March 28, 2010

Getting a Jump on Christmas

Just a quickie today, as I'm supposed to be toiling on a paper for school and I procrastinated yesterday by thoroughly cleaning the house which so desperately needed attention. I haven't stitched much this week, but here's where I am on Catharine:

And on Peaceful Garden. PG is a great bus project; I can outline large sections at home where I can carefully count, then fill them in on the bus, where it's harder to count and where I'm more likely to make a mistake.

I stopped by the LNS yesterday when I was doing errands and picked up a couple of these new Christmas ornament charts, which in itself is unsual because I'm not much of a Christmas stitcher, and I don't generally even think about stitching what little I do work on until about August. But I had to have these. They're not widely available quite yet, although they will be, and I think they'll sell like the proverbial hotcakes! The owner of my LNS who saw the stitched model(s), says they're stunning IRL. "Three Wise Men" is stitched on 40 count--over 1! (Not going there, but I might do over-one on 32 count.) They're charted for DMC--lots and lots of colors of DMC. Even better, they're each part of a series: there will be 6 snowglobe designs and 6 designs as part of the First Noel series. I can't wait. Marie Driskill of Blackberry Lane Designs is an extremely talented (and prolific, apparently) designer (I'm working on two of her other designs), and if you like the color and detail of the HAED designs but don't have the time to work on something so huge, Blackberry Designs is for you.

While I was at the LNS, this plastic tote caught my eye. They come in various sizes--this one's big enough to hold full-size charts, a set of q-snaps, fabric and threads for at least one project--and they're just perfect for hauling around your WIPs. I love the mesh bags, but they don't have handles, so they're harder to keep track of (I generally stuff a couple in my commuter backpack, but I always worry about setting one down on the bus seat and leaving it behind). Not very expensive either--this one was a bit less than $13.

Pink: "You spoiled my nap by running the vacuum!"

Happy week ahead!

March 21, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

"Here Comes the Sun" has always been my favorite Beatles song, and it fits so well today with this sampler, from The Stitching Parlor, called "Peaceful Garden." I'm stitching it with the recommended Crescent Colours (all 47 of them!) on 40 ct Lakeside Linen in vintage buttercream. I think the reality of this little sampler (not so little, actually, at about 240 x 260 stitches) is so much prettier than the chart photo would indicate. And it's a nice break from the fiddliness of some of my other samplers with their elaborate stitches and over-one. Oh, yeah, I got my copy of Scarlet Letter's "Grazing Sheep" yesterday. Wow. What a major undertaking! If you want to see it in action, you should watch Sandra's at the Sampler Lover's blog. She's an amazing stitcher. Now that I've seen the chart (so MUCH over-1), I feel a tad intimidated...

And to switch songs to "Uncle Ernie" from The Who's "Tommy," here we have much fiddling about with Catharine McNeal's sampler. I was so pleased to get to the brickwork, and I'm working away on the border thistles as well. I'm skipping some of the thistles and the roof of the house until the end so that I don't damage the satin stitches, some of which cover 12 threads.

I got a kick out of everyone's comments about the trucking and the parallel parking last week. I believe the world is divided up into two camps: those who can parallel park, and those who can't. In my case, I consider the damage I could do to someone else's car by cutting too close to the side, my own car and whatever's up on the sidewalk and just decide I need the walk--sometimes a very looooong walk. And Barbara, I'm definitely older than you are! Here's my photo to prove it, and for you local stitchers who mused that you wouldn't know me if you ran into me in the needlework shop.

Peaches is contemplating an Easter dinner for us here while the boys sleep. Isn't that always the way, Peaches?

Off to make our dinner--happy week ahead, and may the sun shine on you--especially you folks in Oklahoma!

March 18, 2010

Day Out

I took today off to get a doctor's appointment out of the way and buy a tire for my car. The tire took two hours to install, so I got some stitching done.
I'd like to say how honored I am to be selected for an award by blogging buddies. This is from Crafty Green Poet.

Margaret at Days of a Sampler Lover and Theresa at Giraffe Xing awarded me with this.

Let's see--I'm supposed to tell something interesting/secret about myself. I don't think I'm that interesting, but I'll tell you a few things you might not know:

1. I drove a tractor trailer coast to coast for two years when I was much younger--this was taken in 1980. My ex-husband and I owned this franchise. We had neither power steering nor a jake brake, so you had to put some muscle behind a slow turn, and you'd better be in the right gear going down a mountain!

2. In spite of that, I cannot parallel park a car. People who ride with me are crying "Look! there's a spot right in front of the place!" If it's a single parallel spot, I will drive on by while everyone has a fit. Fortunately, in Massachusetts, where I initially got my license, parallel parking was not required.
3. I finally finished my first college degree when I was 48.
4. I play the violin. I had stopped for a long time, and I took it up again a few years ago, although I've shelved it again until I finish this latest degree.
5. The best job I ever had was 15 years ago, when I was a night word processor for a law firm. I worked the 5 p.m. to midnight shift, and I was generally the only one in the building. I usually finished my work by nine or so, but because I had to stay until midnight, I did whatever I wanted until it was time to leave. Unfortunately, I had not developed the stitching obsession yet. When I walked the few blocks to get my car I used to note the number of rats in the big decorative planters in front of the office buildings--along which people would sit during the day to eat their lunches. If only they knew how many rats had been cavorting in their picnic spot!
Five's enough--they're getting boring.

I am supposed to name some other blogs, to receive the award, but I can't choose! I enjoy so many of your blogs, and I think you all deserve an award!

On to the needlework!
Here's a little work I've done on Catharine McNeal--photographed on the rug in the room where it'll hang. I like how well the colors go together:

And a closeup of the over-one stitching. The tree is over-two, but the fruit basket is over one. Because the fabric threads as plump and so are the NPI fibers, I elected to do tent stitch instead of the full cross. The bottom three rows on the basket are full cross, but I didn't like the way they were squished, so I decided to do tent instead.

The bunnies are busy today planning their Easter events.
Scratchy: "They're very busy under the bed!"

See you Sunday!

March 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning/March Madness

Now that it's so much warmer and the trees are budding, I've started cleaning and airing the house, which extended to cleaning (but not airing--so sad that you can't open the windows in a tall city-building) my office. I dug through my closet and in desk drawers that I seldom open and came up with a dozen or so needlework charts and magazines, mostly ordered from ebay. Here's one of them, a little chart called "Lambs Garden," by Earth Threads. It's charted for 32 count using GAST, but I'm stitching it on 40 count Lakeside (Light Examplar, I think), substituting a few colors I didn't have, since I arrived home Friday night and immediately kitted it up from my stash. It's springy and pretty cute! It seems to be OOP since it's a 1996 chart, but I noticed a copy of it selling on ebay today.

When I get on a tangent, off I go! I got "researching" sheep samplers, looking for more Earth Threads Lambs (they're a series, apparently, and I successfully clicked and bought "Lambs Easter" (not to be confused with Easter Lamb with mint sauce) and "Lambs Halloween." Look what jumped into my cart! "Grazing Sheep" by the Scarlet Letter. Now there's a chart that will take a year or two or three to stitch! But don't you just love it? Come on, Stitchers, you know you've got to stitch this! Here you have it: my little version of Spring Fever or March Madness:

I also worked on Catharine McNeal this week.

And here's a chart I ordered from Emlis a few weeks ago. You've seen Village Square Sampler, which has been re-released by Kelmscott. I also wanted Miriam Chilvers (you can see the photo here at Valley House Primitives. I'd like to say, by the way, that I aspire to own a Valley House Primitives frame for my finished works--they are exquisite). Miriam Chilvers may be released eventually by Kelmscott as well, say my sources. Emli's did have a copy of this chart--the Chili Pepper Sampler--though, so I snapped it up. I suspect this is something of a sleeper--a chart not widely distributed at this moment and which people aren't aware of and on which the photo of the project isn't very clear. But I think it will be very bright and compelling design to stitch--just a hunch.

Speaking of spring cleaning and little lambs, here's my little lamb who appears to need a bit of a shearing.
Elvis: "Not if you value your stitchy fingers!"

Happy week ahead!

March 07, 2010

Raspberry Beret

I've been working like a madwoman on Catharine McNeal 1843. What a treat she is to stitch! I'm working my way toward the house, because it's huge and I really want to see how it comes together.

Close-up of the four-sided stitch that makes up the second alphabet. It's fiddly, but fun.

And Liz Savilles. This sampler is an easier, quicker stitch than many of the ones that I'm working on. It's fun and undemanding. The colors and posy in the center remind me of raspberries, so I've had that Prince song, Raspberry Beret, running through my head, complete with squeal. Ugh. Hee--now some of YOU will have it too....

Little Peaches has popped out to wish our Bunny blogger friend, Rabbits Guy, a speedy recovery from the 'flu. Get well soon, RG!

I'm off to make a raspberry yogurt cake (I have a bag of frozen raspberries that will make a nice addition to the plain cake I normally make. Thanks, Prince!).
Happy week ahead!

March 02, 2010


I took today off for a doctor's appointment in NoVa, and since I was in Fairfax County, I thought I'd pay a little visit to LNS #2 (I rank my LNS's by distance from my house, not devotion; I love them both), In Stitches in Alexandria, VA. This is what I noticed when I first walked in: the Carriage House Samplings Trunk Show, with all of the Hawk Run Hollow pieces stitched and framed, and a whole lot more besides. I borrowed Patricia's i-phone to show these to you. Because of the way the light is coming through the windows, they aren't as bright in the photos as they are in real life. I just wanted to take them all home, or take the charts all home (although most of those charts already are home, actually--ahem).

More: all of the wonderful stitched pieces of my favorite expressionless people! And more that I couldn't capture here: "My Home Town," for one, which chart I didn't own (until today). You really should come by and see them--and there's another reason to come. The Woodlawn Plantation 2010 Needlework Exhibition is going on through the 31st of March. Woodlawn is across the Street from In Stitches, and In Stitches will be open all the Sundays in March! I'm definitely making the time to go to the exibition this year.

There are lots of framed models in this shop, but wait! What's this?

Oh, no. "Falling in love again I never wanted to/What am I to do I can't help it...." Meet "Catharine McNeal 1843," a new release from Samplers Revisited.

It's a Scottish Reproduction; there are 20 thistles around the border, and each one is different. The colors are very unusual. [Edited to add: although the cover photo is very blue, and the actual framed sampler is very blue also, it's interesting that my floss toss (the color of which is true on this post) is more of a blue-green/mint/lots of greens and some navy. Plus the thistle purples. I say this in case you're wanting a very blue sampler, because I don't think it will be quite as blue as it looks in the model photos. The stitched model was quite high above my head--every square inch of the walls in that shop is covered with gorgeous samplers--so I didn't inspect it up close.]

What was I to do but kit it up on the spot? It's charted for 36 ct Picture This Plus in Heritage using NPI or DMC. Here's a photo of 40 ct PTP Heritage underneath 40 ct Lakeside in Magnolia. I love the Magnolia--it is a yellowy-slightly-peachy cream, but I went for the PTP in the end. Interestingly, if you are stitching Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow, many of the blue/green and green shades are the same.

See? Not the best light--I took the photo in in the late afternoon as I was losing the light.

I picked up a couple of other charts as well. This is With Thy Needle & Thread's "CS41 Mary's Best Handework." It's charted for 30 ct WDW linen using DMC. Don't you love the red and the sheep?

You may have seen this. It's Primitive Tradition's "Love to One, Friendship to Many, Good Will to All." It's stitched on 40 ct Misty Rain by Lakeside, using CC and GAST fibers (or DMC). Lots of fill-in here, but such a wonderful design.

Here's some stitching I've done since Sunday on "Liz Savilles."

Pink: "It seems to me that you spend a lot of time in needlework shops when you could be home petting your bunnies!"

See you Sunday!