Sunday, September 23, 2007

14 Stitches

The border of Where There is Life is completed, all but 14 stitches of it. The thread is Crescent Colours Joshua Tree. So why haven't I finished the last little bit? Because I ran out of Joshua Tree! Yep, only 14 stitches to go and all I have are tiny snips left. Of course it has to be a specialty thread and not some DMC that I can easily obtain. I think this happened not because there wasn't enough to begin with, but because of when I had to frog most of the border the first time around. I thought I had saved all my thread but obviously not. Needless to say this is not doing wonders for my morale. I'm hoping Elegant Stitch has some more they will send me in the same dye lot; if not I will order some and hope for the best. Meanwhile at least I have the rest of the lettering to work on, and the finishing touches.

The scan doesn't look like the best, but in this picture you can see where I stitched the border too close to the lettering - there's only one row between the border and the h and there should be two. But I will have to chalk it up to a beginner's mistake and move on.

I really appreciated all the comments on my Small House Sampler and my WTIL. You are such an encouraging group!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ta Dah!

It's done! I finished it last night but was too tired to scan it for posting. As you can see, I decided to keep the windows as is. Now I have to think about how to finish it. I've never finished any of my projects before and will probably take awhile to screw up the courage to attempt it. But when I do, I'm going to try Nicki's very clear tutorial on making a pinkeep, which I think even I can follow. A question: where do you get those large pins that are used in the pinkeeps? Are they sold in fabric stores or do you have to go to an LNS or use an online store?

So here is the finished product (I am still learning how to use blogger for photos so I hope this comes out okay):

So now what do I do? Well, I ordered this from Mary Kathryn; it is a line from one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson - the rest of it goes "and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all." As soon as it arrives it will be a new start for me. I hope I am right that each letter is stitched with a separate thread and you don't carry from letter to letter. I'll be very good at threading my needle by the time this is done! Meanwhile, I am picking up an old challenge, LHN's Where There is Life, which is sold by Elegant Stitch to raise money for breast cancer organizations. Although I have enjoyed stitching this piece it has been a difficult process. I had the border almost done when I realized that I had left out a stitch, and had to pull out the entire thing. I've done about half of it again; this time I started it too low so though I think I have the stitch count right, the top border is too close to the lettering. But I am not frogging it out again! I just hope the ends meet up correctly. So far the stitches seem to be in the right places. But I wouldn't be surprised...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

So Far, So Good

Finally Small House Sampler seems to be making its way past the dreaded frog visits. I'm enjoying working on the border, and everything is lining up the way it should. I'm leaning towards keeping the windows as they are, instead of redoing them in the called-for gray color. I've looked at the light brown so long I think anything else will look odd to me. Plus, the lighter color makes the house look like someone is home, where the darker color makes it look like the inside of the house is, well, dark.
So I'm starting to think about what to move on to next. I still have about a third of Where There is Life to do (still have to post a picture), but I'd kind of like to start a new project. I was thinking about the Prairie Schooler Autumn Pinkeep in the new Gift of Stitching; I also have the Prairie Schooler Autumn Leaves (can you tell I'm in a fallish mood?) but I'm not sure I'm ready to take that on yet. I was thinking of trying the little freebie from The Sampler Girl called Tea With Jane, but I noticed it's not charted on a grid and I don't think I would be able to get the spacing correctly, even though the chart itself looks very easy to follow. It's not that I don't want to try new things, but I'd like to stay in my comfort zone at least till I get a few more projects under my belt.

Speaking of Tea With Jane, I love the way Mary Kathryn made hers up, and the way she mounted and framed it. It looks especially nice with the text stitched over three lines instead of two. I love seeing how creative people get!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hear that sound?

It's me, screaming. If you look at the picture I posted the other day, you will see that the larger flower on the bottom right is one row higher than the small flower. Is it supposed to be that way, you might ask? Um, no, of course not. Yes, I managed to misread the chart and make an error that wasn't discovered till I was well on my way to completing the flowers on the left side of the chart. Note to self - check, check and double-check your counting! I frogged out the flower and am re-stitching it. Believe me, I almost convinced myself to leave it as is, but I just couldn't do it. And now I am cutting my losses and going to bed. After all, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Threads and Links

I am so appreciative of all the suggestions about how to cope with my threading issue. I'm going to try all the suggestions - I even have a needle organizer that I've never used - and see what suits me best. Tonight I'm going to try working with only one color. That will present more of a counting challenge since I usually count over from what I've been working on before, but I'll try it anyway. Speaking of counting, when I first started doing this I was linen-phobic. I couldn't imagine how one could count on anything but aida cloth. But seeing Pine Tree Hill in the JCS Ornament Preview issue made me decide to give it a whirl. It's so much easier than it appears and a good lesson to remember - try new things! Reminds me of the old Mikey commercial (I am dating myself now) - "try it, you'll like it!" (To non-Americans, this was a cereal commercial about a little boy whose brothers said he hated everything, but he of course he tried and loved the cereal advertised.)

Tonight I decided to add links to the websites of everyone who has commented on my blog (thank you!) I spent half an hour checking website urls and adding them in, then don't you know I closed the links window without saving my work! There's no "undo" function in Blogger :--( so though I recreated some of the links I lost many of them. I'll keep putting them back and adding more as I can. It's nice to have a long list of Inspirations!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Whole Lotta Threading Going On

So I start a blog and then promptly abandon it for over a week! We went on a vacation with extended family to Pennsylvania Dutch country, where our car shared the road with horse-drawn Amish buggies. It was a lot of fun. Since I didn't expect to have any stitching time, I didn't bring my Small House Sampler project, and though we were quite busy, I could have squeezed in a few stitches here and there. I really missed having it with me and won't make that mistake again. All that I'd been able to do since I last posted was to do the flowerpot and make a small start on the border.

Now I've begun work on the hearts and flowers motifs at the bottom of the chart. Which brings me to my latest novice stitcher quandary. There are three different colors in each flower, one with only three stitches. So I use the dark green color for those three, starting them with the loop method, then have to stop to change the color to lighter green or red. Do I re-thread a needle each time or keep other threaded needles on hand? Then when I move to the second flower, since it's not close enough to the first one to carry the thread, I use the leftover threads from the first flower, but I can't use the loop method since the thread is now too short. All this threading really slows things down and I keep feeling that there is some secret that makes this re-threading easier. But maybe I'm just hoping for a quick fix and there isn't one. I have to keep reminding myself that it's the process and not the finish that's the key here. But if anyone has an tips as to what they do, I'd love to hear them!