Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Few Finishes

First up, the second of the JCS Strawberry Scissor Fob ornaments, the flower.  I stitched this on Lakeside Linens 28 count Buttercream with Carrie's Creations Sassy.

Next, Harvest Blooms.  I decided to frog the brown shading after all.  I went with WDW Terra Cotta.

And a new start and finish: Workbasket's Quaker Bear.  It was meant to be a polar bear but that didn't fit my theme so I made it a brown bear.  I used my darkest dye lot of GAST Maple Syrup for the solid area and much lighter dye lots for the Quaker motifs at the center.  If you look carefully at the head of the bear, you will note a gradually darker to lighter wedge extending from the face to a point at the back of the neck.  I was running short of the darker dye lot and blended a strand of Maple Syrup with a strand of DMC 3371 [for two 18" lengths] to transition from two strands Maple Syrup to two strands DMC 3371.  I think the strategy worked well.   I used two other dye lots for the motifs: one with a grey undertone and one  with a rosy beige undertone.

Next, I resurrected a needlepoint class piece: Making Waves ... from July 2015.  When last seen, I'd worked only two and a half rows of satin stitch.  See this link.  I am much further along and the color gradation from  white to palest blue to darkest blue is becoming evident.  The bulk of the piece is done in the satin stitch, giving me the chance to use my lovely laying tool.  Later there will be some basket weave, some eyelets and some bullion knots.

And then, because I would like a few quick finishes, I pulled out Ink Circles Celtic Halloween ornaments and completed the Celtic Cross and the Spider.  I am using some scraps of Lakeside Linens 28 count Luna and some partial cards of Catherine Jordan and of Carrie's Creations over dyed cotton floss for these little beauties.

These are fun stitches.  Even the designer's notes are amusingly macabre, as befits Halloween, explaining that the spider's legs look like a cat had played with the hapless arachnid [though no actual spiders were harmed in my project].  There are also suggestions for making boldly unrealistic color choices as in key lime spiders.  I went with the slightly more conservative Purple Pansy blend of medium purple and raspberry from Carrie's Creations.

I started the Polipus, aka octopus in Scot's Gaelic.  For this one I am using Needle Necessities 194, a color way of violet, blue-violet and pale sage.

And a short shout out to Rita re the recent giveaway: I sent an e-mail but have yet to receive your mailing address.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ninth Blogaversary

Nine years - nine facts:

1. When visiting a needlework shop, I am most likely to purchase ...
floss, especially silk and cotton over dyes.

2. After 40+ years, I still have a penchant for stitching ...
fairies and dragons.

3.  I dabble in several other forms of embroidery ...
needlepoint, multi-media surface embroidery, beading, and crewel.

4. When it comes to textile arts, I am fascinated by ...
color and texture.

5. Though I do all my own sewing finishes ...
I have used professional framers for really special pieces.

6.  When stitching,  I almost always have a glass of unsweetened iced tea or lemon water within easy reach  Over the years, I have probably consumed enough to fill ...
half a dozen Olympic swimming pools. 

7.  Most days, I stitch for ...
two to three hours.

8.My second passion is antiquing and I have a collection of ...
 antique pin cushions, my favorite of which is an adorable turtle on its back, made from unglazed pottery, with glass eyes and a faded gold velvet underbelly.

9.  I love taking classes, but
rarely finish the projects, though I am making a stab at doing so now that I am retired.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Package 1: Laura
Package 2: Rita

I'll be e-mailing later on today/

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hermitting Weekend Proess

I continued work on Harvest Blooms and am closing in on a finish.  Though I spent most of Sunday binge watching Mr. Selfridge, I did manage to finish most of the gold leaf in the flowers.  I still have the pecan and dark chocolate to stitch.  After that, it's just two stars and some confetti.  I will have to decide whether to rip out the brown shadow on the pumpkin and replace it with the cranberry, as charted.  Probably will. It irks me that I misread the symbols but I am not sure I'll like the cranberry any better.  Maybe pecan or terra cotta.  I'll have to do a floss toss.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's Been Awhile

... since I've had a giveaway. so here goes.

First, I m offering a package of 5 JCS issues: Christmas 2015 and February, April, June and August 2016.  Though I don't have a use for them, I know there's a fan base out there.

Second, a package of Halloween/Autumn charts: 
Hands to Work Designs Harvest Blooms
two from Homespun Elegance Country Spirits series: Birds and Bees, Seasons Retreats
La-D-Da Something Wicked
Fanci That Fall Friend
CEC The Pumpkin Conspiracy

Just leave a post noting which package you prefer, 1 or 2, and an e-mail address.  I'll draw the winners on the 27th.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

JCS/SANQ Revisited

Back on April 19th, I wrote a post about how poorly JCS was keeping its pledge to include SANQ quality charts and articles.  Since that time, I have received the last issue of the arbitrarily substituted JCS subscription and have had my cynicism confirmed.

Even by JCS standards, the August issue is fluff.  The majority of the designs are so simple they represent the stitching equivalent of a beach read.

The issue also lowers the percentage of SANQ like articles  and charts considerably.

SANQ-type charts  Total: 4:
 February - June: 3
August: 1 very disappointing entry, pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel/

SANQ-type articles Total: 1
February - June: 1
August: 0         
Contemporary/conventional charts [landscapes/ florals, samplers] Total: 26
 February- June: 23
August: 3

Trendy or seasonal charts Total:31
 February - June: 13 
August: 18 [includes the 10 ornamemt Christmas preview]

Hardanger Total:  4
 February - June: 3

Redwork or other specialty embroidery charts Total: 3
 February - June: 3 
August 0
Primitive Total: 2
 February - June: 1
August: 1  
Juvenile themed charts Total: 7
February - June: 5 
August: 2

Articles about designers, new products, etc. Total: 7
February - June: 5
August: 2

To recalculate: from my POV, only 5% of the charts and 12% of the articles are of interest.  

So the publishers, in failing to keep their commitment, have done little more than give the lie to the very title of the magazine, JUST Cross Stitch.  It might as well be called Slapdash Pastiche  Vaguely Resembling A Magazine.

But on a more positive note: my subscription having played out, this will be the last of my JCS/SANQ rants.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Two Finishes and a WIP

Here is the long overdue photo of Witches Hollow ...

And one of the recently finished CEC Pumpkin Conspiracy ...

And, finally, one of my current WIP, Hands To Work Design's Harvest Blooms.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

I Have Returned

It's been a little over two months since my last post.  I am afraid I allowed some chronic health issues to  send me spiraling into an agoraphobic lethargy of TV binge watching. computer solitaire  and hermit stitching.  But I have taken myself in hand and am determined to resume a more normal routine.  

The title of this post reflects some of the binge watching: my husband watched the entire Victory At Sea documentary while I sat and stitched in the same room.  I was amazed at how jingoistic we were back in the early 50s.  Granted, I was a mere toddler at the time and needn't take personal responsibility for the rabid triumphalism of the cultural climate, but it was still something of a shock to see and hear How very over-the-top things were in my own lifetime.  Anyway, the phrase is a quote  from Douglas MacArthur, who pretty much embodied that culture. 

But I did keep stitching.

First, I finished up the remaining bands of Witches Hollow.    I'll take a proper outdoor photo of the full piece later on today and post it tomorrow.  For now I'll just show the finished bands.

This was a great project, loads of fun to stitch with a great variety of motifs.  So many fascinating little details.

Next, I began work on Hands To Work Designs Harvest Blooms on 40 count raw linen.  I used the recommended WDW and GAST fibers with one exception: I used WDW Mascara instead of GAST Old Black Crow.I did make a mistake on the pumpkin bottom right as brown rather than cranberry.  I'll be leaving the error alone for the present to sre if I can live with it but I suspect I'll be frogging it out in the end.  Rather  annoying really, since I have anchored some of the orange threads under the brown.

And when my eyes became too tired ti work on 40 count, I switched Cross-Eyed Cricket's The Pumpkin Conspiracy on 28 count Lakeside Linen's Buttercream.   I substituted over dyed cottons for the recommended DMC and Silkn Colors, using WDW Bark, Beehive, Cantaloupe, Chartreuse, Chestnut, Chrysanthemum, Cocoa, Cognac, Gold, Kudzu, Lemonade,  Onyx, Schneckly, Sea Foam, Teal Frost, and GAST Bright Leaf, Dried Thyme, Raspberry Parfait, Royal Purple, Tropical Ocean and Zinnia.  I've managed to get quite far along on this piece.  The smaller thread count is so much kinder on the eyes,

And, finally, since I was craving a finish, I stitched u[ this quick little project.  It is the June 2016 JCS Christmas ornament The Strawberry Scissor Fob Ornament  1 [Tree].   I used up a bit of Carrie's Creations Raspberry floss that I had in hand, it was just enough,  A nice bit of serendipity.

It hasn't been all idleness and vacant TV binging but neither has it been a truly productive two months.  But I hope for better in the future.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Very Little Progress

It seems like I've been working on this band forever.  Still, I have a cat, a pumpkin, an owl and a leaf to stitch.  I'll try to finish this band today.

And the next band is even more motif heavy ... and spans four pages of chart, an irritation with this chart that I have mentioned in a previous post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sometimes, Procrastination Bears Fruit

Back when SANQ folded, the publishers sent word that,unless otherwise notified, they would substitute JCS for the remainder of the subscription.    Not having much use for JCS, I fully intended to drop them a line.  Predictably, I never got around to it ... as, no doubt the canny publishers assumed would be the case with most of the subscribers, sparing said publishers the need to issue refunds in an honorable fashion.

The publishers also promised to incorporate some of the content of SANQ into JCS.  Thanks to sheer laziness on my part, I am now in a position to report that the dastardly destroyers of SANQ have kept that promise, at least to a minimal degree.

Here is my totally biased and  rather cranky analysis of the content of JCS since the demise of SANQ.    I have devised nine broad categories for my analysis, each of which has a legitimate following.

SANQ-type charts  Total -3:
     February: 1822 Eliza Morris Sampler
     April: 1927 Harriet Barral Sampler
     June: Adam & Eve Sampler

SANQ-type articles Total -1:
          June: Perforated Paper Popular With Victorians

Contemporary/conventional charts [landscapes/ florals, samplers] Total - 23:
     February: Victorian Winter, Bird Teapot Cozy, Stitch Lover, Daybreak, Corolla Sewing Set, Winterscape, Proverbs 2:10-11, Queen Anne's Lace
     April: Birdsong Sampler, Succulent, Hummingbird, Floral Trivet Set, On Pins and Needles, Spring Chickadees, Monet's Garden
     June: Farm Fresh Basket, Poppy, Summerscape, Traditional Wedding Sampler, Rose Ella's Pincushion and Needlebook, Checkmate Coasters, Paisley and Dots, Bee Happy, Folk Floral

Trendy or seasonal charts Total - 13:
   February: Winter Chalk Art, Love Squared, Snowflakw For Sale, Sparkling Snowflake, Snowflake Hornbook, For Thee,
     April: Cross Easer Egg, Bunny's Basket, Woven Cross, Claddagh Ring, Spring Chalk
     June: Summer Chalk, Strawberry Scissor Fob Ornaments

Hardanger Total-3: 
     February: Hardanger Band Sampler Pt. 1
     April: Hrdanger Band Sampler Part 2
     June: Hardanger Band Sampler Part 3

Redwork or other specialty embroidery charts Total -3:
     February: Alsatian Redwork Heart, Redwork Snowman
     April: Shamina
Primitive Total -1:
     February:  Primitive Sheep Heart

Juvenile themed charts Total -5:
     February: Snow Angel Duo, Feathered Friends
     April: Spring Quartet, It's Winter
     June: Nursery Rhymes

Articles about designers, new products, etc. Total - 5:
     February: Aury TM Designs, Favorite Trends
     April: Miribilia Designs, Favorite Trends
     June: Favorite Trends

Out of a total of 56 articles and charts, only 4 reference antique needlework and one references traditional ethnic needlework of the sort covered by SANQ.  So, to sum up: from my POV, only 6% of the charts and 16% of the articles are of interest.  I will admit that so far two out of three of the Christmas ornaments [the primitive sheep heart and the scissor fob ornaments] have caught my eye.  But for the most part precious little else of the usual JCS content appeals to me.  

Am I convinced the publishers kept their promise?  There is something, though not much, for the antique needlework student.  So I guess the answer has to be a grudging yes.  Am I satisfied with that?  Of course not [note aforementioned crankiness].  I want my SANQ back and regret that I have to wade through so much unappealing dross for a nugget or two of pure gold.  The JCS philosophy of providing a little something for everyone results ultimately in no one being truly satisfied.  Add that to the sneaking suspicion that once the SANQ files of pending articles and charts are depleted, there won't be even the nugget or two for aficionados of the historical and antique ... well, call me a cynic  but I'd bet a few dollars on that outcome.