Sunday, December 4, 2016

Homestretch -- Updated

(Class info added below)  Doesn't it always feel good to 'round that corner and head for home?  I am talking about the corner of Miss Mary Mack.....she is getting there and I see a finish in my future.   The border is where most of the stitching remains but it is such an easy repeat it is zooming along.   I did change up the words from "Miss Mary Mack" to "old Mrs. Mack" because that is how I remember I sang the song to the kiddos.

I would love to complete the stitching AND finishing by the end of 2016 but I will settle for completing the stitching which I think is doable.    I have been cutting a length of floss, dividing the threads into sets of two strands, threading three needles and stitching until I need to 'reload'.   Too many other things going on to be lost in hours of stitching.   And some days I have not stitched at all.  Not even at lunchtime at work.  Lunch has been at my desk.   Work is busy busy busy and I have put in more than my fair share of ten and 12 hour days.   That's why I get the big bucks I guess....LOL.    It is such a busy time of the year at work and at home and  the sewing table is put to use as the wrapping table so......I think the finishing might not be possible.


So I can't have a visit from Mr. William without sharing a few photos.   His mommy went out to the store and I plopped Will in a xerox box with a pillow and toys and he was happy as can be.   My son thought it was a terrible thing to do.   "You put my son in a box?!"   Yes, and he loved it.   We pushed him about like it was his car and he sat there and played totally content.

See Rich.    Kids don't need toys.   A box or a pack of baby wipes entertain just a much.    OK, so many eating the wrapping paper off your 'car' is not a good idea.

To catch up, Thanksgiving was great.   Due to traveling because of work schedules, we didn't celebrate until the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it was good.  Of course, the appearance of Will, took center stage.    Will enjoyed his first Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.  After they left I checked the camera and I had taken 256 pictures!   A little overkill.

Since I didn't welcome the last of my house guests until Saturday morning and because I was off on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I was able to get all the Christmas decorations up - inside at least.   Mr. Wonderful needs to get his backside in gear to do the outside......truth be told he will drag his feet, have an excuse and I will end of doing it after he tells me he doesn't know how I want it......really, after all these years, I still fall for it.

Busy busy days aheads......take time to stay calm and stitch on.

Update - I forgot to add information about a class with Betsy Morgan that my guild is sponsoring   It is open to Away Stitchers.   Please use this link and select the "Classes" tab on my other blog.....DVHSG.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Patterns

Why oh why can we be so intelligent to know something but so dim witted to continue to repeat the behavior and not to change it?   I have had one of those sleep-plagued run of days which finds me tossing and turning and wide awake in the wee hours after about 4 hours sleep which then finds me in the recliner stitching and catching up on shows On Demand until it is time to shower and dress for work..... but this morning before I ventured out from my warm, snuggly, cacoon of blankets and pillows at the lovely hour of 3:30 a.m.  I was trying to think what was going on, what worry? or what stress? or work issue? was bugging me and why was I struggling to no avail and sleep was still evading me and then it came to me.....I way lying there going through my to-do list and it was a light bulb moment.....this is my pre-holiday pattern.  

Tossing and turning trying to set my schedule in my head of when to do what to make sure it is all done by the time the kiddos get here.   And why?   It always gets done and so what if they have to throw in with helping with a pie or peeling potatoes.














So the result of my insomnia, I have been watching Season 1 and most of Season 2 of Masterpiece Theater's Poldark,    (I never knew the receipt of the gift of woolen stockings could be so sexy!) and stitching a bit on Miss Mary Mack.  But the wee hours of the morning stitching are bittersweet.   Progress has been made but seems my border across the bottom is two threads off.   Amazing that counting to two and following a pattern can be so trying at times.   So some stitch therapy of stitch a re-stitch.

And last but not least, pattern update on Corsica River.   I neglected to post yesterday with pre-stitch-a-long info.  Bear with me folks, I'll get there.    I think I have finalized a schedule for completion and it is very lenient but alas I scanned it at work and didn't email it home to myself. Further evidence your acuity decreases with lack of sleep!  When calculating the schedule I kept in mind that other things come along and this stitch-a-long is meant for pleasure not pressure.   Here's a tip,  I know you can order hanks of floss which are larger and less expensive than skeins and something you may wish to consider.  I am also considering launching a Facebook Group for the stitch-a-long.....could be another delusion from the lack of sleep that I wish to take on yet another internet adventure.

Enjoy your Thanksgivings my fellow statesmen, wishing you much good food and fellowship with friends and family.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

This week's finishes....




Double ta-da

First, Roxanna's quilt is done, washed, hung on the clothesline, dried and folded for wrapping.


I am so happy to be able to give this to her.   It will make her day.  I know she will be sharing Thanksgiving with her family and I want to give it to her son on Monday so she can open and have the reveal with her family after their holiday dinner.

One of my favorite blocks is the lilac.....



Next, a little late for Halloween, but my Boo To You witch from Pat Thode at HeartStrings is done.   Thank you for Diane sharing her completion with us at needlework night back in September.   It made me want to get this out, stitch it up and then complete it.   So I won't be too hard on myself that I missed Halloween 2016 because I didn't start her until the end of September, worked on this and other things, and look, by mid-November she is done-done-done!

For the Kitty Kat Purse, I used an old jewel chain....to attach this was actually the hardest part of the assembly.


Instead of cording, I used braid from Joanne's.    I am quite happy with this finish!  Too bad this was not on my 2016 Challenge list.   Now don't go getting ahead of yourselves and think I am sone sort of turbo stitcher.....just shows how many projects I have in the works!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.     Enjoy the good food and fun with family and friends and try for a bit of stitching time in all the muddle.  


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Plans

I continue to work on binding for Roxanna's quilt and I am getting close. I am watching the Netflix show, The Crown, and stitching along as I watch.  I have managed to get 80 to 90% of the binding hand sewn.  I even moved my projected deadline up!   I think another couple evenings of stitching while watching The Crown and I will be able to throw this puppy into the wash and hang it on the clothesline next weekend.   Well, that's my plan barring any crazy other diversion that comes my way.....













I brought some wonderful new solids from Moda that go with the jelly roll I have in my stash.    I really want to try one of those quilt as you go quilts in a chevron pattern.   Since jelly rolls are already cut in 2 1/2 strips, that's half the battle.   This is going to be the carrot that I dangle in front of myself to work on AFTER I get the two completed quilt tops assembled.    Good winter time projects.....nice warm quilt across your lap in the evenings as you stitch up the binding.   Again, sounds like a great plan.


Next up....remember me being so happy to pull Blessed Be out of the finished basket and then I pinned and framed it...... it's seasonal and it looks good right.......well, thanks for an observant reader........seems I missed something else......


















It is so obvious now that Mary told me.    She was concerned she was being  a "Debbie Downer".....not in  the least.   We stitchers like constructive input.  OK, so sometime in January I will unframe, unpin, add those 9 missing stitches and put it back together again.  It is true what my kids say.....I am a dingbat.    



Miss Mary Mack is coming along well.   I haven't put much time in her since my floss arrived but she is getting there.   I think I have finalized the fabric I plan to use as the back of the pillow and I am planning to coffee stain this piece after I have completed the stitching.  I know....it is out of order but I want to make it look old and worn and faded at the same time.   The WDW Molasses is not quite a black brown as WDW Mascara but I am not about to restart this gal and I am thinking - operative words "I am thinking", I can create a sepia tone effect.


Last up, be watching for my next post on the Corsica River Stitch-a-long.   I may have some good news as far a shopping of supplies as well as I have planned a suggested completion schedule.   Be on the lookout on the 22nd of the month for an update.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week in stitches everyone!





Sunday, November 6, 2016

Three More Bite the Dust

While I waited on floss to be mailed from Salty Yarns to continue Miss Mary Mack I decided to check a few things off the to-do list in my sewing basket......

First, my whole suitcase/bedside table went amok.   No reason other than memory did not serve me well and I had only one and not three suitcases in the attic.   Furthermore, even though the bedroom/sewing room is large, once I added the twin beds to a room with a queen sized futon, cutting table, the sewing table, a dresser full of fabric and a bookcase......and the room shrank considerably.   No room left for a suitcase/bedside table.  It's OK......comforters have been ordered and a couple of already sewn quilt tops are coming out of storage to be finished. (and a couple more scrappy ones in mind!!)

While I was cleaning and sorting and messing about in the sewing room, I came across my basket of completed projects.   I thought I'd frame this up for the coming Thanksgiving season.   Once all the Halloween stitching comes down, and before the Christmas stitching goes up, there is a void.   Well, again the best laid plans........seems I missed a few stitches.   An hour later, stitches in, pinning done and in the  frame.   Check one.




I moved next to my recent finish of Random Thoughts by Drawn Thread.   I am not exactly proud of the workmanship to attach the loops for the bell pull but since this is not going to the County Fair or any other competition it will do.   I had the joy (NOT) of working with Nymo thread to attach my loops.   I even used the trick Betsy Morgan taught us to stretch the nylon thread before stitching to eliminate the twisting and looping......not so lucky.   Must have been the brand I used.  Another finish completed in under an hour.   I may revisit this finish but for now....Check two.



That brings me to My Stitching Treasures.   Again stitched but not mounted.    Now it has been pressed, backed with batting, pinned and mounted in the Olde Colonial Designs box.  One evening and another completion.  Check three.


I did play with some fabrics for future finishing.   As you all know it is a short trip down that lane of diversion from entering a sewing room to be lead astray on a creative junket.  I have a 'thought' for finishing Miss Mary Mack as a pillow with silver buttons down a dress shirt-like placard on the back.   You'd think with all these buttons, there would be a selection of silver ones about the same size.   Also, the time spent searching  for where I bundled and stored all my black fabrics.......took more time than it should have.   Don't you just hate looking in the same place three times knowing something is not there but not believing is not there because it should be?




And last but not least, progress on the quilt I stitched up in September.   I worked on the binding and it is coming along great.   One evening and one side hand sewn.   I have a deadline of December 12th and know I will make it.   That is Roxanna's birthday and I want to wrap it up and surprise her with it.

Ahhhhh, feels good to get some things out of that work basket.

Stitch on everyone!


Friday, November 4, 2016

Election - Make Sure You Vote!

Well November is here and that means daylight savings time for many of us......we get an extra hour of sleep this weekend......but not really.   You just either say up later or get up earlier that first day.

November also finally brings the election that has been droning on forever.  The rhetoric, the mud slinging, the constant commercials....we are all so very tired of it.   The MONEY spent on the tv ads for this election alone could probably fund a third world country for eternity.   Many feel it is a no win situation.   Apprehensive and fearful of one or the other candidate in office.  You have to be careful what you say to anyone because there are strong opinions on all sides.     Best to just say.....hey, what about those Cubs!

I don't even want to be a fly on the wall in any other country in the world and have to hear what a bunch of buffoons they must think we silly Americans are.

I don't think she cares for my idea.
Personally, I think we should call the Queen, apologize for the Tea Party and the whole revolution thing and ask to come back!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Corsica River


Stitch-a-long Announced

I will be hosting a Stitch-a-long for completing Queenstown Sampler Design's Corsica River by Barbara Hutson.  I mentioned wanting to do this as a SAL kind of as a lark in August and well, it took off.  So let me give you the lay of the land here:

First the pattern -
The pattern can be seen at Queenstown Sampler Designs.   
Follow their link to find a store where yo can purchase the pattern.
  • First and foremost, this is meant to be a friendly, supportive, healthy atmosphere
  • Bloggers and NON-bloggers welcomed
  • SAL start date:   February 22, 2017
  • Completed date:  February 22, 2019    Yes, two years!  Why, because other things come up!  
  • This is not a race to see who will finish first.  There is always the turbo stitcher out there that will zoom ahead and that is fine.  I, for one, usually have several projects I am working on and work and life does get in the way.  
  • Each month on the 22nd (or close thereafter) I will post everyone's progress.
  • Stitchers - fellow bloggers - need to update your blog with a post on your progress and email (red1974@hotmail.com) me by the 20th of each month.  I will link to your progress post on my monthly posting.
  • Non-blogging Stitchers - should email (red1974@hotmail.com) me by the 20th of each month, a photo and/or info about their progress.  I will incorporate your info in my monthly post.
  • Please feel free to share hiccups in the stitching along the way
  • Please let me know by February 15, 2017 if you wish to join in
  • Before February 22, I will work out a 'suggested' schedule for completion
  • This is a first for me - moderating a SAL - so bear with me as I stumble through this!

The design is an original Queenstown Sampler Design considered to be an intermediate level sampler.   The sample pictured on the Queenstown site was stitched on 35 count Northen Cross in cream by Norden Crafts.  

It is charted for Needlepoint Inc. Silks or DMC cotton.   The stitch count is 337 wide by 451 tall.   On 35 count the design area is 19.25 wide by 25.77 tall.  

Stitches used:   back stitch, cross stitch, double running stitch, eyelet, long-arm cross stitch.
Techniques used:  blackwork and Assisi stitching


For mine work, I selected antique white, 32 count linen.    I decided to use the NPI silks.  I had entered the store thinking I would use belfast linen with floss in a shade of green with a gold and something in a sepia tone.  I surprised myself by purchasing not what I intended.  I choose my colors by sight and when I compared to the chart, I selected the recommended colors.    The called for RED was much nicer in person that in the design photograph.


As for the pattern - it consists of 16 pages of charts.   There is NO shaded overlap from page to page.



Each page is listed as part of a column and row.


How you decide to proceed - by page or by row - will be your choice.  I 'think' I may proceed by page rather than by row......jury is still out.   I think I will know better after I create a schedule of sorts.

Row One - double running and blackwork
Row Two - Assisi work completed with double running and long-arm cross
Row Three - blackwork
Row Four - Assisi work
Row Five - blackwork
Row Six - cross stitch and blackwork
Rows 7, 8 & 9  - Assisi work
Row Ten - blackwork

Let's see who's on board!  


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Suitcases In and Out of Storage

Well my traveling suitcase is stowed for a while.  Just back from another girl's weekend in Princeton, NJ.   Deb and I stayed in Princeton for our four days of wandering in the New Hope, PA/Lambertville, NJ area.  As always she and I had a great time sightseeing and shopping.  It's a shame the that weather this summer and fall seems to have delayed the changing of the leaves.
View of the tow path canal in Lambertville.

View of the Delaware River from the bridge between NJ and PA.

On the way home we spent the day at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton NJ.   What a fabulous way to spend the day.   Not the normal stuffy museum-type place and we'd like to go back in the spring when everything is in bloom.  

Monet's "Woman with a Parasol"

The grounds/museum are the vision of J. Seward Johnson, grandson of the founder of Johnson & Johnson.  Such wonderful foresight to establish a place like this.  The bronze statues were astounding.  Around every corner was a surprise as well as a different view created by standing at a different vantage point.

The "Girl with the Pearl Earring" - a great book to read.

 The iconic Marilyn Monroe in bronze.   

The features so detailed you can see the stitches on her hem.


Outside, the variety of statuary was diverse and only limited by Seward Johnson's imagination.



Inside a stone building peering out....
and the surprise outside at this........

Or looking through another window and seeing a seated couple...
And then outside, the statues by the boat.... Eduoard Manet's "Boating"

Monet's "Water Lilies" below and our then view from the French restaurant, Rat's, at lunch


And then you walk around the corner and Oops! catch a young lady in an outside shower with real running water splashing over her.....even her hanging clothes were make of brass.  (I've always wanted an outside shower in my back yard....of course Mr. W. thinks I am crazy.   I think I would insist on a door on my shower though.)


Renoir's the "Luncheon at the Boating Party" was brought to 3-dimensional real life....


The detail on the leather coat, the zipper, the crew neck of the t-shirt......all so unbelievable.    All the statuary was quite approachable.   We were encouraged to sit, pose, photograph anything without a red-tag......and I think I only saw one red tag.

 Renoir's "Two Sisters on a Terrace"



(that's a real seed pod in the marsh)

Not all statues were interpretations of paintings.....and some were more abstract than others.




Look's like we happened upon some lovers......nope, life sized bronze statues......


Well I could go on and on about this place.   It was such a relaxing day and one that stirred the imagine and left you in awe of the talent and the whimsy.  Fall foliage or not, Deb and I had our usual good time together.   I feel embarrassed to say this is an hour and a half away from where I live and I only just discovered it!

So fall traveling and more weekends away then home behind me...... the worse part was most time home was spent prepping to go or recovering afterwards!   So I have little stitching progress to report.    I think I spent a short period of intense stitching on my Boo to You witch that I hit a wall and put it down.....so much for being stitched and finished by Halloween.   No worries, she is close and will be easy to finish.  I am on a mission to not be the last of the group to complete it......I'll take incentive in any form.

My only progress is Miss Mary Mack from La-D-DA. I was stitching along fine and then......see that empty WDW card?   I surely did not calculate the amount of floss I needed correctly.   I knew thought I had two part skeins at home and bought two more at Salty Yarns in early October and thought I was good.   A little more than two skeins used with a little more than one quarter stitched and I am out of thread.   You guessed it.....got online and ordered 8 more skeins of 1268-Molasses.  I am hoping  Sara packs them up quickly and that the dye lots are close.   I have a neat finish in mind for this one.....stay tuned for that.  


Now for my great brainstorm of what I envision for the old suitcases in storage.......First how did we ever lug and tote and carry those things that were heavy empty?......my idea in a nutshell is......I just got a set of twin beds for my sewing room for when the kiddos come home.   I plan to pull the old hard side samsonites out of the attic, stack them and make a bedside table between the beds.   Better yet, I plan to use the insides of each suitcase for my fat quarter storage, thereby eliminating a bookcase that will help make more room for the twin beds.......in my mind it comes together EZ-PZ.   However,  I have learned thru the years that my 'ideas' often are a lot more work that I envision.    I will have to report on my progress and outcome.  

OK, happy stitching all and, if all goes well, I will post again tomorrow about a Stitch-A-Long  I will moderate in February 2017.
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