Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Love a Challenge But This is Ridiculous!

Recently, one of the Facebook stitching groups that I follow started a once a month WIP stitch-in for those pieces that you really can't seem to get going on again. Most of the folks in this group have waaaaaaay more UFOs than I do.  That's not saying a lot since I generally work on only one project at a time until it's finished. However, occasionally I start a piece that is so involved or difficult or frustrating that I have to put it down to ensure that I don't pull all my hair out. "Margret Gatis" by Scarlet Letter is one of those pieces.

Make no mistake, I love the sampler. I love the various stitches and the colors. I use the sewing motion and work in hand rather than on a frame which, over time, has led me to stitch by feel to a large degree. I can just tell when I've picked up one or three threads instead of the usual two threads.  But stitching over three threads is tedious, time consuming and hurts my brain. You have to actually count threads and the vertical thread concept* is useless as a counting mechanism. Even more confounding is the fact that some bands on MG are stitched over two threads and some bands are over three threads! It makes the chart confusing and I have to constantly remind myself that each square covers three threads. And don't even get me started on satin stitches motifs with angles and turns over three threads!

Anyway, I chose MG as my WIP for this monthly exercise in futility. Thank heavens, it's only one day for whatever time period one can handle! I worked on some satin stitch motifs for a few hours then had to pack it up. The frogs were starting to scare Lester and Otis!
And now I'm back to the challenging, but stunningly beautiful, Cranberry Sampler. Although I'm in random stitching hell right now on this one too. The directions are pretty skimpy and leave a lot of the stitch and color choices to your imagination. I tend to follow the model stitcher's choices with a few exceptions. And there's nothing like a mountain of double running stitch to make you skip that last cup of coffee. You can't afford twitchy fingers when trying to keep a smooth and straight line going.

* as explained by Carol Leather, needlework designer and teacher

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Want a Day Off!

Okay, this is one of those days where I can't find the motivation to do anything but stitch. But I feel guilty for not doing something 'productive' so I haven't even picked up my stitching. I am such a goon. I deserve to do what I want to, right? Actually, I did go to the grocery, so I think I'll count that as my productivity for the day.

Here's where I left off last night on The Cranberry Sampler. By Monday, you'll be able to tell how self indulgent I really am!

On another note, did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?  Did anyone actually look at your wish list? Somebody looked at mine and I got these precious Pineapple Scissors from

I haven't decided on a fob for them yet, but you know I will! Feel free to browse my shop for a treat for your new scissors or to spruce up your old ones!  There are some new fobs and counting pins available, like this one in my favorite color combo. Lime Cobalt Beaded Scissor Fob

and Small Lime Cobalt Counting Pins for Cross Stitch and Needlepoint

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


No, I'm not talking about Frankenstein. My Cranberry Sampler is really taking shape. Every time I turn around there are more Montenegrin stitches to do, but the rich colors and textures just make me swoon!
It's a rather dreary day here at the beach.  I'd love to just sit and stitch, but there are bathrooms to be cleaned and dog hair to be swiffered, so off I go.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Football and Stitching

I just love bowl games and playoff season! I get so much stitching done, especially while watching games in which I have no personal interest. Now some of you may ask, 'Why watch them?'. Well, I love football. I spent many Sunday afternoons as a child watching football games on TV with my dad. I knew more about the NFL than any other kid in elementary school. Daddy played football in high school and at NC State after his stint in the Navy during WWII. He even played in the Gator bowl way back when! Anyway, it was something we enjoyed doing together. The first fall after he passed away, I found myself picking up the phone to call him to talk about a game I'd been watching before I realized I didn't need the phone to talk to him.

Now I use the TV as a radio while I stitch. I still get excited about big plays and sometimes I have to frog because of it, but thatt's okay. So this week, I've made significant progress on The Cranberry Sampler.
It may not look like a lot, but that vine is a killer. It's done in Montenegrin stitch, which is not a problem when stitched in a straight line, but the diagonal portions require a lot of concentration. And for some reason, the sequence was not intuitive for me. It is slightly different with every directional change and I didn't really get into the flow until I was almost done. Then the base of the flowers (which aren't stitch yet) is filled with Trellis Stitch, another one low on my list of personal favorites. It similar to detached buttonhole, but harder to make consistent and not nearly as much fun. The fun part was the queen stitches in the leaves on the vince, but I ran out of them too soon. But all those stitches are what make these antique style band samplers attractive to me and I love the process. So I persevere!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another Year, Another Big Start!

Well, the big Christmas rush is over and I'm still working on ornaments! But only because I like to have a few done before I start the Panic later in the year. Actually, it's kind of fun once the pressure is off, but you're still in the mood. And I'm working on hardanger ones, so I don't have to worry about color changes.

I stitched this Charland Design from my stash for my husband for Christmas. Of course, the frame wasn't done in time, but it's hanging on the wall now.  It's a little frou-frou, but hey, it's sweet!

But I started my first project of 2012 right before Christmas just in case I had some time to stitch (what a joke) while visiting my family. Since we got back I've really enjoyed working on "The Cranberry Sampler" by Needle's Prayse. 
I've made more progress, but haven't take a picture today. There's a huge whitework section at the bottom that I can't wait to stitch! In the meantime, I'm meticulously working on a diagonal montenegrin band! Talk about the need to focus...