February 21, 2016

What to Leave In, What to Leave Out

Greetings, all! Things are busy here. Tom is getting himself a brand-new knee Tuesday, so we've been prepping for the operation, the hospital stay and recovery at home along with a big heaping helping of physical therapy. My official job is driver, calmer downer (he's very apprehensive), fetcher and waiter arounder. I will be attending an official orientation for "coaches." The hospital folks encouraged me to spend the night(s), so I'll be packing a few needlework projects and hoping for good light somewhere. At the end of that is knee number 2. It's a darned shame he doesn't stitch, isn't it? I've offered to teach him, but he claims he wouldn't be able to handle the detail. I told him that if the surgical team should need someone to stitch him up, I'd be happy to volunteer. He laughed and said that if I were doing the stitching, I'd get half of it done and put him aside... I've had a finish! Miriam Chilvers' Sampler by Samplers Remembered. Stitched on 40 count Lakeside using the called-for AVAS.
Here's a close-up. Everyone's favorite detail is her striped dress.
I poked around in my stash and pulled out Ann Smith, thanks to Margaret, whose finish is so beautiful. I'm a long way from a finish. I couldn't find any of the fibers, so I re-kitted that part of it at In Stitches last Stitch Night. There's a lot of time-consuming over-one in this project.  40 count Lakeside Linen in Magnolia using the called-for AVAS fibers.
I have a new start! The minute I saw Gigi R's "Biedermeier Sampler," I knew I had to stitch it. It's charted for DMC, which I purchased. I had a nice piece of Lakeside in Porcelain (40 count) in my stash, and I have converted all the DMC colors to silks from my stash.
Here's a photo of the chart.
Last but not least is "Seven Sheep Sampler" by The Scarlett House. I'm working on a dark fabric, which I love (likely Lakeside vintage autumn gold) using the charted Gloriana and Class Colorworks colors, but substituting for the Dinky Dyes. I remember starting it and then getting distracted, but it's such a beautiful sampler, that I worked most of today on it. The photo shows the true colors of the fibers, but the fabric appears a little light here.
Off I go to accomplish a few chores before bed and the single day of work this week (tomorrow). Happy week, all!

January 31, 2016


Happy Sunday, everyone! The wicked blizzard delivered an unexpected and much appreciated consequence of all the snow we received last weekend: the federal government, whose openings and closing my employer follows, was closed Monday and Tuesday and opened at noon on Wednesday and Thursday. Extra stitching time! (Also, a daunting number of meals. I ran out of ideas at about the same time we ran out of eggs, but we ate out of the freezer and pantry so I wouldn't have to go to the store and deal with the parking lot.) Besides, I'd rather have a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner so that there's more time for stitching.  Tonight we had seared scallops, which cook for approximately 2 minutes on a side.  Genius dinner preparation wise, other than the fact that I despise the things, even though I grew up in a place where nearly every family had a scallop license.  I threw a piece of salmon into the oven for myself--quick and easy.

I spent some time with Mariam Chilvers Sampler 1833. I got interested in her leg-o-mutton sleeves, which apparently during the early 1800s were a thing. I did a little research into it (can't remember what site or I'd link to it), and it seems that the sleeves got larger and larger until they had to be stuffed with cotton or other materials to keep them properly poofed, and a lady entering a room might have to turn sideways because the sleeves wouldn't allow her to go through the doorway.
I am coming down the home stretch with Carriage House's "Gingham Dog and Calico Cat."  Love the colors.  I can see it in a bright red frame.

One of the reasons I am happy to get back to blogging is that the blog serves as such a good journal of our stitching progress. I have updated this project for the first time in about a year. "Sampler Tendresse" by Anagram Diffusion. This is the last square in the first column. When I finish this square (Y), there are just five more columns to go. I love the color of the fabric, which is PTP Sand (40 count). I am working with three colors of Needlepoint silks.
The design will fill this entire piece of fabric to the right side. I am thinking it will take a few more years, although you never know.
Here are a couple of small projects I'm going to start in the next few weeks when I've finished Miriam and Gingham Dog. This was an ebay win. I love Midsummer Night Designs and it really is a small sampler.

And Valentine's Day is coming, so in honor of that holiday, is a little something from New York Dreamer. 

I've been perusing the fabrics at Fabric.com.  What a wonderful website, with lots and lots of quilt fabrics perfect for backing little projects like this.  You can save your fabrics to a "wall" and go look at them from time to time before you place an order.  It's quite addictive and is a delightful waste of time at work. Maybe this one for the above design?
Off I go to put a few more stitches in the Yak. Happy week!

January 24, 2016


Greetings from Siberia, all! You might have heard we had just a bit of snow in the Washington, DC area. We live a little south of the Beltway, so we got a bit less--maybe 20 inches. It was quite a storm, but we came through it just fine, with lots of stitching and hot chocolate and no loss of power, for which we are grateful. Now the sun is shining and we're looking forward to being plowed out. I suspect we'll be in for another day as our local roads are impassable. Here's a shot of the house.
For obvious reasons I felt inspired to start "Up on the Rooftop" by The Drawn Thread. I had all the called-for GAST fibers, and I knew I had the called-for Wisper somewhere in my stash, so I went on a dig.
I didn't find the Wisper because I found this chart instead. I started it some time back. This is Miriam Chilvers' Sampler 1833, by Samplers Remembered. I originally started her in 2010--time for her to be off my q-snaps and framed. I don't generally imagine what a frame should look like in advance, but I'm thinking something in the gray blue color of some of the motifs.
Here's a photo of the entire project as it stands. It is photographing lighter and bluer than it is in real life. The lighter blue threads are more of a blue-gray, and the fabric, Lakeside 40 count, probably Lentil, is photographing a light blue as well. Probably the reflection of the snow changing the color of the light.
Here's a close-up of the project.

Here's a shot I took last night with my phone. I've done more since then, but this gives you a better idea of the colors of the fabric and floss.
Here's my stitching cat, Slinky. She loves it when I settle down to stitch and snuggles close. She's a bit camera-shy.
Happy week, all!

January 17, 2016

Bird Tree

Happy Sunday, all! I'm happy to say it's a three-day weekend. I've put the time to good use with stitching, of course. I finished up this Blackbird Design: "Bird in Hand."
The next bird, which I started today is from Filigram's "Mountain Collection." "Snow Ptarmigan."
I am stitching it on a darkish Lakeside in 40 count; I'm unsure of which color I'm using.
The called for threads are Gentle Art. I had everything but one color in my stash, but I was able to substitute. I spent some pleasant time stitching this today while it snowed gently outside. How luxurious to stitch snowflakes in front of the fire while it snows.
I have put a little time into "Holy Moses" by Silver Creek Samplers." I've been working on this several years and would like to finish it this year.
And here is the bird tree, which I purchased from Amazon. $29! I had thought of buying the 8 foot tree--this one is a little over 3 feet and fits nicely in the niche above the fireplace. I'm looking forward to filling it with birds and perhaps other animals, and then transferring everything to a larger tree when I run out of room. Still, there's quite a bit of room on this tree. I'm quite satisfied with my purchase and although I have a lot of bird charts in my stash, I'm looking forward to finding more birds to stitch and the fabrics to back them.

Happy week!

January 10, 2016

Block(head) of the Month Club

Happy Sunday! Thank you so very much for welcoming me back with your kind comments on last week's post. Since I had nearly a full year to accumulate some projects and progress, I thought I would do another post. I've decided, partly thanks to Carol at Stitching Dreams (because who can look at her inspiring blog and not decide to immediately get cracking on next year's Christmas ornaments?), that I need to spend more time stitching, stuffing and embellishing smalls. First I thought I'd do birds and hang them from the limbs of a bare-branch tree which Pier 1 USED to carry. Honestly, every time I went in there, there were bare-branch trees: gold-tone, silver-tone, phony birch-like. Trees everywhere. Yesterday I went in to purchase one, and nary a one to be seen. What the heck! Never mind, I'm sure I'll find one online somewhere. I have started the first bird. This is a week's worth of work, and of course, I picked up some additional birds, and some valentine's smalls last week at In Stitches when I was there for Stitch Night. Question: why doesn't Glenna sit and stitch with everyone else? Answer, because she's cackling and snatching things off the shelf to stitch. I got my hands on some birds, as I said, but now I've decided to add some Christmas ornaments and some flowers to the pile. It had better be a really large tree, I guess. At the rate I'm going--one-ish a week without breaking a sweat--I might have 50 things dangling from the branches of my theoretical tree in no time. I subbed a different color, as you can tell, using Belle Soie Cranberry from my stash instead of the called-for WDW baked apple.  This is stitched on a 40-count piece of Lakeside from my stash (mystery color, but likely light exemplar).  Oh, yes, it's "Bird in Hand" by Blackbird Designs. 
Next up is a project I've picked away at for a while, from JBW designs. I'm stitching it on a very light piece of Lakeside using a very pink Thread Gatherer color from my stash--perfect use for a left-over skein.
This is a long-running project for me--I started it on a larger count fabric once before and didn't like it. For whatever reason, I lightened up the parrot (there's another one to be stitched). Everything else is as charted. This will take quite a while. It is, of course "Charlotte Clayton."

This is the larger needlepoint project I got recently. I love this designer and hope to stitch other designs by her: Pippin Studios in British Columbia, Canada. I have sent you to her "what's new" page so you can see what I'm excited about. The needlepoint show was this weekend, and I got all thrilled about some of her new designs (a series of small fish, to be stitched and stuffed and hung to to fill a bowl). I ordered 3 of the fish--I'll show you when they arrive.
And my first installment of this Block of the Month club arrived. I am not a particularly experienced quilter, but I am experienced in applique, so I thought I could tackle this. We've had lots of cloudy, gloomy days here, so I jumped on it because of  the colors! I ordered it from Quilting By the Bay, which has been a great experience. If you enjoy working with wool, they sell some great wool applique kits.
Here are the fabrics that arrived in the first installment. I also ordered the matching Aurifil cotton threads, which came in a nifty box. Quite an antidote to the dull days of January.
Next weekend is a three-day weekend. I have a little trip to Culpeper planned. Culpeper has a quilt shop and a fabric store called "Exquisite Fabrics," which used to be located in downtown DC--right across the street from each other. Let's see what kind of mischief I can get up to.... Happy week!

January 03, 2016

Happy First Sunday in the New Year, all! I've noticed a lot of former bloggers blogging again, and I thought I'd join in. I really would like to post a bit more often--Facebook is fine, but not as satisfying, as many others have said (not that I post much on Facebook either). Quite a lot has happened since last year's post. 2015 was not particularly kind to us: In the early fall, we lost my dad. He was 87.   While I don't miss the calls in the night from the nursing home and the frequent trips to Cape Cod by air and highway to visit, we miss him terribly, and never more than during the holiday season.
Just before my dad died, we said goodbye to Pink. How I miss that little guy. Such an opinionated little critter he was.

Stitching has always been a bright note in my life and remains so. I had several finishes during 2015 and a few starts and progress and multiple WIPs. I'll show some of them here. This is "Rose Marie," by Blackberry Lane Designs. This is the 2nd time I've stitched it--last time was for a gift, and this time it's for me. I will back it with one of the fabrics shown here by Tula Pink.
I put the last stitch into this sampler by Samplers Revisited last weekend--"Jane Clarkson 1856." I started her in August 2014. She's stitched on 40 count Lakeside Linen in Maritime White, using the called for NPI silks.
Here's a little ornament I stitched for myself by Cross Eyed Cricket, and old design called "Winter Cabin." Faye Riggsbee finished it for me--such a beautiful job she does!
Faye also finished this cupboard hanger, which I stitched as an exchange gift for the In Stitches needlework shop staff party. "Winter Welcome" by Country Cottage Needleworks.
I received this lovely and clever needlepoint, stitched by Radonda. Working Hanging around the shop has taught me a lot about needlepoint.
So I have taken up the needlepoint needle. I started with a small Christmas design and have already bought a larger canvas.
I put some time into "Dorothy Walpole," by the Scarlet Letter.
I'd like to finish Dorothy this year.
And some work into "Christmastide at Holly House," by Scarlett House.

And "Rabbit Alphabet" by JBW Designs.

I'm hoping to finish each of the unfinished items on this page this year and a bunch of others besides. As for starts, I was so busy working on WIPs that I didn't start anything new on either Christmas or New Year. Soon, though, I plan to start Barbara Ana's "All Creatures Great and Small," Scarlet Letter's "Ann Short" and others--lots of others, especially Christmas ornaments, which are so satisfying. Off I go to take the Christmas lights out of the trees outdoors. I'm sad to see it end. The Christmas trees (1 large, 1 small) are already down and packed away, along with the Christmas decorations and the garland. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and that you plan on stitching tons in this New Year.

March 01, 2015

Ice Ice Baby

We're having a lovely long ice storm here in Virginia today, so today was a cozy stitching day. The house is warm and I'm making a pot roast using hard cider as the braising liquid (Angry Orchard--a sip for me, a glug for the pan).

I've been going through some slides from my dad's house. I bought a rudimentary little hand scanner at Best Buy. Put the slide in, push it under the light, hit the save button and it saves to an SD card. This picture is of me, circa 1958. We lived in Vermont at the time, and the fire department would spray down the football field of the school across the street. There would be a huge bonfire, and they'd turn on the night game lights and everyone would skate, even the little kids since no one was going to fall through the ice and drown. Here I'm modeling strap-on double-runner blades over my red boots.

I was also sick last week and missed a couple days of work, so this project has seen a lot of stitching action lately: Jane Clarkson. She's a bit more than half-way done.
I'd like to finish some large things this year and have tried not to get too excited about Market. There are a few things I want to buy, of course. The ladies from In Stitches are on their way back with a truck load of stuff, literally. And if you haven't seen it, go to the Essamplaire and take a look at Phebe Kreibel (2nd page of "This Year"). My stars, what a project. I've also had some nice ebay wins of charts I've been wanting to stitch forever, so it looks as if I'm going to be plenty busy this year, doesn't it?
I've finished block number four of Sampler Tendresse.
One more letter ("Y") to go in the left column. I love the way this looks, so I'm being patient with it, but those squiggles around the border of each letter will be the death of me.
Here's something new, by Renato Parolin, "Villagio." It's stitched on mystery 32 count fabric from my stash using the called-for DMC. I'd like to do all four houses and two Christmas trees. They're quick and easy, and a nice break from stitching big samplers.
Here's a close-up of the little houses.
And the whole project.
Peaches is taking a moment away from cuddling with Pink to say, "Happy winter Sunday!"