Monday, June 29, 2009

I Need to Stitch!

I knew when we left for SC on Friday that I probably wouldn't get much stitching done this weekend and I was right. I managed to stitch in the car until we got to I-20, but that stretch of interstate needs repaving so badly it's like driving on a gravel road! So getting a needle in the correct hole is impossible. Then, once we arrived at Mom's house nothing got done.

K.'s birthday dinner was fun and we had a couple of good laughs about her AARP eligibility and then I went into a virtual coma. I thought about stitcing on the way home, but I was too tired to risk misreading the chart.

I did manage to stitch a little last night while catching up on a little TV, but not enough to build up my "happy mood quotient" or HMQ. And today I have to get some groceries or we'll be eating peanut butter crackers for dinner. Plus, I really must spend some time and effort on the Etsy shop. A low HMQ can be improved with sales, but not as much as with extra stitching time. But one must promote one's product to sell said product, so I need to get to work.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Mary Wigham

I've been stitching diligently and feel pretty good about how much I've gotten done. Actually, I'm finding it hard to do anything else. There is dog hair everywhere and several loads of laundry to do and scissor fobs to photograph...well, you get the picture. And those of you who are stitching addicts know exactly how I feel. I didn't have the right light setting when I took this picture so the color is not very good, but you can see how it's coming along.

Being left-brained, the geometry and symmetry of Quaker samplers really appeals to me and even though a lot of the motifs are repeated from sampler to sampler I enjoy seeing them progress on fabric. And apparently I am not alone.

The latest post on the Needleprint blog indicates that the news of this SAL is spreading like wildfire. I would like to think I helped a little bit. When it started about 4 weeks ago it was rumored to be the biggest world-wide SAL ever. And this week the downloads doubled! Way to go. And it's not too late to participate. There are nine pieces of the chart, one of which will be downloaded each Monday. You can join anytime. It's free, but feel free to donate to the Acworth School via the Paypal button on the download page. HOWEVER, you may have to wait a few days if you haven't started yet. The dramatic increase in downloads has caused an bandwidth overload and it's unavailable right now. However, you can bookmark the page and keep checking. It's well worth it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mary Wigham Progress Report

I downloaded Part 4 this morning and plan to spend some time stitching this afternoon. But be not mislead, I am not even close to Part 4! I'm about 20% done despite my apparent affinity for unstitching. Here's where I finished up yesterday afternoon. Haven't taken pics of last night progress, but never fear I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Visual Perceptions Can Really Mess with Your Head

I added this very bright scissor fob and matchng counting pins to the Etsy shop this weekend. It reminded me of summer sunshine and just made me happy to look at it. And I'm not even a big fan of yellow.

But then I started looking at the yellow heart bead and for some perverted reason it started to look like butt cheeks to me! Am I crazy? So I mentioned it to my sister, K., and she emailed me and said it was "buttiful". So now it just makes me laugh every time I look at it. I hope somebody buys it soon so I can get quit giggling. OMG, I hope it doesn't end up on "Homemade Hilarity". That's my worst nightmare.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I hate it when that happens.

Well, I am making progress, but not at the rate at which I'd like. Of course, if I followed my own instructions and used two reference points when I count to a new stitching place I might not have to do so much negative stitching. That entire flower on the lower right had to come out last night at midnight.And why does that always happen about three minutes before bedtime? Seriously, I can't sleep knowing I have to unstitch tomorrow, so I stay up until I am at least back to the error and ready to move forward again. Even Lester was snoring in his crate by the time I went to bed! Oh wait, he's always snoring.

BTW, that's the scissor fob my idiot sister caught in the car door and broke. I repaired it, but I won't sell it...especially since it looks so good on my black Dovo scissors.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well, here's my first picture of my version of the Needleprint Mary Wigham Acworth School sampler. I'm using 36 count flax linen and Splendor 833. Actually, I took this picture yesterday and I'm farther along now, but you get the drift.

I have a Quaker sampler, "M. Quertier", from Scarlet Letter, done in deep purple. "Mary Wigham" would make a great companion to it. I have another idea for what I might do with it when I 'm done, but I'm keeping that secret for now. That's in case I change my mind. Who knows how long it's going to take to finish. I usually don't start a project until I have all the pieces. In this case, it's the pattern itself, of course. But I just couldn't wait.

Actually, I've been very busy on Etsy. I showed you the blue and bronze scissor fob a couple of posts ago and now I've added counting pins for cross stitch and needlepoint. They make a beautiful set. I've been busy taking pictures for more sets like this one. I'll be adding them to the shop frequently.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mary Wigham is under way

I've started the Mary Wigham SAL from Needleprint. I'll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow. It's really fun and easy. Since I'm doing it monochromatically in dark green Splendor I don't have to worry about changing colors. And frankly, after doing Grace Mason on 40 count for a couple of months, working on 36 count seems like 11 count! I can't how big it looks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grace Mason is Done!

It's party time!! I finished the "Grace Mason Sampler" by Of Female Worth this afternoon. This sampler is like a friend now. I'll frame her and hang her on the wall, but I will stop by her spot and visit her often. I'll remember what was going on when I stitched her and all the little glitches I ran into while working on her and how much I love the colors and Scottish style. That's the ongoing joy I get from all my pieces...the memories.
All the pieces in the slideshow at the bottom of my blog have a story. My walls are full of samplers and I stop and look at them frequently. Some I visit more often but they are all full of memories and I love them. Others are gifts and I get to visit a lot of them because they live with family members. And I only have pictures of others.
I have been less than diligent at times about taking pictures of my stitching, but writing this blog has changed that. I used to keep a stitching diary, but that also fell by the wayside. Now this blog is my stitching diary. It's important to document your projects. I don't expect my stitching to be oohed and aahed over 200 years from now, but it will end up somewhere and I'd like for the person who has it to know how it came to be. It somehow makes it seem more real. So I will continue. And in about 30 minutes I'll start the Mary Wigham SAL. Oh boy, another memory begins.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Who Knew Blue and Brown Go Together?

After seeing all the clothing this spring in blues and browns I decided to combine them in a scissor fob. It's not something I would've thought of myself, but it works. I think the bright blue really kicks it up a notch.
I think I'm getting the hang of designing out of my comfort zone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Designing Out of your Comfort Zone

Sometimes the hardest part of the creative process is working outside your comfort zone. Obviously, if you are stitching or beading or painting for yourself you can do whatever you want whether it's comfortable or a stretch for you. However, when you are making something for someone else or selling your work, you have to remember that not everyone has the same tastes as you do.

When I'm looking for something to stitch for a gift I consider the decorating style and color schemes of the recipient. And lots of times, it just hits you like it does in a clothing boutique..."Oh this would be perfect for " whomever. But when working on things to sell I have to think outside the box. By that I mean, I don't have a specific customer in mind, but I know that not everyone is a pink and blue person like me. So I have to work a little harder to combine colors and styles that may not necessarily appeal to me. And I have found that those pieces sell as well, or better, than my favorites. Who would have thought that not everyone likes what I do?! Amazingly enough, I usually come to love those pieces too. It just takes me a little longer to warm up to them.

This needlework accessory set falls into that category. The fiery reds combined with the bright yellow has become more and more attractive to me since I designed it. What do you think?

And lately, I've decided that I need more than one style in my personal collection because my mood is reflected by or sometimes, affected by, my stitching accessories. I have a favorite pair of scissors, but I don't use them on every project. Why should my fob or counting pins be any different. I think this set says "sassy". So I might have to use them on a wildly colored band sampler or a geometric needlepoint design of Laura J. Perin's.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unstitching...not my favorite activity

Even though I unstitched more than I stitched last night, I decided to post a update on Grace Mason. Over one stitching is not fun, especially on 40 count, and I did a lot of it last night. My brain still hurts. But I'm getting closer. There are a lot of family initials over one in that largely empy band below the verse box. Then I have to do the verse. Then I think I'm done.

And because all that's left is over one, I kitted my Mary Wigham SAL materials. I'm using 36 count Flax linen and Splendor 833, a very dark green. I might even get to start it tonight at stitch group, since I can't do 40 count over one without my Dazor. Actually, I can, but I shouldn't. It really cuts down on the unstitching, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quickie Update on Grace Mason

Okay, I am now officially down to double running and over one stitching. This blog may be the only thing that keeps me from putting it on hold and starting the Mary Wigham SAL! I am motivated by guilt, so keep commenting (read "nagging") me to finish Grace. I really love it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Improved Workspace

Over the years I have taken over about half of the ground floor of our house for my crafting endeavors. The main living area is on the 2nd and 3rd floors and the ground floor is where we enter from the garage. Now this part of the ground floor is not a huge space and the laundry is there too. But since I starting making my own frames for my stitching and I pin mount needlework for a frame shop on a contract basis and I now do my beading there, it has become quite cramped and unorganized. I have just made room for the additional supplies and equipment without thought for design and efficiency. For an engineer, much less two engineers, this is quite disturbing.

So my dear husband has been helping me redo my workspace. Today with the help of some chain, PVC, duct tape, and the duct tape of the new century - cable ties:

1) we raised my work table by several inches so I can avoid crippling back pain;
2) he added several shelves to make the storage of "stuff" much more efficient;
3) we laid down a scrap piece of indoor/outdoor carpet on the table top to give me a better surface for beading.

Plus, with the raised table, I have more storage underneath the table and leg room. I have a fan, radio, and lots of lights. I am so excited I want to work all night! Okay, slight exaggeration, but I am looking forward to it tomorrow. I'll just have to decide what to do first...needle threaders, tassels, or pin a big cross stitch for the frame shop. A crafter's work is never done!

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Stitching Goodies from Etsy Artisans

Wouldn't this make a great project bag? And it's gorgeous to boot! SewingBea has lots of beautiful bags, but I love this one.

This sweet little needlebook from Ravenhill would make a great home for all your needles. But it's almost too pretty to hide in your stitching bag. It deserves to be displayed.

And if you don't want to store your needles in a needlebook, here's a really funky, colorful needlecase by GMDoriginals. (Can't you tell I have a thing for needle storage?)

From needles to pins, Dottyral has made this adorable emery pincushion ring. This particular fabric almost looks stitched, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Needle Threaders are Here!

I've been talking about it for a while and now they're in the shop. My beaded needle threaders for tapestry needles, up to size 26, will make your stitching life easier and they're pretty too. They're about 3/4" (19 mm) and flat so they are easy to hold on to.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mary Wigham SAL

Well, I'm still working on Grace Mason and I am making progress, but when I have houseguests my productivity really diminishes. Even though it's family and they don't really require entertaining (just food and beach chairs) I still get out of my routine. So here's what I've accomplished since last week. And, yes, I know it's been a week since I last updated you, but hey, you do what you can.

Now I've gotten involved in a SAL! I don't need another project, but I can't help myself. Needleprint is sponsoring this Stitch ALong for Mary Wigham, an Ackworth Quaker sampler. Read all about it on their blog I'm going to stitch mine monochromatically, probably dark green Splendor, on 36 count linen. The first installment is supposed to be available tonight. Woohoo!