Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Busy Week

So, it's been a busy, busy week for me.  So busy that I neglected to post a pic of my latest finish.  After finishing American Pride for our anniversary, I went back to my Janet Carsels (by The Scarlet Letter).  I really have a thing for Scottish samplers.  I love the illuminated alphabets and the fact that they usually are full of bold reds and greens is also an attractive feature for me. 
I'm trying to get ready for the Counted Wishes online needlework show in September.  So I was making laying tools since I was really low on inventory.   So I decided to post this pic of all my new ones in a needlepoint group on Facebook.   Let's just say that not only do I need to make some more, I need to order more supplies.  What a great problem to have! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

American Pride

Yes, I'm still stitching, but my life is so boring...and I like it that way... that I rarely have anything interesting to post about.  I don't stitch several pieces in rotation and I hate to show the same thing every other day with a few more stitches done. 

I've done some smalls that I can't show you for the usual reasons.  Some people actually look at my blog and I don't want to give any secrets away.

However, now that my anniversary (32 years!!) has passed, I can show you what I stitch for my husband. "American Pride" by Aury TM Designs.  I stitched it on 32 count twilight blue with DMC.  It's been so long since I stitch with two strands of floss that I had forgotten how tedious railroading is.  Now I remember why I like to stitch on 36 and 40 count most of the time. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Who Knew I'd Still Be Struggling With the Alphabet at My Age

I think Spring is finally here.  The pine pollen has come and gone so we can open up the house and enjoy a few days of bearable humidity.  I might even take my stitching out to the screened porch for a little stress relief.

I finally got to the motif part of Janet Carsels.  I had to make a couple of color adjustments because the chosen colors just didn't look right.  It could be that the DMC to AVS conversion wasn't accurate or more likely, the colors/dye lots themselves have changed.  That seems to happen a lot.  I had three different dye lots for one of the colors I switched to and the best match was the oldest one.  So even when there's a printed conversion, it's probably best to confirm it whenever possible.  Fortunately, I have a fairly large stash of AVS that makes that possible.  One of the perks of having owned a couple of needlework shops in the past. :)
These illuminated alphabets take a lot more focus, and therefore, time than you might think.  Especially when they aren't necessarily symmetrical.  A little froggie told me that.
This is probably a good point at which to switch back to Le Jardin de Plaisir, but who knows?  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One Color At a Time

It's the beginning of 'The Season' so things are getting a little hectic around here.  Any of you who live in a vacation or resort area know what I mean.  Even though the weather is still a little spotty, folks seem determined to go to the beach.  I drove into town on Monday and noticed the difference immediately.  Traffic is way up.  Then I went to the grocery and wanted to pull my hair out!  Way too many people already. 

As usual, I didn't get any stitching done while visiting my mom this weekend.  But I'm learning.  I only took one project with me instead of my entire stitching bag.  So after four days of stitching celibacy and a stressful Monday, I was ready to park myself on the couch with my stitching. 

It's been a couple of weeks since I showed you any progress on the two pieces in my so-called rotation.  The plan was to work on each piece for a week and then switch, but I'm am somehow compelled to keep working until I come to, what I consider, a good stopping point.  Now give me some credit because normally that 'good stopping point' is when the project is done.  In this case, I finished the red portion of Le Jardin de Plaisir, so I decided it was time to switch projects. (Just to be contrary, I did a couple of tiny motifs in the black before I packed it away.)
I just love the center arrangement of flowers, even without the black parts done.Janet Carsels continues to be a fun stitch with a variety of alphabet styles and only a few colors involved.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Frog Fest

I'm not even going to apologize for taking the month off.  Just accept it.  I'm an inconsistent blogger. 

I have found some time to stitch even though I lost about 4 days while visiting my mom.  Things were just too chaotic.  Between creating, photographing and listing over thirty new items to my Etsy shop, I managed to make significant progress on Le Jardin de PLaisir and Janet Carsels. 
Hard to believe that any one of these little sections could be more trouble than another since they're all basically the same, just in a different orientation.  But I stitched one of them three times!  I frogged the first time, but didn't go back far enough. Geez, how dumb.  So I had to rip it out a second time.   But, as they say, the third time's the charm.
JC has also presented some difficulties on what should have been a simple vine.  The flat part of the vine is eight stitches and the angled parts are nine stitches.  How hard is that to remember?  Well, apparently, I'm easily distracted.  Of course, it is NCAA basketball tourney time and I tend to get emotionally involved.  But I can't watch without doing something.  So, stitch and frog it is.
I love stitching reproductions because of the stories behind them.  Even if I just make them up, they feel real to me.  This is the first one I've done where the personalization is at the top of the sampler.  I didn't even notice until I started stitching what I thought would be the alphabet.  And I said to myself, "Hey Self, that's not an 'A'."  Maybe Janet had a little ego thing going on.  Maybe she was worried one of her sisters (and I don't even know if she had any) would steal it and try to take credit for stitching it.  But it's an interesting change to the norm. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Counted Wishes Cross Stitch Festival - Spring 2014 is now OPEN!!

A long winter of stitching has probably used up your stash. Well then we have just what you need to lay in a supply of great projects, and the fabric and accessories to go with them.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Going to the Dark Side

Well, I'm going to give it another shot.  I'm going to try to work on two projects at once, in some sort of rotation.  Whether my brain can handle it or not remains to be seen.

I started Le Jardin de Plaisir for a Long Dog Sampler SAL.  But I ordered several Scarlet Letter charts about a month ago and the silks just arrived this week.  So I'm torn!  Not really.  After a couple of hours of LJdP, it has become abundantly clear that I will need something a little less geometric for some balance.

So I've chosen Janet Carsels from The Scarlet Letter. 

I also have some more Sweetheart Tree needlerolls kitted up and ready to go, should a stitching emergency arise.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Starts, New Finishes, More New Starts

Wow! Time flies between projects.  Actually, I've fill the evenings with some little goodies from The Sweetheart Tree.  But I just don't think to post them because they only take two or three days each to stitch.  These little needlerolls have lots of specialty stitches and, except for the annoying little backstitch vines, they are fun to do.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job photographing the white-on-white stuff, but you get the idea.
I'm starting a Long Dog Sampler SAL on March 1st.  My project is not a typical LD piece, but I find it very intriguing.  "Le Jardin de Plaisir" is more of a geometric/knot garden type design and I love the original colorway of red, black and gray.  I'm stitching it on 38 count Italian linen (thanks, Laura!) with Splendor silk.

And once again, I'm going to try to work on more than one project in rotation.  Otherwise, I'll finish the SAL piece in the first month.  I have some Scarlet Letter pieces almost kitted and I'll just have to close my eyes and pick one once all the silks arrive.  I ran in from waiting by the mailbox just to post this.  It's kind of cold out there at night, but I'm very anxious for this package to arrive.

Plus, I have been very busy in the 'bead cave'.  It's been a big month for scissor fobs.  Every time I think I'm catching up, I need to make more.  It's a great problem to have except my fingers are too cold to play with the beads for long periods of time.  I'll really be happy to see Spring!  From elegant...

to funky...
there's lots to choose from.  I just hope I don't need more counting pins for this Long Dog SAL piece.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Quick Finish

Well, that didn't take long!  Naomi Dartnall was a quick and fun little project.  I think this one will be perfect for my Mom's Christmas present this year.  Let's just hope I don't lose it in a 'safe place'. 

And, on another front, my missing mojo is back!  That cold I had a few weeks back and the subsequent miserable weather put me in a creative funk for a while, but over the last week I've been a beadin' fool.  Scissors fobs and book thongs have been jumping off the workbench and out of the shop too!  I've probably taken and edited 400 product photos this week.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pork Chops or Tomato Soup?

Have you ever changed your mind at the last minute on what to stitch next?  (rhetorical question, btw)  I had every intention of starting a small needle roll after I finished Jean Scrimgeowr, but when I went upstairs to kit it up, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  So I scrounged around in the 'to-do basket' and found this little reproduction by Handworks.   I think I meant to stitch it for someone's birthday last year and found something better because I had already cut the fabric (40 cnt Sandstone) for it.  So all I had to do was pull six colors of floss and I was ready to go. 

I don't usually do motif samplers.  The randomness messes with my brain, but it's fun and uncomplicated.  Now don't assume that it's Christmas-y because of the colors.  I happen to work a piece by color and I started with the red, then the green.  I prefer to do all the counting rather than thread a bunch of different needles required to stitch by area.   Yeah, I know.  Most of you are shaking your heads and picking your chins up off the floor.   I know I'm in the minority, but it's just the way my brain works.

I should be done in a couple of days, so it's a good thing I got in the mood to kit up the needle roll yesterday.  It really wasn't a big deal, but it's like planning pork chops for supper and realizing about half an hour before supper that you want tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  Tastes good at the time, but the next day you're ready for those pork chops.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

First Finish of 2014

Well, my New Year's Day start is my first finish of the year.  Jean Scrimgeowr, from The Scarlet Letter, has been a lot of fun and a relatively easy piece to stitch.  I have totally enjoyed the many anomalies I've encountered and can't wait to frame her. 

The verse is an interesting mix of cross stitch over two and elongated cross stitch (two threads high/one thread wide).  I had to focus a little harder on the counting than I normally do.  That's usually the easiest part for me.  I will confess to a couple of 'anomalies' of my own, but I'm pretty sure Jean wouldn't mind.  I thought I had transposed a couple of letters at one point, but I realized Jean was apparently not a good speller either.  Then again, "ravished" is a pretty big work for a ten year old.
And, since it is a reproduction, I don't sign my work within the viewable area. So it's only seen if someone unframes it sometime in the future. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

More Football and Stitching

Being iced in for a couple of days did a lot for my progress on Jean Scrimgeowr.  I should have been making more scissor fobs and counting pins, but I just wanted to stitch.  So...I did.  Now I'm using the Super Bowl as an excuse to stitch.  Actually, it's not an excuse.  I will be watching the Super Bowl, but I have to have something to do at the same time.  That's actually true whenever I watch TV, but especially during sporting events.  
I'm really looking forward to this one, but it's gonna be a heartbreaker and a thrill at the same time.  I'm a huge Peyton Manning fan and am so happy that he's had a successful season after such a scary injury.  He's shown all the naysayers what he's really made of.   I love the Seahawks and Russell Wilson.  Russell played for my alma mater, NC State, before leading Wisconsin to the 2012 Rose Bowl.  I'm so impressed with his leadership, as well as football skills.

There's no party here.  Just a simple supper and a talk with the dogs about not being scared when Mom starts yelling at the TV.  They should just consider it a prelude to the NCAA basketball tournament in a few weeks.

I did want to point out a couple of interesting things about this sampler that I discovered this week.  I love how Jean managed to squeeze her name in there by using elongated cross stitch.  
And, once again, there are some anomalies in the motifs, probably due to Jean's inexperience.  And I love the interesting choice of color for the outline of Adam and Eve.
I originally hoped to finish by March, but now I'm shooting for Valentine's Day.  I can't believe how quickly it's moving along.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Event

For those of you who have been hunkering down trying to stay warm and dry, shoveling out, and otherwise enduring a miserable winter, I am here to provide you with a giggle.

I live at the beach.  The threat (and reality) of hurricanes is a way of life.  No biggie.  But a rumor of a whisper of a hint of the possibility of snow and life comes to a halt.  I am not kidding.  I seriously considered going to the grocery store last night just for the entertainment value.  I am a native Southerner and really hate it when people make fun of us, but even I am smart enough to realize that in most cases, if I take a nap the snow will be gone when I wake up.  But just in case, I have bread and peanut butter.  I will not starve even if we lose power, which we did not. 

This is only the third snow event in the sixteen years that I've lived here.  So yes, it is an event.  Unfortunately, this one is ice.  There was a dusting of snow, but it's frozen into a sheet on top of the ice now.  Even I don't leave footprints! 

However, Otis doesn't care about all that.  There is a tennis ball and he wants to chase it.  I kid you not, he would chase it in a hurricane.
This is what he's begging for.
"If I stare at it long enough, Mom will throw it!"
That's not a rabbit, it's Otis chasing a tennis ball.
"Throw it again, Mom"
Otis, the Great Tennis Ball Hunter

Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't Sneeze on My Sampler!

Yes, I've had a horrible cold this week that drained me of even enough energy to stitch!  Hard to believe, I know.  But I'm much better now, except for that annoying post nasal drip. Yck.  However, I'm not the one sneezing on my sampler! 
Otis, genus PlayWithMeDon'tIgnoreMe, was looking over my arm while I was working on Jean Scrimgeowr.   Ignoring him doesn't help.  It just brings on the tiny, WhatchaDoin' sneeze.  Thankfully, they pattern shielded the fabric for the most part.

I hope Jean's little dogs (I'm assuming those are hers pictured in the first band) were better behaved than Otis while she was laboring over this piece.  Although, it's hard to imagine a 10 year old sitting quietly stitching rather than out romping with the dogs.  I know what my preference would have been at that age.  Perhaps they provided the distractions that caused so many little glitches in Jean's sampler. 

 Peacock, trees and some unidentifiable animal.

Beginnings of fruit bowl, tree (snake yet unstitched) and Adam and Eve's hair/eyes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Football and Stitching, What Could Be Better?

It may not look like it, but I’ve made significant progress on Jean Scrimgeowr.  I spent several days with my mom, where I usually don’t get a lot of stitching done.  But I informed her on Saturday that I would be watching football and stitching all afternoon and evening on Sunday.  She knows better than to disturb me when I’m watching football.  So I did get a lot done. 
This sampler continues to be an exercise in diligence and focus.  Lots of the little tendrils on band two are shaped differently, the vine is not symmetrical, the spacing of the flowers with respect to the vine varies…  And I love it! 

I stitched the vine in Holbein or double running stitch, instead of backstitch, just because I can.  Holbein is like working a puzzle for me and I really enjoy it. I wasn't sure how the upright Gobelin would look on the tops of the flowers, but it's quite effective, I think.  

This next band is primarily cross stitch, so it should go fairly quickly even though it's huge!  I suppose I should work on the border some more too.  I managed to come down with a cold this weekend, so who knows how much stitching I'll get done over the next few days.