Friday, April 18, 2014

An Easter Finish


My colorful Easter Egg Band Sampler is done, a quick four day stitch.  Normally when I finish with a free chart, I destroy and discard it.  But I think I will hang on to this one for a while.  I am imagining alternate versions of it.  Perhaps a pale blue linen with a blue and green colorway over dyed fiber.  Or a very pale geen with a green and turquoise floss.  But most intriguing of all,  I am seeing this done up in jewel toned petite seed beads on a gold linen for a totally over the top Faberge look.  I'll put the chart aside for now while I mull over all the grand possibilities.

Next up is the 2010 Easter Bunny from By the Bay Needle Art.    I kitted this up substituting Crescent Colors, GAST and WDW cotton over dyes for the recommended DMC.

I'm still in a Easter mood.  But I expect that after this bunny, I shall get back to my BAP or UFO.  I genuinely want to finish those up.  It's just that I needed a bit of a diversion.  I am finding that my one project at a time mood dissipates quickly if that one project isn't a Teresa Wentzler.  Her designs seem to be the only ones that capture my attention to the extent of becoming joyful obsessions.  Most other designers become same-old, same-old all too quickly. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Easter Egg

This piece is coming along nicely and relatively quickly.  I decided I wanted to make the letters stand out a little more, so I am stitching them in a Hand dyed Told in a Garden Egyptian cotton floss that picks up the pale green in the multicolored Caron Waterlilies silk.  I like how the subtle contrast between cotton and silk, as well as the more obvious contrast between solid and multicolored, sets the letters apart from the other design motifs. And, as I predicted, the colors of the multicolored floss pop more obviously now that I have stitched a greater area.   I have stitched 6 of the 11 bands and am a little more than two thirds of the way to a finish.  The top five bands are much less wide than the bottom six.  Two of them are alphabet bands and stitching letters always goes rather quickly.  There is a reasonable hope that I may finish this up tomorrow.

Without children in the house, the religious celebration of Easter has completed overtaken the secular.  It's fun reclaiming some of the more charming secular motifs like Easter eggs and bunnies.  I'll probably spend a bit of time tomorrow kitting up the Easter Rabbit

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Change of Plans

In yesterday's post I said that I would be returning to The English Band Sampler once I had finished my fourth Town Square series shop for this year, bringing my progress up to the one-a-month annual goal.  But I guess I am still craving novelty.  Instead of returning dutifully to my BAPs and UFOs, I started on a very fanciful Easter Egg.

 A little while ago, I posted this photo of a kit seeking a chart:  linen - hand dyed 32ct. Aurora Belfast, fibers - a selection of Caron Waterlilies and Belle Soie silks, and some matching rick-rack.  Well, I found this chart to go with it: an unnamed complimentary chart designed by Frederique Leroy, ironically, another band sampler, though this one is in the form of an Easter Egg.  Unfortunately, this chart did not print out with a URL address at the bottom, like most freebies I have downloaded from various French sites.  So, I am unable to give you directions to find it for yourself.  

I then selected one of the Caron fibers, Tahiti, the lightest of the two over dyed skeins, the one at the bottom.  And I begin stitching yesterday evening. I have only gotten a few bands done but I am enjoying the jelly bean color way of this appropriately seasonal piece.  The band I am working on now will be a band of butterflies.  The colors pop much more in real life, even the sections where the orange sherbert shade gives an intermittent tone on tone effect.  I expect that will become more obvious as I get more stitched.  There are 11 bands on this fanciful little Easter Egg, including a full alphabet, hearts, butterflies, flowers and cherries on the stem.  I think it will make a charming shaped pillow trimmed in rick-rack.

Though this piece shouldn't take more than another day or two, I suspect it'll be a while before I get to The English Band Sampler.  You see, while I was browsing my binders for this chart, I found another: the free bunny 2010 from By the Bay Needleart.  I'll just have to get him stitched while the Easter mood is upon me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Town Square Series Flower Shop

From now until the end of May, my blogging will be somewhat erratic.  As the program year winds down to  close in late May, the demands on my time get more than a little crazy.  So bear with me as I try to find a reasonable balance between family, work and leisure.

This was a relatively quick stitch ... it's a bit smaller than the other charts in the series.  It is another in the series that was meant to be outlined only.  But I abhor that children's coloring book look and have been filling in the negative space with stitches whenever I choose a design like that.  Incidentally, The Honey Shop. The Bakery and The Shoe Shrine were just such charts.




As you can see from the first shot, I stitched all the solid areas first.  It was just a matter of count twice [or thrice] and stitch once.










The side walls were supposed to be outlined in brown but, as you can see in the second photo, I stitched the entire building in GAST Picket Fence. .I also changed back stitched flower by the door to a lazy daisy stitched flower

Monday, April 14, 2014

Indy 2006 Town Square Series Progress

Wednesday:  My husband attended the Civil War Round Table meeting Wednesday evening.  So I parked myself in my stitching corner, set the Roku box to play episodes from Law & Order SVU and stitched for a solid two hours, finishing the Bakery from this series.  This is another piece that I stitched from stash, substituting over dyed fibers in stash for similar over dyed flosses listed on the chart.



Thursday:  I have started The Shoe Shrine,  Again, I was able to stitch from stash, having four of the five required over dyes in stash and needing to substitute only  GAST Hyacinth for WDW Plum.  It is so satisfying to be able to kit up a chart immediately, no waiting for supplies to arrive in the mail.  One other change I made.  The chart called for stitching the shoes in "back stitch" which made no sense to me.  So first I tried satin stitch which certainly didn't work so frogged that and stitched them over one, instead. 

Friday:  Finished stitching The Shoe Shrine.

Saturday and Sunday:   I kitted up and began work on the Town Square Series' The Flower Shop. Again, I was able to kit this up from stash with only one substitution: a medium brown Limited Edition GAST for GAST Sable. I'll show a photo when I have a bit more than the roof line stitched.  This piece will catch me up with my annual goal of stitching one building from this series each month

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pineberry Lane Progress

Saturday:  I had just a little time in the morning to do a bit more stitching.

The rest of the day was consumed by a nephew's wedding.  The Nuptial Mass was at 3pm and the Reception was at 6:00pm.  Now, I love my nephew but I do dislike the folderol that is the modern wedding.  My first pet peeve is the current practice of leaving a two hour gap between the end of the Mass and the beginning of the reception so that the bridal party can engage in a photo shoot that rivals that of a top designer's introduction of his new Spring line.  Oh, and we have to leave some more time for the bridal party to get drunk in a party bus while their guests twiddle their thumbs for two hours in a parking lot somewhere.  Luckily, my Mom had a little interim gathering for those few relatives traveling from a distance who attended both the wedding and the reception.  Most of the relatives faced with this dilemma just attended the reception.  Since, to my way of thinking, the actual marriage ceremony is the most significant part of the day, I consider this a crying shame.  Then, there is the reception itself: an over lavish, noisy, crowded party that the guests are expected to subsidize by giving a cash wedding gift equal to or exceeding the cost of their "plate".   We left the reception as early as we decently could at 9:00pm with the excellent face-saving excuse that my 85 year old mother couldn't tolerate the noise anymore and asked us to drive her home.   She had come with my sister Kate and her husband Tom, who like to party and end up staying till all hours.  The perception was that Bill and I made a sacrifice but the reality was that we were delighted to leave early.

The next wedding will be in October, in Boston, so there will be travel, hotel and meals added to the mix.  Since there are 9 more single nieces and nephews in their twenties I can only expect this to go on for a couple more years.  The things one does for family!  I know I must sound like an absolute Scrooge but I really don't understand why this generation of middle class kids believe they are entitled to have weddings that rival those of  the rich and famous.  The only one of my three children to marry kept to a sensible budget since my daughter-in-law's single Mom was not in a position to throw a lavish wedding.  The kids paid half and we, the parents, paid half.  But my siblings and their children are far more status conscious whereas I am an aging hippie with a whole different set of values.  My attitude about weddings can be summed up in the phrase, "Keep it simple."  And definitely, don't go into debt for a wedding that is, after all, just one day in a lifetime together.

Sunday:  The Open House for my Good Shepherd Catechesis atrium went really well and I am hoping to have at least 10 students in my free four week pilot program.  A good number of parents and grandparents took applications.  The pilot program will be a kind of shakedown cruise for the official opening of the full year program in September.

As to Sunday stitching, I finished the Autumn on Marigold Lane sampler and got back to stitching on the Town Square Bakery.  I have plans to stitch three Town Square pieces in a row so as to catch up to my goal of one Town Square ornament a month.

Monday:  I continued stitching on the Bakery from the Town Square series.  I had no time before work to stitch but I did manage 3/4 of an hour on my lunch break and a little more after dinner.  I was slowed down a bit by the need to frog out the word Bakery.  It just wasn't popping in the charted colors and my brilliant idea of back stitching it in white only made it look messy.  So, I frogged the whole word, back stitching and all, and restitched it in white.  It was an annoyingly fussy and delicate task to frog out the back stitching and the letters but it was worth the aggravation.  Once I have finished a few more Town Square buildings, I'll get back to The English Band Sampler.  I think I over dosed on the charts that kept appearing in my Goals lists each month and needed a break from them in March.  So I am easing my way back into the whole process of stitching UFOs and Class Projects, alternating between the lists when choosing projects for my monthly goals lists.  When I finish the sampler from the UFO list, I'll get back to working on the Mystic Smalls from the Class Projects list.  When finished with that, I'll choose a project from the UFOs list and so on and so on.  I'll slip in some new starts to keep the variety going strong.    Two years working on only old projects has made what used to be a joy into a chore.  I am reclaiming the joy.

Tuesday:  I did a bit more stitching on the Bakery from the Town Square series and am nearly done with the piece, just the window displays left to stitch.  I'll start on the Shoe Shrine from the same series next.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Monday Medley

This was supposed to be posted on Monday but I have been dealing with a crisis at work that has consumed my attention.  Nothing else seemed important while we worked toward a resolution. 

First, the winning limerick.
There were so many creative and clever limericks that it was very difficult to choose from among them.  Only a few entries had to be disqualified because they didn't fit the rhyme and/or rhythm patterns of a true limerick.  In choosing the winner, Misty, my husband cited similarity to me as the reason for his choice.  The only difference is I take over the dining room table instead of the couch.  I have contacted Joanne today and the winner should receive an e-mail gift certificate soon.  Here is the winning limerick

A stitcher who lived in Vancouver
Sat on her couch and took over
Between fabric and floss
She was clearly the boss
And everyone had to move over.

Second, Pineberry Lane's Autumn on Marigold Lane.



I have made a great deal of progress during the past week.  But I still have a few decisions to make.  I don't really like the charted date, 1837, that brackets the urn above the fence.  I am wondering whether to a] replace it with 2014, b] replace it with my own initials or c] leave the space blank.  I am leaning toward leaving the space blank.




And, I have yet to choose a substitute for GAST Autumn Leaves.  I have pulled the following colors for a floss toss, from top to bottom: WDW Sweet Potato, GAST Burnt Orange and Crescent Colors  Persimmon.  I am not quite sure which I like best.  The charted Autumn Leaves has a color way from rust to rusty tan. None of these is an exact or even nearly exact match for the suggested fiber.  But that's not necessarily a problem.  I believe the shade that works best with what is already in place is WDW Sweet Potato.   With its muted rusty orange, it blends best with the mood of the piece.


Since, I wrote the above post, I have continued work on Autumn on Marigold Lane, with this result.  Even though I have only stitched one flower in Sweet Potato, I think you can see how well it is working.  I seem to be flying through this piece.  With just the cauldron, two black cats and 8 flowers to stitch, I expect this will be finished on Friday, making it a ten day stitch.  But no wonder.  I find it to be such a joy to stitch.  This is my second Pineberry Lane chart and I am loving it.  I look forward to starting my third one later this month: Tansy, Yarrow and Rue.  If any designer can tempt me to violate my no new chart purchases rule, it'll be Pineberry Lane.  But I am assiduously avoiding temptation by not visiting her website.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Assessing march Goals, Setting April Goals

MARCH GOALS: March is one of the long months so you'd think I'd have accomplished all my goals.  Not so!  I am afraid I succumbed to a hacking cough with cold and headache and chills and fevers that lasted three weeks.  Most of that time, I didn't stitch at all.
BAPs:  Continue to work on Piper's Stocking.  No.
Class Project: Finish the Mystic Smalls. No.
Town Square SAL: Finish The Bakery and start work on The Shoe Shrine.  No.
WIP's: Finish Band 6 and start on Band 7 of The English Band Sampler.  No. 
WISHFUL THINKING: stitch a few more heart ornaments for my Anniversary and Valentine's Day tree.  I did finish Ajisai Press's free Blackwork Heart
And maybe a few sewing finishes.  
 Off Goal Stitching: my own adaptation of Whispered in the Wind's Winter 2013 ornament and Pineberry Lane's Autumn on Marigold Lane.

APRIL GOALS: April will include our annual Easter Break, so I should have more stitching time than usual and may be able to make up for time lost to my March illness.  You will note that the first four goals are the same for March and for April.  Things did not go well in March.
BAPs:  Continue to work on Piper's Stocking.  
Class Project: Finish the Mystic Smalls.
Town Square SAL: Finish The Bakery and start work on The Shoe Shrine.
WIP's: Finish Band 6 and start on Band 7 of The English Band Sampler.
WISHFUL THINKING: stitch a few more heart ornaments for my Anniversary and Valentine's Day tree.  I did finish Ajisai Press's free Blackwork Heart
And maybe a few sewing finishes.  
 Off Goal Stitching: Pineberry Lane's Autumn on Marigold Lane.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Try That Again

I thought I was going to be able to ease back into my routines last week but, alas, it was not in the cards.  Relapses are funny things, they hit you hardest when least expected.  But after a second week of pampering myself by taking two more sick days, eating soft foods, consuming what seemed like gallons of cough meds, a truckload of cough drops and a tanker full of chicken broth; I am feeling a bit more like myself.  Not quite all the way back, still hacking incessantly, but more like myself nonetheless.

So, easing back into my stitching routines: I find I wanted a completely fresh start to celebrate the return to a semblance of health. To that end, I pulled Pineberry Lane's Autumn on Marigold Lane out of the To-Do Binder that resides in my Current Stitching Bag.  As most of my readers know, I am stitching from stash at the present so I made a number of substitutions.  First, the linen: the chart calls for 30ct R & R Reproductions Broomstick Brown linen, for which I substituted a 40ct. mystery linen in a very similar light brown.  Obviously my end product will be smaller than the 8"w x 7.5"h stitched model.  That's okay though since I prefer to make my 6"w x 5.25"h sampler into the center of a tote.  Second, the fibers:  I had three of the recommended GAST flosses in stash: Tarnished Gold, Gold Leaf and Onyx.  But for Wood Trail, I substituted a Ltd. Ed. Brown that was just a shade lighter; for Endive, I substituted Chives; and for Wheat Fields, I substituted Harvest Basket.  As is often the case with over dyed dye lots, I had two cards of Harvest Basket, one card substantially darker than the other.  I chose to use the lighter card since it more closely approximated the DMC equivalent cited for Wheat Fields.  It's amazing just how much variation there is in over dyed skeins with the same name and, presumably, the same formula.  

That left Autumn Leaves for which I don't have a proximate match in either my GAST or WDW stash.  I do have an Autumn Leaves in Gloriana silk that would work nicely so far as color is concerned.  While I am not one of those folks who thinks mixing fibers is a taboo, I am still thinking about this.  The whole piece is very plain in the Quaker sense of the word, not the least bit showy, very simple.  The silk could spoil the entire mood of the sampler.  I may just have to break down and order a card of GAST Autumn Leaves.  Pineberry Lane's style is very similar to Primitive Needle's, which is the main reason I like it so much.  I don't ordinarily think "silk" when choosing floss for Primitive Needle pieces and I think the same rule will apply for Pineberry Lane projects.

There will be pictures in the next few days ... as soon as I get past the boring, non-spectacular bits: the monochrome alphabet and side divider.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Down For the Count

No stitching this weekend: just spasms of rib wracking coughs, post nasal issues and headaches.  I seem to be headed toward laryngitis as well ... not a good thing for an educator.  My vocal cords seemed to be made of the very coarsest sand paper.  I am going back to bed and will reemerge when I am well.