Monday, May 23, 2016

Celebration once again

At the end of April I made my fifth annual trek to Nashua, NH, to attend Celebration of Needlework. I took two classes, though in truth my main purpose in attending was due to the wonderful vendor area; no longer having an LNS near me, I do so miss fondling linen and picking out the variegation in threads! I'd gone through my charts and picked out quite a few to kit up - it's always so frustrating when I want to stitch something new and have to place an online order and then wait for it to arrive, so I decided to get a lot of ducks in a row for the future. One of my favorite vendors at Celebration is Inspired Needle, which sets up a small full-service needlework shop. I dropped a fair amount of money there but it was well worth it - to my surprise and delight they gave out gift bags full of charts and even kits with each purchase (I received two Sweetheart Tree kits!). Depending on how much you spent, you received the same dollar amount in free merchandise.

The hardest thing about not having an LNS is getting linen of the right color and texture for various projects. Ordering online doesn't always get you what you thought it would. I brought a list of linen to look for at Celebration, but even when I found the right fabric, the color didn't always look as I'd expected. For example, I wanted a piece of PTP Dill to stitch something from a Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher magazine chart. I found one, but the color was nothing like the one in the magazine, and I didn't like it at all. But I certainly did find plenty of linen to have on hand for future projects (on the far left is a large cloth bag that came free with my purchase from Gypsy Stitching):

I didn't buy too many new charts, but did get a few I'd been coveting:

I enjoyed both my classes, but can't help but worry about the future of Celebration, if attendance is any indicator. My first class had only two students (I'm surprised, but glad, that it ran). It was called Trio of Projects and was taught by Candy Scott of The Workbasket, who was absolutely delightful to spend a few hours with. The projects are a bookmark, a needle book and a scissor fob. Candy showed us some unique but simple ways of finishing things that are really going to come in handy. I'm so happy I took this class.

The following day, I took a class taught by Lauren Sauer of Forget Me Nots in Stitches. There were five students this time, which was a nice size for a group. The project was called Designing Woman's Miniature Drawing Portfolio, which incorporated a palette of crayons and a sketch book. There were a number of specialty stitches in the project, so this will be a real challenge for me. Lauren was a patient and inspiring teacher. The first picture, of the finished design, is from the Celebration website,

Here's everything that came in the packet: 

So that's my haul, now I better get stitching!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Revival (I hope)

It seems my last few posts, which span over a year's time, usually start off with how long it's been since I posted. And this one, alas, is more of the same. This is the first time in ages that my intentions to reboot  my blog have turned into action.  I admire those of you so much who can keep up with busy lives, families, work and stitching, and still manage to blog on a regular basis. My membership in the club certainly has lapsed, but as the saying goes "a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step" and I hope I'll keep up with the walking after I bring things up to date.

So without further ado, here's what I've been doing over the past year:

Christmas Journey
Joyce Reed Folk Art

Forbeare Not Sewing
Hands to Work

Key to My Heart
Primitive Stichin

This was my 20th anniversary gift to my husband.

3 Little Words

High school graduation gift for my niece.

O Christmas Tree
Emma Congdon

This was a chart from The Cross Stitcher magazine. It took forever to find something to stand the tree up in!

Mickey and Minnie Towels
Disney Cross Stitch

Wedding gift for my goddaughter and her husband.

A Little Wedding

Wedding gift for my brother and his wife  - names deleted for privacy.


Growing Love Stitcher's Wallet
Threadwork Primitives

This is my first project from the Ladies Prim Society (Dyeing to Stitch)

Merry and Bright

This chart was in a British Cross Stitch magazine. I just did the finishing today! I am a very slow and timid finisher, so it's nice to be reminded by looking at these projects all together on one page that I do manage to finish things now and then!

I have several other things that are done but neither finished nor photographed, and a bunch of designs in various states of completion. I'm generally a one-project-at-a-time stitcher but have had a severe case of start-itis this past year.

Most important of all - I have a stitching group now! Someone in town started a group at our library; I was so excited when I saw the notice about it. There are six of us who meet regularly and we're hoping to attract more as word gets out. What a pleasure to share this great hobby with others.

Hopefully I'll get myself in gear and post again before another year goes by. I'm signed up for Celebration of Needlework in April, so I'll have to chat about that when I come back.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate. Speaking of which, I better get Easter dinner going!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When Last I Spoke...

Has it really been since September when I was quoting Abraham Lincoln (not) and vowing that I had more to post? Time flies when one is stitching but not blogging. Today is a sad anniversary for poor Honest Abe, and I am raising a virtual glass to his memory while trying to catch up on what's been happening in my stitching world. Without further ado:

Pear XI Freebie
Samplers and Santas
28 count Mello PTP/DMC

Check out the link and you'll find an abundance of free pear-shaped designs. I'm about to start my second - loved stitching this!

I'll Get You My Kitty
Country Rustic Primitives
32 count Doubloon PTP/Sullivan's black floss

It's always so nice when I find the perfect backing fabric! Filled with crushed walnut shells - I bought a big bag from Amazon since the lizard section of the pet stores no longer seems to have them, at least in my area. It was a lot cheaper too!

Miss Witchy Mouse
Just Nan
32 count Clay linen/DMC and beads

This was such fun to stitch and to finish - the directions were great. I know she's supposed to be a Halloween decoration, but she's one that's staying out all year round!

Turtles All the Way Down
Ink Circles
27 count Celery Banding/DMC Color Variations

I bought all the charted floss for this (mostly greens and blues), then saw someone's version done with Color Variations, and had to follow suit. I hadn't been sure how to finish it, and then found the bell pull hardware at the Online Needlework Show. It's backed with variegated green felt.

Love You to the Moon and Back
Bucilla Kit
Babbling Brook Jobelan/Kit threads

I made this for my son for Christmas - at 15 his days of fascination with spaceships are behind him, I'm afraid, but hopefully he still appreciates the sentiment.

Prairie Grove Peddler Freebie
Light Mocha Belfast/GAST, CC and WKS (my conversion)

I stitched this while I was at Celebration of Needlework last year; it still needs something around the edges. I'm signed up for a Beginning Hardanger class at this year's Celebration, which I'm very excited about. I always wanted to try it but could never make heads nor tails of the diagrams in magazines, so I'm hoping to learn by watching someone do it. If anyone will be at Celebration I'll be there Friday to Saturday, and I'd love to meet you!

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!