Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Goals Assessment/Setting July Goals

  • Finish Fertile Circles: Almost. Just a bit of the back cover to stitch before it is ready for assembly.
  • Finish Workbasket's Rabbit Rondel: YES and I even stitched the accessories: pin cushion and scissor fob
  • Kit up TW's Woodland Angel Stocking: When I realized how many DMC flosses I had to pull for the Autumn Faerie and how much cross-over there would be between the two designs, I decided to put this on hold till I had finished the faerie.
  • Stitch 1 Christmas ornament: YES ... actually I stitched two, both from the Homespun Elegance's Bits and Pieces Series: Oh, Snowy Night and Christmas Night Stocking
  • 10 hours on TST Holly and Hearts Sampler: I am consigning this to UFO status for the remainder of the summer. I seem to need more vibrancy and color and less delicacy and finesse at the moment.
  • 10 hours on TW Autumn Faerie [my UFO-WIP for this month]: well, to be honest I only spent an hour on this project and that involved re-kitting it with all the floss needed.
  • 5 hours on backlog of sewing finishes: All I did on this front was set up a finishing "center" in my dining room ... more on this in a future post.
And, in addition, I stitched the following
  • Primitive Needle's Salem Witch and 1692
  • Workbasket's Quaker Turtle and Quaker Rooster
  • Keep Watching [... Maybe I'll do a trick] from Baby Bibs with Attitude
  • and began another design of my own: Beach Find Pansies
  • as well as starting the Homespun Elegance 2001 Santa Ornament

  • 10 hours on TW's Autumn Faerie
  • Stitch two more Workbasket Quaker Animals: Pig and Cow
  • Stitch a Christmas ornament
  • Stitch Glory Bee's Which Witch
  • Start Workbasket's Quaker Sampler
  • 5 hours on backlog of sewing finishes
  • UFO>WIP: The Peacock biscornu
  • Finish the Fertile Circles Needlebook
  • Finish the Beach Find Pansies panel

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Stitching

Just some photos of the past few days' stitching progress:

Some WIPs
Homespun Elegance's 2001 Santa ornament

Workbasket's Quaker Pig

And some finishes:
2005 JCS Christmas Ornament issue's Guardian Chessie

From Baby Bibs with attitude: Keep Watching, Maybe I'll Do A Trick

I have a few other baby bibs on hand and plan to stitch at least two more. A third, and of course, my favorite bib seems to have picked up a stain while in storage. Since it was stored in a perfectly clean cloth bag with other unaffected fabrics, I can only conclude the chemicals used to treat it by the manufacturer [sizing, mordants, etc.] are responsible for the discoloration. The stains lightened with one washing but were not completely eliminated. I'll try again using bleach applied with an artist's brush since the affected areas are all white. I figure that at this point, I have nothing to lose and may manage to salvage the bib for stitching.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A new grand-daughter

Liam welcomes his baby sister, our latest addition who was born on 6/19/09, checking in at 7lbs.11oz. and 19 1/2" long. She is beautiful, strong and healthy but has been saddled with the unfortunate name of Piper Ann. God knows, as a good ex-hippie, I raised my boy to avoid all manner of yuppie-isms but, clearly, I have failed. I fear that with a name like that, my poor benighted little grand-daughter will be condemned to a life of twin sets, pearls, birkenstocks and Beemers ... God save her, she might even marry someone named Chas [pronounced in the snootiest of "old money" accents]. I have been practicing saying her name over and over again so that when I finally meet her I'll be able to say it without wincing. My only hope is that Liam will give her a good solid nickname that the rest of the family can adopt without aggravating my daughter-in-law unduly. I know, I know ... I am a terribly unnatural grandmother ... but I have always considered names important.

Sleep well, little one, and enjoy only the sweetest of dreams.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Miscellany

First, yesterday's weigh-in was not really a surprise: a gain of 1.5lbs, the natural consequence of eating in restaurants while on a ten day vacation. But I am back on track now that I am at home and expect next week's weigh-in to be a loss.

Second, I spent a few hours this morning sorting stash, putting away recent purchases and re-kitting the flosses for TW's Autumn Faerie so I can finally turn that UFO into a WIP and accomplish one of my remaining June goals [to stitch on the Autumn Faerie for 10 hours] while there is still some time to do so. I had planned to kit up TW's Woodland Angel Stocking at the same time but I had to pull so many DMC flosses for the Autumn Faerie that I suspect there would be too much cross-over if I tried to kit up the Woodland Angel at the same time. So Liam's stocking will have to wait a month or two.

Third, I finished Workbasket's Quaker Rooster on Wednesday night but only got around to photographing it this morning. I began work on the Quaker Pig immediately, using the usual 28ct Country Cream linen and for the floss, Caron Wildflower's Camouflage ... a fiber that is mostly a fairly saturated beige rose with some olive green. Pink or even a black/white combo might have been more realistic but it won't fit in with the color way I will be using for the fabrics in my quilt. In any case, the way I have moved from the Quaker Rabbit > Quaker Turtle > Quaker Rooster > Quaker Pig in the past 2 weeks seems to be the stitching equivalent of chain-smoking. No sooner do I finish one but I pick up another. They are just that addictive. And I still have the Cow and Sheep waiting in the wings. I also have the Peacock chart but I am not entirely certain I'll want that in the quilt. It'll probably end up as a pajama bag or throw pillow. I am hoping that the folks at Workbasket have a few more animals on the drawing boards. I just noticed that they have Halloween Quakers: An Owl and a Bat ... however did I miss that when it came out? Owls are one of my favorite motifs. I can see I will be ordering that along with the Polar Quakers within the week and that will bring me to my self-imposed limit of five chart purchases for 2009. I'd love to do a fox, a coyote, a squirrel or chipmunk and a deer for my woodland band and I'd like a chicken, a horse and a dog for my domestic band. I am thinking of writing the folks at Workbasket and suggesting these animals for their consideration. I'll put up a photo of the pig when I've done a bit more stitching on it - so far all I have done is the six point star at the very center.

Fourth, I placed an order with Elegant Stitch for the remaining flosses I need for the Quaker Animals I have on hand as well as for two more Workbasket charts I am anxious to get started on: The Quaker Sampler and Mermaids Singing. And, I have reorganized my binder of charts-to-be-done in current and near future rotations to reflect my summer moods. I believe The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler is going to be demoted to a UFO for awhile. I find myself craving more variety and more vibrant colors. I'll do a little gift stitching but most of my summer time stitching will be for me, me, me! And I plan to indulge myself with lots and lots of color.
Fifth, I kitted up and started two smalls that will add some variety to my stitching. The Guardian Chessie Christmas ornament from the 2005 JCS ornament issue which I will use as the "good" side of a door knob hanger I am making for my daughter. She is the proud caretaker of 6 cats of varying tempers and energy levels. So her doorknob hanger will have an angelic cat on one side and a cat skull and crossbones [already stitched on black linen] on the other. She'll be able to flip it to display the dominant feline mood of the day as a warning to all and sundry. Next, The Homespun Elegance 2001 ornament: A Santa with a Noah's Ark ... the perfect ornament to identify a package meant for my grandson, Liam Noah. I am using more of the Starquest overdyed linen from Silkweaver for these two pieces and I'll still have plenty left for a large project. This is the same linen on which I stitched my Rabbit Rondel ... and like the energizer bunny, this fabric just seems to keep going and going.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More about beach finds

I am an inveterate collector of shells, beach glass, beach stones and driftwood. I love to find ways to incorporate my finds into my stitchery, my sculpture, my sewing, and my jewelry making. My recent vacation to Maryland's Western Shore was very productive, at least so far as shell collecting was involved. To be more precise, I collected shell fragments that had been broken, polished and perforated by the action of the waves. Since most of the shells were oyster shells, the irridescent quality of the fragments was phenomenal. When wet, the shells seemed to be deep orange or rust shading down to pale peach and sand colors. When dry, most pieces faded down to rosy beige and sand colors though a few kept the stronger, more saturated colors.

All of the pieces above have one or more small holes drilled right through the shell by the bay water's action ... with my somewhat over-active imagination, I can't help seeing recognizable shapes in these pieces. For instance, the dark piece on the lower left makes me think of a carnival half mask or an other-worldly face in profile. The pale piece in the upper right reminds me of the head and shoulders of a walrus. The rosy beige piece in the center of the bottom row resembles an angel fish and other pieces look like bird heads with exaggerated beaks [rather like totem pole birds]. And some are just abstract shapes that will make interesting buttons on biscornus or embellished crazy quilt blocks. In any case, I forsee having fun deciding how to use these bits and pieces over the next couple of months or so.

These shell fragments do not have any convenient little holes, but I was attracted by the colors and shapes. If used in needlework, they will have to be "webbed" onto the fabric. If used in jewelry or as charms for embroidery pieces, they will have to be fitted with findings. If used in sculpture, they would have to be embedded in the clay of pieces I will only air-dry or affixed to pieces after firing.

I am always on the look out for pieces of beach glass as well ... but these are much harder to find and my collection grows ever so slowly. These were the only two pieces I found in ten days of beach walking. I have no clue what I will do with my beach glass, other then display the pieces in a small bowl on the coffee table. But I love the muted, misty colors and opaque quality of beach glass. Maybe someday I'll combine all my beach glass into one fabulous necklace ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meeting another 123stitcher

One of the highlights of my vacation was meeting and stitching with Rachel [aka rspory]. Anyone who follows her blog, What seems like crazy on an ordinary day, will know that she is a gifted stitcher. But what you may not know is that she is a generous and charming lady with whom it is a delight to spend some stitching time. Our day started with a pleasant lunch, delayed slightly by some most unpleasant weather ... Rachel had to wait for the downpour to abate a bit before braving the roads. But by the time we finished eating, the weather had decided to cooperate. We stitched for a couple of hours on the beach. Rachel worked on a SNN kit which featured a horse drawn sleigh, very pretty stuff. I worked on Workbasket's Quaker Rooster [see yesterday's post for a photo of my progress there]. We discussed everything from local needlework shops to designers we favored to Secret Needle Night kits over the years to more general stuff like jobs, antique glass, Community Sustainable Agriculture coops, our mutual love of beaches, our ideal homes [Rachel dreams of a farm with a huge vegetable garden,chickens and horses and cattle but big enough for a dirt racing track far away from the animals; I dream of a state-of-the-art environmentally self-sustaining cottage on a hill overlooking water and room enough for a greenhouse, a garden, some chickens and some bee hives.] It was a lovely afternoon.

Rachel gifted me with an adorable little Mill Hill bead kit of a sailboat [I couldn't resist starting it the very next day] . I'd never done one of these little treasures and I love trying something new ...

... as well as some of the neatest beach finds I have seen in a long time: fossilized shark teeth and ray dental plates as well as a bit of petrified wood. These things were tiny ... I am amazed that Rachel was even able to find them ... but she must be a devoted and sharp-eyed collector because she has quite a few of these specimens and was most generous in sharing some with me. She'd like to find a way to incorporate them into her stitching ... I admit to being stymied as to how she might do this ... but I'll give it some thought. The shark teeth look like thorns and might be included in a botanical piece with roses ... and, of course, might be included in a piece featuring sharks or other marine predators. But beyond that I can't think of much.

I gave Rachel a biscornu stitched with a silk floss called Jellybean [Vikki Clayton, I think] which has a palette of soft tropical island colors and anchored with some silver buttons etched with a sun motif. She seemed pleased with it and I hope it will remind her of a delightful afternoon spent stitching on a beach

Here is a photo of the two of us, on the patio of my hotel room, stitching in hand ... after the rain returned to chase us back inside, it let up almost immediately ... so we stepped out onto the patio.

Rachel is on the left and I am on the right.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finally, photos

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had plenty of time for stitching while vacationing on Maryland's Western Shore. Here are some photos of my progress:

First some Workbasket Quaker Animals
The Rabbit: actually completed before the vacation but only photographed this morning ... stitched on the same 28ct country cream linen as all the other animals in Crescent Colors Belle Soie Paprika ...
The Turtle: again, stitched on 28ct country cream linen using Crescent Colors Belle Soie Tortoise Shell [what else, indeed?]

And progress on The Rooster: also on 28ct country cream linen, stitched with Caron Wildflowers Cinnabar ...

Also from Workbasket's Rabbit Rondel Leaflet, the pin cushion and the scissor fob. I'll be stitching up the pin cushion as a small mattress style cushion ... hence the oddly shaped top. For these stitchong accessories, I used the same 28ct Cashel linen from Silkweaver [Color: Starquest]as wellas using the same Caron Waterlilies Periwinkle silk floss as I did for the larger Rabbit Rondel piece ... The pin cushion was stitched over one

and so was the scissor fob, which when finished will be about the size of a quarter.

And, from Primitive Needle
The Salem Witch: stitched on a 40ct mystery linen from my scrap stash in DMC 310 and Crescent Colors Belle Soie Pumpkin Carriage ...

1692 : Stitched on 28ct Country Cream linen [a scrap from my Quaker Animals] in DMC 310 and Crescent Colors Belle Soie Pumpkin Carriage. I will enventually finish this as a pin keep.

From Homespun Elegance's Bits and Pieces series
Oh, Snowy Night: stitched on Antiqu Blue 25ct Laguna from Zweigart using Crescent Colors Belle Soie silks

Christmas Night Stocking: stitched on 28ct Country Cream linen using Belle Soie silks ...

Finally, a few pieces of my own design
Progress on the Fertile Circles Needlebook ...

Progress on the Beach Find Pansies panel to be incorporated into a crazy Quilt block using Weeks Dye Works wools in the colors of Cognac, Sand, Parchment and Palomino. The pansies are stitched in Crescent Colors Belle Soie silks Buttercup and Vanilla Pudding as well as an un-named green cotton over dye from Catherine Jordan used to attach the shell fragment and fill in the center with French knots ...

And here are a few more shell fragments I hope to use in this panel ... I found many more interesting shell pieces burnished and polished by the waves of the Chesapeake Bay ... I shall be posting more about my beach finds tomorrow ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

What I am doing on my summer vacation

Photos will have to wait until I am back home ... I am using a computer at the local public library and it doesn't have a port that accepts my camera download device. But I have been stitching up a storm on the beach and have finished the following projects: Workbasket's Quaker Turtle, Primitive Needle's Salem Witch and 1692, Homespun Elegance's Christmas Night Stocking and Oh, Snowy Night [both from the Bits and Pieces series].
I have made considerable progress on my Fertile Circles Needlebook, have yet to pick up The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler [maybe tonight], have started Workbasket's Quaker Rooster and another design of my own which I am calling Beach Find Pansies. The beach here at Herrington Harbor has loads of wave pounded and polished oyster shell fragments, some of which reminded me of the center of a pansy. Since the Chesapeake Bay's waves have actually worn holes in the center of these pieces, I have stitched them onto some linen, filled the holes with French Knots and surrounded the shell fragment with closely stem-stitched petals. If this turns out well ... and it seems to be ... I'll use the finished panel to embellish a crazy quilt block handbag made from Weeks Dye Works wools.
One sad note: I had been looking forward to re-visiting Stitch Today, Knot Tomorrow while in the area. When I got there, it was only to discover the shop being emptied and the owner closing up due to a death in the family. She was selling her remaining stock at 60% off. I did buy some lovely linen, Mill Hill beads and some Caron and Rainbow Gallery fibers ... all the while feeling guilty for benefiting from her misfortune.
Tomorrow brings some excitement for me: Rachel, from the 123stitch board, will be meeting me for lunch and stitch-fest on the beach. I have always enjoyed her blog and look forward to meeting her in person although I feel like I have already made her acquaintance in cyberspace.
Well that seems to be all the current news ... except that I am about to be made a grandmother for the second time any day now. Unfortunately, the birth will be taking place on the West Coast and here I am on the East. But I plan to see the new addition to the family fairly soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The June Giveaway Winner is

Erica who blogs on Bits of My Own. I intend to leave a message on her blog with a request for a snail mail address.

Other than that, there is little new to report ... since my stitching has been limited to just one hour in the early morning, I have been concentrating on one project: the Fertile Circles Needlebook. I am a mere three or four rows of vertical cross stitch from completing the front of the needlebook. I'll post a photo once the front is finished.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No photos yet

The new computer is up and running ... it is a thing of beauty ...
but ...
somehow the program we had been accustomed to use to download and store and manipulate photos isn't immediately available ... which I suppose can mean either it wasn't downloaded with all our old stuff or the new Microsoft package has something that superceded it and we just haven't figured out how to acces and use it as yet.
Anyway, Workbasket's Quaker Rabbit is finished. I am closing in on a finish of the front of my Fertile Circles needlebook. And I plan to spend a portion of today re-kitting TW's Autumn Faerie and kitting TW's Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking as well as the remaining Workbasket uaker animals in my stash. I want to have a variety of pieces to choose from while on vacation. I might even take a Halloween piece as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Plugging along

I will probably have a finish photo for you tomorrow: the Workbasket Quaker Rabbit has only one ear left to stitch. I have been stitching this in Belle Soie Paprika silk on a country cream linen and I really like the way the two colors work together. I hope my camera will do it justice.
And I have been making progress on Fertile Circles as well: I have added two more "nests" and have filled them with beads. I am nearly done with the front of the needlebook. I know the spine and back will go much faster since they will not be anywhere near as elaborate. The spine will be one vertical row of rice stitches and the back will be a simple initial against a background of gently rounded flame stitching.
What I really need to do is get back to work on TW's Autumn Faerie and The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler. I know that when I finally pull these two semi-UFOs out of retirement, I will be just as enthusiastic about stitching them as I have been with my two recent Workbasket pieces. I also want to prep the fabric and fibers for my remaining Workbasket Quaker animals as I plan to take them on vacation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June Giveaway

Having completed the Workbasket Rabbit Rondel and the pincushion and scissor fob also featured in the leaflet, I thought this would make a nice giveaway. The chart is very gently used and comes from a pet-free, smoke-free home. You may view my stitched Rabbit Rondel in the May 25 post. It is my intention to finish it as the lid of a shaker sewing box just as soon as I get to the local Michael's or AC Moore to purchase a 9" round box and some paints.
If you wish to be considered for this giveaway, just post a comment below. I'll choose a winner on June 10.

I put in a little more time on the Fertile Circles needlebook this morning before work. I went stash diving and found another packet of seed beads that will work well with my palette for this piece and I found three more of the tiniest rings that I have been using for wrap stitching to make the "nests". I also continued the vertical band of knotted cross stitch up the left side of the front cover of the needlebook ... slow work, but pretty.

And I will be stitching on Workbasket's Quaker Rabbit during my lunch break ... mainly because I need the immediate gratification of seeing speedy progress. So many of my current WIPs [Fertile Circles, Holly and Hearts Sampler and TW's Autumn Faerie] work up so slowly that the Workbasket Quaker Animals [relatively quick stitches] are great morale boosters.

I should have a home computer up and running again tomorrow or the next day, so I'll be able to post pictures again. Using the computer at work during my lunch break doesn't really allow enough time for uploading photos.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May Goals Assessment

In my continuing effort to set reasonably goals and accomplish the same, here goes
  1. Finish stitching Workbasket's Rabbit Rondel: finished 5/24.
  2. Stitch the Workbasket's Rabbit Rondel accessories: pincushion [finished 5/29] and scissor fob [finished June 1]
  3. Finish stitching Fertile Circles dimensional embroidery needle book 7 hours as of 5/30
  4. Spend 10 hours stitching The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler: 8 hours as of 5/30
  5. Spend 10 hours stitching TW's Autumn Faerie Nothing
  6. Kit up and start TW's Woodland Angel stocking No
  7. Kit up and stitch Diane Gallagher's Creative Needleworks' Sailor's Jig for Bill: started 5/9, finished 5/14.
  8. Complete five sewing finishes: have completed Breast Cancer Ribbon Angel ornament and Sue Hillis Pirate Santa Christmas ornament [5/5/09] ... so only two sewing finishes completed in May

Now, for my June goals, which are a little more ambitious because I have two weeks vacation during which to stitch:

  • Focus Project 1: The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler, at least 10 hours stitching
  • Focus Project 2: TW's Autumn Faerie, at least 10 hours stitching
  • Focus Project 3: TW's Woodland Angel Stocking, at least 5 hours stitching
  • Christmas Ornament: Sean's Name Tree
  • UFO to WIP: Peacock biscornu. I abandoned this after noting an error that will require frogging this halfway round the outer border ... it was so long ago, that I can't remember just where the error was.
  • Travel & Vacation Projects: Workbasket's Quaker Animals: Rabbit, Tortoise, Rooster, Cow, Sheep
  • And five sewing finishes