Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

A few months ago Rachael, a lovely editor from the British stitching magazine Cross Stitch Collection contacted me to ask whether I would be willing to have my blog featured in an upcoming issue. I was, to put it mildly, quite surprised; I'm neither a prolific stitcher nor blogger though I'm certainly an enthusiastic one. But CSC is my favorite of all the British cross stitching magazines, and I decided to accept the honor, Rachael sent me a questionnaire to fill out and asked for photos of my cross stitch pieces; it was fun deciding which ones to submit. The October issue has just been published in the UK. It usually arrives in the US a few weeks later, so I haven't actually seen it yet, but Rachael sent me a PDF of the article, and I did pinch myself a bit to see it in print; here is an image of it (you can click on it to make it larger):

To anyone who finds my blog through reading my profile - welcome! I really do mean what I said in answering the last question - if you are hesitating on starting your own blog, don't - you'll never regret it! And do check out  Cross Stitch Collection - in the US it can usually be found at Barnes & Noble.

I have a few more things to show since my last post, starting with this one:
Hinzeit Charmed Sampler
28 Count Mushroom Evenweave
DMC 310

My son plays trumpet in the high school marching band. Initially I was making this for his music teacher, but it has ended up on a wall in my son's room (a bit of a contrast to the Pink Floyd poster!) I bought the musical charms on eBay, and used museum glass for the framing so that they can be seen clearly (it's also almost a shadow box frame).  Sorry that the picture shows some glare from the glass as I took it outside in the sun. Again, clicking on the photo enlarges it so you can see the charms.

You Are So Loved
The Snowflower Diaries
Freebie found here
Peach Edinborough linen
CC, GAST, WDW (my own conversion)

Here's something else I made for my son. On the back I stitched the same border and his initials, adding a little filigree heart charm. He's become a teenager with a vengeance, so I hope he'll remember to look at this after we've had the inevitable spats.

Heart in Hand
R&R Flax Fields Belfast
DMC and CC

I made this for someone who had gone the extra mile for me, but I need to finish it before I give it to her. I already have the fabric to use. My son has an all-day band competition on Saturday, so that might be a good day to get it done.

That's all for now - I'll try to post the rest of my finishes very soon. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

And more projects from the couch...

No, it didn't take me six weeks to make dinner, but life has a way of intervening in one's good intentions. Anyway, to pick up where I left off (at the end of September): October brought two designs from the JCS 2013 Special Halloween Issue. First I fell in love with this enchanting creature:

Matilda Hornbuckle
Notforgotten Farm
Light Mocha Cashel/DMC

And then came this one:

Happy Halloween
Silver Creek Samplers
Light Mocha Belfast/DMC

I was disappointed to find that neither of these designers are included in the 2014 issue; though there are a few nice designs in it, none of them are nearly as compelling as these two were. Oh well, considering what I brought home from Celebration (and what I did with some birthday money I got from my parents) I am in no need of further distractions from my huge stack of potential stitching projects!

So once Halloween was dispensed with, I moved on to a bit of Christmas stitching:

Tree Reindeer (Freebie)
Daffycat (Sharon Bennett)
Linen scrap/CC, WKS, GAST

I love these annual reindeer designs Sharon so generously shares. Can't wait to see what this year's will be!

By the time I started this next project, I no longer needed to be stitching from a prone position, not that I don't ever do so now by choice. I think Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of the most perfect stories ever written. So when this next design came out, it went to the top of my stitching list. 
Christmas Spirit Sampler
Elizabeth's Designs
Vintage Country Mocha Belfast/GAST

I overlooked the instructions which said it should be stitched using one strand of floss, and it was only when I was close to running out of the Midnight blue for the wording that I realized my mistake; however, since I did it on 32 instead of 35 count fabric two strands looked better anyway, and 123 Stitch came to the rescue with a pretty close match. A few notes for anyone who might want to stitch this - the flowers on either side of the heart at the top are not charted, though they are present in the picture on the front of the chart, so I added them; also, while the trees and birds reverse direction when the pattern reaches the middle of the design, the boughs of holly all faced the same way. This seemed odd to me, so I reversed the graph and put two facing each direction on either side of the crown. I don't always need things to be symmetrical but in this case it seemed better to me this way.

Scrap of Newcastle/GAST & WDW

I found this diminutive lady in a half-price bin at my late, lamented LNS before it closed last year. The rusty metal frame was included with the chart. I keep meaning to see if there are others like it. The designer wasn't familiar to me. Well, I just decided to Google it, and according to the Internet, Chartmakers was an earlier incarnation of Kathy Barrick Samplers/CHS.  Sounds like it could be true given the style, but one never knows what can be believed on the Internet - in fact, here's one of my favorite admonitions:

And with that, I'll end for now. I have more projects to show, but I'll leave them for another day.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Year of Projects

So much for my good intentions to post my couch lounging projects soon. But better late than never, right? Here, in order of stitching, are:

Dream Big
Country Cottage Needleworks
Mystery linen / CC, GAST, & DMC

I made this for my son's friend's birthday in 2013, and it took me until this past Easter get it finished. In fact, it's the only thing I do have in final form. It's a little lopsided, but the friend seemed pleased with it anyway (he owns a rabbit and really wanted a stitched one - at least he doesn't have to change the litter for it!)

The Needleworker
Little House Needleworks
30 count R&R Bed Creek Brown / CC

This is the project I took to Celebration in 2013. It was such a pleasure to stitch.

The Troubador
Papillon Creations
Antique White Belfast / Old Willow Stitchery & HDF

This was one of the first charts I bought upon discovering that there were more designs available than could be found at Joann's and A.C. Moore. I fell in love with its colors, but didn't realize that OWS linen threads were no longer being made. After much googling I found an online shop which still had them in stock; the HDF threads had been renamed since the chart was published, but Vikki told me what to order. It came out just right, and is in my to-be-framed pile. I've always had a thing for unicorns, and when I was much younger my car sported a bumper sticker that said "I brake for hobbits and unicorns." Neither the car nor the bumper stitcher are still around, but I'd still brake for a unicorn if I saw one.

Sous Mon Arbre
Marjorie Massey
Country Cream Belfast / Creme de Menthe Belle Soie

This design is from a set of three which I bought via Jardin Prive's website. It's always such a pleasure to stitch on silk!

And Your Little Dog Too
The Sampler Girl
White Jobelan / CC & DMC

I'm from the era when The Wizard of Oz was televised once a year. What a thrill to watch it each time. I always wondered whether Miss Gulch would try to take Toto again once Dorothy came home, but I suppose she must have been blown away by the tornado (I sure hope so!) Or maybe she melted too.

Antique Evergreen Sampler
Elizabeth's Designs
Iced Cappuccino Edinborough / WDW

This is the project I worked on during the toughest days of my convalescence - the little motifs were perfect for short stints of stitching. I was sorry when this one ended.

This only takes me up through September, but I should be making dinner if we are to survive the evening, so I'll stop for now. But I'll hopefully be back sooner than the last time!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Another Return to Celebration of Needlework (and to blogging)

Long time no blog! It's been just over a year since my last post. I never intended to stay away for such an extended period of time, but I got sick early last summer, and didn't fully recover until around Christmas. It wasn't anything dire, but I spent months pretty much lying on my couch. While I did manage to do some stitching throughout those difficult days, I had to conserve my energy for absolute essentials, and blogging fell off my radar screen. Now spring is in full swing, I'm feeling good, and am finally ready to rejoin this wonderful stitching community.

When last I wrote, I had just come back from Celebration of Needlework 2013, so it seems fitting that I start off with a recap of Celebration 2014. In past years, my husband and son have accompanied me, but this time I went by myself, which, although it was lovely to have a hotel room to myself, was rather lonely, as I didn't know anyone and tend to be shy. Still, wearing my "Free Bates" t-shirt became a great conversation-starter (there certainly are lots of Downton Abbey fans who are stitchers) and I enjoyed meeting some of the designers in the vendor area, especially Beth Seal (and her sister) of Summer House Stitche Workes, and Tracy Horner of Ink Circles. And in the class I took (Bird Box, taught by Jeannette Douglas) I sat next to another attendee who had also come alone, and we've already made plans to meet up at Celebration 2015. All in all, I had a wonderful time!

The Bird Box class was great - Jeannette is an enthusiastic and effective teacher, and the project is beautiful. It is made up of four designs and uses a combination of traditional cross stitch and specialty stitches, which will be a challenge for me but one that is well worth tackling.
I wanted to take a few other classes: Colorplay and Beginning Hardanger, but they were both offered on Thursday and I couldn't attend on that day. But whatever I saved in class expenses was fully made up for in the vendor area, where I certainly stocked up! I justify my profligacy because my LNS closed last summer when the owner retired, so now I am completely dependent on online stores and the little I can use from the big craft stores. What a treat to get to see and touch linen rather than trying to figure out how closely the color of a digital image will compare to reality. Here's what I came home with:
PTP linens Valor and Doubloon, 27 count green banding for Ink Circles'
Turtles All the Way Down, and some finishing fabrics

Ink Circles charts: Square Dance, Croakworth, 
Alto Gether Now and First Bass (I already have Here Comes Treble)

Summer House Stitche Workes charts and supplies:
A Bee in Your Bonnet and Fragments in Time

Thank You by Jeannette Douglass Designs

White Rabbit Necklace by The Primitive Jewel

I also came home with a nice selection of free charts from the giveaway box in the hotel lobby, and a kit that contained quite a bit of floss by Dinky Dyes and Needle Necessities. I think I am all set until next year, and then some!

Well, that's enough from me for now; next time I'll post pictures of what I managed to stitch during my couch lounging sojourn. It's nice to be back!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Return to Celebration of Needlework

This past weekend was my second time at Celebration of Needlework in Nashua, New Hampshire. This time I took two classes, both with Elizabeth Talledo of Dames of the Needle, who was a wonderful instructor. The first project was called Dauphin House Sewing Box (the picture of the finished project is from the Celebration website):

We coffee-dyed the linen and worked on the roof - it was nice to get a refresher course is blanket stitching.

The second class showed us how to make this lovely Zen Rabbit Sewing Purse (project photo again from the Celebration website):

We worked on putting together the orange suede scissor case (the kit included darling rabbit scissors!) and Elizabeth showed us how to make twisted cording on her awesome cording maker (I ordered one - I've always been afraid to try to do this, and her system makes it very easy).

I spent far too much money in the vendor area, but came away with some wonderful stash: several pieces of beautiful linen from a company called DoveStitch, two kits for over-one stitching (one is on silk gauze, which I've never tried), a chart called Antique Evergreen Sampler by Elizabeth's Designs which I fell in love with, and all the supplies for Lizzie Kate's Mystery Sampler, which I always regretted not buying when it came out. Sorry for the glare on the photos!

I also came home with a lot of free charts which were left in the lobby for stitchers to take. So I have enough projects to keep busy until Celebration 2014 and then some!

Meanwhile, though I haven't posted since the February blizzard (I was surprised to see how long it had been), I've been stitching away and have a couple of finishes to show for it.

Saltbox Village
Little House Needleworks

Dream Big
Country Cottage Needleworks

Dream Big is a birthday present for a friend of my son's, who has a pet rabbit, and once asked me if I would stitch him a bunny. I need to figure out how to finish it before I give it to him.

I'm almost finished with LHN's The Needleworker, which has been very enjoyable to work on. Once I finish the border I'll post a picture. And now, back to that blanket stitch...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blizzard Finishes

The aforementioned blizzard dropped about two feet of snow, necessitating a driving ban for nearly two days. Then our snowblower broker, so my weekend was spent indoors, and I had no excuse not to finish a few things. Here are the results of my enforced vacation:

I should have cut the linen for the cat a bit smaller and had the right side of the pillow be visually shorter than the left, but by the time I realized this I had already sewn the two sides together. Thanks to Carol for telling me how to attach the trim (use glue and a toothpick!) 

I took these pictures horizontally, but you know Blogger and its mind of its own! I started to rusch the ribbon  below for it using Vonna's tutorial (it's metallic and lacy and I love its look), but holding it up to the pillow it just didn't look good. Now if I could have done a ribbon like this lovely one of Vonna's, that would have been a different story. But rusty orange ribbon is awfully hard to come by.

I also followed Vonna's advice (thank you Vonna!) to iron interfacing to the back of my linen, and the pillows are definitely less lumpy than they would have been if I'd done them without it. So all in all I am a happy camper. Now all I need is another blizzard to get the rest of the finishing done!

I was reading some messages from a cross stitch list I am subscribed to, and there were several reports of craft stores no longer carrying DMC and using Sullivan's instead. There was even a mention of Michael's stocking another type of floss instead of DMC. Has anyone been finding this? While I prefer to stitch with overdyes when I can, I can't imagine having to order DMC floss online instead of running out to Michael's or A.C. Moore to pick up what I need!

My Just CrossStitch magazine came in the mail the other day. They have a new editor and I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were a number of designs I actually wanted to stitch! Usually I am lucky to find just one (not that I've done many of them other than ornaments - Summer Song was my first major piece) but maybe I'll find more that I like in JCS now. For anyone interested they had profiles of and charts from the designers of both Prairier Schooler and By the Bay Needleart.

It's school vacation week so my son is still sleeping - it's so nice not to have to rush around and get ready for school. I think I'll use the quiet time to get a little more stitching done...

Oy - I just looked at this in draft and accidentally closed the editor rather than the preview tab. Thank goodness for autosave!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Settling in for a blizzard (with stitching)

Here in the Northeast, we're being bombarded by dire predictions of a major Nor'Easter. We could be getting 16-24 inches of snow in my area, along with howling winds. School is already canceled for tomorrow. I've done the obligatory grocery store run, and only hope that we don't lose power so all the food I bought isn't for naught. What I really wanted to do was run out to my LNS and stock up on charts and floss, but I couldn't make the timing work. Not that I don't have plenty of stash, so I think I can make it through a few days of being housebound.

Since I blogged last (where does the time go?), I've been fairly prolific, at least for me, a slow stitcher at best. Nothing fancy, but I've enjoyed the pieces I've worked on a lot. So here's the rundown...

First up is the second in the series of Less/More by Lizzie Kate. I only liked two out of the four designs, so this will be the last one. At the very end, I lost my skein of WKS Purple Haze to finish the last motif in the design at the bottom. But Plum came to the rescue! The shade is so close, I can't even tell where I used it anymore. Can you?

Talk Less, Say More
Lizzie Kate
Mocha Cashel

Next I stitched this lovely little design by Helga Mandl from The Gift of Stitching Magazine (I can look up the issue if anyone is interested). I used Hand Dyed Fibers Bewitched, and love the variations in the color it gave the piece. I have the perfect fabric to make it into a little pillow.

Autumn Pinkeep 
Helga Mandl (TGOSM)
Peach Cashel
HDF Bewitched

After that I found a very old freebie I'd printed out years ago by a French blogger named Dominique. I've meant to stitch it for years and finally got around to it. I changed the color scheme a bit and used GAST Rose Garden, WKS Blue Spruce and CC Bean Sprout and Whatley Woodlands, along with a pink floss from the Lizzie Kate design for the flower, but I can't recall its name. I believe the translation is something like "nothing comes of running" but of course we know it as "slow and steady wins the race."

Rien ne sert de courir
Dominique A.
Cashel scrap

While looking through my freebie files I found one with a message I really want my son to take to heart, so I stitched it for him. As the Cowardly Lion would say, "ain't it the truth?"

Doing Right Quaker Sampler
Nancy Woodson - Liberty Primitives
Lambswool Cashel
DMC 3768

After this one I wanted something really quick, so I stitched up this cute little chart from The Sampler Girl from Kitty Kringle's Pattern Book for Christmas (Tanya might have offered this as a freebie on her blog at one point).It's done on a small piece of linen that I won from a giveaway by Carol of Stitching Dreams - I'm still thrilled that I won it more than a year later. I use the little red scissors she included all the time. The threads were WDW Schneckly (what the heck is a schneckly?) and Collards, GAST Old Red Paint, and CC Queen Bee.

Little Fir Tree Ornament
The Sampler Girl
Unknown linen

Finally, here's another ornament pattern I just finished - I couldn't help but think of Michele W., reindeer lover extraordinaire! Threads were WKS Havana, GAST Grecian Gold, and CC Spinach and Bandana.

Star Reindeer
Sharon Bennett (Daffycat)
Linen scrap

So what do all these stitched pieces have in common? Yes, you're right - none of them are finish finished. But since I'm going to be snowed in, I will have no excuse but to do that. So stay tuned...