Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Assessing September Goals, Setting October Goals

SEPTEMBER GOALS  It's been a productive month.

Complete at least five sewing finishes.
Continue work on Jacobean Elegance afghan.
Stitch Prairie Schooler Year Round for September.  DONE.
Finish woek on Workbasket's Quaker Squirrel and start on the Quaker Bear.
Finish flea market pillow using Prairie Schooler's Primitive Americana leaflet designs  DONE.
Find and order Teresa Wentzler's Woodland Santa stocking.
Start Goblin Market.  DONE.
Off goal stitching: started Mill Hill beaded Daffodil Easter Egg and PS Lady Liberty and PS Queen Bee.

Complete at least five sewing finishes.
Continue work on Jacobean Elegance afghan.
Stitch Prairie Schooler Year Round for October.  
Finish woek on Workbasket's Quaker Squirrel and start on the Quaker Bear.
Find and order Teresa Wentzler's Woodland Santa stocking.
Continue work on Goblin Market.  
Continue work on Making Waves.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Avid If Somewhat Undisciplined Stitcher

I have been dipping into the basket of "charts I really want to stitch" rather indiscriminately.  Two days ago, it was the Mill Hill Easter Egg kit.  I love working with beads although I still have a hard time threading beading needles,  I actually broke one of the needle threaders specifically made for the purpose and have reverted to just threading the darn things by hand.  This is a frustrating process that usually takes several dozen attempts before I succeed.

Yesterday, it was back to the Prairie Schooler Primitive Americana to start the last chart in that leaflet, Lady Liberty.  

Today, I pulled out another Prairie Schooler project, a complimentary chart with a Queen Bee motif.  Since this is stitched on black linen, I wanted to stitch it while the weather was still pleasant enough for outdoor stitching.  I find natural light is best when stitching on black.

Needless to say, all this switching about doesn't leave me with much progress to photograph.  And the upshot of all this: the WIP basket is getting quite crowded.  In addition to the above mentioned projects there are the following fifteen projects in semi=active rotation:
  • M Designs Sean Name tree - with the Es and Ns still to be stitched.
  • CECs The Swimming Instructor - with the face still to be stitched and the beaded necklace still to be attached.
  • The Jacobean Elegance afghan - with 15 more squares to be stitched.
  • Making Waves needlepoint project - with more than 3/4s of the bargello rows and more than 2/3s of the eyelet area to be stitched.
  • Workbasket's Quaker Squirrel - about half way done
  • My own design, Fertile Circles needle book, the back panel needs finishing.
  • My own design, Beach Find Pansies, to be completed and incorporated into an embellished crazy quilt square
  • To Thine Own Self Be True freebie - need to frog an error in the border and restitch it.
  • The Victoria Sampler Mystic Smalls class project - I need to stitch the needle book and the biscornu.
  • The Prairie Schooler Year Round - need to stitch the October entry
  • Another needlepoint project, Rice Pudding, using many variations of the rice stitch.
  • Yet another needlepoint project, an Owl, again a project using lots of specialty stitches.
  • Piper's Christmas stocking  adapted from a Dimensions kit.
  • HAED's The Tangle Fairy, barely started
  • The Goblin Market 0 started last week.

There are other class projects on the unfinished list [see my Class Project sidebar] but I don't count them as WIPs since I haven't touched them since the classes ended,  I will get to them eventually but they are not immediately before me.  The scary thing is that there are at least another twenty charts on the "charts I really want to stitch" and so, there is the potential for a much longer WIP list.  A part of me [the list-making, orderly and organized A type personality] would like to see a more disciplined approach, ticking one finished project after another off the list before making any more new starts.  But there is another part of me [the aging hippie free spirit] prompting me to just enjoy whatever catches my fancy at the moment.

And I don't even want to start listing what is in the sewing and assembly finish laundry basket.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Goblin Market and Other Projects

I went with my first instinct and used the 28 ct ivory linen.  I am using the recommended DMC floss.  So far, I have stitched the bottom border. the tile like band just above it and a bit of the left side of the booth.  I am loving the colors as I work my way from left to right across the bottom third of the design.  Since I stitch with over dyed silks and cottons so very often, I sometimes forget the pure joy of crisp solid color.

Next, I finally set up my recent needlepoint class piece [from July] on the stitching stand so I could get back to work on it.  I'd like to finish at least one class project in the same year I started it.  A quick  glance at my sidebar on class pieces would prove that this would be a major accomplishment for me

Before September whizzes past, I wanted to get the PS Year Round for the month stitched.  Like the others in the series, I stitched this on 40 ct natural linen in Belle Soie silks instead of the charted DMC.  In this case: Poison Apple, Scarecrow, and Collards

I was in the mood to do some beading.  Creating a few more Easter/Spring ornaments for my entry hall tree is one of my annual goals.  So I pulled out this Mill Hill kit, a daffodil Easter egg, and got started on it.  The instructions said to use two strands of floss but the floss was too bulky and showed between the beads, so I am using just one strand.  I hope this won't cause problems in future.  I'll be lining the back with felt, so I trust the stitches will be adequately protected.  Ornaments don't see much hard use so it ought to be fine.

And I cut some more denim strips from old jeans.  I figure when I have four balls as large as the first two, I should be able to start work on a braided rag rug.  I also had some old slipcovers in colors that will work with the denim that I can use in the ratio of two denim strips to one slipcover strip to add a little interest and variation.

Another scrap project I'd like to work on soon is a woolen penny rug.  I've got an old coat and some remnants left over from a cape I made, the first a solid dark green and the second a tweedy medium green in the same bluish green color way.  I won't actually make a full sized rug but I am fairly sure I have enough for a table runner.  Anyway, I cut up the coat [which has given me good service for a little over 30 years - LL Bean sure makes products that last] and ran it through the washer on gentle cycle using Woolite.  It has a slightly felted appearance now which is perfect for my purposes.

And, finally, I selected a winner of the giveaway ten days ago, Bette, and e-mailed her.  But she never responded so I selected a new winner, Carolyn [Stitchinowl].  I will e-mail her tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Time For Another Giveaway

I've been going through my stash, weeding out charts I have already stitched and will not stitch again and charts I have been given that I will never stitch.  I am married to a hoarder and I tend to go to the other extreme myself just to create some balance in my household.

To celebrate the relatively cool temperatures of low 70s to high 60s of the past few days, this month's theme is Autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  One lucky winner will get the following seven charts.

Prairie Schooler's Harvest Time: three charts, the first a harvest scene, the second and third Halloween and Thanksgiving pieces.  Heart Strings' The Bittersweet Season: a band sampler of a black cat atop a very tall pumpkin.

The Trilogy's Autumn Spots and Heart in Hand's Halloween Tall Bird: both small quick and easy little projects.

Hillside Samplings' A Is For Acorn, a pretty sampler with a charming acorn border.    Lavender Wings' Pumpkin Patch.

The Cricket Collection's Thanksgiving Circle, meant to be stitched as a wreath but I stitched the individual elements as ornaments.  I happened to save my working copies and have included them as well.

The usual procedure should be followed,  Leave a note in the comments explaining why you would enjoy stitching these charts.  If clicking on your user name will not bring me to a profile that includes your e-mail address, please include it in your comment.  You cannot win if I cannot contact you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Some Days ...

 ... start off badly and then just go downhill from there.  Enough said!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Call Me Crazy

In spite of the heat, I fired up the oven and did some baking.  The wall AC  in the living room isn't powerful enough to cool the entire first floor which includes the kitchen.  So, a few degrees more heat doesn't make much difference.

I had quite a few dark plums on hand, too many to eat out of hand for a two person household.  We belong to a Fruit-of-the Month club and the quantity of the fruit varies from month to month, depending, I suppose, on size and cost.  So I decided to make a plum cake.  I researched and copied out a few recipes but settled on this Martha Stewart version, though the NY Times recipe was a second runner up.  I'll have to try it out as well and have a side by side taste comparison.  God knows I have enough plums.

This version came out a little less moist than I would have liked.  I baked it for the recommended 35 minutes at 375 degrees.  Next time I'll reduce the baking time to 30 minutes. I also dispensed with the powdered sugar/  Otherwise, it makes a nice accompaniment for a cup of tea or coffee, not overly sweet.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Little Stitching

First the stitching;  I have been concentrating on my fun election piece, Prairie Schooler's Primitive Americana and have finished the sampler panel.  worked the Uncle Sam panel of the flea market pillow.  As I  suspected, I needed to modify the alphabet to fit the space.  I eliminated one row of over sized letters and changed the format of the Sweet Land of Liberty line, stitching only the uppercase in cross stitch and the lowercase in straight stitch... Next, I worked the Uncle Sam panel of the flea market pillow.  I chose to stitch Uncle Sam in the vertical panel since I think Lady Liberty will make a better stand alone ornament.  Though to make it ornament sized, I expect I will have to stitch it on 32 or 36 ct linen.  Now all I have to do is order a pillow form since I already haxe an appropriate fabric.

A belated photo: I finished this Prairie Schooler Year Round for July last month but forgot to post a photo.  I decided to skip the August Year Round, a boring sun with a smiling face.  Next up will be a little red schoolhoudr for September.

I think my next start will be The Goblin Market.  It's been in my stash for a long time and lately it keeps popping into my head at random moments.  I'll take that as a hint that it belongs in the ever growing rotation.  Now, to find the right piece of linen for it,   I have a pale to light grey over dye and two different beige/light tan solids as well as a classic ivory.  A floss toss should decide the issue but I am leaning toward the ivory.   This design is inspired by a Christina Rosetti poem of the same name, a verse of which is incorporated into the piece.  It is pretty solidly stitched and has a very interesting frame/border making up the outline of the market booth.  It'll be a whole different kind of fun than the Prairie Schooler piece, a radical change of mood.  I am nothing if not eclectic in my taste.    I realize this piece would not be to everyone's liking.  In fact, many would call it downright ugly.  But as a former English teacher, I feel the pull of the literary allusion.

Speaking of literary references,  I also have charts for each of the houses from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: Longbourn, Netherfield, Mr. Collin's Humble Abode, Rosings and Pemberley; as well as a sampler chart using a quotation from the same novel.  But they will require another radical mood change before I start stitching them.  Then there are several other literary charts in stash: Something Wicked This Way Comes, the Sleepy Hollow triptych, and another sampler featuring a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  And I have long toyed with the idea of designing a very elaborate scarlet letter of my own.  Did I mention that I have eclectic taste?  It's interesting how much our life experience is reflected in our stash.  I am betting that the avid gardener has a bunch of botanical charts, bird watchers have all sorts of detailed and realistic bird charts, the deeply spiritual probably have many charts referencing the sacred texts and symbols of their faith, etc.  I invite my readers to leave a comment below if  they agree and find themselves collecting charts that reflect their careers, hobbies, faith or philosophy.  Just a very informal and totally unscientific poll.