Sharon Crescent's Fleur de Boo ornament from JCS Sept. 2010: This was the piece I used to conclude my stitching on Rachel's Halloween SAL. The actual design is the same but just about everything else has been changed. Instead of the 28ct guacamole linen called for, I used a 30ct Midsummer's Night Purple linen ... I didn't have any linen in the appropriate shade of green but I think purple can be just as Halloween-ish when juxtaposed with black and orange. The chart called for Crescent Colors Cauldron and Ember but my order from Stitcher's Row still hasn't arrived [I assume they are holding it till everything is on hand, though I did ask that they send the floss immediately]. So I used Belle Soie Old Crow and Lasagna instead. The finish is also a variation on a theme: not having any ball fringe in black or orange, I chose to use some black velvet cord to trim the central ornament. I had some flat braid in the perfect orange color but only enough to trim three sides of the back. Damn! I will have to look for something quite bright and Halloweenish to trim the larger square. But I did use the same stacked and padded square & diamond assembly technique. Since I didn't have any clever little prints in the appropriate colors, I covered the back in plain black cotton and backed it with black adhesive felt. Hence the need for some rather showy and colorful trim. I think I'll check at Michael's and AC Moore to see if they have any Halloween garlands in the clearance bins. Recently, on the 123 message board, I saw a very creative finish of a Halloween wall-hanging using a funky garland as trim, lots of tiny shiny bats, pumpkins, witches and cats ... one of the many reasons I like checking out that board is that so many creative people who think outside the box contribute to the discussions there. The finished ornament won't look anything like the model in the magazine but I'll like it. If I can't find anything in the craft stores now that the season is past, I'll put the ornament in storage with the rest and wait till next year when the Halloween decorations hit the stores again.
My other focus these past few days has been finishing things other than ornaments. It was fun to switch gears and work with sewing machine, iron and cutting mat. I managed to get quite a bit done, above and beyond the usual keeping up with ornament finishes. While looking for some trim alternatives for Fleur de Boo, I stumbled upon this bookmark, Handblessing's Autumn Lace and took a few minutes to back it with muslin and then fringe the edges. This complimentary chart was stitched on a small piece of scrap linen [Silkweaver's Autumn Sunrise] using a lovely overdyed floss in a pastel version of the autumn palette called Firebrand from a small dye house called Dragon Floss. It is finished just in time to use as I read J. D. Robb's latest, Indulgence in Death, which arrived in the mail today.
And, finally, I excavated these projects from the finishing basket, threaded the sewing machine with blue thread, gathered all my blue fabric and created some gift totes. The first is a very old piece, so old it was stitched on aida back before I discovered linen. It is a chart from an old Leisure Arts Christmas book: one of a series using Victorian toys for inspiration, including this teddy bear, a cat and a bulldog. [I stitched the cat as well and made it into a pet for a friend's American Girl doll collection.] I had intended to stitch this up as a toy for my daughter. Nowadays, at 33, I don't think she'd play with it much. So I have made it into a gift tote I will use for one of my grandchildren this Christmas. The second uses a BH&G chart of a red squirrel. This gift tote will be used this Christmas as well. I have one more gift tote "in progress" using Erynne Chard's Garden as the central piece. I hope to have a photo of that finish up tomorrow as part of my Weekend Progress Report. I seem to do my finishing in spurts. Once I get started, I find the whole process very satisfying ... it's the getting started that is often the problem. I hope to carry this finishing momentum into next week and lower the levels in the finishing basket and the fabric stash a bit more by finishing a few pillows. Come January, I will have to take an inventory of that basket and make getting to the bottom of it a goal. By the end of 2011, all I want to be left in that basket are the quilt blocks I am accumulating for my Town Square and my Quaker Animal quilts.
All in all, it has been a productive few days and I am one happy stitcher!