Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm changing my name...

No, not my real name - it will stay Michele with one l (when I was a child I wanted to change my name to Kimberly but my parents declined, and now I'm resigned to Michele). I've been posting and commenting under the name Novice Stitcher since I started this blog, but I've decided that it would be better to use my first name. Not that I don't think I am a novice anymore - I still feel like such a newbie to stitching and especially to finishing. But most people seem to be using their names now, and it seems friendlier to do the same. So as not to confuse everyone, I'll be Michele B., since there are a number of Micheles out here, and I'm amazed to find that I'm not the only one who spells her name with one l. Speaking of my name's spelling, I have a funny story to relate. I talked to a woman with the same name and spelling who said that the reason she only has one l in her name is that her grandmother made her parents promise that she wouldn't be spelling the word h*ll every time she wrote her name!

I decided to live dangerously and I'm stitching the heart on my Teacher Gift with the silk Rose of Sharon. So far no bleeding and it looks really pretty. I'm not sure yet how I will frame the piece or if I can find a standard frame that would fit it and look nice. Where do you get your frames? Do you do your own framing usually or use a shop for it? I've yet to frame anything and I'm getting anxious to see some of my work on my walls.

Now that this piece is coming to an end I need to think about my next project. I'll probably finish up Schoolgirl Lessons but I'd like to try something with color changes soon. I'm definitely going to be a novice stitcher at that, but I won't let that stop me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Making a Little Progress

Here's how far I've gotten with my Teacher Gift by Tanya. I am so lucky the teacher's name only has four letters, the same as the chart had. I'm about to start on the heart, but I'm still undecided about the floss I want to use. The design is charted for several shades of pink but I think a deeper red would go better with the blue floss I am using for the lettering (Carrie's Threads Indigo). I'd been planning on Crescent Colours Rose of Sharon, so the heart would have a variegated look, but I'm a little leery of it because of the problem of staining the fabric if I have to frog any of it out, like has been happening in my Schoolgirl Lessons. I think I can manage not to frog if I do it carefully, but does anyone think if I iron the piece using steam before I frame it that the color might run? It is the perfect thing for the heart so I really want to do it but am not sure I dare to take the chance. It is hard to see in the picture but the bleeding is on the linen at the top right of the door. There isn't much, but then I hadn't frogged much there! After I get the gift done I will go back to SL, but I'm missing doing something with multiple colors and need to find a new project. I'm beginning to understand why stitchers have so many projects going on at one time!

More questions - I probably don't have enough time to make a tin topper for the Monthly Finishing Challenge (hopefully I'll get back on the bandwagon for the next challenge) but for the future: where is it best to start and end the trim around the sides of the topper so the ends won't show very much? Should it be in a corner or in the back of the tin topper? I keep trying to see where people did this in the pictures of the tins but they are hidden so well I can't tell. Is there a secret I don't know? Any tips would be most welcome. I am so glad for the huge knowledge base out there in the stitching community. I could never have learned the little I do know from books or stitching magazines!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Remember Me?

I could hardly believe it when I looked at the date of my last post and realized how long I'd been away from blogging. I hadn't intended to disappear, but there has been so much going on in my life and that of my family that I guess I needed all my energy to live it rather than write about it. Plus I've barely picked up a needle for much of the time, so there was little to say stitching-wise. While I was "away," though, I was warmed by the caring and thoughtful comments and emails of many of you following my message about my family member's illness. This is such a wonderful community - I think even if I never took another stitch I would want to remain part of it (not that there is any danger of that!) Thank you all for your kindness - it really meant more than I can say.

Things are going okay right now, although the situation is pretty scary - my family member has the same kind of cancer with which Senator Kennedy was diagnosed. The one bright spot is the renewed interest in brain cancer because of his illness; we hope it will beneft my family member in some way, though I'm so sorry he had to be the catalyst for all the attention (I'm from Massachusetts and this is a very big deal here).

I finally think I've gotten back into the stitching groove, though I don't have much to show for this lost six weeks. I didn't get very far with Schoolgirl Lessons; the silk floss left a residue on the linen whenever I frogged even a stitch. I've heard that others have had this problem as well (any suggestions?). It's faint, but it bothers me, so I've been kind of reluctant to spend much time on this piece. Just yesterday I decided that I need a new project, and I remembered that Tanya had recently posted this perfect teacher gift chart (she'd even sent me a copy of the chart when I had trouble downloading it), and although we will be giving my son's teacher a gift certificate to a local restaurant, I really had wanted to give her something handmade as well. So this is what I did last night:I must admit that I have been fretting a bit about this project, even though it's simple, because I know I won't be able to finish it before Wednesday, the last day of school. It is SO frustrating to be such a slow stitcher. I see the quick way so many people are able to stitch things up and I wish I was one of them, but whether it's technique or just the way my hands were made, I am definitely the tortoise and not the hare (and this time, the hare wins!) Many people have wisely said to me that it's the process and not the pace that matters, and I know that, but I can't help but want to turn things out faster. There is, as the saying goes, "so much to stitch, so little time," and I guess I just long to do more than I'm able.

That being said, part of a responsive reading we had in church today really resonated with me:
May we not let awareness of another's talents discourage us, or sully our relationships, but may we realize that whatever we can do, great or small, the efforts of all of us are needed.

So the next time I complain about being the slow stitcher (and I'm glad that blog name is taken, otherwise I would have been tempted to use it), please remind me of the statement I just posted. Those are my words to live by.

I'm so happy to be back among you!