Tuesday, October 21, 2014

And a Bit More Finishing

Here's a photo of the ornaments I trimmed yesterday and today before work.

They are: 

Les Grilles d'Elise Lotte's Coeur finished as a wedding anniversary ornament, Peggy Bowe's Columbus Day ornament

The Trilogy's Spring Spots.

I am taking three more Trilogy Spring ornaments to work and hope to finish them during the lunch hour.  Two have the cord pinned in place and one needs to be assembled and trimmed.

   These last three Trilogy  ornaments are the last in that series.  I'll finish them off with beaded hang tags this evening.

     Then I'll just have the last two heart ornaments to finish before  moving on to other types of finishes.

I still have three smalls ready for trimming.  Once I am done with them, I'll be ready to move on to the totes.  I am energized by the crisp Autumn weather.  It makes me want to get things DONE.  Here's hoping this mood lasts till I get to the bottom of the laundry basket that overflows with my sewing and assembly finishing.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Not Quite the Weekend I Had Hoped

I never get as much done over the weekend as I hope to do.  I had expected to finish assembling and trimming all my accumulated ornaments and make three pin pillows and get started on the assembly line process of stitching up five gift totes.

Here's what I actually managed to do:

Assemble and trim nine Town Square ornaments.  I have been trying to stitch one a month this year and these are my January through September ornaments.  I have yet to start the October ornament and may not get it this month.

Then I assembled and trimmed two Halloween ornaments.  I haven't gotten out my Halloween decorations yet.  I usually have them up in the first week of October.  But when I finally get around to it, these two ornaments will be added to the tree.

I trimmed one of the heart ornaments.  The other three are in various stages of completion: one assembled with the cord trim pinned in place, one assembled but trim yet to be made and one not yet assembled.

The rest of the ornaments and smalls are in various states of near-completion:
**The Columbus Day ornament is assembled and the cord is pinned in place.
**I have made the cord for six more ornaments: the Trilogy's Spring series.  
**I also made the cord for the Kindred Spirits scissor fob but have yet to stitch it in place.
** I have pulled the chenille for trimming two pin pillows: Primitive Needle's Halloween Night and Dragon Dreams' Here Be Dragons.

But the Tansy, Yarrow and Rue smalls are still waiting to be assembled into pin pillows, the larger sampler is not yet a wall hanging.  The three Halloween pieces are still sitting on the dining room table, not yet sewn into Trick or Treat bags, The two Easter pieces await the selection of coordinating fabrics so that they may also become gift totes.  As to the Dragon Dreams' Compass Rose Dragon, I am not even sure how I want to finish it.  I am thinking either a bell pull or a flat fold stand up.

On the positive side of the ledger: I have completely finished 12 ornaments, am close to finishing four more and am ready to trim three more smalls.

On the negative side of the ledger: five would-be totes, three pin pillows, a wall hanging and a mystery finish still languish on the ironing board or dining room table. 

That's 12 down and 17 to go.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gallery Post - Town Square Series - 2014 Update

Starting in 2013, I got serious about trying to stitch one of these charts each month as an ornament.  For the most part, I have managed to stick to that schedule.  These are the ornaments that will be adorning my 2014 Small Town USA themed Christmas Tree.

So far I have stitched:

The Antique Samplers Shop by Barb Allen for The Needle's Work Antiques

The Bakery by JBW Designs

The Book Shop by Mosey and Me

The Button Shop by Cecile McPeak for Just Another Button Company

Cafe du Monde by Leslie Wristers

The Church by DebBee's Designs

The Cross Stitch Shop by The Cross Stitchery & MSF

The Fiber Shop by The Heart's Content

The Fire Station by Wild Heart Designs

The Flower Shop by My Mark

The Frame Shop by East Side Mouldings

The Honey Shop by Shepherd's Bush

Milady's Tea Shop by Milady's Needle

The Post Office by Knotted Tree Needle Art

The Primitives Shop by Prairie Moon

The Quilt House by Nancy Pfeiffer

The Saloon by Crescent Colors

The Shoe Shrine by Sam Sarah Design

The Silversmith by Charland Designs: by some weird trick of the light, this fabric is not showing its true blue color.

The Star Theater by Heart in Hand

 The School House by La-D-Da

The Town Clock by Cricket Collection

The Town Hall by Weeks Dye Works

The Toy Shop by Olde Colonial Designs

The Train Depot by Val's Stuff

And this is the backing fabric that I have used for all the ornaments .  IRL it is a bit of a darker navy blue.

A reader, in a recent comment, asked me to explain the Indy Town Square SAL.  The simplest way to do so is to direct you to the SAL blog .  I don't know if the charts are still available.  If they are, obviously I think they are well worth obtaining.  So many people have jumped on the various more expensive versions of a townful of buildings, e.g.: the various Hawk Run Hollow seasonal series and the LHN Cottage series and the Santa's Village series.  I got 42 charts of buildings for the investment of $5.  It seems a better bargain to me than any of the above.    And the variety is amazing since, not only are there 42 different shops and public buildings, each is designed by a different designer.  I am stitching mine as ornaments but people can stitch them as block style samplers like the HRH series, as afghans, or as separate smalls.  It's an extremely versatile set of charts.  I am maintaining unity in my ornament collection by using one of three very similar light to medium blue linens to stitch the ornaments and using the same backing fabric and homemade cording made from coordinating shades of blue DMC floss.   I am not sure I will stitch every chart in the series but I do intend to stitch at least three dozen.  I am not generally much of a shopper so visiting shops in cross stitch serves as my version of retail therapy ... with the added benefit that it is not nearly as expensive as the real deal.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mystic Giveaway Winners

They are:

Victoria Sampler's: Maine Heart:   Mary

GPA Stocking #1 Cottage:  Laura

S & S Acorn Tin Topper:  Dian

S & S Snowflake Tin Topper: Laura

Beary Merry Christmas:  No takers

Stitching Friends: Melody

Brightneedle's Esmerelda's House:  Erin

Homespun Elegance Pumpkin: Melody.

Thank you for participating.  I'll be e-mailing you all shortly to ask for mailing addresses.  I am so glad these great charts are going to people who will enjoy them

Friday, October 17, 2014

More Assembly Line Finishing

Here are a few more ornaments that are done except for the trimming with hand made cording..  First are five more Town Square ornament finishes.

And then, this little pillow ornament finish with a beaded hanger.

It's been really satisfying to focus on finishing these past few days.  I still have the totes to work on: three for Halloween, two for Easter and one for all-occasion gifting.    And then there are the Tansy, Yarrow and Rue pin pillows [one for each herb] and the larger sampler that I need to turn into a wall hanging or throw pillow.  And the Dragon Dreams' Compass Rose Dragon, probably to be finished as another throw pillow.  I'll work on the Halloween totes first since I want to send them to my grandchildren on the West coast to use as Trick or Treat bags.  I will, of course, fill them with a few treats first: some spooky-funny books and a few novelty Halloween toys or T-shirts.  This will go a little more than a third of the way towards catching up with the sewing and assembly finishing.  If possible, I'd like to be caught up by year's end with all finishing but the "to be framed" projects and the Quaker animal pieces I intend to assemble into a quilt once I have enough of them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some More Assembly Line Finishing

I have gotten a few more pieces finished to the point of trimming with cording: a couple of heart ornaments and a Monsterbubbles Halloween ornament.  I have shown a swatch of the backing fabric beneath each ornament

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday's Work

I don't have to go in to work till one today since I have evening meetings till nine.  So I spent the morning catching up on some assembly finishing.

Four more town square ornaments and one Halloween ornament are now ready for cording.  I still have another ten ornaments to assemble, a tote that needs handles and a lining, and four more more projects that need to be made into totes.  And that is just to catch up to the finishing that is sitting on the ironing board.  

The Town Square ornaments are all backed with a navy fabric with white polka dots.  And the Halloween ornament is backed with a great fabric in gold, black and purple swirls.   I hope to continue work on the finishing tomorrow morning before work and foresee a marathon session of cord-making over the weekend.  With any luck, I shall have fifteen ornaments and five totes done by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Progress Report

Sue Donnelly's Kindred Spirits Pin Pillow: I made sure I zig zaged the edges of this piece since I wanted to work on it this past weekend and then couldn't put it down.  It was just the right sort of stitching to take along on the trip to Boston for my nephew's wedding.  Simple, easy to pick up and set aside again without losing one's place or momentum.  In short, perfect for a week of socializing with a large family.  I decided to create a border for this project and when finishing it up will embellish the pillow with some lovely ecru crocheted lace.

Brightneedle's Kindred Spirits Bonus Kit: I finished the stitching on this and assembled it right away as a fob.  I just have to decide whether I will use chenille or cording to trim it.  I have the perfect scissor for it, one of those very tiny pairs with green handles.  The blade is less than an inch in length.

Some sewing finishes:  While I was in the mood for sewing finishes, I did a few more:

A Halloween freebie

Here Be Dragons

My Grand Nephew's Blanket:  As you may remember, I had to rip this back having lost the crochet needle.  I started over last night when I was simply too tired to stitch.

I was off for Columbus Day and had every intention of stitching the whole day.  Reality, in the form of exhaustion, put paid to that idea.  Two weekends in a row spent traveling long hours in the car can be very wearing.  After attending my nephew's wedding this weekend and socializing with my family [which is the size of a small African country], I needed a day of rest and solitude.  Incidentally, that's three weddings down and two more to come in the next year and two more the following year.  I am getting to be quite the old crank about weddings.  I love every one of my 16 nieces and nephews and I wish them all the joy in the world.  But, as weddings fill my calendar with the inexorability of falling dominoes,  I find myself wishing that it would become the rage to have string quartets play at wedding receptions rather than rock bands or deejays.  A little Mozart, please.  And a lot less of that throbbing bass that thrums in one's very bone marrow.  At the last wedding, we were able to duck out early because my 85 year old mother was weary of the noise and we volunteered to take her home.  No such luck this time around since we had to travel to the Boston area and were all staying at the same hotel where the wedding was held.  But I have offered to bribe Mom with big bucks to repeat the request at all future local weddings. Unfortunately, the next wedding will be out on Long Island, another hotel affair, though this one will be on the beach.  It is getting hard to watch my mother's heart break with each wedding held in a hotel "chapel" rather than a Catholic church but even her priest advises her to err on the side of grand-maternal love.  And I keep telling her that I believe God is at lot less rigid than humanity when it comes to "the rules".  However, she comes from a generation when Catholics were taught that they could not attend non-Catholic services at all and it pains her deeply to see her grand children discarding a faith that means so much to her..

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Another Stitching Meme: Are you a stitching snob?

Every now and then I get the urge to interview other stitchers on a variety of topics, if for no other reason than to see how far beyond the realm of reason I have strayed.  Recently, on a board I had frequented, I was labelled an "elitist".  Now, I am okay with that.  Push comes to shove, I'd far rather be called an elitist than a moron.  But it has started me wondering.  Am I a stitching snob?  I know I am a tea snob and I have heard it said that I am an intellectual snob ... usually when I am being finicky about grammar, historical accuracy or the quality of television programming.  But I have been pretty careful not to betray my stitching biases on boards and in chat rooms, especially those with large memberships in which you will find every level of skill and taste..

So here goes, a few questions to determine whether one is a stitching snob:

1. Do you subscribe to SANQ and read it cover to cover? [n.b.: a true snob does not need a translation of the acronym].  Yes, I do.  I have even stitched several designs from its pages.
[Give yourself 5 points if you subscribe and read cover to cover, 3 points if you subscribe, 1 if you know what SANQ stands for but don't subscribe, and 0 if you neither subscribe nor know what SANQ stands for.]

2. Do you own books about the history of the needle arts, reference books on special stitches and/or sampler motifs, ethnic stitching traditions, etc.?  How many books are in your library?  Yes.  At least 2 dozen or more.
[Give yourself 1 point for every book in your library]

3. Do you belong to ANG or EGA?  EGA
[Give yourself 5 points for each organization you belong to.]

4. Do you prefer to stitch on Aida or evenweave or linen?  I prefer linen but have used evenweave.  I rarely use Aida.
[Give yourself 5 points for linen, 3 points for evenweave and 1 point for Aida]

5. If linen, do you prefer 28 ct, 32 ct, 36 ct or 40 ct?  I usually stitch on 32 and 36 ct but I have some 28 and 40ct in stash.
[Give yourself the following points for linen you have in stash: 5 points 40 ct, 4  for 36 ct, 3 for 32 ct and 1 for 28ct.  This could add up quite nicely if you have linen in a variety of counts]

6. Do you prefer to stitch over one or over two?  I'll do either just as happily.
[Give yourself 5 points for over one and 3 points for over two or 6 points if you do both.]

7. Have you ever stitched on 60 ct gauze?  Yes.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

8. Do you own a laying tool?  Yes.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

9. Do you use your laying tool?  Rarely.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

10. Do you prefer to stitch with DMC/Anchor cotton, overdyed cottons, silks or overdyed silks?  I'll stitch with any and every fiber but I adore silk.
[Give yourself 5 points for silks of any kind, 3 points for over dyed cotton, 1 point for DMC/Anchor]

11. Have you ever used exotic fibers like bamboo, velvet, leather, silk ribbon, wool/silk blends or other specialty fibers?  Yes, I love using all sorts of fibers and specialty floss.
[Give yourself 5 points you own 10 or more different specialty fibers and 3 points if you own 9 or less, and 0 points if you don't own any]

12. Do you know how to railroad your stitches?  Yes.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

13. Do you have a private list of designers you think are terminally cute and to be avoided like the plague?  Most definitely.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

14. Do terms like "diagonal Queen stitch", "Rhodes Heart stitches" and the like fall trippingly off your tongue? Yes, I enjoy doing complex and interesting stitches.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

15. Do you design some of your own projects?  Yes.  I have designed about a dozen of my own projects over the past few years.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

16. Do you gravitate toward designers like Teresa Wentzler, Miribilia, Ink Circles, Whispered in the Wind or other purveyors of the big and complex charts?  One can never have too many Teresa Wentzler projects on the go.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

17. Do you turn pale when confronted with a chart that has more than 4 pages of graph and even more pages of accompanying instructions?  No.
[Give yourself 5 points for No and 0 points for Yes.]

18. Do you distinguish between projects that are heirloom quality and stuff that you've stitched for fun or for seasonal decorating?  Absolutely, not everything I stitch is meant to be passed down through the generations with awe and reverence.  Some of it is for fun in the here and now.  Not everything has to be high art.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

19. Do you use a stitching stand?  Yes, for some of my larger projects.
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

20. Do you stitch two handed?  When I am using a floor model stitching stand, I do.  But not when using lap stands and table stands.  It just doesn't seem comfortable.                     
[Give yourself 5 points for Yes and 0 points for No.]

100+ to 85:  You are certainly a serious and experienced stitcher.  There may be a hint of snobbery in there though most reasonable folk would call it justifiable pride!
84 to 65:  You are a competent stitcher with a fairly broad frame of reference and probably eager to learn more about this fascinating craft.  But not yet a snob.
64 to 45:  You are no longer a novice.
44 and less: You haven't yet had the time or the opportunity to explore all the facets of this wonderful craft..

Well, there you have it.  Just a few questions about topics that seem to be touchstones in determining, at least for some, elitism or snobbery or whatever as it relates to stitching.  So, are you a stitching snob?  If you'd like to leave a comment with your score, I'd enjoy seeing the range.

My score: 117.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Giveaway reminder

Just popping in with a brief reminder about my current giveaway of 8 brand new, never used charts.  Scroll down to the Oct. 6 post for more details and to leave a comment to participate.  Or click here.