Friday, February 28, 2014

Assessing February Goals/ Setting March Goals

BAPs:  Start work on Piper's Stocking.  It has been started.
Class Project: Finish the Mystic Smalls.  Maybe I'll do better in March.
Town Square SAL: Start Milady's Tea Shoppe.  Finished Milady's Tea House and started The Bakery.
WIP's: Finish Band 6 and start on Band 7 of The English Band Sampler. Stalled on this somewhat - still have to finish the eyelets in Band 6
WISHFUL THINKING: stitch a few more heart ornaments for my Anniversary and Valentine's Day tree.  And maybe a few sewing finishes.  Couer Courage and  Aury's Quaker Heart 2013 finished.
OFF-GOAL STITCHING:  Pineberry Lane's Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler finished.

BAPs:  Continue to work on Piper's Stocking.  
Class Project: Finish the Mystic Smalls.
Town Square SAL: Finish The Bakery and start work on The Shoe Shrine.
WIP's: Finish Band 6 and start on Band 7 of The English Band Sampler.
WISHFUL THINKING: stitch a few more heart ornaments for my Anniversary and Valentine's Day tree.  And maybe a few sewing finishes.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Some more rotation stitching

I wanted another quick finish yesterday, so I worked on the Town Square series' Milady's Tea House.


 will continue working on the Woodland Maiden Christmas Stocking [for granddaughter Piper].and will have a progress photo tomorrow.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A few small finishes

Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler
Aury.s Patriotic Quaker Heart 2013

As for the rest of the day:

Piper's stocking comes up in the rotation today.  I am going to try to stitch two square inches every week on this piece until I am done with it.  If I keep that pace I should have it done in time for Christmas of 2014.  Of course, the goal is to have both Piper's and Rocco's stockings completed by Christmas of 2014.  There will have to come a time, probably in July, when I start working on both of the stockings as the main focus of my rotation.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Here is my little gallery of biscornus.  I really like this finish and have a few more charts in my to-do-soon binder and my class projects basket that will be finished this way.  But for now, this is it.

This the top of About X Stitch's Ruffled Diamond.  I chose the over dyed floss to match  the fantastic pair of antique buttons I had purchased.

As you can see by the bottom, this was stitched in 2008..


This Olive Branch biscornu is the same top and bottom and boasts another really neat pair of antique buttons.  Click to enlarge and view the brass filigree button in more detail.  It is also my favorite pin cushion, always close to hand whenever I am stitching.

Again, a top and bottom view of a biscornu.  The chart was a freebie, discarded after stitching so I can't give you the provenance on the design.  The buttons are etched metal from a favorite and very comfortable old chambray dress too worn out  to survive in my wardrobe.  But at least the buttons remain.

I running out of the sample skein of this over dyed cotton while stitching the top so changed the design for the bottom a bit, using another very similar overdye in a colorway a few shades lighter.

This one, another free and unidentified chart, was stitched in pale corals, the same top and bottom, and secured with mother of pearl buttons.

This is a free design called Moroccan Tile.  The top is stitched with a remnant of over dyed cotton and the bottom is stitched with DMC floss picking up one of the colors from the overdye.

 This biscornu is secured with a pair of lovely antique glass buttons in just the right shade of melon.   I collect buttons and I delight in finding just the right ones to embellish my stitching.

Here is another that is the same top and bottom, but with the added bling of some beading in the border.  Again, I used over dyed cotton floss and antique floss buttons.  The green hexagon glass buttons are really quite pretty.

This one is much prettier in real life since you can see the entire fishes in actual three dimensional space.  Since the design elements come so close to center, this biscornu is secured with just a few straight stitches.

Since the fish design was rather fussy though quite pretty, I designed these shells for an easier stitch for
the bottom.

These cats were originally charted as redwork but whoever heard of red cats?  So, I selected colors to transform them into Halloween Black cats and used a pair of brass pumpkin buttons to secure the biscornu.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Group" Therapy for Stitchers

I have noticed that people have been responding very positively to my gallery posts.  Also, on the message board I frequent, someone is always asking the rest of us to post our finishes on a particular theme.  There seems to be an interest in groups of finishes that share a common theme or type of construction.  I know I always like to look at such groupings on the 123stitch message board.  And I frequently see  new-to-me designer or finishing techniques and end up learning something new about my craft.  Then, there is the sheer entertainment value of seeing so many varied projects reflecting tastes that are both similar to my own and very different from my own.  So over the next few weeks, whenever I am at a loss for a topic, I think I'll compile another gallery post.

Topics I have in mind are: biscornus, throw pillows, pin pillows and pin cushions, stitching accessories, totes, witches, dragons, Quakers, patriotic, nauticals, samplers, teapots and tea cups, and botanicals.  Of course, there will be some repetition and crossover.  The same piece might show up in a gallery of patriotic pieces and in a gallery of throw pillow or banners.

Which would you like to see first?  Or can you think of other  areas of interest?

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Little Redwork

Pineberry Lane is one of those new-to-me designers that I discovered while reading another stitcher's blog over a year ago.  I can't remember whose blog at this point.  But whoever the blogger was, she was stitching a lovely little piece called Tansy, Yarrow and Rue.  I ended up browsing Pineberry Lane's website and asking my husband to buy me three charts for my anniversary gift back in 2013: Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler; Tansy, Yarrow and Rue and Autumn on Marigold Lane.

They languished in the to-do-soon binder all of 2013 because I was so obsessed with other projects, mainly Teresa Wentzler's Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking and The English Band Sampler.  But I have pulled all three charts out and stuck them in the current stitching tote.

Here is a photo of my current progress on Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler, stitched on 32ct Meadow Mist linen from Silkweaver with Needlepoint Inc.'s Russet Red Range silk floss.  Did you ever reach a point where you just couldn't take another stitch even though you were so close to finishing a piece?  I figure I have less than an hour's work left to do on this.  When it is done I plan to stitch it up into a pillow.

And even though I will continue to work on my own personal UFO and Class Project Challenges this year, I have decided to introduce my two remaining Pineberry Lane charts into my rotation as soon as I finish the redwork sampler.    Life is too short to keep putting off such simple pleasures.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Anniversary Heart

My first finish of the year is this little heart inscribed with the date I married Bill.  We have since celebrated 43 years of a wonderful and sometimes crazy making marital life.  God bless the man for putting up with me.

Postscript 2-21-14:  Once I posted this photo, I notices the bare spot below the '71 which was missing a mere five stitches.  They have since been filled in.  The piece is now awaiting assembly finishing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gallery Post: Banners and Wall Hangings

On a message board of which I am a member, a call has gone out to show photos of completed banners.  So I thought I would compile another of my gallery posts.  Many of the banners I have made are meant to be hung on classroom doors to brighten a school hallway and greet the students with something cheerful.  Most of these are simple and used Secret Needle Night charts.  But, some are much more sophisticated pieces that I use at home.  Almost all are seasonal in nature and meant to be switched out as the calendar advances.


 This is a Secret Needle Night design


A Secret Needle Night Valentine's Day piece

 A Secret Needle Night  Tartan Plaid Shamrock to celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Some pretty Spring Tulips from the Secret Needle Night series


I usually hang this collection of Erica Michael's patriotic designs on Memorial Day

A dragonfly banner to celebrate summer, another Secret Needle Night

Glory Bee's Liberbee  celebrates Independence Day



It's Back to School with this little banner


I found this circa 1950's poem in an old library book and used some Homespun Elegance and Prairie Schooler motifs to complete the piece.

 Another autumn banner from Secret Needle Night

 If I remember correctly this is a Primitive Needle design, something perfect for hanging in a small niche in my kitchen as Halloween approaches.


This is a Liz Turner Diehl design . I particularly like the beaded acorn caps and I was delighted to find rods with acorn finials to complete the look


an old Santa chart ... I don't remember the designer

a Madonna and child from before I started noting down designer's names ... I think I found this one in a Leisure Arts hardcover book on Christmas

and this chartr is from an old JCS ornaments issue

 Miscellaneous Designs

This is a Little House Needleworks complimentary chart that I decided would look good on a remnant of gingham linen I had hanging about

I stitched this banner of a praying female figure on burlap as a gift for my daughter.

One of these days, I'll get around to turning this Autumn Round Robin into a nice wall hanging.

I have a few more banners, like one of Dragon Dreams' elemental dragons, that I have to get photographed.
But I figure these are enough to give you a taste of what I do.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You Gotta Have Heart

I have The English Band Sampler and its Algerian eyelets set aside "for later" while I have started a new heart.  The chart is called Couer Courage from Les Grilles d'Elise Lotte.  I am using a small scrap of mystery even weave in a soft shade of ivory and have chosen GAST Mulberry for the actual stitching.  I had two partial cards of Mulberry that were close enough in dye lot to work well together.  Between the two cards, I should have enough to complete the project, with a tiny bit left over.  Yet again, I am stitching from stash.  The blank space in this piece is supposed to be filled in with the word Courage but I will be charting my wedding date and stitching that instead.

I also stitched a few more lengths of GAST Freedom on Aury's Quaker Heart 2013.  I find I am liking having a few different projects ready to hand by my stitching chair.  It does make for a somewhat messy lived in look but home is supposed to be the place one can kick back and relax, right?.

And, because we haven't had enough snow this past week, we are expecting another 3 to 5 inches today.  When I find the young student in my program who has been praying for snow days, I am going to sit him or her down and suggest insist he or she shift his or her focus to praying for world peace or the end to hunger and disease and poverty.   Can't be wasting all that sanctity!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fickle, Fickle, Fickle

Twenty four inches of snow in three days prompted me to nestle down in my stitching chair and stitch up a storm, if you'll pardon the very bad pun.

For the past three days, I have been a total gad-about: stitching a little on one project, switching to another, and then dropping that one for still another.  Call me fickle but I really am enjoying switching gears frequently.  It's as though that fierce focus of the past several months has exploded into billions of glittering smithereens.  Nothing holds my attention for more than an hour or two.

First up, Pineberry Lane's Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler .  I am working this on a scrap of the same linen I am using for the grandchildren's Christmas stockings, Silkweaver's Meadow Mist 36ct.  It is a very greyed down, pale sage green.  A nice neutral color.  The silk I am using is Needlepoint Inc.'s Russet Red Range, a deep red left over from stitching Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie.  So, both silk and linen are from stash, giving me that virtuously frugal reduce, reuse, recycle glow.

Next up is Milady's Tea House from the Indy 2006 Town Square series.  This particular chart was done by the folks from Milady's Needle.  I just have the over one stitching in the windows and the specialty stitching in the door step flower pots to do.  This is another project that is stitched from existing stash.  I had to substitute five of the dozen or so called for fibers but it is working our quite well..

Then, I started Aury's Quaker Hearts 2013 that I somehow failed to stitch the year it was published.  I use the same blue linen for the Quaker Heart series as I do for the Town Square series, so I cut the linen for this in a  six inch wide strip long enough to stitch the heart and my four next Town Square buildings.  I wound it on my doodler lap frame which, while not the most portable frame I have, is one of the most comfortable configurations of scroll rods that I own.  I am using GAST Cranberry, Oatmeal and Freedom for this piece.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What did you do during the blizzard of '14, Grandma?

I filled bird feeders and I made French Onion Soup and Banana Cake and I paid $30 each to three different young men to shovel out our driveway three times within a 48 hour period during which 23.8 inches of snow fell.  I did a little housework and a little laundry.  But mostly I stitched.

To give you a bit of perspective, that retaining wall at the back of the yard is 6 feet high as is the chain link fence at the side of the yard.  What with the winds being so fierce, the snow in the backyard drifted more than halfway up the wall in several places.  Near the center of the photo you can see one of our wrought iron patio chairs, very nearly buried.

Appropriately enough, I'd like to announce the winners of my giveaway to chase away the winter blues.  Tweety Rocks gets the Lighthouse Candle Mat from Prairie Grove Peddler.  Calamity Jr. gets JBW's Christmas Tree Sampler.  And YukonViv gets Cedar Hills Berry Patch Rabbit.  I'll be e-mailing them as soon as this is posted.  I want to thank all those who participated in my little contest.  For those who weren't quite so lucky this time, keep checking the blog.  I stage an annual stitching limerick writing contest in March with a $20 gc to 123stitch as a prize.  And I do give away many charts as I am finished with them.  Not all, of course, some charts are keepers.  But I do give away most of my charts because I seldom stitch a chart twice and there are only a few designers' work that I collect.  I'll be offering Pineberry Lane's Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler [see photo below] as a giveaway when I am through with it, sometime in the next few weeks.

Tomorrow I'll have some stitching photos to show.

Friday, February 14, 2014

And It's Valentine's Day

I thought I'd gather up all my Valentine's Day Stitching for another Gallery Post.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Redwork Sampler and Milady's Tea Shoppe

I worked on these two projects a bit more yesterday and this morning.  My hunger for variety isn't quite satisfied.  But working on two different small projects in as many days and making discernible progress on each has helped.  The Redwork Sampler now has a flower pot and an extraordinarily tall flower is growing from it.

Milady's Tea Shoppe just needs a roof and some signage before I turn my attention to the over one stitching in the first floor windows and door.

Still, I may have to start work on a heart ornament or two, if I am to get my fill of diversity.  Valentine's Day would be an appropriate time to start that.  I'll probably choose to work on the Quaker Patriotic Heart and thus have one more ornament to add to my Memorial Day tree.  Speaking of the Memorial Day Tree, I had a thought the other day.  I have some lovely purple fabric on which I have been stitching a number of Halloween ornament.  But it occurred to me that the purple fabric would make an excellent background for a silhouette of George Washington turning the ornament into a Purple Heart, a medal my Dad earned in WWII.  This would make a meaningful addition to my Memorial Day tree, especially considering Dad died on May 27 [which, in 1987, was Memorial Day].  I am pretty sure I have just such a chart in my Better Homes and Gardens 2001 Cross Stitch Designs.  It would just be a matter of stitching the profile of George Washington in gold silk and adding a heart shaped outline in the same gold on the purple ground fabric.  

I guess there will be a lot of variety this month and plenty of time to indulge myself.  We were expecting another 4-8 inches of snow Wednesday night into ThursdayWe got about 14 with drifting up to my hip in some parts of the backyard.  Though February is a short month, I may actually have more stitching time since it has been a rather snowy month so far. 

One thing for certain, the birds are keeping me hopping.  I have one of those 18" cylindrical squirrel proof bird feeders in the backyard.  It was full in the morning in anticipation of the snow.  By dusk, it was only one third full.  I don't know how the mesh bag of thistle seed fared.  Snowdrifts obscure the view from my windowWith all the snow on the ground, feeders are going to be a very important, if not the only, source of food for the local bird population.  I'll be picking up a couple of suet blocks as well ... the birds will need extra fats to keep warm.

Today I received a package from JoAnne's Fabrics.  I ordered some more fabric for backing my Town Square SAL ornaments and some heavy interfacing for use in padding flat ornaments.  I have three Town Square SAL ornaments, a Columbus Day ornament and three Halloween ornaments all in need of assembly finishing.  I am hoping the package will arrive this weekend so that I can get started on an assembly line and finish them all by Sunday or Monday.  I am expecting a long weekend: Monday is President's Day, Thursday may be a snow day and I am off Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays anyway.   One of the joys of working a four day week is that when you get holidays on Mondays or Thursdays, it's feels like a mini-vacation.  With  both occurring this weekend, well, that's quite a bonus.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I don't know why I thought I had to stitch Piper's stocking over one.  Once I had completed a square inch of stitching over one, it was abundantly clear that the scale was way off.  So I frogged it out and restitched it Monday.  All I can say is that frogging over one stitching on a 36 ct linen is a real pain in the neck.

Here's a photo of where the project stands right now. The chart is set in summer but since I am using this as a Christmas stocking I am converting the brown, tan, and gold ground to shadowed snow with shades of white, lavender, grey, lavender blue in various blended needles a la Teresa Wentzler.  I am leaving the flowers in place, as if they are poking through the snow just because I like the idea of adding some Christmas-y red and green to the piece.  Right now I am stitching the chart with the straight edges as it came.  Once I've filled in the bottom, I'll go back and add some more stitching to extend the design into the curved spaces of the toe and heel


Monday, February 10, 2014

Closing Out the Weekend

I wanted to get a bit more done on The English Band Sampler on Sunday.  But I ended up spending the whole day in bed.  I slept away the better part of the day.  Either I am coming down with something or all this snow and single digit temps have triggered a hibernation response.

I anticipate finishing Milady's Tea Shoppe from the Town Square series fairly soon.  On Saturday, pulled the charts for the next three months' selections: the Bakery, the Sweet Shop and the Shoe Shrine.  I am really going to try and get an ornament stitched each month.  I know I am already behind since the Tea Shoppe represents January's ornament, but these next three look to be relatively quick stitches and I hoping to squeeze two into the month of February.  So, I'll need to kit up some of these charts today.  I enjoy kitting up since it gives me the opportunity to rummage about in my extensive stash of cotton over-dyed floss.  All that color is pretty heady stuff! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Another Start or Two

Once I get going, I really get going.   I am done with my exclusive focus on the band sampler for at least the next little while and am back to rotation stitching with a vengeance.  On Tuesday I started Milady's Tea Shoppe from the Town Square SAL.  I made a fair amount of progress on it through Friday.

Today, I have started work on Piper's stocking.  This has been on my goals list every month since December and I finally got around to it.  Since I am stitching over one on 32ct linen, this particular start is barely discernible.  Believe it or not, this tiny bit of stitching represents two and half hours work while watching three episodes of Chicago Fire on DVD.

Next, I started a lovely little monochrome design for a small pin pillow,  Pineberry Lane's Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler.  Pineberry Lane is a new-to-me designer that I find to be a cross between Blackbird Designs and various primitive designers in mood and tone.   I am loving this little design.

Although I had been a totally committed rotation stitcher for many years, I have become an unpredictable and somewhat erratic one larely.  It all started with Liam's stocking, Teresa Wentzler's Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking..  I found that project so very compelling, I stitched on very little else from July to November of 2013.  Once I had finished that, the band sampler became my obsession.  But I find I now need some very simple and/or some very different stitching, something easy on the eyes.