Friday, September 30, 2011

Assessing September Goals, Setting October Goals

Continue to work on TW's Tracery Dragons on the designated Wentzler Wednesdays. Did this, and have progressed to cross-stitching page 1 after completing all the cross-stitching, back-stitching and specialty stitching of pages 2 and 3.
Crazy January Challenge: Start Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie. Well, it's started with one section outlined but not yet completely filled in.
HOE: Assemble and mail the Autumn Pyn Keepe. DONE.
Ornament: Aury's 2011 Quaker Red White and Blue Heart. Half-finished.
Sewing & Finishing: the four LHN pillows & two HE pin cushions. No.
Surface Embroidery: finish The Fertile Circles Needlebook No.
WIPS & UFOS from 2010: Continue work on Workbasket's Quaker Sampler, the Jacobean Elegance afghan, and the Beach Find Pansies panel. No.
WIP 2011: Continue work on The Sturbridge Box. No.
And one off-goal project was finished: the piece I will be sending out as my blogaversary giveaway ... and two off-goal projects were started: needlepoint Owl Sampler and the Friendship Sampler.

BAP: Continue to work on TW's Tracery Dragons on the designated Wentzler Wednesdays. Crazy January Challenge: Continue Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie.
Ornament: Finish Aury's qo11 Quaker Heart.
Sewing & Finishing: the four LHN pillows & two HE pin cushions.
Surface Embroidery: finish The Fertile Circles Needlebook
WIPS & UFOS from 2010: Continue work on Workbasket's Quaker Sampler, the Jacobean Elegance afghan, and the Beach Find Pansies panel.
WIP 2011: Continue work on The Sturbridge Box.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Woebegone Wentzler Wednesday

No stitching on the dragon today ... a lengthy regional meeting followed by leaving work later than usual [trying to make up for a whole morning lost to the meeting] ... left me a little too tired to risk Wentzler style stitching. Instead, I did a bit more work on the first block of Black'd Skie. After all, I couldn't go a whole day without any stitching whatsoever!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Progress Report: Sept. 25, 2011: My First Three Day Weekend

I have been doing a bit of crowing lately about my new work schedule that allows for a three day weekend every week ... of course, I pay for it with two beastly 12 hour days Monday and Tuesday ... but I expect it will be well worth the sacrifice. So here is how the first one went.

Friday morning: I have only two "engagements" this weekend: a baby shower for my goddaughter and the farewell Mass and reception for Fr. Bill who has been transferred to a new parish after just 10 months with us. So it should be a good stitching and gardening weekend, always assuming the rain stops. Lots of time to enjoy my passion for my backyard and for the textile arts. I am hoping to get the yard cleaned up completely so that I can start on a "landscaping" project. Who knows, I may even get some finishing done! The current favorite in my stitching rotation is Black'd Skie. The Needlepoint Inc Silks are a joy: so smooth, such luscious colors, such amusing names for the fibers. And I always enjoy working on 40 count linen. It may be my imagination, but I do believe the details are more defined and sharper on the higher count linens. And, of course, I love all The Primitive Needle designs I own. The pre-mature death of the designer in a tragic flooding accident was a great loss to the stitching community. But I am also enjoying a nostalgic return to needlepoint with my Owl sampler and a lovely little patriotic piece that I am stitching for Barbara who won my blogaversary drawing. So there will be lots of options to choose from this weekend and plenty of quality stitching time.

Friday afternoon: Well, the rains came in spite of my hopes, so after a bit of grocery shopping and housework, I settled down to some stitching. I finished the cross-stitching of the patriotic piece for the blogaversary prize and dug out the perfect fabric for finishing it. I had hoped to have it ready to mail Monday but that didn't quite happen. Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. Photos will be forthcoming when I hear that Barbara has received it.

Saturday: One of the problems with a rotation that is currently four BAPs and no smalls whatsoever is that I need the occasional little project to keep my stitching energy going. So this morning, I put together a little something from odds and ends found in my stitching stash. The chart was A Friendship Sampler, a complimentary chart by a designer unknown to me. When I downloaded the chart, I failed to notice that my printer scanned only 5/6ths of the page. The missing portion had the designer's name and all the DMC #s. I don't mind missing the #'s since I never really play by the rules anyway but I am annoyed that I didn't catch the designer's name and can't give the proper credit. I have changed everything about this sampler except the positioning and shape of the houses, so it is nearly as much my own creation as the original designer's but still I would like to give credit where credit is due. Keeping to the recent stitch from stash theme, I pulled out a scrap of fabric that I had cut and zigzagged around the edges before deciding it wouldn't do for a project way back in April. And since I was planning on stitching my Friendship Sampler as an Autumn piece, I pulled out the same Catherine Jordan overdyed cottons I had used for my Earth Day Make Do Sampler and supplemented those fibers with a bit of Caron Wildflowers Marigold left over from my Autumn Spots of Fun Sampler from 2009. Just to be on the safe side, I also pulled some WDW Chrysanthemum from stash and some odds and ends of green floss from other long since finished projects that I have stored on a darling little wooden hornbook shaped floss holder. Okay, the houses remained the same shape and in the same relative position to one another but I changed the tree to a deciduous one so that I can stitch some lovely orange-y gold leaves, I will replace the tulip like flowers of the original with my own interpretation of spider mums and will add some greenery and a few pumpkins, and I have changed the border to a brick stitch checkerboard with corner squares in tent and Rhodes stitch using the Caron Wildflowers Marigold floss. I'll probably go back and frog out the border on the upper right corner and re-stitch it to create a smoother color flow. I still have some spaces to fill and haven't quite decided how I will fill in the blanks but I am happy with this start.

Sunday: It was back to Black'd Skie for the remainder of my stitching time. I have to apologize for the failure to iron the linen before photographing it but I didn't really have the time before work to do so. I am still working on the boring border and have yet to decide whether I will do all the borders at once and be done with them or stitch each block as I come to it.

All in all, a fairly productive weekend and not a bad precedent for all the three day weekends yet to come!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Meme of Sorts

One of the ladies on the 123 stitch board came up with a "meme" of sorts. I have edited it somewhat and repeated it here, thinking it might be fun.

Regional Phrases Quiz
1. What term do you use to describe a sale of unwanted items on your own property? Yard sale.
2. What do you call the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road? The verge.
3. W hat do you call the area of grass that occurs in the middle of some streets? A median.
4. What do you call the long narrow place in the middle of a divided highway? A median.
5. What do you call the drink made with milk and ice cream? A malted.
6. What do you call the long sandwich that contains cold cuts, lettuce, and so on? A hero.
7. What do you call the insect that flies around in the summer and has a rear section that glows in the dark? A Lightning bug.
8. What do you call the miniature lobster that one finds in lakes and streams for example (a crustacean of the family Astacidae)? Crayfish.
9. What do you call the kind of spider (or spider-like creature) that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs? Daddy-long-legs.
10. Are there very specific names used for paternal vs maternal grandparents in your area? No.
11. What do you call the big clumps of dust that gather under furniture and in corners? Normal.
12. What is your *general* term for the rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class, for athletic activities, etc.? Sneakers.
13. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket? Grocery cart.
14. What term do you use to refer to something that is across both streets from you at an intersection (or diagonally across from you in general)? Catty-corner.
15. What do you call the activity of driving around in circles in a car? Stupid.
16. What do you call paper that has already been used for something or is otherwise imperfect? Scrap paper.
17. What is your *general* term for a big road that you drive relatively fast on? Highway.
18. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining? Sunshower.
19. When you are cold, and little points of skin begin to come on your arms and legs, you have- goose pimples.
20. What do you call the gooey or dry matter that collects in the corners of your eyes, especially while you are sleeping? Sand.
21. What do you call an easy course? Basket-weaving class.
22. What do you call a traffic situation in which several roads meet in a circle and you have to get off at a certain point? Annoying … oh, all right, a traffic circle.
23. Do you use the word cruller? Yes, doesn’t everyone?
24. Do you use the term "bear claw" for a kind of pastry? See above.
25. What do you call someone who is the opposite of pigeon-toed (i.e. when they walk their feet point outwards)? A ballerina?
26. Can you call coleslaw "slaw"? No.
27. What do you call the box you bury a dead person in? A coffin.
28. Do you say "vinegar and oil" or "oil and vinegar" for the type of salad dressing? Oil and vinegar, because if made properly, there is more oil than vinegar.
29. What do you call it when a driver changes over one or more lanes way too quickly? We are supposed to avoid that sort of language on the Internet.
30. When you stand outside with a long line of people waiting to get in somewhere, are you standing "in line" or "on line" (as in, "I stood ___ in the cold for two hours before they opened the doors")? In or on, I use them interchangeably.
31. Do you say "frosting" or "icing" for the sweet spread one puts on a cake? Icing.
32. What is "the City"? Well, New York, of course!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Well, Wentzler Wednesday Was A Wee Bit Weak.

Finally, I started on page 1 of the cross-stitching. Here it is late September and I foolishly thought I'd have this piece done by the end of July back when I started serious work on it early June. Talk about foolish optimism! I'll be happy to finish it by year's end, at this rate. Nothing much to show yet since I only managed an hour's worth of stitching today. I'll wait till next week to stun and amaze you with a progress photo ... at least, I hope there will be stunning and amazing progress.

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Days

Well, I survived my first day of the program year ... all 12 hours of it. And I have to admit I didn't have it nearly as badly as my husband did. Today was the first day of the Fall session of the UN and my husband manages realty space for UBS, right across the street from the Waldorf where the POTUS and many other dignitaries stay. His building's street access is closed off by the Secret Service agents; NYPD and Homeland Security people are all over the place. Sharpshooters are positioned on rooftops all over the place and mid-town becomes an armed camp. In short, conducting normal business is a logistical nightmare. Not to mention that my husband's usual 2 hr one way commute nearly doubles in time because of all the checkpoints and closures. It seems to me in this day and age of tele-conferencing, it would be ever so much more sensible and far less expensive to hold these events in virtual time/space. After all, it's not like anything really gets done during these first day sessions except a lot of political posturing and place marking. The sensitive security issues are dealt with by the workaday professional UN staffers in normal sessions. It'd just be easier on NY taxpayers if the UN would adopt a lower profile. The cost of added police security and loss of business because of all the above mentioned checkpoints and closures could be eliminated and life could proceed with just the everyday level of chaos that characterizes NYC.

I did manage to get a bit more stitching done on my lunch hour and I relaxed with a wee bit more after work while waiting for my poor spouse to get home ... but I can't show photos as my project was the patriotic piece requested by Barbara as her prize in my blogaversary giveaway.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend Progress Report: Sept. 18, 2011

My religious education program starts tomorrow as does my new schedule of 12 hour days Monday and Tuesday and 8 hour days Wednesday and Thursday with three day weekends. I am a little concerned about the Monday-Tuesday stint but am absolutely thrilled to have a three day weekend. For the past 17 years I have always had a split in my days off: Wednesday & Sunday or Thursday & Sunday. I never felt really rested because I never had two days in a row to recoup my energies. I tended to use the weekday off to schedule appointments and run errands that couldn't be done on weekends. And, at least once a month or so, my weekday off would be eaten up by professional meetings or workshops. And Sundays, well when you work for the Church, even as a layperson, every so often Sunday becomes a work day as well. So the new three day weekend has enormous appeal: not two, but three days off in a row. Meetings are rarely scheduled for a Friday, so I won't be losing many of them and even if I have to work on a Sunday, I'll still have two days in a row off that week. My husband and I can enjoy a weekend getaway to the Catskills or Amish country or some other nearby spot every so often. What could be better? But what about stitching this past week? Well, since work really heated up this past week, not much stitching time but what I did have was spent on Tracery Dragons and the Black'd Skie Sampler from Primitive Needle. So far as Tracery Dragons was concerned, I finished up the #4 Kreinik braid for the dragon's mane and the wrapped backstitch that makes up the thinner branches of the rose bush. The top row of Black'd Skie is done as well. My apologies for the poor photo - I didn't have time to iron it before taking a snapshot. And, I must confess, my stitching time was further eaten away by the arrival of the latest Nora Roberts "In Death" series novel. I devour this series and tend to drop all other leisure activities when a new installment arrives, reading late into the night till I am done, usually a day or two after I remove the book from my mailbox.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Need for Needlepoint

I started embroidering some forty years ago with needlepoint ... it was my first love. Though I do far more cross-stitch and surface embroidery nowadays, every now and then I simply have to go back to my roots. What inspired me this time was the grab bag sale of Thread Gatherer's Shepherd's Silk and Sheep's Silk at Needle in the Haystack. Perfect for needlepoint! I ordered a bag of each fiber and a length of eggshell 18ct mono canvas. Once the grab bags arrived, I started casting about for a project. Most of the time, I can be satisfied with one of the lovely Christmas ornaments on the Caron website. But this time, I just had to go for something a bit more ambitious. So take a look at the beginnings of my owl sampler. I love the way the rice stitch in the eye circle worked both in texture and in the variation of color in the overdyed silk! I will finish it as a shaped pillow and hope to have it done for Halloween, 2011, but 2012 would be good, too ... it'd make a great addition to my Professor McGonegal costume. This sampler is being stitched on 18ct eggshell monocanvas with a variety of Threadgather Silk'n'Colors, Sheep's Silk and Shepherd's Silk yarns as well as some Caron Waterlilies. Basically, I am going through all my silk and wool fiber stash and choosing things that fit my colorway. I may even use a wee bit of RG Petite Velvet for the feet. Each section of the design is done in a different stitch and with a different fiber. The chart is from an ancient hardcover book called The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry by Joan Fisher which was copyrighted in 1972. I have kept this book more for the wonderful history of the needle arts and the dictionary of stitches with which it begins rather than the designs which tend to be a bit dated. But I always liked the owl and always intended to stitch it one day. Here is a photo of the design from the book. As I said, somewhat dated. All that striping to give the interest and texture that modern overdyed threads achieve so much more elegantly. In accord with my usual habit, I am playing with the chart and changing things here and there. I'll be eliminating all the stripes within a section, e.g.: the Hungarian stitch at the crown of the head is being done entirely in Thread Gatherer's Silk'n'Colors Chestnut and the large eye rings in rice stitch are being done in Caron Waterlilies Burnt Toast. Those dreadful eyebrows are being banished entirely. I've pulled another of my Waterlilies skeins from stash, Tobacco, that I'll probably use for the breast of my owl. Some of my new Thread Gatherer's Sheep's Silk will be used for the upper and lower portions of the wings. I haven't figured out all the variations just yet. I have been toying with the idea of doing the beak in a Queen stitch which will change the shape just a wee bit and move the right eye ring over a thread or two which in turn will have an effect on the width of the crown of the head. I tried it first with a WDW perle cotton ... as seen in the photo. This will be frogged shortly. Instead of a smooth elegant finish it is lumpy and grotesque. I am going to go stash diving again and see if I can come up with a silkor wool. Four strands of silk or a low ply wool ought to produce the effect I am craving. I love Queen stitches and they are so much easier to do on canvas than on linen so how can I possibly resist including some? This is why I could never be a model stitcher. I view charts as suggestions, gentle hints, jumping off points ... It is true that sometimes, barring the ever so rare mistake, I stitch a chart faithfully - Teresa Wentzler's charts spring to mind here. Even I wouldn't dare mess with a TW chart. But more often than not, I make changes, most commonly with colorways and/or fiber and fabric selections but frequently even with the actual design elements. I think it is the aging hippie mindset: I rarely do exactly as I am told.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Woe is Me" Wentzler Wednesday

Dated for Wednesday but actually posted on Thursday because the camera battery needed recharging. My religious education program starts next Monday, the Annual Parish Picnic is Saturday and I am meeting with new catechists this week as well as with the perennial crew of last minute parents registering their children. Registration opened May 15 and the "deadline" was June 30. But in ministry, "deadline" translates as "please, for pity's sake, register on time so I don't have to update class lists and parent hall duty lists 90 times in the last two days before classes start". And that is just the tip of the iceberg: textbooks, workbooks, parent orientation packets, fundraising packets, program handbooks have to be re-counted/adjusted. Catechist binders and Attendance Rosters have to be updated. Name tags, Permanent Record Cards and student folders have to be added. Late registrants are a logistical nightmare of clerical mistakes just waiting to happen! But I stick to my philosophy that no child shall be denied religious formation or sacramental preparation because of an arbitrary deadline or parental inconsideration, idiocy, irresponsibility or discourtesy ... even though I send reminder postcards in July and August and do a follow-up phone call the Tuesday after Labor Day. This year seems to be a little harder on my nerves and demanding of my patience ... I guess I am getting too old for this. Most late registrants try to turn things around so this is all my fault, as in one woman's protest that "When I got the registration packet in May and saw the exorbitant fees, I just threw it to the side and said I'd deal with it later! Then, we were travelling all summer and I didn't get around to it." This same woman cheerfully pays three times the amount of my fees to place her children in Little League and has one child in travel hockey which ends up costing thousands of dollars a year when you consider ice time, hotels and meals for the family when competing out of state and still has sufficient funds to "travel all summer"... but she questions my fees of $270 a year for two children. Still, I manage to remain polite and welcoming even as I seethe inwardly ... and I did wait till she left the building before banging my head on my desk. To make matters worse, yesterday was primary day and my auditorium is a polling station. And the dear elderly folk who volunteer to staff the polls had me lowering, raising, lowering, raising the air conditioning temps at least a dozen times during the day ... the pastor insists that the controls remain under lock and key to prevent waste and to encourage accountability of the staff. The old darlings were very sweet and apologetic in the extreme, and I know and like most of them but still... So that set me a bit behind in my routines preparing for the first week of classes. Needless to say, I didn't get much stitching done today ... which is probably a good thing. My frazzled nerves would probably have resulted in loads of frogging. In any case, here is my progress photo. Only the most observant eye for detail will detect any progress since the last photo!!! Okay, I'll tell you. The trellis outlining/backstitching was finished Wednesday 9/7 and Wednesday 9/14 I started on the gold tourmaline metallic mane on the dragons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another September Goal

... was to start Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie. Oh, my, what a BAP! The piece is huge ... far larger than I remember: 197w x 247h. It is stitched in panels or boxes a la the HRH series. I think this officially kills any chance I might have had of completing the Crazy January Challenge of 2011 successfully. After all, there is still Allesandre Adelaide's Zucca on the list after this. Even if I decided to limit all my stitching to Tracery Dragons and Black'd Skie for the remainder of the year [a most unlikely choice, at best], I doubt I'd finish up both by year's end. And that still leaves Zucca out of the mix: another BAP, if not in size, then in complexity. But I am not nearly single-minded enough to focus solely on BAPs. I have two 2010 WIPs still in the stitching bag that I would like to have done before the close of 2011. And there's a 2011 goal to have stitched one Town Square ornament a month this year: I have five ornaments to go. I have yet to receive the JCS Halloween book for 2011 and I just know there'll be a must stitch ornament or two or three in that issue. Then, of course, there is my committment to stitch a blogaversary ornament. What was I thinking? Well, back to the details. I am stitching this on a piece of 40ct raw linen with one strand of the recommended Baroque Silks from The Pure Palette. The ridiculously tiny bit of progress you see in the photo is the product of four hours stitching! Gotta love 40ct projects!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Progress Report September 11, 2011

This being posted a day late because it just didn't seem right to post something so mundane, even self-indulgent, on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on NYC, DC and Flight 93.

The only other thing I did this weekend was finish the assembly of my HOE Pyn Keepe and get it out in the mail nine days late ... mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I was so close to finishing this last weekend that I even wrote my scheduled post to reflect a finish and mailing. But alas, I let some medical issues distract me. I hate waiting for the results of tests and I am afraid I just sunk into a malaise instead of doing the sensible thing: keeping busy. Anyway, all has been resolved happily. It took just an hour to assemble and then put the Pyn Keepe in the mailer. So it went off Saturday morning by priority mail to make up for my delinquency. Since I was assured it would arrive on Monday [today], I feel safe in posting a photo of the finish. I backed it with an upholstery fabric that picks up the green in the design and has rows of dots in some of the other colors.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blogaversary Giveaway Winner

I will be working a Patriotic ornament into my rotation this month for the 15th entry, Barbara, of mainely stitching. I am thrilled the randomizer came up with her number since I have been enjoying her blog for nearly as many years as I have been blogging myself. Hers was one of the first stitching blog that I added to my must read list. I have been following her doings from her time as an Maine-lander living in Holland to her return to the States and her laudable efforts to set up a self-sustaining homestead in her beloved Maine. I want to be her when I retire from teaching!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stitching a Series

I may be one of the very few stitchers who hasn't gotten caught up in the Hawk Run Hollow series. This is not because I dislike them. Actually, I think they are quite lovely and I enjoy looking at other folks HRH WIPs. And, it is not that I am such an independent thinker that I resist trends easily. I have been caught up in many a fashion fad ... both stitching related and not. I think the only reason I haven't bought them is because I already have a number of stitching series in my stash that will take me forever to finish. To prove my point, I thought I'd catalog my series here.

  • Teresa Wentzler's Faeries: I have stitched the Spring and Autumn Faeries from her Seasonal Faeries booklet and have also stitched a Liliy of the Valley Faerie very similar to the others [a magazine chart, though I can't remember at this late date what magazine]Summer and Winter Faeries remain to be stitched.

  • Dragon Dreams Dragons: I have already stitched The Stormbringer and The Ice Dragon's Kingdom but have yet to stitch Dragon of the Summer Sky and Dragon of the Winter Moon. I also have two of her more whimsical dragon charts in my stash, one featuring a dragon tea party and another with dragons representing the four points of the compass.

  • Stitching Parlour's Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice series which has all the houses/estates mentioned in Pride and Prejudice: Longbourn, Netherfield, the Collins' parsonage, Rosings, Pemberley. I plan to stitch it up as a neighborhood, all on one piece of linen, in order of appearance in the novel.

  • Cluny Tapestry Five Senses. I have already stitched Taste and Hearing and have the charts for Sight, Smell and Touch.

  • Then there's the Nashville Market 2005 Town Square series of 42 buildings. I have already stitched a dozen of them and plan to do most of them before I through. They'll be ornaments on a Small Town USA themed Christmas Tree.

  • Then there are my Workbasket Quaker Animals that will eventually be assembled as a quilt. I have already stitched 8 of the animals and the house and 4 trees I intend to use as the center of that quilt. But I have five more animals in my stash and haven't checked the Workbasket site in many months to see if they have added more animals.

  • Then there are the three Liz Turner Diehl Gardens that are in my stash: a German Garden, the English Tudor Garden and the Summer Garden that reminds me of the Maine seacoast. The only one I have started, and that was as part of a class at CATS 2005, is the Summer Garden.

  • A Celtic Tarot Card Deck that I started years ago for my daughter using pierced paper. I've stitched three of the cards, front and back.

  • Finally, there's Bent Tree's first Branch series. I have all the charts but have yet to start the piece.

That should keep me busy enough for the time being. I truly don't need HRH on my conscience as well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Whiling Away A Wentzler Wednesday

There's no point in showing another photo. All I did this Wednesday was finish up backstitching on the trellis. Before I can start on page 1, I still have the long stitched dragon's mane and the wrapped backstitch connecting the leaves to the rose canes to stitch. If past experience is any indication, Tracery Dragons is at least two months from completion. It has been my most time consuming Crazy January Challenge piece yet. I picked it up in June and have been working on it all summer long. I don't know what I was thinking when I included a Teresa Wentzler chart in a stitching challenge rotation. Talk about sabotaging myself! Even though I balanced this BAP with six ornament sized pieces on the challenge list, I am beginning to have doubts that I'll finish all 15 projects before year's end. The two remaining pieces after this are Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie and Allesandre Adelaide's Zucca. Both, in my opinion, qualify as BAPs. The first because of sheer size and the second because of the complexity of all the tracery. There's that dreaded word again, tracery! You'd think I'd take it as a clue, wouldn't you? But I love the delicacy that the word almost always implies. I am hoping page 1 will go more quickly and more smoothly than pages 2 and 3, if only because I am more accustomed to the challenges of this design. I would love to have a finish by the end of this month but, realistically speaking, a late October or early November finish is far more likely.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekend Progress Report: September 4, 2011

Posting a day late, since the 4th is my monthly giveaway day.

BAP: Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons. Wentzler Wednesday morphed into the Wentzler Weekend because backstitching can become addictive. Especially in a Teresa Wentzler design where backstitching pulls the whole piece together. I am falling in love with this project all over again as it comes to life beneath my hands. I wonder how many other needleworkers have such an on again/off again relationship with the more complex pieces they stitch. It is almost marital: good days, bad days, with an underlying committment and love. I am including a few detail shots as well as the usual full piece photo. Just wanted to share with you all just how many quarter stitches and back-stitches go into a TW rose. Is it any wonder that I find these roses the most difficult motifs to stitch in this entire piece? I haven't dared to look at page 1 of the chart to see how many roses are left. I'd rather not know till it's time to tackle them. And then there is the border filled with a tacked herringbone stitch. It was time consuming but the final effect is pretty spectacular. I am a little more than halfway through with this project, having completed pages 2 and 3 of the cross-stitch and very nearly done with pages 2 & 3 of the back-stitch charts. It has taken me much longer to get this far than I thought it would. This was my Day 10 project in the Crazy January Challenge and after the initial one day in January, I put this in my stitching rotation on June 2nd. I foolishly thought I'd have it ready for the framer by the end of July. Realistically, I'll be thrilled to manage a mid-October finish but would not be surprised by a mid November finish either. The complexity of this design makes it necessary to switch off every so often with much more straightforward projects. My stitching sanity pretty much hangs in the balance. And to further cut into my stitching time, this is a pretty busy season professionally: the start up of the school year with all the meetings, trainings, classes and paperwork. Things smooth out briefly just before Christmas and then heat up again in January.

HOE: I have it all assembled and in its handy dandy mailer. I'll take it to the Post Office on Tuesday. Three days late to be sure but sometimes life gets in the way. Will post a photo when I have word that it was received.

Ornament: Got a start a nice start on Aury's 2011 Quaker Heart on Thursday while in a doctor's waiting area. The idea was to have it done by September 11 rhough I am not sure I will manage that.

All in all, not a bad start for the month.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September Giveaway - Fourth Blogaversary

To celebrate my fourth blogaversary, which actually occurred on August 24, I want to do something a little different than my normal giveaway of gently used charts. Instead, I will make an ornament [either Halloween, Christmas or USA Patriotic] for the winner of this drawing. The winner chooses the holiday theme and I will choose an appropriate chart from among my favorite designers. As readers of this blog know, that would include Homespun Elegance, Blackbird Designs, Prairie Schooler and Workbasket.

If you wish to enter your name for this giveaway, the usual conditions will apply:

-- open to all stitchers

-- leave a comment below as to why you are interested in the giveaway: only this time add a note as to whether you prefer a Halloween, a Christmas or a USA patriotic piece.

-- 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

--the winner will need to wait a while for the prize, since I will only be starting on the project once the winner is selected

Good luck to all who enter.