February 27, 2011

Locked In

Happy Sunday morning, all! This will be a very photo-heavy post, since I went to In Stitches' Lock-In event last night. We stitched and shopped and ate and talked from 6 p.m. to past 10:00. I took my camera along to document the fun for Ellen Meyer, the owner of In Stitches. She is working on a shop blog--we'll let you know the address as soon as it's ready to go--lots of eye candy to come, including lots of charts, kits and gadgets I haven't run into in any other place on the web! And during the month of March when the shop is open every Sunday from 12:30-4:30 during the Woodlawn Plantation needlework show, I'll be helping out on Sunday afternoons. Come in and say hello! [Edited to add: the In Stitches Blog is up and running. Take a look at the goodies! It's institchesshopblog.blogspot.com]

I shopped the market finds, of course. You know I'm usually a stitcher of antique repro samplers, but I couldn't resist the cuteness here. This is a monthly from Amy Bruecken Designs for April called Lilybell April Sampler. You can't tell probably from my photo, but Lilybell is standing in the rain wearing rubber boots, accompanied by the most hilarious little duck. I bought the sampler for the duck!

This is one of Blackbird Designs' Reward of Merit little pincushion designs. I had to have it because of the rabbits, although it's small enough to stitch a handful of these designs and maybe even finish quickly. This particular RoM, called "Breath of Spring" is stitched on 30 ct. Flax Fields (R&R Reproductions) using Crescent Colors and Gentle Arts threads.

Sarah Elliot's Home Port by Primitive Traditions, along with a floss toss of the Crescent Colors and Gentle Arts threads called for. There are also 7 DMC colors not shown here. The recommended fabric is Morning Dove by Lakeside. Stitch count is 160x95 on this not-huge sampler, which reminds me of home, since I grew up just a seagull's flight from Nantucket.

"May I" from All Through the Night, a new-to-me designer. There's a rabbit here in the garden, and lots of blossoms, and it's done on black fabric (WDW Onyx 30 ct) using Gentle Art flosses. You don't have to do it on black, of course, but I think I will because it's such a striking design. It's not huge either, at 110x143 stitches.

While I strolled among the stitchers last night, I took some photos of beautiful samplers stitched by other customers. This is "Anniversaries of the Heart" by Blackbird designs, stitched by Erin. Seeing it so beautifully stitched, all in one piece, in person, made me think that I have to stitch it too. So pretty, Erin!

And this is Lela's fabulous sampler, "Jane Baxter" by Primitive Traditions (yes, the same designer who did Sarah Elliot's Home Port). Mouth-watering, and of course, I purchased the chart right away so that I can stitch Jane also.

This week I worked away on Ann Rayner. I've tweaked the colors, not really sticking with the suggested palette, because I have a wall in my home that needs brightening up. Note to Barbara at Mainely Stitching: something about this pea-green peacock reminds me of your menagerie. I wonder why?

I mentioned last week that Susan Rambo had a little color problem. I felt that the NPI purple in the outside portion of the flower was too bright, especially since it was the same color in the squirrel, but I didn't have the DMC color that the conversion was based on, so I wasn't sure. At the shop I pulled the DMC color (451) and sure enough, it was a subtle, grayish dusky mauve. So I am substituting this NPI color, 987 (Taupe Range). I'm not frogging the flower--nothing wrong with a purple flower.

Pink and Elvis approve of samplers with rabbits in them and have offered to eat the offending purple silk.

Happy week ahead!

February 20, 2011

Rolling Down the River

Hello, All! This week I started something new, which many of you have spotted in the most recent issue of Sampler and Needlework Quarterly. It's the 1839 Susan Rambo Sampler, and I'm stitching it on LL 40 count Buttercream from my stash and the called-for NPI threads (it's also charted for DMC). The colors of my first flower (the one at the top left and right of the sampler) is a very different color than the color in the photo, and I'm wondering if there's a number transposition somewhere. In the magazine photo it's a pale blue/mauve, and IRL it's quite amethyst. I don't have DMC 451 in my stash to compare, but the magazine photo appears to be DMC 415. My theory is that it was stitched originally in DMC, and someone did a conversion. The other colors so far seem true to the magazine photo. Not sure of this, and my policy is not to frog unless strictly necessary--it doesn't make any difference to me what color the flower is, but you may want to consider it if you're going to stitch it. The squirrels, which have the same color symbol (and a white shade also), are surely not amethyst though, so those I will change, to a gray not included in the floss palette or to the NPI conversion of 415. Other than that, I'm enjoying stitching it.

I put some time in on Sarah Hatton McPhail. Here's the before pic from last week.

And after. Notice particularly the tree, which was really brought to life by just a bit of stem and back stitching. Sarah Hatton and Margriet Hogue of the Essamplaire did a wonderful job on this.

We are replacing the carpet in the master bedroom, and I had the carpet place come take out the carpet so I could see if there was any damage to floor from cat/rabbit pee. If so, I would use Killz on it to block any possibility of smell, although just taking the old carpet away seemed to accomplish that. The rabbits have enjoyed running around on the uncovered floor while I cleaned their room and prepared their dinner. Peaches is always first when she hears the dinner bowl hit the floor:

Then Pink.

Then Elvis, bringing up the rear of the Bunny Parade!

Happy week ahead!

February 13, 2011

Thank You

I want to thank everyone who stopped by with a kind word about the loss of our Yazziebear. We were lucky in that we had some time to prepare--it wasn't sudden--and say our goodbyes. In a lifetime full of wonderful pets, there are a few who truly hold our hearts, and in that, Yazziebear was a standout.

I couldn't decide whether to post today or not. I finally decided that it would make me feel better to be "normal" today, so I made breakfast, did some laundry and even stitched a little.

As I always do with a pet that we lose, Yazziebear will be commemorated on a sampler. This one, I think--Mary Ann Gollins. There are two little black dogs, one on either side of the tree (and two more dogs elsewhere in the design). I will leave one black dog, for my sister's Gracie, and replace the other dog with a little tortie point Siamese. It's working up into a beautiful and satisfying sampler. I'm not convinced I have all the colors right--it's been a tough conversion--but I like them anyway. The colors (at least on my monitor) are very true to the colors IRL, particularly of the fabric. As you can tell, this is a very large sampler.

I re-started Elizabeth Welford (Handwork Samplers). I had started it before, but my blue fabric was too blue, and I didn't care for the off-blue of the fibers that were called for. I am now using a very light blue by Lakeside in 40 count, called Misty Rain, and I tweaked the blue floss from the slightly greenish blues to French blues. I like it better now.

I also worked on Sarah Hatton McPhail this week--there's lots left to do, but I can see a finish this year.

It made me feel a bit better to look through my photos of Yazziebear, so here's a last look. Here she was welcoming Peaches to her new home when Peaches first came to live with us. We didn't worry that Yazziebear would hurt the bunny, although she made it clear who ran the show.

Happy week ahead.

February 12, 2011

Remembering Yazziebear

We adopted Yazziebear from a Petco adoption fair in Fairfax City 16 years ago. I had always wanted a Siamese cat, and I spotted her from across the room. She was tiny and intense and determined to attract our attention. We brought her home that day, along with a little brown tabby we named Martha, who died four years ago and who is sorely missed. While Martha was busy being carsick on the way home, Yazziebear was busy chirping and commenting from the carrier. She never stopped talking until we had her put to sleep today after a long and debilitating illness, and one of the most difficult things we've ever had to do. She adored us equally and thoroughly, and we adored her in return. Rest in peace, little girl.

February 06, 2011

Have Some Madeira, My Dear*

*You really have nothing to fear...

After classes closed on Monday, I worked on assorted projects, including Ann Smith:

Late Thursday I picked up Mary Ann Gollins from In Stitches, returned home and have barely put her down since. What a fabulous project Mary Ann is. The photo on the cover of the chart pack is of the original sampler, so it's not a lot of help, especially since it's pretty blurry on details, but I like a mystery--like to see it come alive. The sampler is charted for DMC or Madeira floss. I pulled the DMCs and did a preliminary conversion to AVAS. I have been adjusting here and there because my fabric is a nicely mottled 36 count Picture This in Heritage (I think) from my stash. I'm using a couple of overdyed silks also, because the colors tickled me; I have dialed up the intensity of the colors a bit so the floss isn't overwhelmed by the fabric, while sticking to the overall subdued green/gold/brown/beige autumn tones. Don't you love the black-and-ecru bird? This sampler is full of surprises! I've tweaked some stitching elements as well: I am not doing the letters in satin stitch, because I think coverage over 6 threads would be skimpy. Also, the alphabet line dips and bobs; I'm taking mine straight across because I think it would look "off."

The little admonition on the front of the chart ("Not for the Beginner!") cracks me up. You can do it, even if you're a beginner! There's nothing I hate worse than being told something's too difficult for a beginner to master. How do you learn to do things if you don't push yourself a little? In fact, I've long wanted to take woodworking classes, so I'm investigating that now. Time to learn something new!

Elvis: Eat more salad!

Happy week ahead!