I had intended to work mainly on my sadly neglected focus projects this past week, but I found myself finishing up a few of the smaller pieces worked on in the early part of the month, instead. Earlier this month, what little time I had for stitching went to the less complicated projects in my various SALs and the one RR in which I am participating. My professional life is pretty high pressured for the first half of May and I avoid anything complicated in all other areas of my life at such times ... makes for less waste, less disappointment and less stress. But this past week, has seen an almost calm mood descend upon the office ... my secretary Susan and I have caught up with all progress reports, parish registers, and final accounting for the 2009-10 school year, with the exception of the Saturday morning classes which don't end till June 12 ... I have kept abreast of assigning students to classes for 2010-11 as the registrations roll in. With luck, we will be able to devote the whole of June to learning and implementing a new data entry system that will allow us to go paperless in 2010-11 ... sending everything from calendars to welcome back letters/class assignment confirmations to targeted class information by e-mail. I'll need to do the ordering for the next school year and a few other tasks but for the most part I think I can revert to 40 hour work weeks and take a deep breath or two. The main advantage to all this is that I no longer need to neglect my husband, my home, my garden and my stitching [not necessarily in that order] in order to remain sane.
THE MONTHLY PROJECTS: Thanksgiving Ornaments.
PS Harvest Time Turkey [April]: can't do much more on this piece for the moment ... I need to match up some Maple Syrup floss. I have put out a plea on the 123 message board, offerring to trade two full skeins for one full or partial skein with the right color way ... more chocolate brown than grey brown ... and hope to have a match soon. The stitchers on the 123 board have come through for me before and I am hoping they will do so again. This was pictured in a recent post so I am not adding another phot here.
Kreinik Cornucopia [May]: have also hit a dead end on this piece while I wait for some back-ordered silk mori and search for a source for silk serica. I really like the tone on tone look given by the Antique Parchment silk mori on this Silkweaver 40ct Mississippi Mud linen. This may very well turn out to be my favorite in the Thanksgiving series. The Kreinik silks stitch up very nicely indeed and I am quite pleased with the depth of the colors. The use of cross stitches, half cross stitches and satin stitches adds to the texture of the piece. Since this is stitched on 40ct, I couldn't use i strand of each color for the blended areas. Instead, I am using one color for the / leg and the second color for the \ leg where a blend is called for.
PS Pumpkins [June] : I started this when I hit dead ends on the previous two ornaments, using a scrap piece of 28 ct country cream linen and Belle Soie Silks in Enchanted Forest, Fern Frond, Pumpkin Carriage and Mango. It is a relatively quick stitch and should give me the immediate gratification of a finish in the first week of June. I am very fond of Prairie Schooler charts and treasure any of the little complimentary design cards they offer. I have a very small collection but I begin to understand the appeal of the trading cards [baseball, football, etc.] my sons collected when they were younger.
THE OFF GOAL PROJECTS
I signed up for an on-line class run by Sharon of the Pin Tangle blog. The project will be an encrusted/embellished crazy quilt block. I have printed off Week 1 [of 6] and have set up a binder. It makes for very interesting reading. But the real joy has been in stash diving for all the various materials required. Of course, I have gathered far more than I will actually be able to use ... keeping my options open as the class progresses ... the toughest part was settling on a color way for the base fabrics. I don't have a lot of velvets, satins and metallics in my stash. I prefer cotton or wool for most of my quilting and sewing. I do, on the other hand, have loads of embellisments: crocheted laces of all types, beads, buttons, cording, charms, ribbons and just about every type of embroidery fiber known to woman. Choosing a color way wasn't tough because I had so many choices but rather because I had so few on the appropriate fabrics: a bit of black moire silk and some red tartan plaid silk tafetta. I am supplementing these with a few quilting cottons from Moda in reds and yellows picked up from the tartan plaid since I have accepted the implicit challenge embedded in Week 1 of the class: work with what you have ... historically, it is the whole raison d'etre for the crazy quilt. I'll be using a lot of white crocheted lace to soften and tame all that black and I can use my stash of cording and floss to introduce complementary colors into the block. I'll be looking at a lot of mossy and silvery greens, so far as that goes ... I am planning on arranging my pieces so that the block ultimately looks like a very stylized partially opened rose bud ... I can get behind that concept with a good deal of enthusiasm, actually. The first picture shows the fabrics I have selected, the second shows the trims, and the third shows some buttons in mother of pearl and vintage celluloid that might work as embellishments. Obviously I won't be using everything I have pulled from my stash but I wanted to have a lot of options once I started playing with the design.
Cupcake Pin Cushion: I used a floral wreath motif fromBH&G 2001 Cross Stitch Motifs for this piece, though I ignored the accompanying color chart, substituting my own Belle Soi Silks and GAST Overdyed Cotton. It's another project stitched almost entirely from stash: scrap bit of DMC linen, lined with a scrap of muslin, filled with ground walnut shells [lizard litter - a gift from my animal loving daughter], stitched with fibers already on hand. The only item purchased was the silicone cupcake cup. Next time I do this I am going to start with a smaller circle of fabric since I am not entirely happy with this finish. Well enough for a first attempt but plenty of room for improvement. It looks entirely too lumpy around the edges for my taste.
Heart in Hand's Wee Bee: I decided to use Belle Soie Wheatgrass to work all the satin stitches. So all that I need to do now is order the Homespun Elegance Bee buttons. I think I'll use two: one to the left and above the bee skep and another in the upper right above the flower. The Homespun Elegance buttons are somewhat expensive and I did think about replacing them with some JABCo buttons. Upon reflection, I don't believe the rather colorful and contemporary looking JABCo buttons would suit the sophisticated spareness of the piece. So the economical element of stitching from stash [scrap linen and fibers from existing stash] goes right out the window but I will be happier with the final product. What do you think for the final finish: a flat fold, a cube or a pillow?