Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Very Little Progress

It seems like I've been working on this band forever.  Still, I have a cat, a pumpkin, an owl and a leaf to stitch.  I'll try to finish this band today.

And the next band is even more motif heavy ... and spans four pages of chart, an irritation with this chart that I have mentioned in a previous post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sometimes, Procrastination Bears Fruit

Back when SANQ folded, the publishers sent word that,unless otherwise notified, they would substitute JCS for the remainder of the subscription.    Not having much use for JCS, I fully intended to drop them a line.  Predictably, I never got around to it ... as, no doubt the canny publishers assumed would be the case with most of the subscribers, sparing said publishers the need to issue refunds in an honorable fashion.

The publishers also promised to incorporate some of the content of SANQ into JCS.  Thanks to sheer laziness on my part, I am now in a position to report that the dastardly destroyers of SANQ have kept that promise, at least to a minimal degree.

Here is my totally biased and  rather cranky analysis of the content of JCS since the demise of SANQ.    I have devised nine broad categories for my analysis, each of which has a legitimate following.

SANQ-type charts  Total -3:
     February: 1822 Eliza Morris Sampler
     April: 1927 Harriet Barral Sampler
     June: Adam & Eve Sampler

SANQ-type articles Total -1:
          June: Perforated Paper Popular With Victorians

Contemporary/conventional charts [landscapes/ florals, samplers] Total - 23:
     February: Victorian Winter, Bird Teapot Cozy, Stitch Lover, Daybreak, Corolla Sewing Set, Winterscape, Proverbs 2:10-11, Queen Anne's Lace
     April: Birdsong Sampler, Succulent, Hummingbird, Floral Trivet Set, On Pins and Needles, Spring Chickadees, Monet's Garden
     June: Farm Fresh Basket, Poppy, Summerscape, Traditional Wedding Sampler, Rose Ella's Pincushion and Needlebook, Checkmate Coasters, Paisley and Dots, Bee Happy, Folk Floral

Trendy or seasonal charts Total - 13:
   February: Winter Chalk Art, Love Squared, Snowflakw For Sale, Sparkling Snowflake, Snowflake Hornbook, For Thee,
     April: Cross Easer Egg, Bunny's Basket, Woven Cross, Claddagh Ring, Spring Chalk
     June: Summer Chalk, Strawberry Scissor Fob Ornaments

Hardanger Total-3: 
     February: Hardanger Band Sampler Pt. 1
     April: Hrdanger Band Sampler Part 2
     June: Hardanger Band Sampler Part 3

Redwork or other specialty embroidery charts Total -3:
     February: Alsatian Redwork Heart, Redwork Snowman
     April: Shamina
Primitive Total -1:
     February:  Primitive Sheep Heart

Juvenile themed charts Total -5:
     February: Snow Angel Duo, Feathered Friends
     April: Spring Quartet, It's Winter
     June: Nursery Rhymes

Articles about designers, new products, etc. Total - 5:
     February: Aury TM Designs, Favorite Trends
     April: Miribilia Designs, Favorite Trends
     June: Favorite Trends

Out of a total of 56 articles and charts, only 4 reference antique needlework and one references traditional ethnic needlework of the sort covered by SANQ.  So, to sum up: from my POV, only 6% of the charts and 16% of the articles are of interest.  I will admit that so far two out of three of the Christmas ornaments [the primitive sheep heart and the scissor fob ornaments] have caught my eye.  But for the most part precious little else of the usual JCS content appeals to me.  

Am I convinced the publishers kept their promise?  There is something, though not much, for the antique needlework student.  So I guess the answer has to be a grudging yes.  Am I satisfied with that?  Of course not [note aforementioned crankiness].  I want my SANQ back and regret that I have to wade through so much unappealing dross for a nugget or two of pure gold.  The JCS philosophy of providing a little something for everyone results ultimately in no one being truly satisfied.  Add that to the sneaking suspicion that once the SANQ files of pending articles and charts are depleted, there won't be even the nugget or two for aficionados of the historical and antique ... well, call me a cynic  but I'd bet a few dollars on that outcome.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Small Progress

The taller tree in this photo has been frustrating me for the last few days.  The symbol is a pale grey left parentheses, barely visible on the glossy page.  I've been stitching a branch at a time before moving on to something else in disgust.  I finally started work on the house. When that's done, I'll try counting the remaining branches from the roof line.  The dazzle effect that followed my cataract surgery has left me unable to read faint print unless I hold the paper right under my nose.

But I did manage to stitch the primitive Sheep Heart from a recent JCS using True Palette silks and Rainbow Gallery Tweed instead of the charted flosses.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Random Notes: Puttering About

Friday morning began with a breakfast date with two former colleagues who became close friends.  It was great to get out and about and even better to see some dear friends and catch up on their lives.  We lingered nearly two hours over tea and coffee, eggs and toast.

I came home to putter with the blog and then spent some time reading a chapter or two of the new Nora Roberts book, The Obsession.  It's the sort of book commonly called a good beach read.  Since the weather is finally warming up, I guess that's appropriate.  Still puttering, though now in the kitchen, I made some pasta prima vera for lunch.  

Later, I set the Roku box on the classic radio station and settled in my stitching chair for a few hours bliss.  All the more blissful because my husband had finally finished watching his new box set of all 10 seasons of JAG.  Not a terrible show but, really, damn near two full weeks of morning to night marathon viewing.  Where ever I went in the house, the theme music followed.  I expect I'll be hearing it for days rumbling round in my head.  

The neighbor's pit bull is doing his usual "I don't care if my master's property ends at this fence, MY territory extends three row houses in either direction!"    He barks if I dare to open my back door for fresh air.  He goes into an absolute frenzy if I actually enter my own backyard.  He even barks if I sneeze indoors.  Since this is allergy season and since my sneezes tend to be loud and dramatic, this is rather embarrassing.   There must be a way to train the poor dog to recognize the boundaries but first I'll have to find a way to train the neighbor, a 20-something young man, to see that there is a problem and that his neighbors should be able to enjoy their gardens [or sneeze in their own living rooms]  with a modicum of peace and quiet.  The animal is simply acting on his instincts.   It's the owner who leaves the dog out doors for hours at a time who is the real problem.

I may have mentioned that the neighbors who had Karoke parties into the wee small hours and a son who would get up at  6:00 am to shoot baskets moved ... the neighbors three doors on either side of them happily waved good bye.  But alas, the new resident has a basketball player - ka thimp, ka thump at all hours..

Friday, April 15, 2016

Enabled By Stitch Bitch

Every year I read the Stitch Bitch's March A-Different-Craft-A-Day marathon during National Craft Month.  Every year I conclude that I should expand my horizons beyond various forms of embroidery, needlepoint and conventional sewing.  And every year I move on without doing anything particularly new or different.

Not this year!  Admittedly, I procrastinated through March and finally did something in mid April.  But then April, at least here in the northern suburbs of NYC, has been rather more of a March instant replay than the first month of Spring.  So, maybe I can be excused.

In any case, I made some marking pins and stuck them in the pin cushion lid of a small tin.  Hardly rocket science, I know, just a matter if painting the upper quarter inch of some pins with craft glue and threading some beads on.  I used beads left over from a Mill Hill kit.  The pins on the right are my work.

Again, it was not my most wildly creative effort but still I made something I can use.  [Especially with my current BAP, since it has long horizontal bands over 100 stitches wide.]

Next, I tackled some ribbon crafting.  I have had the instructions  and supplies for making ribbon roses for a very long time but I finally got around to trying my hand at it.  I think I need a bit more practice but it's not terrible for a first attempt.  I have sewn the rose onto a headband and will have to figure out the directions for making the leaves and adding them.  When it's done, I'll send it off to my granddaughter who loves girly fuss and frills.

i have directions for making ribbon ladybugs and ribbon pinwheels to be affixed to barrettes as well.  I just need to get to a Michaels or AC Moore for some very fine black pipe cleaners for the lady bug antennae, though jewelery wire and some tiny black beads might work just as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wagons, Ho!

Several days ago, April [SNOW] showers brought stitching progress,  Okay, there was only 1/2 inch accumulation  but that was reason enough to hunker down in the stitching chair with a large mug of tea, a shawl and my needle.  I finished stitching the ground of the cemetery band.  And, two days ago,  I finished stitching the farm wagon.   Yesterday I stitched some stars and some trees.  Today, I'll start on the house.

Today the sun is shining brightly and temps are in the 60s.  A few days ago we had snow.  Go figure! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Finish and a Visit to the Cemetery

First, I finished DMC's Heart Band Sampler.  I'll be using the hexagonal button since, as Stitch Bitch pointed out, it mirrors the shape of the medallion.  How did I not see that myself?  I have enjoyed the challenge of re-charting this piece to better suit my taste.  I like monochromatic designs and this one gave me the chance to use a pair of skeins of Needle Necessities floss that I bought simply because I liked the colors.   But, sadly. the floss was separated from its label long ago so I can't give  any further information.  Anyway. NN went out of business many years ago and I can not recall the name of the company that took over their color line.

Next. I returned to the cemetery band of Witch's Hollow for awhile.  Once I got past the gravestones which were  all maddening tone on tone stitching [especially on 36 ct.], I made good progress.  I am nearly halfway through the band.  This particular band has lots of witches: some afoot, some in flight, some driving wagons.  After I am done with the sampler, I may pull some of the motifs and stitch them as ornaments.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Still Tweaking

As I explained in an earlier post, I prefer an airier look for the heart band sampler from DMC than is actually charted,  I have completed the first six bands,  It's now time to stitch the bands at the top two curves of the heart. 

So, out comes the ugly orange gridding floss, the tweaker's stand by.  The earlier bands were easily worked out in my head but these last two bands will be a bit trickier.   Instead of one central point from which to count, there'll be two.  And there are the two curves to plot.  Finally, what will I put in the center medallion?

A monogram, a charm or a button?  And, if a button, do I sew it on as surface decoration before making it up as a pillow or afterwards, to dimple the pillow?  Here are two button options, both mother of pearl.

I'll have to do a little stash diving to find some charms that might work.  I do like ex[lore all my options/

Monday, April 4, 2016

April Fool's Day Came Late

We woke yesterday morning and today to snow on the ground and.  All the jonquils and daffodils that had been blooming so cheerfully are now sad and sorry wet shreds  ... like so many tattered battle flags at the Confederate surrender at Appomatox.  [Sorry, but such images come naturally to anyone who has spent 47 years with a Civil War buff.  My oldest son has always maintained that my husband can bring any conversation around to the Civil War within three sentences.  Seven degrees of separation is for winps!]

The daffodils and jonquils usually provide colot until the Van Houten Spirea blooms but not this year.