- Limit the purchases of new charts to 5 this year: primarily those needed to complete series I have begun purchasing already. Purchase only fabrics and floss needed to complete charts already in my possession. Do any and all chart shopping from my own stash which now numbers approx. 70 charts, not counting magazines and books.
- Stick to reasonable monthly goals consisting of one main Focus project, a medium project and a few smalls to provide variety and the immediate gratification of frequent finishes.
- Continue the plan of doing two sewing finishes from the backlog basket each month and keeping up with current finishes.
- Assign T Wentzler's Autumn Faerie and Woodland Angel Stocking top priority as BAPs for 2009.
- Assign the M Design Name Tree ornaments top priority as smalls for 2009 and using them to meet the monthly Christmas ornament portion of the Seasonal Monthly Ornament Blog challenges.
- Assign the Dragon Dreams, Sue Hillis, Prairie Schooler and Workbasket charts top priority as medium projects for 2009.
- Return my attention to my own design ideas, particularly the Ghandi quote sampler incorporating the colors and design motifs of sari fabrics into the rows and borders.
- Withdraw from exchanges to save money and focus on personal stitching goals in 2009.
- Work seriously on converting junk room into a stitching/sewing room.
- Try to blog every other day.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
--TW Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking .... not a stitch
--Keep up with current finishes: Stitching For the Cure Ornament #2: Dragonfly Stitches' Hope; Imaginating's Snowman Ornament [Promotional Chart], About Cross Stitch's Ruffled Diamond finished as a biscornu, Imaginating's Cardinal ornament, two Heart ornaments from the Gift of Stitching, Imaginating's Heart ornament, Imaginating's Rabbit ornament.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
- Choose one Focus project, usually a BAP or medium-to-large project, and work on it steadily throughout the month ... carrying it over into as many months as needed.
- Choose one medium sized project to complete during the month.
- Start and finish as many smalls as needed to keep the mix interesting and provide the necessary gratification of frequent finishes, never having more than two smalls in progress at any given moment.
- Finish two sewing finishes from the backlog basket each month and keep up with current finishes.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
As a small project that requires less concentration, I have been using the WDW Noel that was part of my Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway goodie bag to stitch another biscornu ... I have the absolutely perfect buttons to complement the colors in this overdyed floss: square buttons divided into triangles of green and rose that pick up the colors in Noel as if made-to-match. ... but since these buttons are "vintage" buttons, it's all just one of those happy accidents. I'll have quite a basketful of these little projects fairly soon as this is the 8th biscornu I will have stitched this year ... so far I've given away 3 and kept 4 ... they are decorative and useful and somehow very appealing. And then there is my second Stitching for the Cure ornament for the 2009 Tree. This is Dragonfly Stitches' Hope and I have stitched it on a 32ct ivory mystery linen [DMC or Zweigart, can't remember] in Carrie's Creations Strawberry Shake overdyed cotton floss.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The first of my Stitching for the Cure ornaments, Kylie's Heart designed by Terry Louise, stitched in Carrie's Creations Sassy and Purple Pansy floss on antique green linen from Zweigart and trimmed in a pale blue spiral braid from Farmhouse Fabrics. This was actually stitched in November but I did the finishing Sunday morning before Mass. While in a "finishing" mood, I also prepped the cardboard hearts for the Holly and Hearts flat ornament [yet to be stitched] with quilt batting and backing fabric.
I had committed to stitching two ornaments for the Stitching for a Cure tree to honor two breast cancer survivors in my family: my kid sister, Angela and my first cousin, Maureen. So here is Dragonfly Stitches' Hope designed by Kristine Herber ... a one day stitch completed Sunday on mystery ivory linen stitched in Carrie's Creations Strawberry Shake floss, and embellished with some clear and pearl beads left over from other projects and a JABCo small pink flower. I'll finish this as a flat ornament as I did Kylie's Heart, backing it with a bright pink fabric with white polka dots and trimming it with a white shell braid. While at work today, I'll use my paper slice to cut out a couple of diamond cardboard forms with which to finish Hope. I plan to have these ornaments ready to mail by the end of the week.
Today, I'll get back to the Holly and Hearts Sampler ... it'll be an unusual Monday for me: just office hours without the usual 4:30-6:oopm and 7:00-8:30pm classes since we have to keep the parking lot we share with the church clear for evening Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. So, I hope to get in some quality stitching time after work.
Friday, December 5, 2008
As to my progress on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler, here is a photo showing my stitching. I completed all the beading in Row 2 as well as the Rhodes Heart and Multicolor Half Diamond Wednesday night.
Then, on Thursday, rows 7 and 8. The crystal heart that was accidentally left out of the kit arrived in the mail just in time to be added in its proper space. Thus far today, I have completed Row 9-12: the silver metallic herringbone stitch, the backstitched line in green, the combination of cross stitches, satin stitches and beading and deep red cross stitches with silver beads. And I have started on Row 13 which is another large area of vining and tracery in the shape of a heart with inserts of lattice work, Rhodes Hearts and an alphabet. I expect to be on Row 13 for a very long time ... probably 3 or 4 days.
The specialty stitches are a joy and, for the most part, relatively quick stitches. It is the backstitching that slows me down though I believe I have finally found my ryhthm with this piece. While at the Mystic retreat, I picked up another Sweetheart Tree chart, The Cherry Blossoms Biscornu. Since the retreat project also included the Holly and Hearts Ornament and, either in the goodie bags or door prizes, the Fourth Day of Christmas Ornament chart ... I now have a fairly respectable sampling of this new-to-me designer's charts. Not my usual style but one I shall certainly enjoy as a change of pace from time to time. Very delicate designs, a refined color palette, lots of interesting and challenging stitches and loads of the beading I love. For all the beads Sandy uses in her pieces, the projects always finish up looking elegant ... never cheap, gaudy or glitzy. I saw over 40 of her model pieces while on the retreat and admired all of them. It's the quality of the beads she uses and her unerring designer's instinct that maintain the high aesthetic standard. In any case, I am very glad to have found another designer whose charts are such a pleasure to stitch ... and isn't that what stitching retreats are all about?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I have decided to do the beading as I go and roll the piece up with a bit of flannel and some quilt batting ... it's that old immediate gratification thing again. I really need to see the finished look to keep motivated. The more I stitch on this piece, the more I like it ... although, initially, I thought it much too fussy for my tastes and planned to use it as a gift ... now, I believe I shall frame it and keep it for myself. I figure I should be able to stitch the Rhodes heart and the Half-Diamond on my dinner break leaving only the beading to finish before bedtime. I still haven't the heart to tackle the companion piece: a large flat heart-shaped ornament with loads and loads of vines to back-stitched ... mainly because I'll need to frog a good bit of what I stitched in Mystic. Somewhere along the line I made a mistake that threw off the symmetry ... and since the symmetrical tracery is what makes the piece so charming, frogging is an absolute necessity. Oh, well, I hope to have both sampler and ornament done before Christmas.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Next is a Christmas ornament: Country Cottage's entry in the 2007 JCS issue, stitched on 32ct sage linen using GAST floss and the same eyelash trim as I used for the Thanksgiving ornament.
These two ornaments were stitched for the Seasonal Ornament blog:
which is well worth visiting if you like to browse photo collections of smalls ... started in mid-November 2008, this already promises to be a lovely collection of small finishes.
The last piece is one that has been stitched and assembled for over a year, awaiting trim. Well, I finally learned how to make braided cord at the Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway in Mystic, Ct. earlier this month and was able to finish the piece. I'll put it aside for display next October. I left a small slot in the bottom of the piece in which to insert one of those small acrylic stands that turn a flat finish into a stand-up.
The rest of my stitching time was spent on my project from the Stitcher's Hideaway: The Sweetheart Tree sampler. I stitched most of the half diamond stitches in Row 4 before I decided I was too tired from all the holiday hulabaloo to take another stitch.
Friday, November 28, 2008
and then the one I think of as the New Age Santa with all the cosmic sign
All of the Prairie Schooler Santas were framed in similar but not identical frames in dark wood and all have metal easel backs, so that they can be used as table top or bookcase decorations. I also had my Sue Hillis Pair Tree framed in molding that picked up some of the greens in the stitching:
I am using all of them to decorate the smaller row of bookcases on one side of my living room wall
I'll be adding my collection of primitive Santa figurines to the tops of the bookcases later on this weekend ... I tend to ease into Christmas decorating, doing a littlt bit every day throughout Advent.
I also got my Lizzie Kate Housework piece back ... I love this frame ... it looks like mother of pearl inlay and it picks up the colors in my carpeting as well as the colors in the piece. I'll be hanging this above the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen.
Then, there is the infamous duty-stitch for my sister-in-law: My name is Stop That... I must say that it made a very big hit with Judi who was here for the Thanksgiving feast. Though I really didn't enjoy stitching it, I certainly enjoyed Judi's delight in receiving it.
I also got my Raise the Roof Crabby All Year back from the framer but I was very disappointed to note that in the process of framing they canted one of the buttons at a crazy slant so that the cat who is supposed to be napping on the floor in the November block is dangling from the block at an impossible angle ... you can see that it was sewn on straight but that the framer twisted it somehow. I am of two minds ... take it back and have it set properly in the frame [though I am afraid, if I do, some of the clay buttons might break in the process] or try to live with it though I know it will drive me nuts. The framing job was over $300 ... for that kind of money, they should get it right.
I also managed to finish the French knots in Rainbow Gallery Alpaca 18 for the sheep on my husband's new stocking from Homespun Elegance: Merry Olde Christmas Santa. Once done with that, I whip stitched the concealed edges of the flap together and did a running stitch along the flap edges to keep the piece looking tidy and neat. I don't think I will work on a pre-finished item ever again. Even though my hands are relatively small, I had a hard time stitching in such a confined space. It had to be done "in hand" and with a sewing technique and I generally work with scroll bars and a stab technique. Furthermore, the actual stocking, though very pretty, was a shoddy piece of stitching. The seams were barely 1/4" rather than the standard 3/8", there was no stay-stitching and the selvages were not finished to prevent fraying. I re-inforced the stitching and did a zig-zag finish on all selvages. If the stocking were to be used for decoration only, probably all would have been well. But we actual stuff our stockings and this piece would never had stood up to even one Christmas had I not reinforced it. And at a cost of $15.50 for the stocking ONLY [the chart was a seperate purchase] ... well call me Scrooge, but I expect more for my money. Having examined the construction, I could make a better product for $3.00-$4.00
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
--and a small cornucopia from the Better Homes and Gardens 1001 Stitching Motifs that I stitched in GAST overdyes rather than the suggested DMCs. I figured as long as I had the overdyes out while trying to find what I needed for the Brightneedle piece, I might as well use them. I'll be finishing this piece as a flat ornament for the Seasonal Ornament SAL blog and hope to have the completed project photographed and up on that blog and this one as well in a few days.
And, finally, my progress on the Homespun Elegance Christmas Stocking I am stitching for my husband. I still need to stitch the two sheep at Santa's feet. The chart calls for a Santa and a stocking button but since I have neither in my stash but do have a bird, I've sewn the bird onto the top of Santa's staff instead of stitching the bird that was charted there. I'll finish the flap with a running stitch a few threads in from the edge to keep everything nice and neat. I am hoping to have this piece done by Wednesday. But I must say, I really do not like working on prefinished pieces. I have had to stitch this entirely in hand to avoid distorting the linen flap and getting my fingers up into the top of the flap has been most uncomfortable and has made for even slower stitching than is usual for me ... and I am a slow stitcher. I have used most of the flosses called for in this piece: GAST & WDW for Santa, his staff and sack, Rainbow Gallery Whispers for Santa's beard. But I will be making a few substitutions. I have some lovely Rainbow Gallery Alpaca 12 that will be perfect for the sheep and I will stitch masses of French knots to fill in the area charted for the sheep. I also have some Petite Very Velvet in both black that may worked well for the sheeps' faces. I figure the piece is already textural what with the Whispers used for the beard, so why not go all the way and make the sheep look wooly.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here's a shot of the room, from the perspective of my seat in the back right corner ... Sandy is up front teaching away as Sue Donnelly [the organizer] and her right hand, Deborah, stitch diligently right in front of me ... yeah, yeah: pictures of the backs of people are not particularly interesting ... but you have to understand the layout of the room: I would have had to climb over 8 people to get out of the back row and get a better perspective.
Santa admonishing me to "get it together" ... for some reason, I had a fit of the giggles while fumbling to get this shot.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
And here is the progress as of today ... with one wing nearly completely filled in.
Next, a few small finishes:
The Turkish Tile Biscornu from the http://aurelle.over-blog.com/ website complimentary charts collection. Since I have something of a biscornu fetish, I really like this site ... it will provide me with biscornu charts for months, even years, to come. Add that to the biscornu issue of The Gift of Stitching several months ago, and I am in biscornu heaven.
And now a confession. I have already ignored one November goal: not starting any new projects not already on my goal list. But the Stitching For A Cure 2009 Christmas Tree ornament project seemed a cause worthy of breaking a few self-imposed rules for.
Monday, November 3, 2008
- Finish Mirbilia Halloween Faerie [just filling in the wings, though that probably amounts to another 12 hours stitching, and doing the backstitching and beading, probably an additional 4 hours]
- Finish the 2007 Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway Projects
Planned New Starts:
- T Wentzler Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking
- 2008 Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway Projects
- set of four tea towels with herbal motifs
- M Design's Name Trees for Sean and Christina
- Peacock biscornu
Finishing: 2 from the backlog and keep up with the current
Planning: Jane Austen neighborhood for the Me.Myself and I Round Robin group
General: no new starts other than those already planned.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
- Miribilia Halloween Faerie: started stitching Oct. 4 and have made substantial progress. All that's left is filling in the wings.
- Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway Projects no progress - make the primary focus for early November
- T. Wentzler Autumn Faerie no progress - this will probably have to wait till 2009
- T. Wentzler Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking no progress -make primary focus project for late Nov & for Dec.
- Graph out and stitch monogram in Spots of Fun: DONE 10/8/08
- Homespun Elegance Fall Pumpkin: DONE 10/7/08
- Stitch set of four tea towels with herbal motif not even started - carry into November
- Start Liz Turner Diehl German Garden not even started - defer to 2009
- M Design Name Trees for Sean & Christina just an hour's stitching on Sean's ornament
- Celtic Tarot Card for Angela no progress - defer to 2009
- One UFO: a European complimentary chart for a biscornu DONE 10/26/08
- Be-Witched Clothespin Doll ornament DONE10/9/08
- Littlel By Little Design's Merry & Bright Ornament DONE 10/30/08
- Peace Ornament DONE 10/30/08
Planning: Jane Austen neighborhood for Me, Myself and I Round Robin Board. no progress - deadline Dec. 1. Deferred to November goals.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I also finished the Homespun Elegance Fall Pumpkin as a mini pillow ornament and substituted an Olde Brass Star button for the Star Pumpkin button it called for ... since that was what I had on hand ... I think it looks acceptable.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The color ways are called Firefly and Dragonfly and I think they are the neatest baby gear I have seen yet ... and as the proud Grandma of my very first and, to date, only grandchild, I have seen quite a lot of neat baby gear in the past year or so. A lady on the 123 stitch board posted about The Sock Lady and, of course, I had to check it out. Pediatricians are telling young moms to delay putting babies in shoes for a while. Thus, thick socks are the new shoes. I am lucky inasmuch as my daughter-in-law and I have pretty similar taste ... useful since exchanging gifts is a bit tricky when my son and his family live on the West coast and I live on the East. But I can just see Christina getting as excited about these socks as I did ... and I can just hear Sean making the same comment as Bill did, "Why are there five socks to a set and, uh, wait a second, they don't match, do they? Never mind, forget I asked!" In any case, Liam's toes will stay warm no matter how damp and chilly the Northwest gets this winter.
Also, I received the custom-made buttons I needed to finish my Raise the Roof Crabby All Year last Saturday ... Patti A from Canada is an artist, don't you agree? I am now officially spoiled and will never look at a JABCo button in quite the same way again. Here's a photo of the finished Crabby All Year and a close-up of Patti's buttons on the piece.
And then, at the suggestion of one of the many enablers at the 123stitch MB, I checked out the buttons and trims available at Farmhouse Fabrics ...
Okay, so I went a little wild purchasing buttons ... mother of pearl and glass and brass and celluloid ... and the colors: ivory, ebony, ecru, tangerine, lime, purple, emerald and pearl. At least, I'll have no problem finishing my biscornus for the next little while.
And, finally, this is just back from the framer ... I stitched it last January but thought I'd get it framed in time to use this winter.