Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good intentions, and some finishes

They say it takes time to establish a new habit.  Well, blogging is a new habit for me.  I really thought I'd be making at least a post or two per month, but time slips away.  Oh, well,  I'm here now, so what have I been up to?

Several finishes from my UFO pile - not sure where the pictures are right now.

More of the Needle Delights - Color Delights series.  I get this monthly as a autoship and enjoy Kathy's designs.  Each square is 72 x 72 on 18 count mono canvas with a variety of threads.  These are indeed delightful.

Have started some work on some correspondence courses.  I want to learn so many different things.  At least I have the instructions, and in most cases the materials.  Someday...

Big new start:  one of my stitching groups has started on Jeannette Douglas's "My Stitching Album".  The group started at a local craft store (which has since closed), working on Emie Bishop's "Unfinished Sampler".  Long story, that I'll save for another time.  Some people have left, others have joined, but the group continues to meet about once a month.

Here's a link to Jeannette's site and the project.  This is the first link I've tried adding.  You may need to copy/paste.

Some of the group are doing the pages with Jeannette's thread packs.  One woman has picked some adventurous fabrics to personalize the look.  Another woman finds silks difficult to use, so we're picking some overdyed cottons. 

My choice? Well, I picked a 'base' fabric of Lakeside Linens Maritime White (32 count) for alternate pages, and an assortment of fabrics for the other pages.  My dream is to design some pages of my own to add to the book.  So if I start with a mix, it won't look out of place if I can't get a perfect match later.

And threads?  A member of another local stitch group was part of a 'class' at another shop that stitched this project.  Seeing a finished project instead of a photo is like day and night.  Gorgeous, and nicely stitched, and an inspiration. I realized part of my reaction to the project was that Jeannette's choice of colors aren't my favorites.  I think when this series was initially released, it came as a kit for each page.  We're able to buy charts and threadpacks separately, so I'm buying just the charts.

My threads -- let's talk about the cover page.  Jeannette used a light fabric, and the variegated blue/gold/green as the key color (Gloriana Blue Grass).  My choice is a darker fabric with Waterlilies Mulberry, Crescent Belle Soie Rosebud, and Au Ver a Soie blue -- 1715?  The front cover is nearly complete.  The wording is stitched over-1, so I need my lamp and magnification.

I've picked my 'key' color for each fabric, and now have put the pages in order

Some people might think it's boring to all work on the same project.  Because of people mixing and matching fabric and threads, we will have many different looks.

I will get pictures in  - but not today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From UFO pile to WIP - Cleopatra's Cat

I'm making progress on one project from that big UFO pile: a correspondence course from the Embroiderer's Guild of America (EGA)  This one is a needlepoint sampler called Cleopatra's Cat.  The color photo attracted me with its vivid blues and gold.  Was a bit disappointed when I bought the threads, and they were more in the slate blue, almost wedgewood, family.  Sigh.  It isn't the first time a picture hasn't accurately captured the colors.

I started the project in summer 2010, outlining about half the areas with smyrna crosses, and then it sat until last week.  Now, I am "counting-challenged", and I know it.  In the past, I would make mistakes, then work around them, to results that might be less than satisfactory.  Bet you've never done that!.  Now, I'll spend more time evaluating the mistake, and am more likely to correct it.  Doesn't necessarily take more time than working around an error.  Live and learn.

Back to this cat.  I was outlining the head, and it didn't meet correctly.  I spent an hour or two looking for the mistake.  Even had a friend look during a stitch group meeting yesterday.  She couldn't find it either.  I undid most of the head, and the left shoulder.  Today I redid them, and it met correctly.  Hooray!

Oh, back to counting:  rather than doing the full smyrna crosses, I did the X's around an area, and then did a second pass to add the +'s.  The back may not be as neat, and it probably uses a bit more thread, but it's much easier and quicker to undo when I make a mistake.

Notice the tail?  After discovering the error on the head, I decided to start the filling stitches so I could see progress.  Each region is a different pattern.  Most are composite stitches using two or more threads.  Some go quickly, and some take a while.

We're expecting more snow, so I hope to make more progress in the next few days. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

UFO pictures

OK, I'm not a super photographer.  That said, here are pictures of the projects I'm including in the UFO challenge for 2011.  Will I get them all done?  Not a chance.  Can I finish a dozen?  Maybe.

Here's a list, in no particular order
1    Liz Turner Diehl, Miniature Persian Rug (Jewel Tone version)
2    Amaryllis Artwords/Denise Harrington Pratt - A Treasure for Linda
3    The Apple Tree from Threaded Treasures/Joann Pfeifer Montgomery
4    XOctagon #7, Terry Gifford/Kick Back & Stitch
5    Textile Heritage Collection, Ancient Thistle bookmark
6    Little House Needleworks, Scripture series, Faith
7    Just Nan, Keep a Little Secret
8    Mill Hill, Holiday Series 1, Winter Wonderland
9    Mill Hill, Holiday Series X, Noel Angel
10    Calico Crossroads, Star Spangled Scissor Finder
11    Victoria Sampler, Christmas Humbug -- started for her contest
12    Just Nan, Black Magic
13    Faberge Egg, Teal Egg with Purple and Gold Crest;  have series of 12, about 3-4 completed
14    Xs and Ohs, Gospel Acronyms, F.R.O.G - Fully Relying on God
15    Mill Hill, Charmed Mitten, Angel Heart
16    Textile Heritage Collection, Damask Rose bookmark
17    Stitch Your Heart Out (SYHO series), Rosewood Manor, My Two Ducks - that alphabet!
18    Plum Pudding Needleart, Christmas Sampler in Red - done ON Lakeside Linen Renaissance Red  w/Belle Soie Icing
19    DebBee's Designs, Glitz and Glamour, Sapphire
20    The Drawn Thread, Give PEACE a Chance
21    Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartely, Album (Lauren Sauer?)
22    Lavender and Lace, Santa (exact title??)
23    Designs for Learning, Linda Barry, Elizabethan Treasures
24    Sekas, Watercolour Ornaments I
25    DebBee's Designs, Books of the Bible
26    The Queen Stitch, Blackberry Tuffet and Fob
27    Teresa Wentzler, Noah's Ark Sampler (no picture yet - not sure where the project is)
28    Erica Michaels - Stitcher's Surprise (no picture yet)
29    EGA - GCC - Cleopatra's Cat (no picture yet)
30    Dawn Lewis Bands of Silk and Gold
31    Threads Through Time - Mermaid Sampler (on silk gauze)

 So what's in your stash? What would encourage you to finish it, pass it along, or declare it an experiment that didn't work? 

Breadcrumbs along the Journey

Are you a stitcher/embroiderer?  Many of the other stitchers I know fall into two main categories:  those who work on one project at a time, and those who work on several.  Those of us in the second category often accumulate a large stack of "UFOs".  That's "UnFinished Objects" in stitching jargon.

One of the shops I buy from is having a UFO challenge this year.    The details didn't come out until Saturday, Jan 1, 2011.  Completion of each UFO earns a chance at a gift certificate.  I've been thinking about it since she first mentioned it.  Wasn't sure I wanted to know just how many unfinished items I have.  More than can be done in one year, and then there are all the projects just waiting to be started.

But it would be nice to get some of those partly done projects finished.  One benefit would be to "release" the threads back to "inventory" -- so I can find them when I want them.  Another would be to be able to give the ones that were intended as gifts. 

Along the way, there may be a few that I decide I'll never finish.  And that's OK.  One way or another I'll get them off my mind.

I've thought about a stitching blog off and on.  About two years ago I started keeping a stitching journal.  Just simple -- dates and what I worked on.  It's been fun.  It's a way to measure progress, or to say "has it really been that long since I picked up that project?"

Yesterday I pulled out many of my UFOs and took pictures.  Today I created this blog.  Now how do I put photos in here?