Friday, January 25, 2008

Guilt free January

Okay, if this is guilt free January, why do I still feel remorse/shame/angst about not meeting my self-imposed goal of blogging at least every other day? This remorse is further complicated by the fact that I still have not been able to nail down a time when my husband can teach me how to download the pictures I take of my stitching, sort them properly in "My Pictures", import [is that the right word?] said pictures into my Photobucket account and then post them here and in my various groups.
That all being said, I have made substantial progress on Sue Hillis' Santa with Gingerbread Men, the first in her new annual series: I have been working from the bottom up and am now at the beard. The 123SAL for Crabby All Year is stalled while I make up my mind to frog gobs of stitching [in black, no less] in the April block ... about a fourth of the way down I stitched over one thread instead of two and have since been carrying that mistake across, deluding myself that it will be just fine, even as I carry it across into May and June. I don't think so ... but, Lord, do I hate frogging. And I have started the bib for Marsha's granddaughter Madison.
Well, at least I know what I'll be doing for the daily hour working on a SAL and then I can move on to the Friday WIP, the Santa, which is moving along quickly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The PLAN progresses

I have been keeping to the plan in the main: have done at least an hour's worth of stitching daily on the Crabby All Year SAL and approximately 1/2 to 1 hour of stitching on the project of the day most days. The only exception continues to be the Thursday sewing finishes ... I will really have to work on that this week. The SAL is progressing nicely: I have started on the March block ... it won't be long before I am able to move onto the second leaflet in the series. But I do need to start on the Halloween projects SAL: I have got the Miribilia Halloween Faerie all kitted up and on scroll bars ... just need to actually start the stitching. I realize most other stitchery bloggers are doing a guilt-free January: no goals and no plans ... but I intend this year to be the year I actually stitch most of those charts that I bought because I truly fell in love with them. I don't understand the stash for stash's sake mentality. Why buy something just to have it but not stitch it. So, I will be systematically working through the charts I have collected, both purchased and free downloads. I have stuffed an envelope for my Secret Sister on the 123stitch exchange and look forward to her reactions on the Yahoo group for the exchange. I have been browsing the 123 site for charts in her favorite theme but have not found anything that strikes me as quite right ... I'll have to spread my nets a little wider ... maybe Mystic Stitch will have some more interesting options. Since she is an "international" member of the exchange, I want to get something quite distinctively American for her ... something that wouldn't be readily available to her otherwise. Ah, well, I need to get ready for work now though I can barely keep my eyes open. I don't know why I am so exhausted lately ... please, dear Lord, don't let it be the the mononucleosis that is tearing a strip through the school district.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A DMC resurgence

I finished the Cross-Eyed Kat Snowfight Red [Dragon] last night and absolutely adore the whimsical little piece ... and I definitely will be on the lookout for more charts from this series.
I am back to working on my Crabby All Year SAL today, having finished the January block and having gotten well into the February block. It is a very enjoyable piece and works up relatively quickly. There is a certain pleasure to be had in working in DMC, the colors in this piece are quite lovely. I have been very much in danger of becoming a floss snob: I do love silks of all kinds and the GAST and WDW overdyes, as well as the specialty fibers from Rainbow Gallery and Kreinik. But DMC has such an incredible range of color as well as the advantage of being colorfast that I am rediscovering the joy of working with it. I have enjoyed it so much that I have finally decided to take the plunge and fill in all the gaps in my DMC collection so that I own a complete set, at least, of the basic colors in cotton ... can't say that I am much interested in their variations or neons. And I already know I don't like their linen floss ... much too coarse and a cause of badly blistered fingers. I have restocked the DMC from 2 cases to 3 to make room all of the new flosses. I have made a list of the colors I am still missing in my purse calendar and will be making purchases everytime I am near either Michael's or A.C. Moore's until such time as I have a complete set. I have noticed that my next few projects [specifically, the Sue Hillis Santa series, the Sue Hillis Pair Tree and the Prairie Schooler annual Santa cards] all will be using DMC. And, of course, the Snowfight Draon I just finished was done in DMC primarily with just a bit of Kreinik and Dinky Dye silk for added punch. And the tea towels and baby bibs that I have been doing and will continue to do over the next few months all require the colorfast DMC. I am wondering if this represents a sea change in my own tastes or maybe in designer's habits or maybe it's an industry response to the increased cost of a hobby that depends on high end fibers. I don't think I'll ever lose my affection for the silks and overdyes, but I am glad to have rediscovered the basics, as well.
I'll also be heading off to the post office today to send out my first gift to my Secret Sister in the 123 stitch exchange: two skeins of floss and a few more little extras. I believe I will use air mail since it has to go overseas and I want to make sure it gets to her in a timely fashion. As well as mailing the packages of gifts to the kids that they couldn't take on the plane and the candles I ordered for Angela from Village candle which arrived yesterday. Also have to pick up the tarnish resistant bags for the silver I am sending off to Sean and Christina. Then home to do some laundry before it takes over the bathroom. And it is my hope to stick with the PLAN and get some sewing finishes done today. I think I'll work on the Christmas orders.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I feel a finish coming on

There is always a new level of excitement as one nears the finish of a piece ... and that is precisely what I am enjoying as I come within a day's stitching of finishing the Cross-Eyed Kat's Snowball Fight Red Dragon. I had set this aside for nearly a month because I really didn't like the graphics of the chart: backstitching lines that obscured the stitch symbols beneath and beside them, a great many 1/4 and 3/4 stitches and some odd blank spaces. But once I settled in to finishing the piece it really came together and created a whimsical image just chock full of personality ... making all the confusion worthwhile. Even the empty spaces, when combined with the rather idiosyncratic and irregular back-stitching, created sharp details and clean edges. I am loving the piece. I have only half of the last leg of the border to stitch and then the backstitching of the border ... I may even be able to finish it during the lunch hour. Now that I have a handle on the designer's logic and style, I do want to pick up a few more of the dragons in this series. I think it would be fun to have four or five of these in a small grouping, though I can't quite tell whether I'd prefer them as framed pieces, pillows or stand-ups. I'll have to give that some more thought.
I believe I'll replace the dragon in the PLAN with Marsha's baby bib as the Wednesday project. I didn't get around to stitching on either of my SALs yesterday evening. Toward the end of the workday I started feeling really funky ... I think the added Glumetza and my new discipline in taking all my medication on time and as often during the day as prescribed is causing some changes in my equilibrium as my body struggles to find its therapeutic levels for all the meds. So, I figured trying to stitch under those circumstances was just an open invitation to the frog. I read a few chapters in Sue Grafton's R is for Richochet instead.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cross-Eyed Kat's Snowball Fight - Red Dragon

While I admit that this was not an easy chart to read ... too many 1/4 and 3/4 stitches with backstitching obscuring the symbols ... I am loving the results as I get into the home stretch. I have stitched all the snow and the dragon as well as all the backstitching in the snow and about a third of the backstitching in the dragon. I only have the border and the rest of the backstitching in the dragon to go. It is really quite clever and well worth the minor annoyances when reading the chart. Probably the fact that I wear progressive lens didn't help the situation, either. I will work on this today and tomorrow [the PLAN notwithstanding] since I am anxious to finish it up and get it to the framer. I have been saving a special frame for it - shaped like a church window and finished in an antique gold that will pick up theKreinik Vintage Gold in the chest and horns perfectly. I'll post a picture when it is fully stitched.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Keeping with the plan

The past few days have been hectic but I have managed to get in some stitching and some organizing. On the Crabby All Year SAL: have nearly completed the January block - just another row of snow on the car roof and the "confetti" snow storm. On the Cross-Eyed Kat Dragon: have completed the left wing and most of the snow - just the left arm, filling in some snow, the border and the backstitching left to do. As to organizing: have reorganized my DMC from 2 cases into 3 and have been filling in the gaps in the collection and I have put together a selection of bibs to show Marsha. Also have joined a secret sister exchange through the 123stitch board. Today, according to THE PLAN, I should be working on the Mystic pocket and will do so this evening after work. But I am bringing Sean's Name tree ornament into work for lunch & dinner break stitching since it is more portable. This morning's SAL stitching was on Crabby All Year ... I will probably start my Halloween SAL stitching tomorrow with the Miribilia Halloween Faerie.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Keeping to the Plan: Thursday

Today's stitching on a SAL was done on the Crabby All Year: the words, snow shadows, shovel blade, tire and part of the car in the January "box" and now it is time to start the sewing finishes that will be my Thursday task until I manage to catch up with all the pieces in the sewing basket.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Progress Report

Put in an hour or so stitching on the Crabby All Year SAL and finished the top band ... now onto the January motif "Snow & Cold" which is particularly appropriate as today the temps are in single digits with a wind chill below O and we are expecting flurries. I'll be taking this SAL with me to the doctor's office since I invariably seem to end up waiting an hour there each time I go. I'll also be picking up the remaining three DMC colors needed for the Jan-Feb-Mar chart since I will be near A. C. Moore.
Other than that, I have the projects for my monthly goals to organize: Sean's Name Tree, The Mystic Pocket, the Red Dragon, the #1 SH Santa, and the assembly of the Halloween Cat biscornu, along with other sewing finishes. I think I will assign a day of the week to each goal, as follows:
Everyday: work for at least a half an hour on one of the SALs
Monday: Mystic Pocket
Tuesday: Sean's Name Tree
Wednesday: Cross-Eyed Kat Red Dragon
Thursday: Sewing finishes
Friday: Sue Hillis Santa #1
Saturday & Sunday: whatever strikes my fancy

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 begins

The new year begins with a SAL. I have put in a couple of hours on the Crabby All Year SAL for the 123stitch board. I have nearly completed the top band, having stitched the snowflake, the spring leaf, the words Crabby and All. I hope to finish the remainder of the band this evening since all that is left is the word Year, a flower and a jack-o-lantern. That may be a bit ambitious but we shall see. And I have chosen the fabric for my first Sue Hillis Santa [the one with the Gingerbread Men]... I'll stitch it up in the waterlily linen since that very soft sage-y green will set off the Christmas palette nicely and since I have enough of the fabric to complete all four Santa charts in my stash. The Miribilia Halloween Faerie is all kitted up for the other SAL I'll be participating in with the 123stitch board. I have also signed up for a Secret Sister exchange through the 123stitch board. It is my hope to make a few more contacts with other stitchers. Maybe later in the year, I will join an exchange.
My New Year's Stitching Resolutions
1. Set more reasonable monthly goals
2. Blog at least every other day
3. Start putting photos on the blog
4. Limit purchases of new charts in 2008 to a modest 10 ... with 70+ charts in stash, this seems an imperative.
5. Keep up with the sewing finishes.
6. Stitch a bit more for myself.