Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rotation Report

Monday:  The English Band Sampler.  I had to frog all the work I had done in the center of the flower because it was all one stitch too high.    There's no photo since there was no forward progress.

Tuesday: Sage Tea Towel.  Another leaf stitched.  There is a reason this piece is being stitched just one leaf at a time.  Each leaf in this chart has eight or nine different colors.  The whole thing is an exercise in confetti stitching.  And while I love the outcome, I am not all that crazy about the process.  So one leaf at a time is all I can manage before I want to throw my floss box across the room.

I did take a little time to start crocheting a blanket for Liam since I had some more stitching time but no wish to keep going on Sage.  I had originally started a blanket in pale silver grey and winter white but realized I didn't have enough yarn for a crib-sized blanket.  And, I wasn't sure my great-nephew would be home from the NICU before he had outgrown a bassinet sized blanket.  He was born 8 weeks early and weighed in at only 2 lbs.  He has a long road ahead of him and will be spending most of his first year in a hospital.

Wednesday: The Dragon of the Summer Sky.  I am back to this piece again and will probably make it my stitcher's choice piece for the weekend as well.  I find that Dragon Dreams charts stitch up rather quickly, rayon floss not withstanding.  I'd like to have this chart done before the end of December so that I needn't add another item to my WIPs list in the sidebar.  Here's today's progress photo.  Some more back stitching, some more fill stitching and a bit more done on the bottom right.

Today, it is back to the Mystic Smalls and I hope to finish all the cross stitching and the over one stitching on the needle book.  That will leave just the specialty stitches for next week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Giveaway winners

I have contacted the winners by e-mail.  Here is the list:

Barrick Samplers' The Gilded Cage ... Vickie
Bent Creek's Acorn ...Rita E
Heart in Hands' Heart in Hand Sampler ...Beauty Bonnet
Homespun Elegance's The Stitcher ...Kim
Homespun Elegance's Witches Stitch, Too ... Joyce
The Twisted Stitcher's Pumpkin Gingham ... Joyce

The fact that Joyce won two charts is not a case of favoritism but rather the result of her being the only one to express an interest in either chart.

My next giveaway will be in January and will feature witches, giving folks 8 or 9 months to do a little Halloween stitching.  Look for the giveaway around January 3rd.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Catching Up

Since I was unable to stitch Tuesday and Wednesday, I did just a little catching up Thursday and Friday mornings: 3 hours working on The Dragon of the Summer Sky and 2 hours on the Sage tea towel.   This way most everything in the week's rotation saw a little time on the hoop, scroll bar or Q-snaps.  

Most of the remainder of Friday, was spent power napping vegetating.   But power napping sounds so much more dignified.

I made Dragon Dreams' The Dragon of The Summer Sky my weekend choice piece again and made some pretty substantial progress on it.  If you count four linen threads from the right edge of the comet, you will have located the division between page one and two of the chart.  As you can see, I am nearly done with the fill stitching of page one and have made a good start on the defining stitching of page two.  I can not even begin to express how much I detest the DMC satin floss [aka rabid rayon].  If I hadn't already used rayon floss in the companion piece, The Dragon of the Winter Moon, I would have switched it out for a silk in the same color.  The wretched stuff has a recoil, requiring a very tight tension when stitching, which slows the process down.  It's like using pulled stitches.  It also has such a high loft that each stitch obscures the linen threads immediately beside the stitch taken, making it necessary to use a thumbnail to locate the exact hole for the next stitch.  This also slows down the process considerably.  It took me a full hour to stitch just two rows of the fill stitch in the dragons' haunch.  This is the last of my Dragon Dreams charts.  And while I love Jennifer Aiken Smith's designs, I very much doubt I will miss her penchant for using rayon fibers.  I will not be using the nasty stuff again with the possible exception of using my remaining and very small stash of the stuff on Christmas ornaments.  I can manage small stints of stitching with rayon and even I will admit that it gives a nice sheen to an ornament.  But large areas like my dragon's body ... never again!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Report

Tuesday's rotation piece: the Sage tea towel.  Unfortunately, I was unable to stitch at all yesterday.  There was simply too much going on at work.

Today's piece is Dragon Dreams' The Dragon of The Summer Sky.  I made tremendous progress over the weekend but it is unlikely I will manage a single stitch today.  I started my day at 8:00 a.m. prepping for a breakfast meeting that I hosted for the Regional Catechetical group.  Following that meeting, we moved on to the Regional Christmas luncheon at a local restaurant.  That took us up to 2:00 p.m.    On the way back to the office, I picked up the 3 foot hero for the parish Catechist Christmas meeting/party.  Once back at the office I cleaned up the meeting room and set it up again for the second event and then ran out for the trimmings: more paper goods, beverages and Christmas baked goods.  Then, labelled all the catechist Christmas presents [thank the Lord, they were already wrapped] and got the meeting materials ready: the agenda and the handouts.  The party ended around 9:30 p.m.  I am way too old for 13+ hour workdays  Normally, the regional Christmas meeting/luncheon is on the 1st Wed. in December and the catechetical program is the second.  It's just my luck that the year I host the regional event, they fell on the same day.

I am really looking forward to this weekend but I fear I will be in a state of total collapse for most of it.  I still have my Christmas cleaning and decorating to do.  That was the plan anyway.  We shall see if it comes to pass.

It's that time of year: a lot going on in the parish for Advent and Christmas.  And it will only get more hectic.  Next week is the last week of classes before the break.  We start off with a Pancake Breakfast with Santa after all the Sunday Masses, the Advent Reconciliation services on Monday, classes on Tuesday and Thursday with all the usual Christmas hoopla for the younger children.   Wednesday evening is the parish dinner at the rectory.  I am exhausted just thinking about it, especially since the plan for the following weekend is to do my Christmas food shopping and cooking and baking.  Gift shopping is a breeze, at least: my adult children just want American Express gift cards and I shop for my grandchildren on the Internet and have their gifts mailed directly to them.  I expect to be worn quite thin by Christmas but hope to avoid the Bah, Humbug spirit.  Come to think of it, I have a cross stitch chart of those famous Dickensian words.  Maybe this will be the year to stitch it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rotation Progress

Wednesday's rotation piece was the last of my Dragon Dreams charts: The Dragon of the Summer Sky.

Wednesday morning, I kitted it up with the suggested fibers.  The fabric I am using is one of the bargain purchases made at Chris' Collections retirement sale, a 28ct Jobelan Blue Wing instead of the 28ct Zweidart Luguna in slate that was suggested.  The colors are quite close.  Happily, I had all of the Kreinik already in stash. One of the advantages of having a fairly extensive fiber and fabric stash is that kitting up is accomplished without the long wait for mail-order bits and pieces.  I do like being able to start a piece while the mood is upon me.

Of course most of my pre-work stitching hour was taken up by measuring, cutting and binding the edge of the fabric and gathering all the necessary fibers and beads from stash.  The result: was that very little actual stitching was done.  But, I was able to stitch for a portion of my lunch break and for a few hours after dinner, with this result.  Since I made this the stitcher's choice piece for the weekend, I was able to get a really flying start with nearly 1/3rd of the design complete.

Thursday's rotation piece was the Victoria Smalls Class Project from my first Stitcher's Hideaway, the Mystic Smalls.  I didn't have much more than an hour to stitch on Thursday, so the progress is minimal.  Still, it felt good to pick up this 8 year old class project.  For some reason, this photo isn't uploading and I haven't the time to figure out why or to take another shot.  I'll try again this evening after work.

It's been a very long while since I last worked on this project.  I haven't taken a stitch in it since February of 2013.  So, it feels fresh and new again.  I intend to spend the next months reacquainting myself with old class projects and hope, by the end of 2015, to have whittled my sidebar list down to just three or four.

I'll be taking another class with Thea Dueck in October of 2015 and I want to finish up all my previous class pieces from Victoria Sampler so that I have something appropriate to share at show and tell.  That means I'll want to finish this set of smalls, the Sturbridge Box and accompanying smalls and a Christmas  sampler.  I also have an Autumn sampler from her farm series in stash that I'd like to stitch, time permitting.  I realize this is a rather ambitious plan but I will just do as much as I can and be content with whatever progress I make.

Friday's rotation was sewing finishing.  Again, not much time was spent on stitching, so all I managed was to work a bit more on a tote using Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler as it's focal piece.  I'll post a photo of the final finish next week.

And the weekend goal of finding a life beyond the stitching chair was met by
1] visiting my mother and bringing her my annual pre-Christmas gift of a potted mini-Christmas tree.
2] sorting out some books to donate to the local public library's swap room. I'll probably ask my husband to bring them on down on his way to the Historical Society on Wednesday

As noted above, Saturday and Sunday was stitcher's choice and I worked on The Dragon of the Summer Sky.

Monday's rotation piece was The English Band Sampler: I think I am going to have to frog some of the interior of this flower.  Things aren't quite lining up.  So it's two steps forward and one step backward.

This has been a very long post, so I think I'll save Tuesday's progress photo till I've made a bit more progress.  Look for it tomorrow.  Meanwhile, don't forget to check out the sampler charts giveaway in the previous post if you haven't already done so..

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another Giveaway

It's been a while since I offered a giveaway.  The last was on October 18.  I have been going through some binders where I have stored some charts I have stitched.  There really is no earthly reason to hoard these charts.  I'll never stitch them again.  I'd rather pass them on to someone who will enjoy them.  Over the next few months I will stage a few themed giveaways.

So, first, some sampler charts:
Barrick Samplers' The Gilded Cage
Bent Creek's Acorn
Heart in Hands' Heart in Hand Sampler
Homespun Elegance's The Stitcher
Homespun Elegance's Witches Stitch, Too
The Twisted Stitcher's Pumpkin Gingham

As usual, I ask that you commit to passing these charts on to another stitcher once you are done.   It has been suggested to me that I allow myself to be taken advantage of by folks who just turn around and resell the charts I give away.  I reject that notion.  My experience has been that 99% of the folks I encounter are honest.  It's the folks who feel compelled to e-mail me about the supposed sins of others that I worry about.  In any case, once I pass a chart on it really belongs to the recipient to do with as he/she pleases.  Do I wish the recipients pass them on?  Certainly, but I choose not to worry about that which I can not control.

Leave a comment if you wish to participate.  You may put in requests for more than one chart and improve your chances of receiving something.  If clicking on your user name won't bring me to a profile that includes your e-mail address, include it in your post.  

Good luck to all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I must have second sight

In September, I wrote

I am determined to complete this sampler this month.  Yes, I know I have said the very same thing every month since January but this time I really mean it.  Of course, if I end up failing to finish this month, I will "really mean it" when I say I'll finish in October.  Oh, the lies I tell myself about my ability to stretch time!  

I had hoped to be done by now but clearly, as you can see, I am not.  Close, but as my husband says, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."  Such a charming sentiment.    I have reached the point where I imagine I will still be working on this project when I am 90.   I have a recurring stitching nightmare in which I see my family tucking the sampler into my coffin so that I can take just a few more stitches as I wait in line for my final judgment at St. Peter's gate.  

I began this sampler with such giddy optimism that I actually stitched "2012" in the line with my name.  How mortifying to have to frog out the 2 and replace it with a 4, or perhaps a 5.   Or maybe I'll just find a way to squeeze a tiny 2014 or 2015 into the bottom right corner of the last band as a reminder of the length of time spent on the project.
Ah, well, here is a photo of my Monday rotation progress.  It may not look like much has been done since I last posted about it here but I have done four Rhodes Squares, finished the center curlicues on the bottom left and top right, finished frogging the spiral border and the bottom border as needed, re-stitched the bottom border, and stitched another two flowers on the right.   I think that is pretty good progress for just one day's stitching: an hour before work, half an hour on my lunch break and a two hours while watching TV in the evening.
The first photo is of Band 7 in its entirety.

The second photo is a close up of the right side of the band, so you can see a little more detail.  I am enjoying this sampler again.  I haven't stitched on it in a little over two months.  It would seem that this piece is rather overwhelming, at least for me.  I need long breaks from it to maintain enthusiasm.

The Tuesday rotation piece is a pair of tea towels from Cross My Heart's A Sampling of Herbs leaflet.  I got a nice start this morning on the first one, Sage, as seen in this photo.  There is a lot of confetti stitching in these charts and I am not entirely crazy about that aspect of them.  [ The two overlapping leaves, small as they are, have 14 different shades of DMC in them. ]  But they do stitch up quite prettily as you can see here and here on the last pair I stitched.  Well worth the effort though I do believe I will be passing this chart on after this pair.  I don't think I'll be stitching any more of these herbs charts.  They are just a little too fussy and finicky for me.  I have some other herbal charts that were designed specifically for Huck towels that I will be using for the next pair I stitch.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Assessing November Goals, Setting December Goals

NOVEMBER GOALS: I mentioned an odd slump in a post midway through the month, one in which I only wanted to stitch the most brainlessly simple pieces.  It had its effect on November progress.
Christmas Gifts: Stitch a pair of tea towels, using the charts for Mint and Sage.  No.
Current BAP:  Work on Piper's stocking. No.
UFO/Class Project:  Finally finish The English Band Sampler and then pick up work on The Mystic Smalls projects.  No. though I did do a little work on the sampler.
Town Square SAL:  Stitch The Sweet Shop or The Knit Shop.  I stitched The Pet Store, Flocking To Knit and The Fishmonger's Shop.
New Start:  Start The Dragon of the Summer Sky.   This will be my last Dragon Dreams chart from stash, making the 6th chart of Jennifer's [not counting many, many freebies] that I have stitched.  The next series that I will work on will be Workbasket's Quaker Animals.  I have quite a few of those in stash.  No.  Instead, I stitched a much smaller piece, the Prairie Schooler November ornament [Turkey] from the  Year Round leaflet.
Sewing Finishes: Try to get another three or four projects completed.  I want to concentrate on gift totes and wall hangings this month.   If I catch up on the totes and wall hangings, I'll move on to throw pillows.  It all depends on how long my mood for finishing lasts.  I got a real rush last month as I watched the finishes stack up.

DECEMBER GOALS:  Follow through on the plans for a rotation.
Monday: The English Band Sampler
Tuesday: Mint & Sage tea towels.
Wednesday: The Dragon of the Summer Sky
Thursday: Mystic Smalls
Friday: Sewing Finishes
Saturday & Sunday: get out of the stitching chair and do a wide variety of things: walk, exercise, antique, reorganize, put the garden to bed for the winter, feed and observe the backyard birds, read, visit friends and relatives, try a new restaurant, experiment with the recipes I have been downloading, host a high tea ... whatever.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Another Small Finish or Two

The Fish Market in the Town Square series stitched up slightly more quickly than the others: started Sunday afternoon and finished Friday morning.  That's a little under a week and quicker progress than I had made on the last few Town Square pieces.

And, in keeping with my SSD [Seasonal Stitching Disorder], I immediately started the Prairie Schooler Year Round for November, a Thanksgiving Turkey.  I think I'll make stitching one Prairie Schooler Year Round in the appropriate month a 2015 goal thus adding to my seasonal ornament collection in a disciplined and consistent fashion.

Starting Monday, Dec. 1st, I am returning to a rotation system in an effort to accomplish a bit more than I have done in the past few months.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving.  And, in the spirit of the day, I would like to offer this small Grace before Meals as a thought for the day.

Lord, to all who have hunger, give bread.
And to all who have bread, give the hunger for justice.

The above is from the US Catholic Conference of Bishop's Prayers for Peace and Justice