July 07, 2013

Peaceful Paradise: Before and After

Happy Sunday! We've entered deep summer here in Virginia, so the best thing to do (unless you're a watermelon), is to stay indoors in the A/C and stitch. After a quick trip to the farmers market this a.m. for corn and cucumbers, I zipped back home to stitch. Here's my before picture from Thursday of Peaceful Paradise:
And as it stands now. I stitched and stitched, but it's a pretty large sampler. This design is OOP, although you may find it from time to time on ebaby. I'm stitching it using the recommended GAST, CC and WDW cotton fibers on 40 count Lakeside Linen.
And a close-up of my progress.
I'd like to clear a few WIPs out this summer, so that I don't feel guilty about starting this. It's been a number of years since I quilted, and I was not a particularly advanced quilter when I did, so I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew. My personal feeling though about taking on a project that challenges my skill level is that I learn more that way. Fortunately I'm an experienced machine sewer with a good machine. I an mail-ordering this, because although I live in an urban/suburban area where you can buy pretty much anything you can think of (including, beautiful cabinet knobs at $26 apiece that I was looking at--and rejected--the other day. They were beautiful, but I need 31 of them! Or a $200,000 sports car from the Astin Martin dealer.) quilt shops are in short supply. There is a LQS in my town, but they mostly seem to sell machines, and I came away without purchasing fabrics or a pattern, although I found some nice unrelated trims that would be perfect for finishing smalls. I'll go back for those. My mom, who passed away about a year and a half ago, was perhaps the most advanced and accomplished seamstress I have ever known, although she never took on quilts. When my sister and I were small, she made all of our clothing, including lined wool coats and matching hats. She passed on a lot of that to me, fortunately, although I wish I had sat down at a machine with her as an adult. I was a teenager when she taught me what I was willing to learn--she and I were like water and oil in every other respect and fought a scorched earth battle for years. But not at the sewing machine, for whatever reason, so I'd like to make this quilt in her memory. She'd have been thrilled. Here's one of my few watermelons, basking in the heat. I have tons of little blossoms on the vines, which are stretching along my 20 foot garden spot, but something is eating the little watermelons as they form and my baby cucumbers as well. There are a few more little watermelons (they must have missed this one), but nowhere near what there should be. I think it's the rabbits, but perhaps the deer like them as well. Gee, I don't mind sharing, but it's just piggy to eat them all!
Elizabeth is enjoying the coolness of the air conditioned basement. I think she looks a little like a watermelon here.

July 04, 2013

Pool Party at My House

Happy Fourth, everyone! Sorry for the glare on the glass--I stitched this some years ago (it's a Shepherd's Bush design) back before I knew about museum glass. I don't normally mat things, but this piece was so small I did.
We had a pool party at my house today. When I got up this morning I went downstairs to feed and clean the rabbits and discovered a large pool of water on the utility room floor. My house had asked me the other day: "Hey, have I messed with you lately?" and I said, no, I didn't think so. The house didn't say anything, just hummed a bit. So we had a crimp in a pipe with some solder on it let go and there was a tiny fountain in the air that formed a puddle pretty quickly. Have I mentioned that our plumber charges $200 just to say hello on an emergency call on holidays? That's in addition to the actual repair. Sigh. In my next life I'll be a plumber or an electrician or an hvac repair person instead of a super model. 

Anyway, it's been nuts at work, so I haven't had much time to post lately, although I do stitch into the wee hours.  Here's what I've been working on lately:  "Peaceful Paradise," by Midsummer Night Designs. 

I really like stitching on this except for one thing: the shreddy cotton overdyed threads. I had a crazy moment when I considered scrapping the project and restarting with Belle Soie, but I couldn't bear either to pull out all those threads and so keep the fabric or ditch the wonderful piece of Lakeside I'm stitching on. I started this around 2008, and Lakeside, although I love it still, was much richer and smoother then.  There are more slubs now, and it's a little more coarse.
I changed the color of the cat here, to memorialize my cat, Martha, who had died shortly before I started this. And the black rabbit is not charted on the design at all, but memorializes my first bunny, The Bunnyman.
I especially like the top of the tablets, showing night and day--the sun, moon, stars and clouds.
And of course, I'm still working on Agnes. What a pleasure she is to stitch, but I got a bit bored with strawberries, vines and blue alphabet letters.
Pink says "Happy Fourth of July!"