January 31, 2012

WIP 13: Catharine Metcalf--Two-Fisted Stitcher

Happy Tuesday! I've been tearing along on my various WIPs, and I wanted to show you one today that I haven't stitched on for a while (that will be remedied, since I will give it a little attention after this post). It's Catharine Metcalf 1836, by The Scarlet Letter. I'm stitching it on 40 count Lakeside in Lentil or Navy Bean from the looks of it (I'm too lazy to check back on the original post), using the called-for AVAS fibers.

Of course, since there's a deadline on Sarah Hatton McPhail, all I want to do is stitch other things.

Here's Sarah Hatton--I got tired of the top left corner, so now I'm working on the bottom right.

And I stitched for a while yesterday on Dorothy Walpole, also a Scarlet Letter piece. I made it to the right-hand side.

Here's little Elvis, as I was readying him for the journey to Bunny Camp. He wasn't happy, as you can probably tell (none of them much like to be picked up and hauled around).

Elvis: "No shoes, no shirt, but I still get service! Waaaaa!!!!"

Tomorrow's stitch night at In Stitches! See you again soon!

January 29, 2012

Whispers and Howls and Jump for Joy

Sunday greetings! It's nice to be home again in Virginia, although the Cape has an undeniable charm. I've settled in with my stitching and am busy working on Sarah Hatton McPhail again. Here's the section I've been concentrating on. Those little cross-stitched-then-four-sided-stitched letters are time-consuming; you can't get much speed going on them. Beneath the border is a row of pink saw-tooth stitching (satin stitches in graduated lengths). The top alphabet is royal blue thread cross stitch with pink four-sided stitch, then there's the line of long-arm cross with stem stitching outlining it in gold and diagonal stitches in the same royal blue, and then the next alphabet is royal blue with gold four-sided stitch. I'm wanting to finish to get it done this year anyway, but if I am going to enter it in Woodlawn (which is happening this year in May), it has to be complete by March 4 in order for it to be framed in time for submission, so I have just 5 weeks to finish it up. And of course, everything else I want to work on is whispering or howling, as the case may be, from their respective mesh project bags. And I have lots of WIPs left to show you, although today I'll show you a little palate-cleanser of a new start.

Here's my new start for Independence Day (I love Independence Day designs and try to stitch one each year): Little House Needleworks' "Brave Hearts" stitched on 40 count Lakeside (Examplar?) from my stash using the suggested Belle Soie fibers. Love those fibers--I take the time to make the full crosses, one at a time, because I love the variegation in it.

This chart came out in 2007; I saw it stitched by someone over one and decided I needed to stitch it also, although I'm doing it over two.

I picked the bunnies up on the way home on Friday, and they were having such a good time at the wonderful Bunny-Lu bunsitting service, that they could have cared less that I had arrived. Or so I thought. When I put them back in their customary room, Pink binkied with happiness to be home. Boing! Boing!

Pink: I disapprove of sleepaway camp, but the salads were good.

See you in a few days with another WIP.

January 25, 2012

We're Alive, Alive, and We Are Fearless*

This first picture is for Siobhan (it's the Delaware Memorial Bridge). Yesterday I headed to the Cape again, and it was a blessedly uneventful trip. I've done the trip enough to know what radio stations to tune in to as I drive: 104.5 around Phila., 89.9 around NY (a good hour of 1930s music by Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong and others); 95.5 around Providence; 93.1 around Boston. *The title of today's post is from Dala, two Canadian women singing "Alive" on 93.1 (WUMB--U Mass Boston). You can stream this station.

I needed to feel fearless: my dad and I headed into Boston today. I don't know Boston well, so even though I'm comfortable driving in and around cities, I wasn't so comfortable here. Actually, I don't know Boston AT ALL. While I grew up 70 miles from Boston, we seldom went there, except on the occasional class trip. then I moved away. Dad goes for an annual checkup at Brigham & Women's Hospital, and my mom always went with him, so I filled in this time, the main reason for the trip.

Everything turned out great: he's fine, Boston drivers were on their best behavior today (or they were worried about the erratic driving of the Virginia car), and we got out safely--and to Plymouth just in time for a trip to The Sampler and dinner.

I met the owner, Bonnie, who is as nice as can be. This is just one of the sampler walls. I wish I had taken even more photos, but I had left my dad in the car, and I didn't want to keep him waiting when he was hungry and tired from his day.

This is a Chessie & Me pattern called Liberty Mill Sampler--possibly out of print?

Another Chessie & Me: "Blessings of the Bees."

This is "My Friend." Although Bonnie told me who the designer is, I can't remember (must take notes!) Do any of you know who designed this?

This is the "Nancy Tucker Sampler" by Handwork Samplers. I snagged one of these--you'll be seeing this start soon. The letters and numbers are cross stitched, and the scene at the bottom is embroidered. The background is satin stitch. It's charted for NPI

Does anyone know who the designer of this might be? Or its name? [Edited to add: Thank you, Cindy!!!! It is indeed a Words of Praise design, which I was able to confirm on the net. Its name is, not surprisingly, "Nativity."] I rushed out before I thought to ask. I love it--it's so different. Thank you, Bonnie, for being so kind, and for having some beautiful models to drool over!

To my sister, meet your new little sister. Isn't she beeeyootiful? She says that Dad likes her better than he likes you and me. LOL!

There, that's better.

See you tomorrow with a new (smallish) start, but no fishing.

January 23, 2012

WIP 12: Miriam Chilvers and We Travel to the Bunny Spa

Hi, again! Today's WIP is Miriam Chilvers 1833 by Samplers Remembered. I've been working on Miriam very slowly, partly due to the crush of all the other WIPs, but also because she's a tad boring. I want to finish her this year though, especially because of her very pretty, restful colors.

Here's a photo of the chart design. I'm saving the woman in the striped dress for last.

Yes, there really is a bunny spa! It's owned and run by Mary Ellen of Bunny Lu, a bunny care, education and adoption organization. Bunny-Lu is located in pretty Haymarket, where we journeyed yesterday with everyone in a carrier. This is the Haymarket museum.

This is the entrance to the bunny spa. Note the welcoming crowd of bunny statuary on the bench.

Check-in. Mary Ellen herself, checking in the new guests, and Maxine the welcome committee cat. I've been asked before: cats and bunnies get along very well and don't take much notice of each other. In fact, Maxine was probably smelling our cats on the carriers, since they do double duty taking the cats to their vet.

One of Mary Ellen's own rabbits. He's (she's?) a giant-size lop, as large as a springer spaniel. I believe he's possibly a french or English lop. Very impressive.

Some of Bunny-Lu's adoptable rabbits. I adored this lop and would have taken him home, if BF hadn't been saying quietly "no no no no no." The rabbit was totally engaging and so badly wanted to be hugged. I could tell! (Mary Ellen confirmed it.)

I liked this guy too.

Having a little timothy snack. Mary Ellen sells hay, for much less (and of a better quality) than the stuff from the pet store. We'll be buying her hay (by the pound) from now on.

Note the bunnies on the side of the SUV:

Which hauls this trailer to adoption events:

Doesn't this guy look like an exclamation point?

What fun our trip was to see Mary Ellen and all the adoptables, as well as the other cast of characters. I'm hoping that Pink, Elvis and Peaches are enjoying their stay. I think I'd like to stay there myself if I could quietly stitch and cuddle the rabbits.

See you in a few days!

January 22, 2012

WIP 11: Sous Le Soleil de la Lune and Pink Hears Something Disturbing

Greetings, all! WIP 11 is something I've been working on for quite a while--although it's seen the inside of the project bag way more than it should, and I really need to get back to it. This is Reflets de Soie's "Sous le Soleil de la Lune," and I can't think why I haven't worked more on it (other than the parade of WIPs you've already seen). I'm stitching it on Lakeside Maritime White 40 count, using a combination of the recommended silks--it's charted for Gloriana, or alternatively, AVAS, and also DMC. I'm using mostly AVAS because frankly, I find the Gloriana a tad pricey, but I am using a few of the Glorianas that don't have a true conversion--very variegated threads like Gloriana's "Flowers of Italy," shown here.

Here's a shot of the chart cover.

You may remember that I remarked that one of the reasons I enjoyed stitching on Lois Minshall is because it was simple cross stitch without anything fancy or any over-one. Well, I was wrong--not the first time in my life, either! See the little over-one rosebud? Seems there are a number of such elements throughout the design. Oh well--I love her anyway.

What Pink heard (and hasn't shared with the other bunnies). I'm headed to the Cape again this week, so today the bunnies are going to the bunny spa to spend the week.

Pink: "Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah. We will go to. Camp Grenada."

Normally BF would keep them, but he has a blown-out knee, and the bunnies completely took advantage of him on my last trip: doot spraying, bowl flinging, and a bunny breakout or two.

See you tomorrow with another WIP!

January 21, 2012

WIP 10: Ann Dale 1827 (Plus Size)

Today is drippy, rainy/icy and gray, so it's perfect for stitching on this bright, engaging sampler--"Ann Dale 1827: Big and Beautiful" by Shakespeare's Peddler. This doesn't count as a new start, because I put a day of stitching into it back in December, since I have zero impulse control when it comes to buying a new sampler, fabric and thread and bring it home without starting it immediately. If you are on the fence about stitching this up because of the size, go ahead and get it. While it is a bit larger surface-wise--yes, it does take a full half yard of fabric in 40 count--there is quite a bit of unfilled white space around the elements of the design. Only the very bottom third of the sampler with the swans, the hills, some birds, some trees, a couple of flower-filled urns and a large tree of life is really densely stitched. Take it from someone who just started an HAED design (more about that in another post), this really isn't that daunting. The border, unlike a lot of borders I'm working on for other samplers, is repetitive and small enough to commit to memory, so it's an easy stitch while watching tv or visiting with friends. I've made a couple of color changes to the threads, because as I said on the last post on this sampler, I don't care for the recommended Lakeside Pear. Too green for me, and when I did the floss toss, I liked the colors of the thread against the Picture This Plus Legacy instead. I did change of couple of colors of floss, because I thought they were too pale for the new fabric or the design needed a little spark of color. You can tell where I did so starting on the second strawberry from the top left. I'll leave the original color as is, without picking it out. It's a repro sampler, so color changes in the middle of things are part of the charm. Same thing on the dye lots. I don't buy all my threads at once. Some of the colors called for four or five skeins, and I'll get them as I go (of course my life is made simpler by working in and living near my LNS, so I can pick things up without planning ahead). The only time I care about dye lots is if I'm knitting a sweater--I don't want two different color sleeves. [Edited to add, after reading Margaret's and Stef's coments: I think there are some color issues in this sampler that beg to be adjusted or played with. Stef, changing from the 692 to 693 is a great idea. I changed to 843--it's greener, plus I didn't have 693 handy. Also I changed the stems of the plant to a pale green (AVAS) from what appeared to be almost a white, and instead of making the tips of the strawberries that same whiteish color, I'm using a pale pink from AVAS, 641. I also think that even on 40 count, AVAS has a better coverage.]

Here's the sampler in its entirety, although this is a photo of the original sampler, not the repro.

Pink thinks it's a good idea to pretend to lie in a green field, have a nap and dream of spring.

See you again soon!

January 19, 2012

Stitching, Stitching--WIP 9: Christinia Cathcart

Hi, all! It's a chilly but sunny day in Virginia. No snow yet this winter, thank goodness.

I've done household chores and lots of stitching over the last few days. Here's some (but not all!) of it. This is Christinia Cathcart c. 1831, reproduced by The Samplar Workes. I've been working on it quite a while--probably one of the longest of my large samplers. My goal is to complete it this year--time to get it off the Q-snaps. I really enjoy it, and it's only the new girls, who seem to be more elaborate, that knock it to the back of the line. Christinia is charted for 35 linen using AVAS or DMC. I'm stitching her on 34 count Legacy Linen (I think) using AVAS.

Here's what she'll look like when finished. For me, the fun will be the house, the hills and the deer, so I am saving that part for last. I don't mind the letters and border, which compared to others I'm working on, go quickly.

And I'm still stitching away on Sarah Hatton McPhail. I'm working on the over-one letters of the "wrought by" line which goes from the left border to the right. I've also filled in some ground and have done back- and stem-stitching on the water and tree.

This is my late-evening sampler, Lois Minshall. No over-one, nothing fancy--just counting and stitching.

Headed out on some errands. The bunnies remind me to pick up more salad at the store.

See you soon!

January 15, 2012

WIP 8: Sarah Hatton McPhail

Happy Sunday, all! It took me a little longer than I expected to return to blogging, since I've been busy, including having worked at the needlework shop yesterday afternoon. It's always fun to work there, although we did a brisk business, so there wasn't a lot of time to indulge in my favorite activity--shopping for my own stash (oh yeah, but I did find a couple of projects I intend to nab, including some oldies). Lots of people came in to look for the perfect project for this long, chilly weekend. Doesn't that sound perfect? A cup of tea, a warm spot in front of the fire, and the cross stitch/needlepoint/knitting project of your choice. That's my plan for today, although I'm trying to figure out what kind of low-cal nutritious dinner I can fix in under two minutes. Maybe a glass of water and a vitamin.

Here's a closeup of my progress on Sarah Hatton McPhail:

The thing about her is that she really is fairly small, although densely packed with stitching (and there's a ton of back-stitching on her as well that I'm starting to work on now so that it all doesn't fall at the end and derail the project). I think she calls for a special frame, and I wandered the shop examining frames and framing treatments yesterday. A customer had brought in a nice needlework project that was matted in the most beautiful pink linen and framed fairly simply with a chippy-paint wood frame. The linen mat set off the project just perfectly, and I decided that I'd love to mat Sarah with linen and then look for a beautiful wood frame. Normally I just have my needlework framed without a mat, but I'm hooked on this idea, although of course, it makes it more expensive. We'll see when she's done. I'll bring you along on the framing trip, of course!

Pink says he would like to point out that his blue hay box is the exact color of Sarah's water, and that while Peaches is taking up more than her share of the box, it is very cozy to snuggle on a cold Sunday morning with a bunny.

See you soon! I'm back to the needlework shop tomorrow morning to work a half day.

January 12, 2012

Johnny Meatballs

Hi, Everyone! I made it home in one piece. I'll post the next WIP tomorrow, but I had to show you this truck, which I saw at a rest stop just south of Paramus, New Jersey.

"Sunday Gravy" is tomato sauce, by the way. I had been disappointed that I missed the exit in Connecticut that I've been meaning to take so that I can have lunch at Johnny Pastrami's--every time I go back and forth to the Cape I make a mental note to stop and then forget. Maybe it's better--the food could never live up to the name. The rest stops on the NJ Turnpike are a dreary series of Burger Kings. And the ones in CT are McDonalds. Blah. Generally I bring stuff to snack on, but aside from my jar of fluff and two unwieldy grapefruit, I didn't have anything to eat along with me--poor planning.

See you tomorrow!

January 11, 2012

Strawberry Fluffernutter

Greetings, all! Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day in New England, which is also the home of the fluffernutter. I happened to notice at the local Shaw's where I shopped yesterday that Marshmallow Fluff now comes in strawberry and raspberry. Get ready for stitch night: I'm making Rice Krispie Treats with the strawberry fluff. Here you have the ingredients for the fluffernutter sandwich; all that's missing is the squishy white bread (preferably "Bunny Bread").

Speaking of strawberry fluff, here's a photo of the cutest bunny that I took at the MSPCA shelter today. We stopped by to see if there were any small adoptable dogs (there weren't). My dad took a fancy to a cat that he's considering, and while he was occupied in the cat room, I got into mischief with the bunnies. The white bunny (official name: Winter) was the most engaging little thing. He nibbled my fingers, he peered and peeked at me, and he did everything but print up a little sign asking to go home with me.

Here he is, snuggling with his mom, Sydney, but still looking at me. Tom, is now a good time to ask for another bun? Probably not. Elvis has been hell on wheels, and it hasn't helped that I have had to stay out of town extra long when my cold took a nasty turn. Antibiotics have me back on track though, so I'm heading home tomorrow. Dad, waving goodbye, gratefully: "Bye! Next time just push me down the stairs!"

Here's what I've been working on the last couple of days. More writing on Peaceful Paradise.

And a rosebud on Lois Minshall.

We went to the beach in Chatham today (the banner photo) and out to lunch for a seafood casserole. Then on to the shelter.

One last glimpse. I'd have to call him Fluffernutter of course.

See you in a couple of days with more WIPs and new starts--I'm on the road tomorrow.