August 10, 2014

Remembering Elvis

Happy Sunday, all! First of all, in answer to a couple of questions I received about my banner photo: the name of the piece is "Alphabetissimo," by Papillon Creations.

I mentioned in my last post that I had injured my knee and that I'd be undergoing surgery for it. Sure enough, I accomplished that on August 1. I'll be off my feet and off work for 2-3 weeks total with a total recovery time of about 12 weeks. The surgery went well, but the news wasn't particularly inspiring: I'll have to work hard to get back about 80% of my knee's function, and there will be a knee replacement in my future most likely, and no running. I'm grateful that I've got as much function as I do though, and that I feel better and stronger every day and that I had strengthened my knee going into surgery with two months of physical therapy. And that I like to stitch, because I have been passing the time very nicely with needle in hand, leg up on the sofa/recliner/bed. I've read some also, but mostly stitched. The first few days after surgery, while post-anesthesia and under the influence of pain pills, I stitched small designs on 32 count. When I ditched the pills, I decided to commemorate the time off my feet--so that I'd have a "souvenir" of my surgery (other than the medical bills). So I chose something from my stash that I really liked, had already started but hadn't made a lot of progress on, and would normally take me a year or more to stitch. I'd like to finish it no later than Labor Day weekend. That's a LOT of stitching between now and then, but it gives me something more useful to do than eat carton after carton of Yeungling Ice Cream (if you live in PA, you know what I mean).
One week down, and this is where I stand so far. Jane Clarkson 1856, by Samplers Revisited. I'm stitching her on 40 count Lakeside in Maritime White, using the recommended NPI silks.
Here's a closeup of the house:
And a shot of the finished sampler from the Samplers Revisited trunk show that was at In Stitches several months ago.
Sadly, since my last post, I lost darling little Elvis, to a stroke. He was the best bunny ever. He was a lionhead with a giant heart in his little three pound body. I adopted him from the Alexandria, VA animal shelter. He hated being in a cage, particulary since he was alone. The first time I saw him, I fetched him out of the cage and he licked my nose like a puppy. He loved being petted and cuddled.
He was alone until we got first Pink, and then Peaches. How he loved to cuddle with other rabbits. Here he is with Peaches.
And with Pink.
Even better if he could cuddle with everyone at once. He'd squeeze himself in between the two bunnies. Unfortunately, Peaches and Pink bonded separately, and the other two would no longer accept him. He was beside himself with grief at being excluded. It was terrible seeing his pain.
So we allowed him to choose a new mate, Elizabeth. I didn't particularly want Elizabeth, but he fell in love with her, so we brought her home. They doted on each other to the end. She seems to miss him, but she's ok alone, fortunately. Had he been the one to survive, we would have had to find him another bunny. Some bunnies just aren't meant to be alone.
As we get older ourselves, we try not to replace our pets as they pass away. That makes each death even more poignant, but it seems the responsible thing to do, even if we are terribly sad at the passing of each furry family member.
Best wishes to all for a wonderful week ahead.

July 06, 2014

Round Here

Hi, guys! It's been a while, but in the waning hours of my three-day weekend, I thought I would catch you up on what's on my Q-snaps. Those who know me as a "serious" stitcher might be surprised to see this little whimsical design and the equally whimsical framing treatment (framed by In Stitches--thanks, Karen for suggesting the grass-green linen fillet). Fun! This was a two-weekend project, more or less. This is "Daisy Dog" by Stitchy Kitty. I used the called-for overdyed cotton fibers and a piece of 32 count PTP in Aerial (I think) from my stash.
Here's a little something that surfaced when I cleaned out a closet this weekend--from time to time it has shown up over the years and I figure it's time to get it framed. It's on 14 count aida, and it's kind of charming. In the right frame, it'll be a cute addition to my kitchen full of oddball, brightly framed projects (white walls, white cabinets, white counters--something has to break up that monotony).
Another old friend: Beatrix Potter Alphabet. I bought it about 25 years ago, as a kit. I don't love the linen--it's a bit meshy--but I do like the design. Lots of backspacing which brings the animals into focus--sheesh.
Blackbird Designs' Agnes Platt: I'm on the the last third of the design with the strawberry baskets.
A close-up: I'm using 40 count Maritime white I think, and a conversion to Belle Soies.
I've started up again on Winter at Beacon House by Praiseworthy Stitches, using the called-for overdyed cottons (GAST and WDW):
I just purchased this, and it arrived yesterday in the mail. By Madame Chantilly. I love the design. Because I'm using fabric from my stash which is a different color from the called-for "natural," I'm changing the colors, using overdyed threads instead of the called-for DMC colors (there's also one European skein--onyx, which is an overdyed black-to-gray. Instead of the onyx, I will use "Midnight," which is I think a Gentle Art floss in a dark navy-to slightly lighter blue.
And, not really last, since I have at least another half dozen things going (will show you those next time), I started With Thy Needle and Thread's "Patriotic Poppies." I'm using the called for cotton fibers and a piece of Picture This Plus 40 count Legacy from my stash. I changed the white of the sheep because my fabric was a different color than the one suggested by the designer.
Here's an older photo of Peaches saying hello. All four of the bunnies are doing well. I have recently blown out a knee going down a simple flight of stairs, when my kneecap jumped the track and created all kinds of ligament havoc. That has probably put an end to my running, but I'm biking now, walking regularly, and I'm taking up weight training, which my orthopedist highly recommends for his older patients, since it builds bone density. My vacation was spent not at the beach but sitting on my sofa, stitching for a solid week. There are worse things, for sure!

February 02, 2014

Long Ago and Far Away and a Queen Stitch or Two

Hi, all! I've missed you. You know how, when you extoll your car's virtues "car never breaks down, works great, has 200,000 miles and has circled the moon without a problem," it kicks you in the butt to remind you of the foolishness of ever uttering such a thing by breaking down on the way to work? Well, that's kind of what happened after I announced that I had super mojo about my stitching. Like opening a drain and watching the water circle a tub, out the mojo went.

One factor is that I have suddenly, after 58 years of relative inactivity (I'm really GOOD at the sofa-sitting competition) decided to run the Richmond Marathon in November. (Yeah, Terri, thanks a bunch for that.) What? Run? I'm a stitcher! Only thing I've ever run for is a sale at In Stitches (more on that below). Something I can tell you about starting to run at 58: it freaking hurts at first. And then you get better and better. It's like doing queen stitches. I'll never be fast, and certainly not graceful (how I admire those sleek kids who zip by me on the path with their minimalist shoes and efficient form), but I'm getting it done. I'm quite beginning to like it, in fact, along with the 40-pound weight loss that goes with all that sweating and flailing and blisters. I've been spending an appalling amount of money on shoes and socks and running pants and jackets. Not nearly as much as I used to spend on stitching, but pretty close. Of course, all of this has definitely detracted from the stitching, but I did manage a finish in spite of my fuddled, weary self: Behold Peaceful Paradise!
Jennifer in Richmond, I promised this chart to you if you haven't already found it. Please leave a comment w your email, and I'll contact you about a snail mail address.
I was at In Stitches for the Superbowl Sale today. The shop was full of eager stitchers. When I wandered back to the fabric table, this was being kitted up for a customer: Mary Gail by the Scarlet Letter. Mary Gail is stitched in tent stitch, I believe, with the background filled in.
By using this linen, which I believe is called "Tobacco," (you should check with the shop), all that background fill-in is eliminated. Don't you love the AVAS silks spread out on the gorgeous mustard colored linen? That floss toss really caught my eye. And of course, I'm planning on kitting it up myself and stitching it. In between runs.
Last, but not least, is all three pounds of Bad Rabbit Attitude: Tweaker, aka Elvis, to wish you a happy week.