Sunday, August 2, 2009


First off: a confession. I broke my vow to limit my purchases of charts to 5 this year. Worse yet, the sixth chart is a multiple ... an automatic subscription no less ... Bent Creek's The Branch. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner! I saw it when it first came out, I coveted it, I resisted it, but when they added an owl [one of my favorite images], I succumbed to temptation and I purchased it.

So, other than being weak of will, this is what's been going on the past few days: my husband and I babysat my daughter's beagle, a grand old lady named Shenandoah ... Shennie for short. Got in a few nice walks with Shennie for a companion. I'd thought about dragging my husband on a 40+ mile trek through really bad weekend traffic to JoAnne's to search for the fabrics I needed/wanted for my next round of finishing. He's the better driver in congested, city-like traffic. But neither of us were really at the top of our game after a long work week. So, I decided to work with what I had on hand and save those few projects lacking the right stuff for another time. Instead, I settled in for a cozy weekend of stitching and sewing. Okay, a little bit of cooking, laundry and housekeeping [the bare minimum] as well ... one does have to bow to reality every so often ... but only when it becomes unavoidable.

But I have been strong in a few areas. With great laudable [for me] discipline and, I might add, considerable enthusiasm, I have been working on this month's WIPs and have been sticking to my plan to plug away at the sewing finishes.

The WIP's:
I will wait to photograph Beach Find Pansies when there is a bit more progress. It is slowly coming along ... free-form embroidery seems to take so much longer than cross stitch. This is mostly stem-stitching and French Knots, with the occasional bit of chain stitch. I have one more pansy, a pansy bud and the leaves to sketch in once I have completed the second blossom. I love the way the bits of polished oyster shell make irridescent centers for each pansy. When I spotted these shell fragments on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay [Md], I immediately saw them as pansies. I don't know what that says about my psychological profile ... I'd probably be better off not taking any ink blot tests ... I mean, who looks at broken shells and sees flowers? ... and I won't reveal what inspiration came when looking at some of my other beach finds ... at least, not till I start to stitch them up. One hint, though, think Phantom of the Opera or the Man in the Iron Mask.
Fertile Circles Needlebook: who thought a bargello variation on the back would take so long? I have stitched aout half the back cover and will need to backstitch between the rows of satin stitches with something relatively thin ... maybe two strands of blending filament ... and fill in the triangles left after completing the satin stitches ... that will be with the Belle Soie Paprika to match the initial and the border. Then, all that will be left to do will be to couch the Caron Watercolour on the front to give the impression of a snake twining around all the nests. Once the stitching is done I will be able to assemble it into a stitching book: the inner "pages" will be WDW wool with Blanket stitched edging and back stitched letters indicating the type of needle for each of the four pages. I figure I'll use this book for my favorite needles: Piecemakers Tapestry 28, John James Petite 28, John James Tweens 23 and 25, Piecemaker Beading.

Cross Stitch Finishes:
Workbasket's Quaker Pig: although this took far longer than I thought it would, I enjoyed watching it take shape. The last Quaker animal that seemed to take so long to stitch was the Cat ... all the others felt like relatively quick stitches. Next up are the Cow and the Sheep ... I have a sneaking suspicion that these will be much like the Pig and the Cat ... definitely not quick stitches.

Glory Bee's Which Witch: I'll finish this up as a Halloween Trick or Treat Bag for my new grand-daughter

The Finishes: I'll post photos of my sewing finishes when I finally get a sunny enough day to photograph them outdoors. These pieces are too large to photograph on my little sewing table under my Ott Lite. So for now I will just list them.

Liz Turner Diehl's Autumn Acorns, as a bellpull
Modern Art Goddess, as a wall hanging
Baa Baa Black Sheep, as a tote

These last pieces brings July's finish total up to 21 ... pretty respectable. And only leaves 15 more finishes to go in August ... of which four are ravioli pillows and four more are pillows requiring buttonholes and nun-stitching ... which is why I have been studiously putting off the pillows for as long as possible. There are also a few more wall hangings to sew up and a chance to use some of my scrumptious new trims from Farmhouse Fabrics. All in all I think I will enjoy the August finish sewing just as much as the July even if the "body count" will be lower. And, yes, I do think of it as a body count! With each item removed from the sewing basket [actually, a large plastic laundry basket] and turned into a usable or giftable item, I mentally pump my right arm up and down and shout out "Awright!" ... my own version of Rocky Balboa tenacity and celebration. I am simply not going to think about the fact that as I continue to cross stitch, I will continue to accumulate items requiring finishing, the Fertile Circles Needlebook for one and the Beach Finds Handbag for another as well as any Christmas and Halloween ornaments generated by perusal of upcoming JCS issues. Besides, I could always limit myself to BAPs that require professional framing thereby eliminating the sewing basket altogether ... but that probably would mean spending what's left of our retirement savings on framing. No, on second thought, I will simply revel in the current reduction of the backlog in the sewing basket. Inexorably, it will start to fill again but perhaps, after a two month marathon at the sewing machine, I will be motivated to keep up with the flow. I don't think I want to fall so far behind ever again.

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