Saturday, September 14, 2013

Counted Wishes Festival

It's going to be a long winter. Is your stitching stash up-to-date? No? Well then here is what you need to lay in a supply of great projects to get you through the winter.

The Counted Wishes Fall Festival starts Sunday, September 15 and runs thru Saturday, September 21.  I know you'll want to check out the vendors with their new and exciting releases. 

A Kitty Kats Originals
All Kitted Out
Blueladie Designs
Colorful Cross Stitch Creations
Cross Stitch Wonders
Cross Stitching Art
DJ's Dreams
Fabtastic Hand Dyed Fabrics
Heartfelt Designs
Joyful Expressions
Linda Jeanne Jenkins
Linen Flowers
Mabel Figworthy's Fancies
Pine Glen Designs
Stitching Dreams
Stitchn Momma
Stitchplay Designs
The Beehive
TJB Designs

I have been working feverishly to add new fobs, counting/marking pins, laying tools and stitch markers to my shop.  Plus, I have just added a line of stitch pickers which I sell with a color coordinated needle threader!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Keep Stitching

I would like to thank all of you who have followed my stitching adventures.  I am honored that you take the time to read and sometimes comment.  

I have decided to suspend my blog posts for the time being.  I'm not very good at it anyway. :)

Keep Stitching!  I know I will.


Some of you have expressed an interest in my conversion of DMC to Splendor that I used on Virtue Outshines the Stars.  So here you go.  Please note that in the original there are three symbols that called for a blended needle.  Since I stitched mine on 40 count, I used only one strand.  Therefore I could only choose one color for those symbols.

DMC                                                               Splendor

355                                                                                                                        94
356                                                                                                                        1103
758                                                            1150
3064                                                          1132
632                                                            1141
934                                                            1064
3052                                                          1062
3362                                                          1158
3363                                                          1063
924                                                            987
926                                                            948
315                                                            953
612                                                            1056
3045                                                          1038
422                                                            1010
355/356                                                     1103   
356/758                                                     1085   
758/754                                                     1084

Have fun!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Happy Dance Time

It's been so long since I posted I couldn't even remember where I left off with Virtue.  It's been another month of houseguests and general busy-ness, not to be confused with business, which has also been hectic. 

Plus, I had a klutzy moment in the kitchen one night and ended up going to the ER for stitches.  Thankfully, I did not cut a tendon, but they put my thumb in a splint to keep me from opening up the lovely smiley face wound.  That eliminated stitching for a week.  The stitches came out almost a week ago and my thumb is still really stiff, but I can stitch.  I was a little worried because right before the accident, I had stitched "August 2013" into my sampler as the finish date.  I did not want to rip it out!

Thankfully, I got all those queen stitches finished and did the Happy Dance Tuesday evening!
There are several interesting areas, such as this base on which the flower pots rest.  It consists of alternating Smyrna crosses and Algerian eyes in two very soft colors.  I wasn't real sure about it, but it's quite effective, I think.  (That's why Darlene designs and I merely stitch!)
 An this little flower pot is just adorable with the four color Queen stitch flower and strawberries.
So while I was doing the Happy Dance, my husband asked me if I had something else to stitch!  WHAT?  I may have to take him for a mental health exam.  Has he not seen the thousands of charts in the bookcase right next to the computer where he spends eight hours a day?  Needless to say, I pulled another project right out of my bag, threaded the needle and off I went.  What project, you ask... "Buttons and Berries" by Homespun Elegance.  Another piece I've had in my stash for years, but not nearly as ambitious.  In fact, it probably won't take a whole week to finish.  
That's probably a good thing, since I'm up to my eyeballs making stitch pickers and counting pins for my Etsy shop.  I'm selling the stitch pickers as a set with a color coordinate needle threader.  

You can see more of them here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sampler Exhibit Announcement

Facebook comes in very handy sometimes, assuming you are following the right pages, of course.  Last week, I saw this announcement, with the accompanying photo, on the Old Salem Museums and Gardens page.  I haven't seen anything yet on the Old Salem web site, but hopefully it will be showing up there soon.  The exhibit will run for about a year.

"On Friday, Aug. 9, an exciting new needlework exhibit will open at the Blum House in Old Salem! Specimens of "Taste and Industry: Needlework in Salem 1780-1860" includes more than 40 samplers and other needlework pictures and accessories, stitched by Moravian girls and women living in Wachovia and by non-Moravian boarding students of the Salem Girls’ Boarding School, founded in 1804. Many of these works have never been exhibited before--including this image of Mt. Vernon stitched by Mary Ann Speed, ca. 1811."
This is very exciting on a personal level.  I was born and raised as a Moravian in Winston-Salem, so this is a part of my heritage. My father is buried in the cemetery of Old Salem, called "God's Acre" and one of my favorite memories is attending the Easter sunrise service there.  It is a truly glorious service.

Old Salem is a wonderful place to explore and get a real taste of what life was like in the late 18th century for a devout group of Christians who lived and worked together in a community they built and nurtured themselves.

And, of course, my love of needlework, and samplers, in particular, makes this even more of a 'must see' event for me.  Make plans to see it if you're anywhere near NC in the next year. Although no pictures are allowed, I'll be sure to tell you all about it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Quiet Time Means More Time to Stitch

I think there is a very small light at the end of the wait, that's my Dazor ready and waiting for me to finish all those Queen stitches in the border!
But if you've been watching, you'll see that I've made significant progress in recent days.  Geometric motifs are so much quicker because I can memorize the pattern. So I don't have to spend as much time looking at the chart and figuring out where I am.  Plus doing an entire row of eyelets is easier than doing them one at a time in some kind of pattern.  I stitch the top half all the way across the row and the bottom half on the return trip.  That method also makes the eyelets themselves more consistently balanced.  I don't have to worry that one side is bigger/tighter than the other, thus creating a lopsided eyelet.  For some reason, when I stitch a complete eyelet, one side always ends up bigger than the other.
My friend, Donna, who owns my LNS, Angelwing Needlearts, called me the other day to tell me that Darlene O'Steen, of The Needles Prayse, had been in the shop that day.  Apparently, Darlene and Chris are looking at property down in our area.  Donna forgot to mention that I am working on one of my all-time favorite samplers, Virtue Outshines the Stars.  I'm sure Darlene would get a kick out of know that I've finally gotten around to it. LOL  I really wish I had been working that day.  I haven't seen Darlene in years and would love to visit for a few minutes.  I can only hope that she'll stop by another time.  

On the needlework bling front, I had a request for 200 purple stitch markers for a 'knitting event' in mid-August.  What a great opportunity to show my wares to some enthusiastic knitters.  Each participant will get one in their kit! Thanks so much to Jen at WoolGirl.  Here's a sampling.

 Stop by TJBdesigns for a look at all my stitching accessories. You can never have enough stitch BLING!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'll Be Your Honey Bee

Well, the visitors come and go and I'm back in my nest.  I took a short break from Virtue last week to stitch this little piece for my husband for our 31st anniversary! Happy Annivesary!
 "June's Honeysuckle" by Cottage Garden Samplings

And now I'm back on Virtue.  For those of you waiting on the color conversion that I'm using, be glad I postponed giving it to you.  I've had to make a couple of adjustments for the symbols that were originally blended needles.  Since I'm working this on 36 count, I'm only using one strand of Splendor, so no blended needles for me!  But, never fear, I will post the list as soon as I'm sure about it.

I'm currently working on a big wholesale order of stitch markers for a knitting 'event' in Oregon.  Every single one has at least one purple bead included!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Stitching

Since the massive frogging incident, I've made good progress considering that I haven't had that much time to stitch.  When you live at the beach, summer visitors tend to mess with your stitching schedule.  Plus, I usually have to give up my 'nest' so that everyone has a place to sit. 

I just started the first flower in this huge band.  Thank goodness I get to add a color that I like!  All that green and yellow was getting on my nerves.  Hopefully, I'll get back in my normal stitch routine this week and have time to post more too.
It's also time to reorganize my yearly stitching list.  I've indulged myself for several months now working on Virtue Outshines the Stars, but it's time to get crackin' on those thirty Christmas ornaments, birthday presents and Christmas presents too!  Where does the time go? 

It's too hot to spend much time outside, so you'd think I would get a lot of stitching done during the day.  But most days, I'm busy making new scissor fobs and counting pins and promoting them online.  Thankfully, they seem to be more and more popular and the knitters and crocheters want their share of needlework bling too! 

And in case I haven't mentioned it lately, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my stitching life!  It's great to hear from all of you.

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Good to Be Home

Well, I'm back from my stitching vacation and I actually have something to show for it.  We had a great time and got lots done, especially since neither one of us likes to shop or sightsee much.  After visiting an EGA summer luncheon, we hit the local needlework shop where I picked up some lovely 36 and 40 count hand dyed fabric, as well as the last two colors of silk that I need for my next Scarlet Letter sampler, Jean Scrimgeowr.  Not surprising since I tend hoard linen like there's no tomorrow.

I've been home for five days and still haven't unpacked my bag!  Duffel bag, that is.  The stitching bag was unpacked and played with right away.  Well, I did put the dirty clothes in the hamper.  I hate unpacking almost as much as putting away clean laundry and emptying the dishwasher!  Why is that?  I've been pulling clothes to wear straight out of the bag since I got home.  I probably won't unpack until I have to do laundry.  Do you know how to tell if a woman has never had children?  If she tells you she only does laundry when she runs out of underwear.  I'm not even close to running out of underwear. 

I worked on a special project which I can't show you yet and this sweet little sampler for a friend.  I've really been digging in my stash lately and coming up with some goodies. This is "The Practical Sampler" by Eileen Bennett of The Sampler House.  It's full of all sorts of fun stitches, although after one row of the alphabet I switched the rest of the letters to something other than eyelets.  I figured that was enough punishment for whatever bad things I might have done over the last five years.
I'd love to show you some progress on Virtue, but a humongous frog landed in my lap on Monday night and I'm still recovering! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How many stitching projects do you take when you go on vacation?  Even when I'm only going for a long weekend at my Mom's, I usually pack three or four.  It seems silly since I generally only work on one piece until it's done.  But you never know when you might be stuck somewhere for weeks with massive amounts of free time.  It's never actually happened to me, but I want to be prepared, just in case.

I keep thinking I should interrupt Virtue Outshines the Stars and start on some Christmas ornies or a birthday gift, but I'm having such a good time that I just can't do it. Things have been really busy at TJBdesigns, so, despite my good intentions, I'm still not finding much time to stitch during the day.  Most of my stitching is done while watching TV in the evenings.
When I get tired of Queen stitches, I abandon the border for  a while and work on the 'innards'. 
Maybe I'll have something new to show soon, but don't count on it.  The big stuff on Virtue is coming up next.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Where Does the Time Go?

I know, it's been a a while since I posted. I've been really busy, but I when I try to figure out why, the list isn't very long.  But I guess some of these tasks are time consuming.  I've had several large pieces of needlepoint to block and mount for the frame shop.  Fortunately, I received a wholesale order for stitch markers that took several days since my available inventory was pretty low.  And I had to take time out to go talk to the local postmaster because the employees don't seem to know how to handle my international packages.  And they talk to me like I'm an idiot.  If they only knew how much that does NOT help their case. Then, of course, there's the usual housekeeping, walking the dog, groceries, ...  Okay, not so much time spent on housework, but the rest is true.
Anyway, Virtue is a pleasure to work on.  I manage to put in at least a couple of hours almost every evening.  Every now and then a frog wanders through, but I find them only mildly annoying.  I'm pretty sure my brain hasn't completely turned to mush yet, so I must be mellowing in my old age.
The little birds can eat and fly now. They have beaks and wings and tail feathers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chugging Away

Just because I haven't posted doesn't mean I haven't been stitching...except for the four days I spent with my mom.  I just can't get settled in the right spot with the right lighting at her house.  But I continue working on Virtue Outshines the Stars.  Just in case, you want to keep track, there are 45 queen stitches in each one of those flowers in the vine.  Good thing I love Queen stitches.

I seem to be breaking my normal pattern on this one.  I usually work with one color until I'm done, but I just can't do that here.  So I'm jumping around and surprisingly, it's not making my brain hurt.  Must be an aging thing...everything else is.

My little birds are beak-less just because I haven't gotten to that color.  But they are beginning to bother me.
This little piece of hardanger is going on a quilt that was made by the niece of my friend, Judy, who passes away recently.  I hope Judy's husband will be comforted by the knowledge that her friends remember her so dearly.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Learning Patience

As I ponder the frogs around my stitching nest, I find myself wishing I'd taken up yoga.  Although my potty mouth has been moderated quite a bit given the lack of progress on Virtue Outshines the Stars.  So maybe I'm maturing. Not likely. Perhaps I'm just getting too old to waste the energy swearing involves.  Whatever, I stitch, I rip, I stitch again. 

 At least, I'm adding color and new motifs.  My normal modus operandi is to stitch everything of a single color before moving on. But, for some reason, I find myself stitching more by section on this piece.
The Qeeen Stitch fest continues, but Algerian Eyes have joined the party too.
I have a couple of small things I need to stitch in the next few weeks, so if the frogs reappear, I may take that as a sign to take a break. But for now, I'm merrily stitching away and working on that virtue called patience.

Friday, April 5, 2013

We'll Miss You, Judy

I said good-bye to a friend today and even though it hurts and I will miss her, I'm so grateful to have known her.  I met Judy when she came to our stitch group at our LNS a number of years ago.  Her sense of humor and happy spirit are what I noticed first. I'm not saying she didn't fuss or grumble (and even cuss every now and then), especially when she couldn't meet her own very high standards.  But you just knew she was living her life the way she wanted to.  Judy traveled a lot with her husband and had lots of company because she loved her family and wanted to see a lot of them.  She spoiled her nieces and nephews and their kids, as a good aunt should. 

Judy was a very social person and was involved in so many activities that I can't even begin to count them.  And I know she enjoyed every one, but she loved our stitch group like family.  The core of our stitch group has been together so long we joke about scaring new people away.  We aren't really scary, but we're like sisters now and we rib each other and tease and console and share things that you just don't share with everyone you know.  We've been through family angst together, celebrations, enough frog stitching to fill the Green Swamp and there isn't much we would change.  We have history. 

Judy's niece spoke at the memorial service today and she reminded me that stitching was not the only thing Judy was picky about.  She was a perfectionist in everything she did, from stitching to cooking, sewing to golf, singing to cards...  I taught Judy how to do Hardanger. And she was a beautiful stitcher. She practiced and became proficient at Hardanger.  Her first big Hardanger project was a hand towel on a lovely deep gold linen with an overdyed thread. Unfortunately, she picked 32 count as her fabric and had a little trouble getting the blanket stitch border exactly right.  And it had to be exactly right!  She would fuss and frog and do it over and over until she got it right.  When it was finished, she proudly hung it in her guest bath.  It is a beautiful piece.  Then she moved on to other cross stitch pieces and samplers, etc.  Last year she said she wanted to do another Hardanger project and the chorus of 'NO' from the group sent us all into a fit of giggles.  I will never be able to stitch another piece of hardanger without thinking of Judy...with a smile.

I only have one picture of Judy's needlework, but I'd like to share it with you.  We stitched "Catrina's Christmas" by Keslyn as a group. It was a challenge and everyone chose their own colorway.  Once again, Judy made amazing choices and produced this beautiful piece.
Rest in peace, Judy.  I'll meet you in Heaven's stitch group. Maybe we'll embroider the choir robes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What Do You Call a Room Full of Frogs?

A flock? fleet? battalion? herd? Whatever, it felt like one of the Biblical plagues! 
As I was proudly posting yesterday's pictures, I thought to myself, "Self, that doesn't look right?"  So I pulled that sucker out of my stitching bag, and lo and behold, a big, stinkin' bullfrog landed on my lap!  I was shocked, because besides being slimy and laughing hysterically at my expression, that frog was sneaky.  I had meticulously checked to make sure that the border matched all along the sides as I went along.  What are the odds that an error of two stitches on the top right would cancel out a two stitch error on the top left diagonal so that the rest of the border appears to be correct? 
The really scary thing is that my only reaction was a quick "damn it" and a methodical search for a quick solution, which produced no results.  I must be mellowing in my old age.  So off to stitch group I went for sympathy, which I did receive, and two hours cutting and fuzz removal.  Add to that, another hour and a half at home of same said cutting and fuzz removal and I was ready to start stitching again. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Let the Queen Stitch Fest Begin!

I tried, I really did.  I just cannot work a piece by section. I wanted to do a part of the vine and then start the flowers, but every time I ended a length of green floss, I automatically threaded up a new one until the whole vine was done.  So now I know exactly how big it is and the flowers are started.  I actually have the whole top row of flowers done, but I didn't take a picture this morning.
I love queen stitches! And it's a good thing because there are forty-five of them in each of the flowers in the border.  It only took a couple of them to memorize the pattern and it won't be long before I have the starting points memorized too.  However, I don't think I'll have any problem switching from queen stitches to the body of the sampler.  I'm anxious to get some of the alphabet done and those little birds in the top corner.
Who knows how long it will take, but I am going to enjoy every minute of Virtue Outshines the Stars!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ha! It's mine. Eat your heart out.

My friend, Laura, stitched it for my birthday.  You don't have to tell me how lucky I am.  Laura and I have been stitching for each other's birthdays for close to 20 years!  Oh my gosh, I can't believe that.  It's hard to believe it's been that long. We haven't missed a single one in all those years.
We have very similar taste in needlework and we've explored and shared a lot of different designers and styles of samplers.  So stitching for each other is like stitching for ourselves...except that she's a better stitcher than I am.  

If you've followed her blog, For Love of the Needle, you know that one of the reasons she started blogging is to make sure she has a record of the pieces she stitches.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have many photos of the pieces she has stitched. So I decided you should see some of the other amazing things she's stitch for me. There are more, but my photography skills have failed me.