Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday's Tasks and Wednesday's Work

Since I am wrapping things up at work before summer break, I ended up working through my lunch hour and may end up doing so again today.  That means a little less stitching time.  So I don't have much progress to show.

The only piece I actually did get time to work on yesterday was The Dragon of the Winter Moon.  I did finish up the blade at the end of the tail and filled in a bit more of the icy mountain range below the dragon.  I know it is hard to see but there has been progress.  That's one of the reasons I backstitch as I go along.  It helps me to "find my place" as we used to say in grade school. I've decided this dragon's name is Luna.  I had first thought it might be Selena but I realized soon enough that Selena wasn't a strong enough name for this matriarch who curls so protectively and alertly in her mountain stronghold.

We are expecting some rain later in the day.  I am hoping it holds off till evening since I'd like to finish the first motif on The English Band Sampler after work.  The soft light of 5:30 to 7:00 pm is perfect for stitching on the patio.

But if that doesn't work out, there is always The Silversmith's Shop or some sewing and assembly projects to work on indoors.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Miscellany

No photos today: the camera is recharging.


I have made some progress on The Dragon of the Winter Moon: the shading on the tail and back haunches is done and a start on the blade of the tail.  I hope to finish the tail and finish work on the mountain range done in Kreinik very fine braid today.

Because the end of the month is approaching and I want to make a serious attempt at meeting all the stated July goals, I finally kitted up The Silversmith Shop from the Town Square series.  I plan to get to stitching on it sometime toward the end of this week.


I have harvested two more cucumbers and am very impatiently tracking the growth of 7 eggplants, the largest of which is only 4" long and the smallest, less than 1".  Still nothing but blossoms on the tomato plants.  I begin to wonder if the neighbors trees are blocking the sun to the extent I will no longer be able to raise vegetables even in my raised [3 1/2'] planter boxes.  The soil gets warm enough but I am probably not getting enough full sun.  I may have to start planting the vegetables in the front yard planter box but then I will have to worry about pilferage.


Just three more days till summer break!  The count down begins.  End of the school year tasks are very nearly done.  Life is good.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

RAKs. The English Band Sampler and The Dragon of the Winter Moon

First I want to thank Linda from Albany, NY and Dani from Canada for sending me Marlitt floss.  I am able to complete The Dragon of the Winter Moon thanks to you ladies.

I especially want to acknowledge Dani's totally unexpected gift of a small cut of fabric which will make the perfect backing for my Here Be Dragons pin pillow and a fabulous scissor fob complete with small dragon, all enclosed in a beautiful mermaid card that accompanied the Marlitt floss.

The series of thunderstorms that plagued us for a week has finally passed on.  The patio was dry and comfortable Thursday morning and I should have gotten a bit of stitching done before I had to leave for work at 8:45am.  It's great living less than a ten minute drive from the office.  But, I had a wakeful night and ended up sleeping in till it was time to dress for work.  But the weather continued to be fine on Friday and Saturday.  So, I did get plenty of stitching time in optimum light on my patio.  What could be better than stitching in a comfortable chair, with a flask of iced peach infused ice tea, and entertained by birdsong.

The eyelets are done, done, done!!! I am so happy, I could sing and dance and sing some more.   I even managed to stitch the chain border between Bands 6 and 7 on Friday.  Band 7 is another densely stitched and intricately designed band.  It looks like loads of fun.  I expect the enjoyment quotient of this piece is about to sky rocket.  I did manage to get a start on the first motif on Saturday evening though I spent most of Saturday on my latest dragon.    The first motif was offset by one thread.  I know this was done to balance the design but it just seems so wrong, violating all the rules.  I will divide my Sunday stitching between sampler and dragon.

And, now for the dragon: Thanks to the lovely ladies mentioned at the top of this post, I had the Marlitt to stitch a good bit of the dragon's body.  There is still the shading of the tail to fill in and both wings to stitch as well as the blade at the end of the tail.  And, of course I need to finish up the mountain range beneath the dragon and the castle in the background as well as the moon.  Then there is the back stitching and the beading.  I guess I am just a little bit more than halfway done with this piece.   I plan to stitch the shading of the tail as well as the blade at its tip on Sunday and then spend the remainder of the time on the sampler.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Dragon Of The Winter Moon

Thanks to Linda from Albany area, I have some Marlitt and have started to fill in the main body of the dragon.  Luckily, two other cyber stitching friends have offered me skeins of Marlitt.  I believe I am going to need it all.  The skeins aren't very long and Marlitt only has four strands.  I anticipate needing at least a skein and a half more then the full skein Linda sent and the nearly full skein I had had on hand.

Since last seen, I have, as noted above, started filling in the body and I have stitched a bit more of the Kreinik icy mountain range.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Very Mixed Bag

Thursday, I took a sick day because I either had the flu or heatstroke.  The symptoms were stomach and intestinal distress, light headedness, headache and nausea.  So I pampered myself indoors with a/c, lots of decaffeinated beverages and ibuprofen.   Didn't feel up to driving to work or concentrating on things like registrations and writing family catechesis programs once I got there.  So I stayed home and I  did only the simplest of activities, which included reading Catherine Coulter's new FBI thriller, Power Play, and making some light meals.  I wasn't feeling much better on Friday and repeated the pampering routine.

A highlight of Friday afternoon was the arrival of my package from 123 stitch.  It contained an additional portable stitching lamp, some clip on magnifiers [1.5x and 3.0x] and the threads I need to kit up The Dragon of the Summer Sky and The Silversmith's Shop as well as one Caron Waterlily, Blue Lavendar, that I need for The Dragon of the Winter Moon.  I still need to order the charm for The Silversmith's Shop but I'll be ordering that from a not so local needlework shop here in NY state.

I was feeling a bit better by Saturday and did get some stitching done..

I got quite a bit done on The Dragon of the Winter Moon on Sunday.  I learned something new from a blogging friend, D.B., who stitched some models for Jennifer Aiken-Smith of Dragon Dreams.  All of the Dragon Dreams dragons are female.  Just an interesting factoid I am passing on to you readers.  I have to apologize to all the dragons I have stitched in the past and to whom I have referred as male.  Yesterday, I received a skein of Marlitt white from Linda, so I will begin filling in the body of the dragon.  Linda was one of three lovely stitching cyber friends who offered to give me a skein.  Two other lovely ladies did a search for sources in Britain and Australia.  The stitching community is a very generous one.  There is always help to be found when needed.

And Monday morning, it was dry enough for me to get in an hour of stitching on the patio before heading to work.  I used the time to work on The English Band Sampler.  I worked on Band 6 and finished up the sixth block of eyelets and satin stitches and then continued on to stitch the satin stitches on the remaining two blocks.  Now all I have to do is stitch the eyelets on those last two blocks.  We are expecting thunderstorms through Wednesday but I am hoping for another dry morning or two.  Even with clip-on magnifiers, I need good strong daylight to work on this phase of Band 6.

 As to gardening: my patio pots of chives, thyme, rosemary and basil are doing pretty well.  I have already harvested my first cucumber and there are three more ready to harvest within the day or so.  Some of the eggplant blossoms have set fruit, and the tomato plants have a fair amount of blossoms but haven't set fruit just yet.  The pepper plants are not doing much of anything, which is a disappointment.  One of my flower boxes is coming along nicely but for some reason all but one of my marigolds up and died on me.  I will probably plant some peas for an early fall harvest on Thursday once the thunderstorms pass through and maybe a row or two of radishes, lettuce and carrots.  I'd like to keep the salad stuff coming.

Here is a shot of some tomato plants guarded my my garden dragon you can also see the lone surviving marigold and a pot of small lavender flowers, whose name I forget at the moment.  I picked them up at the nursery just because I thought they were pretty.  I am afraid I am not one of those expert gardeners who remembers all the botanical nomenclature and can reel off name after name with the greatest of ease.
 I am going to have to call in the landscapers again very soon.  The trees above the retaining wall are blocking the sun.  It's been three years now since I had them come in and cut away some of the lower branches.  It would seem it is time to do so again.

In this shot you can just make out a very tiny eggplant to the left and to the right, my miniature basil is thriving.

In this shot, you can see that my patio pots of chives, thyme, and parsley are doing pretty well.    To the right of the herbs are my mini-Christmas tree which has grown from one of those 12" potted trees tp it's present 2 1/2 feet and one of my tomato plants, a new variety to me, with a very un-tomato like leaf.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cross Stitch takes to the Streets

Follow the link below to see some rather interesting if somewhat simplistic cross stitch street art.

I am not sure what I think about this.  It is amusing but it hardly does the craft justice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Progress Photo

Dragon Dreams' Dragon of The Winter Moon.  I substituted an over dyed Silkweaver 28 ct linen in the colorway Storm for the suggested 28ct Zweigart Colonial Blue.  This over dyed linen has a medium to light grey base with mottling in darker grey and grey blue.  To my way of thinking this is perfect for an early evening winter sky.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post I had very nearly every fiber and bead needed to kit this up already in stash.  I am just waiting on one Caron Waterlilies and one package of Mill Hill beads to complete the kit.   I might also need some additional white Anchor Marlitt rayon floss which, of course, is a discontinued line.  I am never very good at guesstimating when partial skeins are involved.  So, yesterday morning, I sent out the word via blog and message board that I'd appreciate another skein, if anyone can spare one.  So far three generous stitcher's have replied.  But if I can't get a good match, I already have an alternate solution in mind.  I'll use the Marlitt for the body of the dragon but I will use DMC Satin white for the wings.  That way any differences will look intentional and not the result of my being scatterbrained.  In any case, I have started the piece with the supplies on hand and this is my current progress.

When this dragon is done, he will be quite the glittering fellow.  There are five shades of Kreinik in this piece and two shades of glass seed beads.  Happily, I have no problem working with metallics and I love beading.  I am delighted with the way things look even at this early stage.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

S.O.S.: Save our Stitchery

Oh, all right, what I really want to do is save MY stitchery but S.M.S. just doesn't have the same cachet.

I misjudged just how much Anchor Marlitt White I had in my stash and I will probably run out of the blasted stuff before finishing a Dragon Dreams project I've started.  This particular fiber is discontinued and can't be bought.

But I am hoping another stitcher reading this blog might have a skein or even a partial skein of white marlitt.

I am prepared to swap a full skein of a somewhat more exotic fiber, either Caron Waterlilies, Wildflower or Watercolours.  Your choice of silk, cotton or silk/wool blend; my choice of color.  Though, if the donor of the Marlitt states a color preference, I will try to honor it.

Leave a comment, if you can help or e-mail me.  Go to my profile to get my e-mail address.  Thanks in advance.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Random Mutterings

Very little doing on the stitching front today:

Before work, I started Dragon Dreams' Dragon of the Winter Moon.  Once at work, I used the copier to enlarge the chart.  It is difficult to read since it is printed on the grey-green card stock Jennifer Aiken-Smith had used for a while as a deterrent to copyright violation.  I also plan to spend a little time working on the piece at lunchtime.

I will place an order with 123stitch, my go-to online needlework shop, for the remaining supplies for The Silversmith Shop and The Dragon of the Winter Moon.  To get a bit of a head start, I also ordered the supplies for the companion piece to The Dragon of the Winter Moon,  The Dragon of the Summer Sky, which will be my next new start.

I double checked my Belle Soie and Glorianna stash to see if I could find a suitable substitute for the Thread Gatherer Papyrus Leaf needed for The Silversnith Shop.  No such luck.  It's a shame that I couldn't find something in quite that shade of peacock blue, especially when you consider how very extensive my fiber stash really is!

I hope to get a little more outdoor stitching done this evening after work in the soft light of evening.  The English Band Sampler is calling for attention rather insistently.  I hope it is not unbearably humid in the early evening hours.

With luck, I'll have made enough progress on both The English Band Sampler and The Dragon of the Winter Moon to warrant some photos in the next day or so.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

And Now Back to the Band Sampler

I finally finished the Town Square Cafe du Monde, which was my Town Square ornament of the month for June.  It took one entire hour to stitch the 35 confetti stitches that completed the bottom of the porch under the awning.  This was complicated by the fact that at least half of those confetti stitches were French knots rather than cross stitches.  I am still not certain whether all that confetti is supposed to represent flower boxes with French knot flowers or people seated at outdoor tables with French knot heads.  Anyway after the confetti, I spent another hour finishing up the backstitching.

Then I put away all the floss for this project and kitted up The Silversmith Shop which is my Town Square ornament of the month for July.  All I will have to purchase is a Thread Gatherer Silk'n'Colors skein and a charm for this piece. While I was at it, I kitted up Dragon Dreams Dragon of the Winter Moon which is my New Start for July.  I was pleased to discover that I had all five of the Kreinik Very Fine Braid, one of the Caron Waterlilies skeins, one pck.of the Mill Hill beads and a partial skein of Anchor Marlitte white which will substitute nicely for the DMC Rayon White this chart called for in my stash.  But I will have to purchase one Caron Waterlilies skein and 1 package of Mill Hill seed beads.  I will place the order tomorrow.

The weather is perfect for patio stitching.  For the rest of the day I'll get back to The English Band Sampler.  The plan is to complete the last 45 eyelets and the remaining satin stitches to finish up Band 6.  You may well believe I will  be pleased to finish these finicky and fussy stitches.  Normally, I enjoy all specialty stitches [with the one exception of the bullion stitch which I have yet to attempt] but having to constantly slip my needle under existing cross stitches was a major pain in the rump, complicated further by the closeness of the pale fawn floss to the color of the antique ivory linen.  I hope to have some fabulous progress photos in a day or two.

It will be such a pleasure to move on to the final band of this sampler.  I feel as though the end is in sight.  I know, I know: I still have to go back to Band 3 and decide whether to stitch my name or my initials, the year or a full date, or something else entirely.  But starting the last band does signal impending closure.  This is another closely stitched band so it is questionable whether I shall finish the sampler this month or next but at least a finish in the next little while is a reasonable expectation.