Thursday, January 27, 2011

It Pays to Read Ahead

Okay, I know, you look at this picture and think: "She hasn't blogged in a week and this is all she's manged to get done!" 

I stitched absolutely nothing while visiting my mom last weekend. And frankly, I'm happy to be this far! You know how I love to stitch on 36 and 40 count. So I changed the fabric on this piece to 40 count Pear from Lakeside Linens. (See, I finally remembered.) However, I should have studied the pattern a little before making this change.

You see that pink dividing band that looks like a zigzag? Well, that is French stitch. Not a particularly common stitch and not really difficult either. It's kinda like a Queen stitch in that each vertical leg over 4 threads is tacked down horizontally in the middle. But the stitches are done in pairs and are verically offset by 2 threads, hence the zigzag look. I love Queen stitches, even on 40 count, but somehow this little band took three nights for me to complete!!! And I had to use the magnifier for the whole thing. Very easy to misplace the couching stitches. Plus, since it's a hand dyed it's already been wet and dryed so shrinkage has already occurred. So the weave is tighter and harder to see. Again, not usually a problem for me, but this was a bugger! I love the effect and since Tuesday night, I've completed the alphabet and almost finished the next dividing band of Bosnia stitch (the dark green one). What a difference. Bosnia is so quick and easy that you're done almost before you start!

I'd love to be able to stitch more during the day, but I'm staying busy make fobs and counting pins and stitch markers, etc. for several new needlework shops. And here's my shameless plug, feel free to tell your LNS about my needlework bling and direct them to my Etsy shop or they can contact me about having some in their shops!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pulling from My Stash!

I'm claiming a finish since I decided to consider each band on Margret Gatis 1711 a distinct project. Sunday afternoon while watching the third horriblly played NFL playoff game of the weekend, I finally found all the little things I'd missed and filled them in. It's quite an eclectic band of stitches, motifs and colors. Quite interesting, as a matter of fact. Therefore, you'd think I would move on to another start with some reluctance. NOT.  Of course, if I continue this way, I won't be done for eons! This isn't even one third of the complete sampler!


 "The Lily Sampler" by Amaryllis Artworks, not to be confused with the equally lovely "Lily Sampler" by Pat Rogers Collection is next on my list.  I've had it for close to 20 years and have always loved it. And this is the year I decided to stitch it for reasons that will become clear later.

I'm using the Anchor floss colors that the model was stitched with, but I did change the fabric. I chose a 40 count hand dyed linen from my stash. I believe it is from Lakeside Linens, but I cannot remember the color name. If I figure it out later, I'll let you know. It's a pretty medium green that I think gives the piece a more vintage look and will enhance the floss colors. The finished size on 40 count is approximately 8" x 12.5".  I haven't made a lot of progress yet, but here's the start.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Time Management

You thought this was going to be some New Year's resolution thing, didn't you. Nope. It's all about stitching.  This week I've managed to find time to do some real stitching...not that ornaments are real stitching, but I love working on big samplers. And I have really enjoyed work on "Margret Gatis 1711".  She definitely falls into that category. All the over two parts of this current band are done.
The center motif is over three and that's what I'll be working on for the rest of the weekend, I'm sure. Then I'll probably put it down and start on something else. "WHAT!?", you say. I know, I'm a one-at-a-time girl. Well, since MG is for me and it's huge, I'm considering each band a separate project. Clever how I justified that, huh?

I managed to do a little, very little, housekeeping and now I'm off to watch football and stitch!

And in the category of 'TJBdesigns Shameless Plugs', drop in at Great Finds and vote for my red heart bookmark! CLUE: It's in the center almost halfway down and the poll is on the left. Feel free to ooh and aah over all the fabulous things Anne selected for this week's poll. There are some amazingly talented people out there!

Monday, January 10, 2011

January Challenge - My Version

As you may have noticed, I haven't started anything new yet this year! Just the thought of 15 WIPs makes my brain hurt. That's a side effect of being left-brained, I guess. However, I did start my 2011 stitching list. "Margaret Gatis" from Scarlet Letter is the only WIP on it...maybe because it's the only one I have! I started it in 2009 sometime, I think, but got sidetracked by some other piece which had a deadline. Or maybe it was the stitching over 3 threads that sent me over the edge. You have no idea how frustrating it is to stitch over 3 threads unless you've actually tried it.

In any case, when I finished my class model last Friday, I didn't have anything new kitted up yet. So I pulled out MG, unenthusiastically remembering the 'over 3' thing. Much to my surprise I had stopped in the middle of a lovely 'over 2' band. So it must've been a birthday or Christmas gift that caused me to put it away.

 I love working on 40 count linen because whether you're using silk or cotton, you only have to use one strand. No railroading or laying tool required. It's a really big piece (8" x 26" on 40 count) so I'll probably lay it down again at some point to work on another deadline piece, but I'm enjoying it right now. And that's what counts.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yes, I Repeated Myself

I usually don't like to stitch the same design a second time, especially immediately after stitching it the first time. But I made an exception this time. As mentioned previously, I stitched "Catrina's Christmas" by Keslyn for my friend, Donna, for Christmas.  When I showed the design to my stitch group before Christmas, several mentioned that they'd like to do it too sometime.

Stitching it was a lot of fun, but as I'm sure you've all experienced, sometimes there are things that are not intuitively obvious from the instructions. Sometimes you learn as you go along, the best way to stitch a band or motif. And sometimes you even find ambiguities or errors in a chart. And as I worked on it I realized that it would make a great teaching piece because of the things I learned as it progressed.  So I played with colors and fibers and made my choices. I showed you my first night's work several days ago. I finished it today and I am quite pleased.

I used Waterlilies "Geranium" as my pink overdyed, Splendor 814 (pink) and 906 (green), DMC #8 Perle Coton 368, and  Kreinik #4 braid 001J (silver metallic), stitched on dark teal 28 count linen. The beads are Mill Hill 553 and 4mm cranberry bicone beads.

Here's a close up that show all of the various pieces. I hope having stitched it twice and taken copious notes will make it easier and more fun for those who choose to take the class.  Frankly, selecting your fabric and fiber colors may be the hardest part!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Last of the Christmas Finishes

Here's the last of the I-couldn't-show-you-at-the-time finishes. This is "Catrina's Christmas" by Keslyn. I stitched it for my friend and local needlework shopowner, Donna. Lots of fun stitches and intricate combinations. I love the geometry of it. The ribbon made of bead loops is a nice, but amazingly easy, touch.

When I showed this to my stitch group about half of them wanted to do it and asked me to teach it. So I came up with a spring colorway.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Gift of Love

I don't know about you, but one of the best parts about stitching for someone is picking a design that you know they will love. My sister has the same feeling when she's shopping for a gift...and she's a serious shopper!  And it's so much fun to go through my stash and dig out something that I know is perfect and I can't wait to stitch it. So it definitely helps when my tastes are similar to the person I'm stitching for. Such is the case with this piece. "Richmond Band Sampler", by Darlene O'Steen of The Needle's Prayse, has been on my list for over a decade...almost two! And this year I decided to stitch it for my friend, Laura's, birthday.