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.