Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Assessing March Goals and Setting April Goals

I got side tracked this month. I joined a round robin and, typically, developed a way-too-ambitious plan for the border of my piece as well as a fairly sizable panel for my personal stitching on the piece to set the theme. To add to the complexity, I discovered that many of the other participants were at a loss for ideas to contribute to my piece. So I had to cull my chart library for appropriate pieces I could adapt and re-chart to fit the spaces available. Preparing these working charts took time as well. I am going to have to tatoo the mantra "Stop biting off more than you can chew!" on the inside of my eyelids.

March Goals:Focus Project: Still TW Autumn Faerie: Nothing done on this.
Travel Projects: Brightneedle's Ghosts and Ghoulies Etui: Nothing done on this.
Bride Tree SAL February ornament [Heart]March Ornament [Flower or Flower Basket]. Nothing done on this.Thanksgiving Ornament: Homespun Elegance Turkey with Pumpkins. DONE.Medium Project: Finish Workbasket's Mermaids Singing and start Sue Hillis' Annual Charmed Santa 2008: the Cookie Baking Santa: Nothing done on either of these.
Small Projects: my last Heartstring Santa Factory card - February [Santa with a Heart]: About two hours done on this.UFO Countdown Project: Finally move on the Peacock biscornu and then, while the weather is still cool, pick up the Jacobean afghan. No, not even picked up once.
Linda's Round Robin: Finish the border and stitch my own panel on my piece. Substantial progress: only the back-stitching and long stitching on the border, the motifs on the dividers and a little less than half of the upper panel left to stitch.Sewing Finishes: Keep up with ornament finishes. Nothing done on the backlog but current ornaments and pin cushions are done.

April Goals:
Focus Project: Still TW Autumn Faerie:
Travel Projects: Brightneedle's Ghosts and Ghoulies Etui:
Bride Tree SAL February ornament [Heart]March Ornament [Flower or Flower Basket] & April Ornament.
RR piece: Finish border, dividers and top panel and mail by the 15th:
Medium Project: Finish Workbasket's Mermaids Singing:
Christmas piece: Finish Heartstrings Santa Factory February:
UFO Countdown Project: Finally move on the Peacock biscornu and then, while the weather is still cool, pick up the Jacobean afghan.
Sewing finishes: complete at least five projects from the finishing basket

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Stitching Pool: Gamble without any cost

I decided to start a stitching pool [like those Super Bowl Sunday football pools]:

When will the RR prep be done?

Anyone wishing to choose a date between April 1 and April 15 should post below: no duplications, the first one to choose a date owns it, the contest closes when all dates between 1-15 are taken.

The Prize will be three skeins of overdyed cotton in colors of my choosing [CC, WDW or GAST] and one skein of Rainbow Gallery bamboo floss.

To give you some background information on which to base your guesses:

-- See the photo above for my current progress

-- The mailing deadline for the RR is April 15 ... and no, to the best of my knowledge, the organizer does not work for the IRS.

-- I am a relatively slow stitcher, using the stab method rather than the sewing method. In fact, it took me 7 & 1/2 minutes to stitch each acorn "nut" or bottom.

-- 78 of the acorns in the border need to be back-stitched and long- stitched ... you can look at the three on the upper right to get an idea of what is involved

-- I am stitching my own panel at the top using the village scene from the Prairie Schooler Harvest Time leaflet but I will be adapting it as I go along as my space in 4 stitches less wide and 10 stitches less high. I will be eliminating the trees in the foreground and recharting the buildings accordingly and filling in some of the empty spaces with pumpkins lifted from one part of the chart and inserted elsewhere. Also when stitching the right side of the design, I will be stitching from bottom to top, so any overlap in stitching the church in the mid-distance and the small home in the far-distance will fall into place after the large home in the foreground is stitched. Adjusting the chart adds a little time to the process.

-- I will also be adapting the leaf motifs from Handblessings' Autumn Lace or Autumn Leaves bookmarks to fill in the dividers in Row 2 and 3.

-- Having removed the trees from the foreground, I will re-chart them seperately so that the other stitchers in the RR will have charts for the second row in my RR in case they can't come up with their own. I will be doing the same for the two buildings in the Autumn Scene in the Prairie Schooler Four Seasons leaflet to provide options for designs in the bottom row. I will also be looking for some freebies in the proper theme and style to give the participants more choices.

-- I run a religious education program in a Catholic parish and so will close my office for Easter Break at noon this Wednesday and not re-open until Monday, April 12. While I will be using some of that time for Spring cleaning and gardening, much of the time will be spent stitching and sewing finishes of my stitching.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #12

The Interminable Round Robin Piece continues:

Stitching time was scarce this week: I had two daytime Confirmation retreats, two evening Family Catechesis Paschal Candle Craft Nights in addition to the usual classes as well as a trip to the bulk mailing post office clear across the county for a special mailing. I had some routine medical tests planned for Friday as well. Though I usually do start my day off with one hour of stitching and one hour of Tai Chi every morning, this didn't happen more than twice this week. On the retreat days I started my workdays at 7am instead of the usual 9am or 11am respectively. And the remaining days were so full that I made early starts on those as well just to avoid being so far behind in my paperwork that I have to give up some of Easter vacation to clear my desk. By the weekend I was so tired that I hadn't much energy left for any extended stitching time ... just half-hour spurts here and there.

To be specific, on Tuesday morning, I spent another hour and a half on this border. On the one hand, I am beginning to be bored silly with the border motifs ... repetition, repetition, repetition! On the other hand, I am really pleased with the way this round robin piece is shaping up. And then on Thursday, I took a two hour break in the middle of my day [between the Confirmation Retreat and the regular afternoon class schedule] and continued work on the border. The retreats went very well ... in fact, the children exceeded my expectations substantially ... so I was on a kind of emotional/spiritual overload and needed the stitching time to decompress. I am getting too old for twelve hour workdays anyway ... so, taking a two hour break midday brought it down to a manageable ten hour day. And on Friday morning, I managed to stitch for another hour. Over the weekend, I did manage to finish the remaining acorn "nuts" or bottoms and I started on the wagon of harvest produce in the top panel. At that point I just couldn't face any more repetitious stitching, so the back stitching and long stitching were deferred for a while.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some stash purchases

I just placed an order with 123stitch using two of the gift certificates received as payment for the postage on my Mom's Stash Giveaway. It is odd but I sent out ten boxes of stash and only four of the recipients have bothered to reimburse me for postage as was agreed. A fifth was not asked to pay me since she is a friend. I rather expected one or two to default but not half the group. I guess I have too optimistic a view of human nature. I still don't regret having sent out the stash, but I am a wee bit disappointed in some of the folks who participated.
But thanks to two of the participants who chose GCs as their form of reimbursement: I ordered some Glasgow Linen in a shade called raw linen for my Bride's Tree SAL, Blackbird Designs Bird in Hand chart and a skein each of WDW Charcoal and GAST Gingersnap which I need for my Round Robin piece. I have promised to limit myself to the purchase of only 5 new charts this year since I have such a wealth of charts already in my possession ... and Bird in Hand is the first of that five. I hope to limit the bulk of my purchases this year to fabric and fiber needed to stitch the charts I already own. I shall now wait with bated breath at my mailbox ... not really, I do have a life beyond stitching ... but any stitcher can empathize with the sense of anticipation I shall be feeling.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #11

I finally did an accurate count on the acorns in my border for my RR piece: 81. The first photo, on the left, shows the tout ensemble with all 81 medallions in various stages of completion. I finished up all the acorn "caps" last Monday and spent the early part of the week stitching the acorn "nuts" ... I timed myself, slow stitcher that I am, and it takes approximately seven minutes for me to complete each acorn "nut". So, as you can imagine, I got thoroughly bored with the acorns somewhere around mid-week ... at which point I started working on my own panel. You can see my progress on that in this second photo on the right. The Prairie Schooler Harvest Time village scene will cover the entire top panel though I will have to condense and adapt it a bit to fit. One of those serendipitious little things: it is usually not a good thing to have two different dyelots of an overdyed floss ... but in this case two variants of Cider Mill Brown worked beautifully to give the covered bridge a light and shadow effect while maintaining the same color values. I will be extracting and re-charting some of the larger trees in the foreground of the chart as motifs for the panels in the second row, in case some of the other round robin participants have difficulty finding suitable charts for my piece. The third photo, again on the left, is a close-up of the back-stitching and long-stitching required to complete each acorn. As I said, I am a slow stitcher, and this back-stitching and long-stitching takes about nine minutes an acorn. A little math: 42 acorn nuts @ 7 minutes each equals 4 hours and 54 minutes; 81 acorns to back-stitch @ 9 minutes each equals 12 hours and 9 minutes; the total comes to 17 hours and 3 minutes just to complete the border. I just might complete my own panel as well since I will be off from work Holy Thursday, Good Friday and all of Easter week. This round robin has displaced everything else in my normal stitching rotation. Will I finish up the border and my bit in time for the April 15 mailing deadline? I certainly hope so ... it wouldn't do to fall behind in the very first rotation of the RR ... not exactly the way to endear myself to new stitching friends!
In any case, I have been blogging about this for so long that I thought it was about time I showed you a few photos ... if only to prove I have been working on this piece as diligently as I claim to be!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Very Quick Finish

My little St. Patrick's Day Freebie was such a quick stitch that I was even able to make a back for the final sewing finish which will be a fringed pillow pin cushion. Tomorrow is my day off and if I can manage it, I'll spend some time at the sewing machine. I'll finish this little pin cushion and a few of the Thanksgiving ornaments that I had stitched in January and February. I also have a gift tote I need to finish up.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I started the day off with a perfectly brewed pot of Irish Breakfast Tea ... not unusual, as this is my default tea for mornings all year round ... but it seemed partiularly appropriate today.
For the rest of the day, there are several ways I'll be celebrating: I'll be having corned beef, potatoes and cabbage for lunch, I'll be playing music from my Celtic collection all day at work ... I just hope I don't drive my poor secretary nuts. And, finally, I think I'll give way to startitis and do a little thematic stitching today. I pulled out a sweet little free chart from The Sunflower Seed called Luck of the Irish. It is just 50 x 50 stitches square and should make up nicely as a pillow pin cushion or a cute little biscornu as long as I set up my straight stitch border up an odd number of stitches beyond the design proper. It calls for WDW Blue Spruce and Kudzu but I'll be substituting Scuppernong for the Kudzu since I have only a needleful of the Kudzu left in my stash ... saved as a color swatch so I can make reasonable substitutions. While I was kitting up Luck of the the Irish, I kitted up Prairie Schooler's Harvest Time as well ... I don't expect to get to it this week but it'll be all ready to go once I finally do complete my RR border.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A sunny day at last ...

... and I have to work until 9:00pm today. I am yearning for a mental health day since last Sunday was my first day off in 10 days and I will have to wait till Friday for another day off. Working for the Catholic Church involves crazy hours, to say the least. Most days I consider my work ministry but some days it is just a job that I drag myself off to ... and the first sunny day of Spring is one of those days.
Before heading to work today, I did manage to stitch another 23 acorn "nuts" in my RR border ... yes, I know, I am entirely too obsessed with this piece but as the April 15 mailing deadline approaches ... well, I begin to wonder if I will have my own stitching done on the piece ... I still have another 58 acorn "nuts" to stitch, the backstitching and outlining of 81 acorns to stitch, the five narrow medallions to fill in as well as the panel that goes across the top of the piece for which I will be using Harvest Time from Prairie Schooler. That's a lot of stitching. I will have some time off during the Easter season but I had intended on spending most of that time cleaning and painting the spare room in preparation for turning it into my craft haven ... and there is some gardening and yard work to tackle as well. Not much time for stitching during that vacation.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #10

It has been a busy week for me: I lost most of my day off Friday to a special event for catechists that my parish was hosting. Furthermore, we have had a great deal going on in the regularly scheduled religious education classes: confessions, Stations of the Cross, exams. I also lost almost all of last weekend to 7th grade workshops. Lent tends to be a very busy time. Finally, my husband and I managed to get together with my daughter and son and their respective significant others as well as with my sister-in-law for a family dinner at a favorite local restaurant this Sunday. It is amazing how difficult it is to get 7 adults together in the same place at the same time. The last time we had this particular group together was for my daughter's birthday in January.

As a result, I don't have quite so much to report this weekend. And most of what I do have to report isn't ready for Show & Tell since it involves my piece for Linda's Round Robin. I tend to go in for elaborate borders and ambitious plans ... and all that takes some time to accomplish. But I am making progress and should have a photo of the finished border soon. Then it will be onward and upward: stitching my own panel to set the theme. After that, it will just be a matter of selecting a number of charts to help others who may not have an extensive chart library in this area. But for the present, I am still working on the border: I still need to stitch 17 of the acorn "caps", 76 acorn "nuts" and then do the back stitching and long stitching on all 76 acorns. I figure the border will take at least another week, possibly more, and that the panel I am stitching across the top will take another two weeks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Picks From the Recent Nashville Market

I have promised myself that I would limit myself to just 5 new chart purchases this year. I have enough charts currently in my possession to keep me busy for 4 or 5 years ... thus, there can be no excuse for extravagant purchases when I already have such riches at my fingertips.

That being said, I still like to browse through the new offerings, adding a few to my wish list. I'll revisit the wish list in a month or two and see if my additions turned out to be mere momentary impulses or serious I-really-must-stitch-this items. If I hold off making any actual purchases of charts till mid-year, I'll know my choices will represent the creme de la creme of new charts ... at least, as regards my own tastes and moods.
These are my picks from the recent Nashville Market, with thumbnail reviews.
Prairie Moon's Martini Witches ... I think this would make a great companion piece to my "How to turn a man into a credit card?" piece from Twisted Stitches. I am just not sure that I really need to invest all the time, money and framing into an echo of a joke already enjoyed ... if you know what I mean.
Just Nan's Needle Tweets ... normally, I don't do "cute" but somehow these little accessories struck me as more whimsical than cute and perfect for stitching as gifts for friends who stitch.
Blackbird Designs Bird in Hand ... I love most everything produced by this design partnership but Bird in Hand really pleases me. I have a feeling this one, at least, will make it to the must purchase list.
The Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie ... This is another designer whose works I really like ... in spite of the eccentric spelling that doesn't follow either modern or archaic rules ... but rather partakes of a certain independent and creative spirit that spells words willy-nilly as the designer requires. This irks the English teacher that still lives within me but my general liking for the design concepts often overcomes the irritation. Another likely candidate for the list of only 5 charts to be purchased in 2010.
Steweb Scissors from Kelmscott Designs: I don't need another pair of scissors but my liking for Halloween themed accessories makes this spider web design damn near irresistible. But it is not a chart and so is not involved in my proscription against frivolous purchases ... at least not technically.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Giveaway winner

A sweet breath of Spring will be heading toward Paula C. Using the very unscientific method of having my husband pick a number between 1 and 12, I have made my choice for this month's giveaway.

I am always interested to note just what is popular and what is not in these giveaways, as measured by the number of comments left. I have had a few surprises over the past year or so, e.g.: when a Halloween chart grab bag giveaway proved twice as popular as a similar Christmas chart grab bag ... both with a sizable number of charts. I expected interest in this giveaway to be fairly light as compared with some of the others. For one thing, there were fewer charts than usual included in the giveaway and for another thing, the charts themselves appeal more to traditionalists ... not the sort of stitcher I thought my blog would attract ... quirky, whimsical, eccentric, eclectic ... that's my demographic. So, imagine my surprise when the response was a bit higher than the average number of folks who participate in my giveaways ... 12 of the 15 comments were actual entries. I guess the winter blahs is definitely not confined to the Northeast US. All I can say is: I am glad that these charts will bring someone joy instead of languishing away in a dark bureau drawer. I do hate waste!

Looking to the future:
--April's giveaway will revert to Christmas charts. As I clean up my collection of gently used charts, eliminating those I will never stitch again, the preponderance seem to be Christmas charts. In part, this is because I generally attend a stitching retreat in late fall and most of the door-prizes and goodie bag charts seem to have a Christmas theme. Also, at an earlier stage in my life, when my children were younger, I did a lot more stitching with a Christmas theme, especially gift bags. Adult children tend to prefer fewer gifts, mostly of the gift card and folding money variety, and I don't need to stitch up fancy gifts bags for such gifts ... they fit quite nicely in the stockings I stitched long ago and still hang from the bookcase. Indeed, most of the old gift bags have been recycled to hold presents for my younger nieces and nephews.

--In May, I'll be doing a PIF of charts received from Nic, a plethora of summer-y bee charts. It may not be quite all of what she sent me, since I still have a few more to stitch myself ... but we shall see what I finish between now and then.

--I have no idea what I'll be doing in June or July, probably a mixed bag of whatever gently used charts I have stitched between March and May ... though I do have a few chart "series" that I doubt I'll be revisiting [LHN's Seasons of Plenty and 4 charts from Shepherd's Bush Monthly Words: Flag, Leaf, Howl and Star] which might make nice giveaways.

--But in August I'll do a special giveaway of a biscornu and scissor keep to celebrate my blogaversary. Then I shall have to cudgel my brain to come up with ideas for the remainder of the year.

So, if you are interested in any or all of the above, make a note on your calendar ... I always post my monthly giveaway on the fourth of the month.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No photos today ...

... because I am still working on prepping my piece for Linda's Round Robin and I want to have the entire border done before I photograph it. I have finished outlining all the medallions in a pale orange silk [a very soft and muted shade ... sort of a pale canteloupe] from Rainbow Gallery's Splendor line. I love these silks ... they are great work-horse silks ... not too expensive, 12 stranded, soft in the hand, in a wide range of colors ... perfect for the projects that are not necessarily going to become heirlooms. I filled in the lettering at the top [Autumn - 2010] in Belle Soie Paprika silk ... another very good work-horse silk ... not as fine as Threadgatherer or Gloriana ... but great for this sort of project. And now I am starting to stitch the acorns in the medallions, using more Rainbow Gallery Splendor Silks although I am doing the backstitching and longstitching in DMC 898 for greater textural contrast. I know a lot of people don't like to mix media but I frequently use silk, cotton and wool in the same project since I enjoy texture in my work. I'll be stitching my panel for the Round Robin in WDW and GAST overdyed cottons using a great harvest time scene from one of my Prairie Schooler Charts. I am getting excited about this round robin even though I have had to revert to 18 ct. Aida to comply with the rules ... anathema to a linen snob like myself ... and really irritating when it comes to stitching the quarter stitches in the acorns ... so much easier when stitching over two with linen. I probably have stitched on aida maybe five times in the last twenty years and I really dislike the stuff ... I don't understand why everyone doesn't switch to linen as soon as they discover it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weekend Progress Report # 9

Focus Project: TW Autumn Faerie: no work on this currently since I am busy prepping a round robin piece for an April 15th mailing date.

Medium Project: Workbasket's Mermaids Singing: see note above

Small Project: Antique Sampler & Needlework Quarterly, Summer 2009, Scissor Keep: finished one panel and am halfway done with the other. I should finish this by next weekend.

And Another Small Project: Heartstring's Santa Factory, February: I have completed about a third of the stitching on this piece and am hopeful that I will have it finished by next weekend.
Linda's RR: I have completed the border outlines and am proceeding to the lettering and the acorns that will fill each medallion. I stitched a narrower modified version of the medallions to separate the panels for the other stitchers and I will probably stitch some oak leaves in these medallions ... adapted from a Handblessing's autumn bookmark chart that I recently completed. I hope to have the entire border done by the 21st of the month so that I will still have time to stitch my Prairie Schooler harvest scene in the top panel before mailing to the first stitcher in the RR.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

No Finishes but Plenty of WIPs

I have a very strong competitive streak ... one of my more problematic character traits ... sometimes this is a good thing, but most often it is not. Since I have been concentrating on a Teresa Wentzler BAP for the past few months, the finishes have not been mounting up in the numbers that I am used to seeing when I concentrate on medium and small projects. Usually by this time of year, my list of finishes includes about a dozen projects. Every year, I try to better my numbers, competing against my previous record. Though I know it is foolish to measure my achievements by quantity, the rather short list in the 2010 finishes is bothering me somewhat ... not enough to switch gears and abandon my BAP but enough to irk me mildly. I am enjoying the Teresa Wentzler piece too much to stop now. And I have another Teresa Wentzler piece ready to go as soon as this is done. So I shall just have to adjust my thinking. Another way of saying "Grow up and get with the program"!!!

Then, too, Mom's Stash Giveaway has taken a good bit of my time as well. I mailed 8 more boxes on Friday morning, bringing the total up to 10. And now that I have posted the fabric giveaway, I have another five boxes to pack up and send off. It has been far more time-consuming and space-consuming than I ever would have imagined. People are already beginning to reimburse me for postage costs, so I will be making some purchases at 123stitch ... mostly linen and floss purchases ... though there are a few charts from the Nashville Market I'd like ... we shall see! All this has cut into my ability to accumulate finishes as in past years.

A small but fussy WIP is this scissor keep from the Summer 2009 issue of Antique Sampler and Needlework Quarterly. I don't normally stitch anything quite so "pink" but this little piece intrigued me for some reason or other. I will be lining it with pellon so that a scissor will not tear it up. Once that is done, I'll engage in a veritable orgy of blanket stitching to attach the two sides together ... ten stitches in each tiny perforation. I am thinking I should make another [the Tokens and Trifles packet had four of these little triangles], stitching all but the initials and then using the second scissor keep as a giveaway for my blogaversary in August, maybe even including a matching biscornu as part of the gift. Anyway, it's an idea!

And, last but not least, here is a photo of the Heartstrings Santa Factory February chart: Santa With a Heart. That will leave me with only one more Santa to stitch in my 2010 plan: Sue Hillis' Cookie Baking Santa. There will be lots more Christmas stitching this year ... just no more Santas, at least, until the very last Bride's Tree SAL ornament.

I am not including photos of my piece for Linda's Round Robin and my progress thus far on the border ... at least not until the border is complete. More on this in later posts. I have to have it ready for an April 15 mailing and thus only have a little over a month to do my part of it. It has been a long time since I have done a round robin ... almost ten years ... because I lost heart after losing three hand-stitched bookmarks in a bookmark exchange round robin ... but I am ready to try again. I just hope that after putting in all this work on the piece, I am not disappointed again. On the other hand, I really like the idea of having a piece that has been stitched by seven other stitchers as well as myself. The last successful round robin in which I participated brought me back a piece that I converted into a shopping bag for my daughter who loves fantasy motifs ... every block had one of Jennifer Aiken-Smith's fantasy creatures stitched from her Christmas ornaments chart series ... it had a sort of Harry Potter feel to it ... and was great fun. I am beginning to be concerned a little about this round robin ... the feedback I have gotten from two members seems to indicate that my choice of theme [Autumn in the Village] may prove difficult for them ... I am hoping to mitigate that by including some suggested charts ... perhaps even a working copy of some of those charts ... but of course, that kind of defeats the purpose of a round robin which, as I understand it, is to get other stitchers' perspective on a common theme.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Getting Ready for St. Patrick's Day

I thought I would post of few of my Irish finishes as I get ready to decorate for St. Patrick's Day.

The banner I will be hanging outside my office at school.

And a bookmark made from a kit ... can't remember the name ... but this was the first lined bookmark I ever made.

A Heart in Hand Wee Bird made up as a small throw pillow

And last but not least a "Tie One On" pillow ... if I remember correctly the designer was Shepherd's Bush.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Giveaway

I thought this time around I'd give away some charts that speak of Spring and the far-off hope of Summer ... while I continue to deal with snow flurries, predicted storms that may or may not cause cancellations depending on how far east [or north or south or west] the leading front happens to be. Every one of these charts is in pristine condition, never used, complete with any embellishments as per designer.
Starting at the upper left, the charts are:
Nordic Needle's Rosebud Design: a pretty piece with some hardangar elements, but not quite my style ... it was part of a goodie bag at a stitching retreat
Calico Crossroads Think Spring: another goodie bag chart. I think it's quite pretty and would admire it if someone else stitched it ... but my style is definitely not pastel pink and girly and sweet.
Hinzeit's Charmed Shoreline [with charms]: I purchased this years ago as a souvenir of one of our Maine vacations. I like it but it is very low on my priority list of things I just must stitch. So, I thought that, rather than let it languish at the bottom of my charts to be stitched drawer for another four or five years, I would pass it on to someone who might enjoy it now.

If you wish to enter your name for this charts giveaway, the usual conditions will apply:
-- open to all stitchers
-- leave a comment below as to why you are interested in the giveaway
-- include an e-mail address in your post if clicking on your name will not lead me to an e-mail link
-- a winner will be selected on the 10th of the month and informed by e-mail
-- winners are asked to commit to PIF charts to other stitchers through message boards, guilds or stitching groups or to donate the charts to a women's shelter or prison, a nursing home or some other venue where a stitcher would enjoy them

Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck to all who choose to enter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mom's Stash: One Very Long Post To Finish It All Up

Yesterday, I noted all the fabric in the giveaway. Today I will continue with the odds and ends.

A few patterns and craft books:

This craft book called Hearts and Flowers, showing all sorts of decorative crafts using miniature artificial flowers ... if you like this, scroll down further and check out the case filled with artificial flowers as well. I also have a dozen or so miniature hats for decorating as pictured on the cover and some narrow ribbon left from the lace, trim and ribbon giveaway from last month. I could put together a nice little craft package around this book for anyone who wants it. Perfect for a Mother's Day craft for a Girl Scout troop, 4-H club or similar group.

A Simplicity pattern for wedding accessories: garter, ring bearer's pillow and head piece and some small favors. This has been opened but very gently used.

These two quilting patterns, one from Butterick and one from Dream Spinners. Both are unopened and unused and both have traditional country style motifs on relatively small projects: wall hangings and pillows. I figure these would be good for beginners as well as for more experienced quilters.

All these sewing notions ... I have just packed them up in one gallon size zip-loc grab bag ... they include Wright's soutache cord, single and double fold bias tape, rick rack, piping, seam binding and designer ribbons ... most packages still sealed. These are in a variety of colors but with emphasis on Christmas colors and pastels since Mom apparently used these for making doll clothes ... for which she seemed to favor pink and pale blue for everyday as well as kelly green for Irish dolls and red/green for Christmas dresses. This grab bag will go to the first person to request it ... a good deal for a seamstress who makes either doll clothes or children's clothing.

NEXT THE WIPs: Now I need it to be clearly understood that my mother started these projects and them abandoned them ... so anyone who gets them will be getting a project that has been worked on by another hand, with all that implies so far as skill levels, stitching tension, amount of work accomplished, etc.:

Bucilla Swedish Weave Afghan Kit: Brown, Off-White and Tan. Mom just barely started this piece ... only a row or two woven. The colors are nice and neutral. So I believe it would fit in with just about any decor. And for those of us living in the northern continental US, this is the perfect time of year to work on such a project. Picture yourself sitting in a rocker with this afghan draped over your knees as you work. This would make a perfect charity afghan ... I know many people participate in Prayer Shawl ministries through their churches ... I imagine this would be a quick and easy project for such a program. If no one claims it, I will ask one of my Confirmation students to complete it for a Christian Community Service project and donate it to our parish's Midnight Run for the NYC homeless.

Dimensions Needlepoint Kit showing a cottage room warmed by a fireplace. My mother actually started this piece and has stitched the better part of the top ten rows. Here stitching is neat and tidy so anyone wishing to finish this piece shouldn't feel compelled to frog what little has been stitched. My mother carefully sorted out all the wools and hung them by hanks on a plastic hanger. It's a rather large piece, when I laid it out to get a sense of its size, it completely covered the top of a standard snack table. I am guessing it is about 18"x24" but I didn't actually measure it.

There are also a kit that opened but not stitched, Janlyn's Amish Doll. This is on Aida cloth and the bottom of the Aida whrere the photo shows a shadow has been pre-treated by the manufacturer ... the shadows are actually dyed onto the fabric. There is a small rust mark at the top of the fabric where the needle was inserted, but I feel sure that treating that spot with a q-tip dipped in a 50% solution of bleach and water will take care of the problem. the Floss is provided.
And, some odds and ends that somehow didn't fit into any of the other posts:
Strands of inexpensive craft beads, most in sealed packages. There is a wide variety of colors: lots of white and ivory; pale pinks, blues and lavendars; various shades of green; some purple; some irridescent. These are the sort of things you would find on a rack at an A. C. Moore or Michaels ... we are not talking high end quality. I assume my mother used them as trim for doll hats or to embellish the little bouquets her dolls carried or the corsages they wore. You can request the whole lot or just some particular colors. I suppose they could be used to trim ornaments or biscornus as well.

Lots and lots of miniature artificial flowers [ribbon, silk and fabric]: I really haven't the time to sort these by color and type ... so just make a request for the colors you like and I will fill it if I can.

And the tools for making your own fabric covered buttons. If no one claims this, I may try stitching some small floral motifs over one on 40ct linen and make some hand embroidered buttons for my dark green blazer or some of my blouses and sweaters. I have seen this in some photos and I have to admit, the look is really pretty. I am not sure I really want to go to all that trouble but the end result would be stunning. And, of course, I would salvage those buttons even after I stopped wearing the garment.

I AM SO DONE WITH THIS!!!!! My need for order has been disturbed so deeply by the chaos that was my mother's stash [which took over my dining and living rooms for the better part of two months] that I now feel the need for a "rest cure", as they used to call it in gentler times. I can deal easily with the remaining requests and the boxing and the mailing since everything is now sorted and tagged and filed in a coherent order. I am also blessed inasmuch as two of the folks who have left requests have indicated that they are willing to take anything that is left.

I want to thank all who adopted this "stuff" sincerely and from the very bottom of my heart. My frugal soul just couldn't bear to throw all this sewing and stitchery stash away ... and yet, even with my fairly acquisitive nature, I couldn't justify keeping things I had no intention of ever using ... the horns of a quite a dilemma! But the internet stitching community came to my rescue ... helping me to reclaim my dining and living rooms, save my marriage and spread a little sunshine as far away as France and as close as upstate New York. And thanks to those who commiserated with me while I was in the throes of this project [even to Nic who proactively stated that I couldn't send her a thing], my thanks for the sympathy and the empathy.
And to my husband, who bore patiently with the mess and somewhat less patiently with my curse-driven sessions at the computer: don't ever, ever, ever let me take on such a task again ... you may feel free to take such steps as binding and gagging me or locking me in a dark windowless room until the urge to be helpful passes.
But soon, all this shall be gone. And when it is, I am going to put some Enya CDs on the player and settle down in my rocker with my Snugglee and a pot of perfectly brewed tea, close my eyes and simply drift ... for as long as the universe will allow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sewing Fabric Giveaway

I found these two outfits made for dolls among my mother's fabric stash. The ruler I have included to give you a sense of scale is a 7" ruler. I have no idea what doll's these outfits would fit but perhaps you dollmakers would know. In any case, anyone who thinks they can use the dresses may have them.

I have tried to sort these fabrics by type and colorway. Most pieces are between 1/4 and 1/2 yard. Almost all have been cut into to make doll clothes but there is still more than enough left to be of use to other doll clothes makers or to quilters.

When requesting fabric, please identify it by Photo # and refer to the description of the fabric or fabrics you would like me to send to you. All photos are clickable so that you can see the details, expecially in the eyelet fabrics.

Photo # 1: Grab bag of small cotton scraps suitable for quilting, piecing or ornament backing.

Photo # 2
a variety of white or white on white rayon fabrics

Photo # 3
From Left to right
Black lining satin
Pale blue denim
White on white cotton woven

Photo # 4
Eyelet and Netting
Pale blue fabric with white eyeley embroidery floral border and pale blue netting with diamond embroidery flocking.

Photo # 5
These are pieces of wide eyelet lace, ranging from 3" to 8" in depth and in shades of white and ivory. They are particularly useful for making pinafores, aprons, slips and pettipants for dolls.

Photo # 6
White eyelets
Two different patterns are pictured here.

Photo# 7
White Eyelets

There are two different patterns pictured here.

Photo # 8
The first is embroidered in pink, with a more detailed bottom scallopped border and little pink eyelets throughout the rest of the fabric.

The second is a pastel blue,pink and yellow with embroidered eyelets evenly spaced throughout the whole fabric.
Photo # 9

This photo depicts a white and an ivory chiffon as well as delicate blouse weight striped white on white sheer.

Photo # 10
This is a really bad photo so far as color is concerned ... it must be a result of the way the light from the window reflected off the satin's surface. The actual color is a deep rose pink rather like DMC 223.

Photo # 11
Polished Cottons [or possibly, cotton/poly blends]
a light and a medium rose pink with watermark pattern and a stripe with shades of blue/green/white/rose.

Photo # 12
A selection of Cottons [or possibly cotton/poly blends]

Bottom left: rosebuds on white
Left to right across the top rose pink cotton embossed with floral pattern, rose colored cotton with a watermark pattern, pale pink fabric printed with floral outline in white.

Photo # 13
Cotton Knit, a little over 2 yards.
Grey & white stripe

Photo # 14
Cotton Knits, roughly 1 fat quarter each

Although I took these photos in natural light directly below a window, the colors are not really true. The left piece is a soft yellow gold and the right is a bright white.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Assessing February Goals & Setting March Goals

February Goals:Focus on Teresa Wentzler's Autumn Faerie: My illness earlier this month derailed this goal. Little stitching done on it after the first week this month.
Complete Bride Tree SAL February [Heart] Christmas Ornament: I mistakenly ordered Flax Glasgow linen when I should have ordered Raw Glasgow linen ... I'll have to wait another payday before ordering the correct linen ... color swatches on computer monitors can be so misleading. This is one more reason I wish I had a real LNS available to me. Don't get me wrong: I am very grateful for the existence of on-line shops but mistakes like mine could be avoided if one could actually see the real deal.
Complete one Thanksgiving ornament: The Pilgrim Boy and Girl from the BH&G 1001 Cross Stitch Motifs: DONE, actually I stitched March's Thanksgiving ornament as well before I gave away the Homespun Elegance chart.
Continue to work on one medium project: Brightneedle's Ghost and Ghoulies Etui. Well, I did work on a medium project but it was Workbasket's Mermaids Singing instead of the Brightneedle etui. Completed the whole border and a little more than one third of the central design.
Finish up Heartstring's Noah's Ark Santa as the February Small Project : DONE as well as another small: a Quaker fragment for a tuck pouch.
UFO Countdown project: Peacock Biscornu. No progress.
Sewing Finishes: Try to generate another Finishing Frenzy during the Winter recess ... one to equal the Autumn frenzy of 2009. Finished up some ornaments ... see photos from yesterday.

March Goals:
  • Focus Project: Still TW Autumn Faerie
  • Travel Projects: Brightneedle's Ghosts and Ghoulies Etui and Workbasket's Mermaids Singing.
  • Bride Tree SAL February ornament [Heart]March Ornament [Flower or Flower Basket].
  • Thanksgiving Ornament: Homespun Elegance Turkey with Pumpkins. DONE.
  • Medium Project: Finish Workbasket's Mermaids Singing and start Sue Hillis' Annual Charmed Santa 2008: the Cookie Baking Santa.
  • Small Projects: my last Heartstring Santa Factory card - February [Santa with a Heart]
  • UFO Countdown Project: Finally move on the Peacock biscornu and then, while the weather is still cool, pick up the Jacobean afghan.
  • Linda's Round Robin: Finish the border and stitch my own panel on my piece.
  • Sewing Finishes: Keep up with ornament finishes and clear up any finishes leftover from February's Finishing Frenzy.
It's odd that it is already March and I still have two more Christmas projects left in the 2010 "plan": Sue Hillis' Cookie Baking Santa and another Heartstrings' Santa. Usually, I do quite a lot of Christmas stitching in January while the mood is still upon me. But this year, I was focusing on the Autumn Faerie in January & February as well as the infamous Mom's Stash Giveaway. So it seems I shall be stitching Christmas charts while the rest of the world is celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Then of course, my planned BAPs for the remainder of the year are also Christmas themed: Liam's stocking, the TW Woodland Angel and Angela's Christmas gift, TW's Winter Faerie. Not to mention my paticipation in the Bride's Tree SAL which will keep me focused on Christmas with a monthly ornament. And, of course, I still haven't completed the Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler [a class piece from 2008] which is on my UFO Countdown list and will make a perfect travel piece one of these months. That's an unusual amount of Christmas stitching for me in just one year. I hope I still have some enthusiasm left for Christmas when it finally does arrive.