April 26, 2009

Queen Stitch

Tulips. I'm still enjoying this, so I've been stitching along as if my hair is on fire. As Quiltcat pointed out, though, it may be a case of procrastination. Quiltcat, you are so right! I really don't feel like doing my schoolwork at this point. I've taken tomorrow off to whip my final papers into shape. It's hard to concentrate with the weather so nice (it hit 90 degrees yesterday and will again today) and the tasks so dreary. One project for tax class involves, as a part of the assignment, writing a letter to a theoretical client detailing the effect on his taxes if he makes $500,000 and gives his college-age son a bond portfolio with a $20,000 income stream. Perhaps I should tack on my personal opinion about parents who overindulge their children and suggest his theoretical son get a theoretical summer job? No, that's not part of the assignment. I'm also writing a paper for my finance course in which I research a company of my choice and determine whether the stock is worth buying. I'm writing about Sotheby's. Their ticker symbol is "BID." I think people should buy their stock for that alone. In my opinion, it's a strong buy. They made some miscalculations going into the recession, but they've cleaned up their act. And in fact, in the 2 months that I've considered them, their stock has gone from $6 and some change to nearly $10.

Normally I don't enjoy queen stitch (the short row directly beneath the tulips), but in my current procrastination mode, it's almost fun. Scarlet Letter calls it rococo stitch, but that actually has six vertical tacked strands, not four. I borrowed this illustration from a a website called Arts and Designs.

I'm going to need the Arts and Designs site a lot with this sampler. It's called "Among the Cornflowers Sampler," and it's by Norma Flake, Keepsake Stitches. I have seen it on various of your sites for a few years, and I finally bought it. Now that I have received it, I understand why I have only seen the picture of the design and not the results of anyone stitching it. It contains 32 specialty stitches, including queen stitch, which I'll be pretty good at by then, and something called "elongated horizontal cashmere." Among others! It's well in the rear of the sampler line-up, so I'll have plenty of time to contemplate my options. I do love the colors of it though, the house, the rabbits and the sheep.

Satin stitches. I got these embroidered shoes for work, since my soft, flat work shoes that go with black pants are pretty much falling apart. Samplers for the feet.

My peeps say hello and happy spring Sunday! They had some nice greens from the farmers' market yesterday, since it was the market's first day of the season. I bought some plants, since the garden tilling guy is coming Tuesday to dig around in my yard. Then we'll have our own veggies.

April 19, 2009


Although I have been tremendously busy with school stuff, I made some time for stitching this week. I was getting antsy and agitated, too unsettled to devote the time and attention to the fine points of my reading for class, and things aren't going well at work at all. My left eye has developed an annoying twitch that comes and goes like summer lightning. The stitching helped a lot. So here's a bit of progress on Tulips (it's really called Product of my Needle, but sheesh, what a name). This is a fun, if time-consuming stitch with all the black to fill in. But the elements change constantly: the pink tulips, the green leaves, the gold Greek key border, the silver Kreinik braid splitting the two black lines under the alphabet. Can you see it shine? Fun!

I took this out too. I believe I will be able to finish it in the next couple of months, especially if I have time off this summer. The practice group leader of our legal practice is departing for another firm and will probably take half the group with him. He's a mercurial, difficult man, high in legal intelligence, low in emotional intelligence. He experienced a setback at the firm and has been pouting ever since, and I figured he'd pick up his marbles and move on. Sure enough. But he will likely take everyone I work for with him. The firm they're going to has done its own layoffs and has its own idled staff, so it's likely my co-workers and I--the grunt staff--won't be invited along. And in truth--not sour grapes--I don't want to go. Nor do I want to stay. What I'm hoping for is a layoff from my current firm, with the generous parting gift they give and the vacation that I've been hoarding. In any case, pushing the needle in and out is more soothing than any pill, and doesn't require a prescription.

I've always been a huge fan of Scarlet Letter's designs, and I have a number of them in my stash. Yesterday I went to Everything Cross Stitch and got the fabric for Christinia Cathcart (a design by The Samplar Workes that I showed a few weeks ago) and a few skeins of AVAS for Diligence. I also picked up LHN's Beach Cottage and fibers.

Anyway, I love the over-the-top border of this design. I think I'll leave out the boxer with the golden orb on the front steps, though. He creeps me out.

The skein colors were odd (and mostly not in stock)--they're less blue and more aqua than in the photo. I can't decide whether I should adjust the colors or go with what they recommend. See the small floss toss below? The blue is more of a swimming pool aqua in the floss, and truer blue in the picture. The red is more mauve-y in the floss version.

Here's Elvis, posing next to the big jar of pennies we use as a doorstop and to keep the bunny fencing from falling over (we fence out the places that bunnies like to crawl under and privately demolish the carpet). You can see that his face is getting fluffier by the week.

Off I go to the grocery store or we'll have to live on Fritos and Lean Cuisine again this week (which from a diet standpoint is a little like driving along at 60 mph on the freeway and suddenly throwing the car in reverse). Happy week ahead!

April 12, 2009


I've embarked on several restarts lately; this is the latest one. It is by The Scarlet Letter, and is called "The Product of my Needle Sampler." I particularly like the top row of tulips, the fact that it's completely filled in with black (not stitched on black fabric) and that the animals are stitched in French knots. I started it a while back, but on a color and type of fabric that I didn't enjoy. I also couldn't find enough of the dark gold thread (it's AVAS), so I wanted to switch numbers, which brought me to a different shade of the dark gold. It was an easy restart, and now I'm humming along. Here's the picture:

and a photo of how far I got in one evening:

Here's another tulip I'd like to stitch. It's a Carriage House Samplings design called "One Tulip." I figured it would be a fairly quick stitch, but it's not quick to kit up, as it calls for Kreinik silks, something I'll have to travel to buy, or go online for or substitute out. I like the colors, although the jury's out on those dragonfly things. Too many bugs! Still, I love the tulip, which is one of my favorite flowers.

Here's Luke and Laura Lobster. (My generation had Luke and Laura instead of Twilight.)
Luke: "My dear, you're blushing."
Laura: "I'm feeling a bit shy and out of my element."
Luke: "You just need to come out of your shell."
I used L&L in an Easter dinner recipe: Macaroni and cheese with lobster. It called for several different steps, including sauteeing the empty shells with empty shrimp shells and various ingredients including brandy, straining out the solids, then making a roux and adding the broth and cream and fontina cheese and cut-up shrimp and lobster and adding the whole thing to pasta shells (what else?). It was over-the-top rich. And fishy. Ugh--so terribly, terribly fishy. We also had a Honey-Baked ham. Thank goodness for HB--I have a boatload of homework, and at least the ham "turned out" well without a ton of effort. We did have to go get it. Do you have an HBH store? Don't you just love that little flourish when they fold back the foil to show it to you? It's the same feeling I have when the waiter pours a splash of wine in the glass for you to taste. Who says "No! Unacceptable! Take it back!"?

Edited to add: by the way, go to this link to see the winners of the Washington Post's Peeps contest. Each year for the last three years, there has been a contest for the best diorama using Peeps. It's called "Peeps Show."
Here's Pink, checking out this guy who claims to be the Easter Bunny.
Pink: "Ah-ha, no doots! IMPOSTER!"

Happy Easter from Luke, Laura, Pink, Elvis, Peaches and me!

April 05, 2009


Very little stitching this week, as the end of the semester is approaching, and assignments have been doubled up, papers have to be written, and there are tests to study for. The homework has been crushing in the last week or so: "Find the EBIT indifference level associated with two financing proposals." Let me tell you about indifference levels! What I'd really, really like to do is stitch. I did work a little bit on Dorothy but have nothing noteworthy to show. Yesterday I took a break at BF's urging (I am somewhat wan and humorless, and meals have consisted mostly of sandwiches and cereal eaten standing at the sink), and he took me to dinner, where the star of the meal was the enormous platter of asparagus and accompanying dish of hollandaise which Mr.-If-it-Isn't-Meat-it-Isn't-Food was happy to leave me to greedily inhale. Then there was a quick stop at Everything Cross Stitch for some supplies; I'm continuing to kit up Christinia Cathcart (I'm utilizing the "fool my budget" model of kitting up parts of projects with each visit so that I am not confronted with a huge bill for silk thread and fancy fabric. Perhaps we should call it the "Silk Thread Sinking Fund." Hah! Try to say THAT fast.

I am also planning to restitch a Birds of a Feather project I did part of for a round robin: "Peace," and I bought a small piece of 32 ct Picture This Plus fabric for it in "Moonglow." I already have all the GAST threads in my stash. In the past I stitched just the house and front lawn but none of the little floating motifs, so I'm looking forward to a re-stitch of this.

I ran across LHN's "Two Red Houses" the other day, or at least most of it. I have the picture and the chart, but not the color/code key. Who knows what I did with it, but it's got to be here somewhere. While I was looking for it though, I stumbled upon this, which I'll bet you remember. It's the "Alphabet Series" from M Designs. I'm using the called for Silk 'N Colors and Lakeside Linens, although not in the suggested colorways. In fact, I think that's what halted my progress on the project. I wasn't 100% thrilled with the effect of the "Mermaid Shimmer" on whatever blue LL I chose. I think the dye variation in the thread is too extreme. Oh, well--another restitch maybe? I enjoyed the design and will finish it up soon since it's so close to done. There are a lot of "G's" in my house; my first and last names, and BF's last name. I've entertained the notion of finding a bunch of "G's" and stitching them up in all different sizes and styles and then hanging them together. I stitched it long enough ago that it shows hoop marks. This must have been just before I switched to Q-snaps. Even though it wasn't stored on the hoop, those marks hang on, resistant even to the steam iron!

Here's another picture of Elvis' nose. He's looking a little less like Jimmy "the "Schnozzola" Durante. "Everybody wants ta get inta the act! Ha-cha-cha-cha-chaaaaa!!" Oh, dear--I'm channeling old vaudeville...time to get back to the books.