unemployed and sleeping on my nephew's floor in my sister's house. I was a alcohol, drug and depression-ridden mess. The more things change the more they stay the same, right? Of course, I am far from depressed these days.

Anyway, these were the days I was so broke I would recycle cans to pay for thread. I would pay for the thread to hide the fact I was stealing aida cloth to work on. Or hoops. Or whatever else I needed that cost more then thirty-five cents. It is important for me to say that I am in no way glorifying my actions, nor am I in any way trying to justify them. It's simply a statement of fact of where I was at that time. Please do not steal from your local craft store...unless you absolutely have to. And don't do drugs...unless they're good.

These pieces are supposed to remind me of those times. Of making things I thought only I would get and hanging them up with duct tape because I didn't know what else to do with them. I will most likely get the mounting boards for them and I hope to add chains or chains of safety pins for the hanging hardware. I really think that this throwback to my roots truly represents what I wanted to catch with these pieces. Of course if you think it is just lazy posturing: FUCK YOU!.

See, punk's not dead at all!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Could Hell Be Any Worse?

So after almost two weeks, my computer is finally over it's virus (I spent most of last night knocking on the fire starters at the grocery store - it's the best I could do). If you were wondering why the 12 Days ended half-way through, well, there you go. But I did finish!! In fact, I am happy to share that this piece will be flying to London for an exhibit at the Stitch and Craft show.

Started 8/2009 and completed 1/2011
13.5 inches square
Almost 13,000 stitches!

I was in a pretty bad spot when I started this. We had just lost Logan, I had just started the worst job I have ever had and I just wanted to take my mind off it. Plus I really felt the album title. I thought since Bad Religion was turning 30 in 2010, and so did I, this would be a great way to pay tribute and face the hard changes I was going through. So long later and things are better. Better is relative, but better then they were then. Here is a side-by-side with the other big punk piece I have done so far. The CD is just for scale.

The thing I learned most is that I don't want to stitch backgrounds. I think that's why my Obi-Wan project fell through and I have an idea to ride that walrus again. But that's another post.

I have always liked how stitches stand out against the fabric. It's not just a picture, you can feel it. I think by leaving out the red on this piece I can run my hands over it and feel the buildings, the windows...the whole scene. I lived in LA and I loved it. I can picture the actual skyline when I run my hands over the thread and in someways it takes me back.

There are other covers that I have planned and I have worked a major part of each piece to be blank. It's usually the largest solid color. One idea is the Groovie Ghoulies' World Contact Day. I would do that on light blue fabric so the sky does not need to be stitched. This creates a small contrast and gives the piece a true foreground/background. That's my thing, I guess.

Actually my thing right now is pancakes and screwdrivers. Which is why I am gonna have to wait to tell you about my new project. But let's just say I want to make my next project come off the fabric...!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Technical Difficulties...

Yes, "Hell" is done. I have become completely obsessed with a new project which has required a LOT of research and it is not easy to find. I'm sure it would be but I am still working in Safe Mode due to a virus that somehow will not kick rocks.

In the meantime go stitch. I will post a link to something or other that is cool in the meantime. I'd hate for you to think I forgot about you!

Check out this interview with Giggly Mama over at suchcoolstuff.