Friday, April 21, 2017


The last post to this blog was nearly three months ago and I am still adjusting to the new regimens of living with kidney disease.  I haven't had much energy or inclination for blogging.  I have even fallen behind in my reading of other blogs.  But I am beginning to see my way forward and am developing some new routines.

I have been stitching, though.

At first, I wanted something light hearted and easy on the eyes.  So, I pulled Bent Creek's The Branch from the To Do binder.  It's a simple straightforward set of charts purchased years ago when I was buying just about anything with an owl in it.  This is one of the snapper series and, for the life of me, I don't understand what possessed the designers to think snaps were decorative.  They're fasteners, for God's sake: functional, to be sure, but not particularly attractive.  So, I left them out of my version and filled the only two really obvious gaps with some Rhodes stitches.  I had most of the recommended GAST and WDW floss but made a few substitutions as needed.   I didn't want to wait on an order to start work.  It's one of the advantages of having an obscenely large fiber stash: I can indulge myself with impulsive starts.  

If anyone reading this  would like to stitch this piece her[him]self, please post below with an e-mail contact.  I'll be happy to send the charts complete with snaps and buttons.

Next, I went in an entirely different direction with Victoria Sampler Tea Cozy.  I have taken several classes with Thea Dueck and love her work.  It is always a joy and a challenge.  Her mastery of specialty stitches as major design elements and her talent for combining various techniques [cross stitch, crewel, hardangar, etc.] in the same design result in pieces that delight this stitcher's heart.  She uses a lot of Kreinik silk mori in her designs which is one fiber I don't have in my stash. So I substituted Belle Soie silks in the appropriate colors [See comment above about advantage of large fiber stash] and went to town.  I have been doing fairly well and am happy with all the satin stitching and the fern and fly and chain and lazy daisy and Smyrna cross and Japanese ribbon stitches.  But, alas, I have hit a real snag with the boullion stitch sunflower.  I have already made three false starts and had to cut away some quite tatty knots.  I have tried using a milliner's needle - too long - and a shorter beading needle - not much better.  I believe my problem is not getting the right tension - I am wrapping the needle too tightly with the result that my knots look like hump backed caterpillars.  I shall have to practice. There are supposed to be 24 of these knots in the sunflower and I am determined not to be defeated,

Monday, April 17, 2017

A little of this, A little of that

In between doctor's appointments, home health nurse visits and home PT visits, I have gotten in a little stitching, a bit more reading and a very little catch-up housework.  My husband led a bachelor existence for a little over a month while I was in hospital and nursing home and the results were pretty much what I expected.  To give you some notion of my husband;s domestic skills: once he found out I'd be laid up for more than two days, he went out and bought a dishwasher.

But on to the stitching:  I have been playing with oddments  from my scrapbag, startimg with a small scrap of 36 count antique ivory linen.

This first Easter Egg ornament is loosely based on two designs from the Better Homes and Gardens 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  I picked a motif from one pattern [the bunnies] and the size and shape  of the egg from another.  Then I pulled out a bunch of exotic and glitzy fibers left over from old Dragon Dreams, Silver Needle Night and similar projects.  The object was to mimic a bit of Faberge bling.  I have a hard time throwing away usable leftovers and it satisfies some deep-seated aging  hippie need to recycle such odds and ends into new projects.  I thought this was a fairly successful attempt to take what was old and make something new from it.

The next Easter Egg ornament is somewhat more conventional in its conception.  Following roughly the same shape as the first, I allowed the materials at hand to dictate design elements, e.g.: the thickness and placement of the stripes, the size of the flower.  Just an aside, rayon floss is nowhere near the usual pain in the ass to use when you are working with just one strand as I did on this 36ct linen.

The third egg was born after finding some green and lavender rayon floss.  I have always liked the combination of mossy greens and soft lavenders.   I had some vague idea of an egg wrapped up in a bow and found just such a chart in BH&G 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  With a few adjustments, I had what I wanted.

And this fourth egg is back to Faberge style bling, done in metallic reds and golds.  Just to keep from being bored, I couched a scrap of leftover gold metallic ribbon with some 003HL Kreinik VFB as the center band of this egg.  I am pleased with the effect.  For some crazy reason, I have7 spools of the various red VFB and this was a way of using up a bit of it.  Can't imagine what possessed me to buy so much of the stuff!  It must date from the time I was stitching a lot of Christmas ornaments.

The last egg uses up some fibers in the yellow to gold color way: some Colorwash silk, some amber and bronze VFB, a bit of orange wool, a scrap of bronze metallic ribbon.  To avoid repeating myself, I have decided to go the sampler route and, so far have used cross, long armed cross, satin, box, diamond Rhodes and diamond eyelet  stitches on this egg.    I plan to stitch a band of upright crosses and a band of knotted crosses before I am done.   I liked the couched ribbon effect in the red egg so much that I repeated it here with a scrap of metallic bronze ribbon and the yellow colorwash silk.

One of my 2017 goals is to make a half a dozen Easter ornaments.  With one Mill Hill beaded Easter egg just needing the final finish of a felt backing and four of these just needing flat ornament finishes, I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal.  And once I finish the yellow egg, I do have another Mill Hill beaded egg kit in stash and will probably tackle that while the Easter season is still upon us.   It'll be nice to actually exceed a goal in at least one area after so many health related set backs thus far this year