Friday, August 31, 2007

Goals Check

Here are my August goals, with commentary:
1. Finish first ornament for exchange. Did it! Sent it off to Tina.

2. Finish Cape Hatteras Nope. I did work on it some, but it's a long, long way from being finished. I think if I create some sort of rotation I'll get it done.

3. Stitch at least two more cats on Calico Cats. Done!

4. Start and finish Chatelaine Mini-Mandala 1 Nope. Not done at all.

5. Start Chatelaine mandala from TGOSM Nope, not done at all, either.

6. Stitch an ornament for the Christmas Ornament Stitch-a-Long No, I didn't do that either - see a trend here?

7. Locate and obtain burlap. The burlap I found was about 6-count - way too large. But I DID find some great nubby, linen-looking acrylic fabric, which I used for the Folk Art Anniversary Sampler from TGOSM. I also found some khaki Davos, which is the color I wanted in the burlap.

8. Start Folk Art Anniversary Sampler from TGOSM. Hooray! I finished that one!

Additional August accomplishments:
1. Dance of the Geckos, a square for a charity quilt.
2. "Boo! Guess Who!" Halloween ornament for an exchange.
3. Debbie Mumm rooster for my sister.
4. "Friendship Quilts" for my friend Shannon.
5. bulldog, a square for a charity quilt
6. "Halloween Night", to be a banner for an exchange.
7. monkey, a square for a charity quilt.
8. Santa, a square for a charity quilt.

Now: September Goals

1. elephant square
2. 2 more cats on "Calico Cats"
3. another couple hours on "Cape Hatteras"
4. finish bathroom piece for Ingrid
5. rustic/forest/mountain piece for international exchange
6. Start Lizzie Kate "calendar" - one Flip-It each month, all on one piece of fabric
7. Do small mandala garden from Martina Weber for Toi Lynn
8. Start a larger mandala garden - Alpine? Pompeji? Hmm.
9. Do 2 more charity squares for WOCS/CSFC/SOLAK
Hmm. I'll have to come back to this when I plan a few more pieces!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Santa for a Quilt

This is for a WOCS Christmas quilt - where all the squares are either snowmen or Santas, and all are stitched on light blue. The pattern is from a Leisure Arts book of Christmas designs.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Halloween Night" by Helga Mandl

I signed up for a Halloween exchange, and my partner wanted a banner to hang on her door. She said she's going to use a black light, so I decided to stitch "Halloween Night" in fluorescent thread on black Aida. I'll be taking this to a friend who sews, and she'll put some black fabric on the back, and sew the edges and top. She'll make pockets on top and bottom for the dowels, and then we'll attach the cord for hanging. There are eyes and a mouth on the ghost which were stitched in green, and don't show up on the photograph. I think this came out quite nicely in the fluorescent colors!

The original design, if stitched on linen, looks like this:

Monkey from EMS Designs

This little guy is for a safari animals quilt for WOCS (World of Charity Stitching). He was very easy to do - finished it in one day. Next I'll do the elephant I signed up for and get them both in the mail.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stitching on Black Aida with Fluorescent Thread pretty difficult, but looks nice. First of all, it's hard to see the holes, but now I've gotten into a rhythm of doing it by touch. The point of the needle "skips" across a hole or two until it's coming through the right one. Second, the fluorescent thread is heavier and slicker than regular DMC, and unravels easily. You have to cut longer lengths, fold one length in half, and make the loop go through the eye of the needle (then loop it through itself). I've never tied knots in the end of the thread either, but that's what the directions said to do. I have to tie double knots so they won't come through the 14-count-sized holes.

Why am I doing this? I signed up for a Halloween exchange, and the gal I'm sending to requested a banner that will go under a black light on her door. This pattern is really cute, thought originally it's stitched in black on cream or white. I'm using fluorescent colors on black, and I think it's going to turn out great. The color looks much brighter in real life than the photo. When I take the final pics I'll try to capture the bright colors.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Calico Cats - BAP SAL

One of the Yahoo groups I'm in, lekker-threads, has a sub-group all working on BAPs. What's a BAP? Well, the initials stand for Big A** Project, and it's a large, time-consuming project that needs a little extra support to get finished. I've needed a little extra initiative to get the Calico Cats finished, so this group SAL (Stitch-a-Long) is perfect! The rules are simple: devote at least one hour per week on your BAP, and then post a monthly photo of your progress. Kristina reminds us when it's time to do the monthly post.

Today, Don had eye surgery (for information about the injury, go here), so I took Calico Cats with me. Since the surgery took longer than expected, and he was last to go, we were there for 3 hours. I got these two kitties stitched. I don't really like the look of the white one, but that's how Dale Burdett designed him.

As far as the surgery goes, he had three procedures - removal of the cataract that had grown since the injury (it's normal; caused by trauma), a lens implant, and a "capular tension ring" implant. The capular tension ring was needed to hold the lens in place because the injury had torn the tiny filament/ligaments that hold the lens in place. He has to wear a patch over the eye for a week, so that means no driving. But he should be able to see out of that eye very nicely - we'll know in an hour or so because he has to take the patch off long enough to put in some eye drops. I'm really glad this is over - he's worried about it for 6 months, and being the pessimist he is, he's been convinced he would be blind in that eye. I'm glad he's wrong.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bulldog for WOCS

This is the piece I was complaining about last night - finished! It's for a "realistic dogs" quilt for WOCS. I took about 10 pics, in all different lights, with and without flash, and none of them really turned out as nicely as I wanted. But this is the best one, I guess. See all the color changes? I'll get this one off in the mail tomorrow or Tuesday.

Now I'm going to stitch some more on Cape Hatteras, and will try to get a cat done on Calico Cats. Cape Hatteras is another realistic one, so I might not have a whole lot of patience for that once I finish the solid blue part.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ack - Realistic is So Tedious

What do you call the (what seems like) thousands of color changes - confetti? It's driving me nuts. I'm doing a realistic bulldog for a charity quilt, and it's sooooo tedious. You should see the back of the piece - and no, I'm not even going to show it. But it's really starting to look like a bulldog, and I think I'll finish it sometime on Monday. Perhaps I'll take a picture tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Friendship Quilts" - a Sweet Nothings design by JBS Designs

This is for my friend, Shannon. It's done with 2 threads over 18-count Aida, and put in a cute frame I picked up at Iron Kettle Needlework Shop in Cody, Wyoming. I changed several of the colors - the original design was very pale and muted and I wanted a green to go with the frame. While I was at it, I brightened up some of the blues. The biggest change, however, was a spelling correction. The phrase around the outside of the quilts said, "Friendship is sharing openly, laughing often, speakly kindly, caring deeply, trusting always." Speakly? I double-checked the model on the front of the pamphlet. It said "speakly" too. Well, being an English teacher, I had to fix it. It now says "speaking." Funny how that got by the designer, the model stitcher, and the publisher.

Have you ever found other patterns with spelling errors that bug you?

"Big Girl Panties" by Janilynn, my first flatfold

I have a beautiful 26-year-old daughter who's had a few health issues these past few years, but is on the way to eventually having everything resolved. In the meantime, she needs a lot of support and encouragement, and one of the best things we can do is laugh together. I saw this little kit at Michaels and just had to stitch it for her. Once I'd finished, I realized that it is an odd shape for framing, and decided to turn it into a flatfold. I used this tutorial by Vonna of The Twisted Stitcher. The hardest part was locating enough cardboard, and I ended up using two sides of a cereal box, and two thicker, sturdier pieces for strength. Vonna's tutorial is excellent, with great pictures and clear directions.

It now stands on its own like a little easel, and I hope my daughter likes it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Word

This is making the rounds lately, so I thought I'd chime in with my one-word answers. Ack. It's hard. I need more than one word for some of these.

You get to answer with one word.

1. Where is your Cellphone? - purse
2. Relationship? - married
3. Your Hair? - long
4. Work? - hard
5. Your sister? - three
6. Your favorite thing? - trailer
7. Your dream last night? - school
8. Your favorite drink? - coffee
9. Your dream car? - Jeep
10. The room you’re in? - den
11. Your shoes? - Birkenstocks
12. Your fears? - alone
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? - retired
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? - husband
15. What are you not good at? - algebra
16. Muffin? - blueberry
17. One of your wish list items? - waterlilies
18. Where you grew up? - everywhere
19. Last thing you did? - checkbook
20. What are you wearing? - capris
21. What aren’t you wearing? - makeup
22. Your pet? - none
23. Your computer? - macbook
24. Your life? - adventurous
25. Your mood? - relaxed
26. Missing? - Colorado
27. What are you thinking about right now? - stitching
28. Your car? - Jeep
29. Your kitchen? - small
30. Your summer? - over
31. Your favorite color? - green
32. Last time you laughed? - yesterday
33. Last time you cried? - Sunday
34. School? - work
35. Love? Don

Feel free, like I did, to take this and give it a try!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Recent Finishes

"Folk Art Anniversary Sampler" by Gloria D. Moore
from The Gift of Stitching Magazine
I'll be taking it to JoAnn's tomorrow to be framed, since they're running a 60%-off sale on their custom framing.

"Dance of the Geckos" by Jenny Rasmussen
this is for a Southwest-themed quilt being made by the CFSC group (Cross Stitching for Charity)

"Boo! Guess Who!" by Black Swan Designs
This was a freebie, and I turned it into a mini-pillow ornament.
I might use it for an exchange. It has lots of beads - which I learned are not really that hard to do. I attached these with invisible thread.

Morning Visitor

Don stepped out this morning to get the paper, and this guy was coming down the street. I grabbed the camera and shot this pic as he left Tom's house next door and was heading for ours. He wandered around our back yard, and when he figured out that he couldn't get out that way, he came back around by the front door and went down our stairs and under the deck. From here he went up to the next street. I guess the drought is going to bring more bears down in search of food. This definitely got our hearts pumping this morning!

Friday, August 10, 2007

"High Country Vista" by Something in Common

I stitched this piece while we were on vacation - in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It will serve as our "remembrance" piece for this summer, since we saw bears and moose, and experienced the most beautiful scenery. I truly had a blast working on this one. The fabric is antique - I found it at an antique shop in Darby, Montana. It started out as an old piece of mosquito netting. In fact, there were two pieces, and each one was 66" long and about 35" wide. It's got some staining, but I think that it has character.

To the left is one of the pieces before I trimmed off the strings and buckles that were used when it was being utilized as mosquito netting.

To the right is what it looked like after I cut them all off.

It's a very fragile cloth - with large spaces between the threads. I found that I had to be very gentle when stitching on it, as any extra tension caused distortion.

The trees were fun, once I figured out the counting and placement of the long stitches. The beard of the mountain man was stitched with gray Whisper, and it looks fuzzier in real life than it does in the photo.

I like the "nubbins" and uneven thicknesses of the threads.

I thought I would hate doing Rhodes stitches, but it turns out that they're really easy and fun to do! But you can see that with this fragile cloth, it was difficult to do them. No matter how gentle I was, I still had lots of gaps caused by the pulling of the threads.

"Grandmother's House" by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum (Told in a Garden)

This will be my mother's Christmas present. While the model was stitched on linen, this is done in brown 14-count Aida. I thought that it was technically easy, but I really hated doing the house - it seemed like it took forever! Also, the flower bushes on each side are full of scattered colors - a real pain to count and stitch. The quilts were fun to do - it was a blast to not consult the picture and just have the chart, so the design just "came to life" as I stitched it. It's a very satisfying piece to finish.

"Patriotic Star" by Carrie's Creations

This is the first piece I ever stitched on linen. I got the material at Forever Stitching in Idaho Falls while we were on vacation, after owner and designer Lynda Orme convinced me that I could stitch on linen. She gave me a quick tutorial (along with a flyer she'd made that I consult often), as well as some scraps of linen from her scrap basket. This is on one of those scraps.

This piece began as a free chart from Free Patterns Online. My brother and his wife decorate their home in Texas with Americana, meaning there are lots of patriotic/star-related things on their walls. I found this chart, which looked like this:

and changed the basic red, white, and blue to the more "rustic" burgundy, ecru, and navy. I also used some gold blending filament in the black border, and then sewed on star buttons instead of stitching the stars. Here's a closeup of the design:

"Stardust Ribbons"

This is a fairly large piece I stitched for my daughter about 20 years ago. I've done a google search on the poem and can find nothing, and I don't remember where the pattern was from. What I really like about this one is the ribbons. There's a blue ribbon and bow on the moon, and then more ribbon, pink and blue, across the bottom. Here are some closeups:

The ribbon around the moon was pulled through the holes in the Aida cloth. The ribbons at the bottom are held in place by stitches. Pretty neat, huh?!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Amost Finished! Folk Art Anniversary Sampler

The colors look a little faded in the photo - except for the lavender, they're really quite bright. All I have left to stitch is three pink pieces in the middle left, plus one on the bottom, and then the double line of blue all the way around.

If you've seen the photo of the finished piece in TGOSM, you'll notice that mine looks "squashed" compared to Gloria Moore's. That's because hers is stitched on a 36-count evenweave linen, and mine is on a 30/32 unevenweave - meaning it has fewer stitches per inch horizontally than it does vertically. This results in the flattened appearance. I don't mind it at all, though. I love stitching on unevenweave fabrics.

I'm almost through with a small Halloween piece, too, for an exchange, and will post a pic of it when it's finished. It has a lot of beads on it, and I need to do those plus the backstitching.

It's getting close to the end of my summer vacation - I'll be spending a few hours in the office tomorrow with my office manager, then we'll work two days next week. After that, it's back full time. Ack. I wont' be able to sit on my butt for hours on end to stitch! Oh well. Since I'm not in a classroom any more at least I'll have the evenings since there will be no papers to grade or lessons to plan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

WIP Update - Folk Art Anniversary Sampler

So yes, it's a bit wrinkled since I took it off the Q-snaps for the photo, but it's not on the large set of Q-snaps any more. I had one of those "duh" moments - you know, when you slap yourself on the forehead because something just came to you that you should have figured out long before.

I'd had this piece on the 11x11" Q-snaps - and when I was working on the left side of the design, my right arm was getting tired from all the over and under, and I can't stitch well at all with my left arm. I finally realized that all I had to do was transfer the piece to the 8x8" Q-snaps, and there would be a whole lot less movement for my stitching arm. It worked! I just need to relocate the piece now and then to get to all of it, but that's no big deal.

This piece is going rather quickly. I've never done a sampler before, so I didn't realize that they take a lot less time than a design that covers more space - since there are fewer total stitches. I know I should take a break from it and start or work on something else, but I can't break away.

What's next to start is a tiger square for a World-of-Charity Stitching quilt. I have the cloth and the pattern; I just need to get the threads out and start. I also need to sign up for a square on the southwestern quilt on Cross Stitching for Charity. I'm learning from reading all the posts from those two groups that it's fun and satisfying - and it seems to be a great outlet for stitching mania! I like to stitch all kinds of things, but I don't like to keep them all.

I'm up for exchanges, too - anyone want to exchange smalls with me? Let me know!

Friday, August 3, 2007

WIP Update - Folk Art Anniversary Sampler

I just started this one this evening. It goes pretty quickly, and I'm enjoying being back on linen again.

My First Ornament

I signed up for an ornament exchange on one of my Yahoo Groups (love those Yahoo Groups!), and found one to do in a little book I picked up a few months ago. This is done on a scrap of some soft 28-count beige linen -don't know what it's called - that I got in Idaho Falls. I followed the tutorial for making a pillow ornament, and even used the suggestion to use "invisible thread." My husband the fisherman obliged my request for some very light fishing line, and came up with 2-pound test line that was perfect for this job.

This is the finished design just before I took it off the Q-snaps.

This is the backside.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

August Goals

I haven't established goals for stitching yet, so the first of the month seems a good time to start.

1. Finish first ornament for exchange.
2. Finish Cape Hatteras
3. Stitch at least two more cats on Calico Cats
4. Start and finish Chatelaine Mini-Mandala 1
5. Start Chatelaine mandala from TGOSM
6. Stitch an ornament for the Christmas Ornament Stitch-a-Long
7. Locate and obtain burlap
8. Start Folk Art Anniversary Sampler from TGOSM

July Accomplishments:

A. Completed stitching:
1. "Big Girl Panties" - a Dolly Mama kit
2. "High Country Vista" - Something in Common
3. "Grandmother's House" - Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum/Told in a Garden
4. rustic star - from free online pattern
5. teddy bear and rabbit dolls - Dale Burdett

B. Worked on:
1. "Calico Cats"
2. "Cape Hatteras"

Future Projects:

1. "Pompeji Garden" - Chatelaine/Martina Weber
2. "Stretch" bookmark - Teresa Wentzler
3. "Home of a Quilter" -Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum
4. "Teacher" - Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum
5. Star of David for Mike
6. Vermont Autumn for Dan
7. Friendship Quilt for Shannon

Sign of the Times