I love it all: embroidery, canvaswork, quilting, crochet. So much to do, so little time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Girl Can Change her Mind, Can't She?

Hey Blog Buddies,
I believe I mentioned that I had started stitching my last holiday gift recently.  Well I finished it, and guess what--I've decided to keep the newly stitched piece and make another one for my friend (we are not getting together until January 4th, more than enough time to finish another piece).

Anyway, the piece I was originally going to give to her had a couple of errors in it.  I'm sure she wouldn't notice them, but I would know that they were there.  Here is a photo of the finished piece:

This is "Winter" (aptly titled)
from a leaflet by Lizzie Kate
entitled "Winter Crazy."
The ground is the called-for
30-count WDW Morris Blue.
I grabbed whatever DMC threads
in my stash that
I thought would work.

(No, I'm not going to
point out the errors!)

There is another design in the leaflet
that is all about snow
(which she loves and I definitely don't).
I'm stitching that for her now.

Hope everyone had time for stitching
during the long holiday weekend.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

No matter which holiday you celebrate:
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the Solstice,
have a happy and safe one.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Greek to Me

Hey Blog Buddies,
Did you ever feel that you were spending a little too much time on one project?  Did the shapes that you were stitching (and stitching and stitching) take on a life of their own, reminding you of other, entirely unrelated things?  Do your projects ever talk to you?

Well, that's about where I'm at right now.  Here are a few progress pics by way of explanation:

A week or so ago,
this is where I was at
on CT13 (the red Christmas tree).
Well, that's obviously the top of
a Greek architectural column.
Don't believe me??

...oh yeah!!

Here is my latest progress pic
from said project:

It should be apparent to anyone
that these are the snakes that Medusa
(from Greek mythology)
was condemned to wear
in place of hair.


Color those snakes red
and you couldn't tell the difference!

"Hee, hee, hee," Southpaw cackles insanely.

My final progress pic
is of my Little Lady.
Thought I'd forgotten
about her, didn't you?
(So did she.)

At least she has feet now.
But you'll notice she still
doesn't have a mouth.
That's so she can't start
complaining at 2 o'clock in the morning,
"Hey you over there in bed.
Why aren't you over here
working on me?"

CT13 and I are going to take a little break.
It's going on hiatus because
last night I started stitching
(yes only just started)
my final holiday gift.

Now that's planning ahead!

Hope your projects have
nothing but nice things
to say about you!

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, December 16, 2011

An Early Christmas Present

Hey Blog Buddies,
Earlier this week I went to Indiana to see a talented woodworker named Rick.  He makes wooden quilt hangers, and they are quite nice.  I 've used one of his hangers for a couple of years for the wallhangings displayed in the dining room.  Now I have another one for smaller pieces on the wall upstairs in the computer/sewing room.

The piece shown here
was actually offered as a class
about five years ago
by my embroidery guild!
It was what got me started on quilting.
Prior to doing this,
I didn't even have a sewing machine!
I know you're thinking that
this wasn't a beginner's project.
I didn't let that stop me, though.

Here's a glimpse of how the hanger works:
it's two pieces of wood
fastened together by several screws.
Loosen the screws,
slide the quilted piece in,
tighten them back up,
and it's ready to hang.

That's all I've got for ya today.
Have a groovy weekend.
And thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So Long, Erica

Erica Wilson died today.  She was 83 years old.

This is the first embroidery book
that I ever owned.

She was an inspiration to
us Baby Boomers
back in the day.
(She still owned a needlework store
at the time of her death.)

Thank you, Erica.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Very First Ornament

Hey Blog Buddies,

I admire those bloggers who post their vintage stuff complete with name of design and designer, type of linen and floss and even start and finish dates!  I must admit that I was very bad about keeping track of what I made and when I made it before I started this here blog.  I never took photos back then, either.  I do, however, have an educated guess about what was the very first Christmas ornament that I made.

This was made not too long
after we got our first dog--
Maxine, a basset--
on July 30, 1976.
That date I do remember!
I don't remember
ever making any ornaments
prior to that.

I can tell you that it's
crewel embroidery on felt
(the long and short stitch with
French knots for the hat fur).
Crewel was BIG in the 70's
for those of you
too young to remember.

What was the first ornament you made?

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Visit with Santa

Hey Blog Buddies,

Yesterday the folks at our veterinarian's office threw a holiday party.  There were cookies, cakes and all kinds of goodies to eat.  If you donated a new toy for a needy child, you could get a free nail trim for your pet.  Santa even made an appearance for a few photo ops.

Molly wasn't too happy after this photo.
They used a squeaky toy to get her attention
(with spectacular results)
but she didn't get to play with it!

Hope your holiday preparations
are going along smoothly.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Hey Blog Buddies,

As if I don't have enough WIPs going on,
I made another start today:

This is CT13 by Alessandra Adelaide.
"Say what?" you may be thinking.
Alessandra Adelaide is a European designer.
Italian, I believe, but correct me if I'm wrong.
Her stuff is available at the big Internet needlework shops,
and also at my LNS.
Some of you may have seen her work,
but I haven't noticed it being done
on any of the blogs I follow.
A lot of her patterns are swirly.

This is what it will look like finished....

... some day.

Yeah, don't let the close-up fool you.
The stitch count is 168 x 207!!

I'm using Gloriana Silks "Poinsettia"
on a very pretty 32-count white opalescent linen
which doesn't show up here at all.
(Weather here is overcast, of course.)
The width of the linen is 17 inches.
As you can see, it just barely fit
onto the widest of my scroll bars.

I like so many of her designs
it was hard to choose which one to stitch.
Many of them are quite large,
like this one,
so this might be the only one I tackle.

If you want to see more of her stuff,
her blog is here.
She does some cute
minimalist animals, too.

That's about it for today.
Hope everyone had a groovy weekend
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just in Time for December...

...I put the last stitches into the binding of my holiday quilt last night at quarter to ten.  When I got the quilted piece back from my LQS, I put off the binding for at least a week because the job seemed  like such a pain in the butt so daunting.  It's not like it's the first time I've ever bound a quilt, but sometimes my ambition just evaporates.

In this photo, the red seems to dominate,
but in person it fights for attention
with all the leaves in the
cream-colored fabric.
I'm still thinking it looks a little busy (sigh).

There are many leaves
in the cream-colored fabric.

I chose a medium drab green
for the quilting thread.
I wanted it to fade into the background,
which it does.

It now lives on my dining room wall.
Not planning to take it down
until at least February!

And while I was in a binding mood
had my sewing machine out,
I decided to finally finish-finish
the quilt-as-you-go square
that I put together in May.

This binding was sewn
entirely by machine--
a first for me.
If you look closely,
you can see that I used
a 3-step zigzag
to tack it down
instead of hand sewing.
The corners gave me
conniption fits!
(They still need to be "fixed" by hand.)

This the the "wrong" side.
The corners look better.
But it was a learning experience.
From now on, after I attach the binding to a quilt,
I'll finish it by hand.
It's much less stressful for this stitcher.

Happy December!
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Holiday Ornie--Finished!

Here is my second Laura J. Perin ornie--finished--from Holiday Ornaments, Series 1.

I chose the traditional bright red and green colorway.

 I think this one is even cuter
than the first one I finished
(which was pretty darn cute).
The variegated yarn is
Caron Collection's Watercolours "Holiday."

There are two more ornaments in the series.
Once I finish them, I will probably pick one
to stitch again.
Then I will have five,
enough for a cube.
(The bottom will be fabric.)

But that's a project for 2012.

Hope you're having a great weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

to all my friends in the United States.

To my friends in other parts of the world,
Happy Thursday!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mail Order

Hey Blog Buddies,

Do you ever get your stitching supplies by mail order?  I use the term loosely, because sometimes the stuff comes by UPS or FedEx.  Maybe from one of the needlework stores which has a big on-line presence and a glitzy website?   I know I have, and you probably have, too.  And it's great fun surfing these sites, looking at the pretty photos of merchandise and putting an item or three into your virtual cart.  I have shopped at these sites in the past, and more than likely will continue to do so.

But let me tell you about my experience this past week--and I am going to name names.  A certain chart had caught my eye, and I also needed to price out some evenweave fabric for a class for next year.  So I called The House of Stitches.  I have gone to them before with funky requests, such as 30-count Onyx linen by WDW, and they have never not had the item in stock.  I prefer the telephone for two reasons:  I can instantly know whether or not they have the item I'm looking for and, quite frankly, their website is a wee bit clunky.  Within a minute of their answering the phone, I found out that they had:

...the chart that I was looking for...

...and they were able to kit it up for me...

...the called-for 36-count buttercream linen
and all the over-dyed floss
all wrapped up in a pretty ribbon.
They didn't have to do that.
But I was really impressed--
it's the little things...

...and I got a free chart!
I don't even get free charts when
I make a personal appearance
at my LNS...

...and the evenweave I was inquring about?
...they sent me samples
of all the different types
that they have in stock
(with pricing info) on a little card.

And yes, that's a handwritten
thank-you note next to it.
I get one of those
every time I place an order.

You don't get those
at the "big box" stores!

They usually ship the order
the same day that I call,
so I get my goodies
in 2 or 3 days, tops.

I have only one complaint
about the House of Stitches.
It's a 120-mile round-trip drive
from my house.
I'd love to go there
on a weekly basis
and be able to
fondle all their merchandise!

But this is the next best thing.
And they only add
the cost of the postage--
no "handling" charges.

And, no, I'm not related to the owner
or anyone who works there.

Now for a quick update on the
Laura J. Perin needlepoint ornament
that I started this week.

It's a quick and fun stitch.
Well, the metallic ribbon
does slow me down,
but it contributes a lot to the look.

If I were making an ornament
to hang on a tree, this would be a 
good stopping point because
it's a good size (about 3" x 3").

But I have other plans for it,
so I'll continue on and stitch the entire
4.5" x 4.5" ornament.

Hope you were able to stitch this weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Odds and Ends

Hey Blog Buddies,

It's been awhile since we last spoke.  I've been working on a piece for a class I'm going to teach next year.  Unfortunately, I can't show it yet, but the good news is it's now finished and I'm itching to go on to other things.

What I can show you is this darling little ornament that I purchased at the Quilters Plus boutique earlier this month.

Isn't it just the cutest thing?
All those tiny prairie points--
I would never attempt anything like this.
But I don't have to because
this ornie is now mine!

I also had another little Hallowe'en finish,
unfortunately not in time for the day itself...

This is a little Mill Hill kit
that I picked up at a white elephant sale.
The photo is much larger than life.
I just need to trim the perforated paper
and put a hanger on it,
and it will be ready for next year... soon as I find my "paper" scissors!

I got a call from my LQS earlier this week
letting me know that
 my Christmas wall hanging
is all quilted and ready to be picked up.
Woo hoo!  That was fast!
I really should pick the piece up
even though I don't have my binding ready.
It should inspire me to get
my binding ready.

Last but not least
I started a new piece yesterday
at my Wednesday needlepoint group.

This is the second of four in
Laura J. Perin's Holiday Ornaments,
American Quilt Collection.
I love them all!

That about wraps it up.
If it's cold where you are
(like here in the Midwest),
stay warm!

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Boutique is Here!!

Hey Blog Buddies,
I just wanted to give you all a heads up about the Boutique that's going on today and tomorrow.  My quilt guild does this on the first Friday and Saturday of November every year, and it is really fabulous.

The members of our Guild make tons of stuff
for this boutique.
(Last year there were over 20,000 items!)
There are also several selected outside vendors.
The location is the Community Center
of the Flossmoor Community Church,
Carroll Pkwy. and Hutchinson Rd., Flossmoor, IL.
If you live within 50 miles of Flossmoor,
it's well worth a trip.
(Don't forget your checkbook!)

The website for the Guild is here.
Click on the Boutique 2010 link in the header
to get a sampling of what last year's Boutique was like.
Be patient, it takes a little while
for all of the photos to load.

My pathetically small contribution is below.

Two scarves, one knit and one crocheted.

A funky, little patchwork heart ornament.
I am not good at sewing curved seams.
Everyone was asked to make one.
There will be lots there that are nicer.

Finally, I whipped up a bunch of
little covers for travel tissue packs.
(I haven't had that much sewing experience, folks!)

But, don't worry, there are many sewing wizards in our Guild.
Some of the hand-made items for sale are:
holiday ornaments, table toppers, quilts,
knitted and crocheted items,
jewelry, dolls, purses,
the list goes on and on.

Hope to see you there tomorrow.
Have a great weekend,
and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Finishes, and a Class

Hey Blog Buddies,

A month or two ago I showed you my NOEL ornie before it was sent off to Karen for finishing.  Well, I got it back yesterday and can't wait to show you how it turned out.

You take a scrap of linen with
some cross stitching on it,
give it to Karen
and she turns it into a work of art!

It was a little too big for an ornament,
so I asked her to finish in as a box.
At our Guild meeting last night,
there were about 20-25 items
for Show and Tell.
At least half of them
(including this beauty)
were finished by Karen.
She is one busy lady!

This is an Erica Michaels design
from the 2008 JCS Christmas Ornament issue.
Needless to say,
I'm thrilled with the end product.

This is a Lizzie Kate freebie
that I stitched up for Averyclaire
who is having a birthday tomorrow!
Happy birthday!

Last but not least,
this is an ornament from Chickadee Hollow Designs
that I finished last year
and taught at Guild last night.
It's basic surface embroidery,
stitched through two thicknesses of fabric:
the muslin with the printed design
and a piece of batting.

It was the first class I've taught.
Nineteen out of the 22 who signed up were there!
It was noisy, and a lot of fun.

Hope your November is starting off great.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Finished Quilt Top ... and a BBD

Hey Blog Buddies,

Today marks another milestone in my quilt project:  all 30 blocks have been completd and assembled into a quilt top.  I like it well enough, but the combination of the 2-1/4" squares, with lots of half square triangles thrown in, plus the pattern in my "light" fabric make it all a little ... well ... busy.  Sometimes I think I should just stick to quilt kits and leave the fabric selection to the professionals.

The display hanger in this photo
is the Southpaw Stitcher staff.

Now I'm rethinking sending it out
to be quilted because
I'm not sure I want
another pattern
on top of it all.

I've never quilted anything
quite this large before,
but I may attempt a simple
stitch-in-the-ditch finish.

I'll take it to my LQS tomorrow
to pick out backing fabric
and make my decision then.

But anyway, last week I had taken Molly
to the groomer for a soothing
oatmeal bath for her skin.
As we were leaving,
the owner of the shop
thanked me for getting a BBD.
"A beebbee what?" I asked.
It was pretty early in the morning.
"A BBD--big, black dog," she replied.

(Yes, she's big, black and a dog.)

I was probably eyeing her strangely at this point,
because she went on to explain
that shelters and rescues have
a harder time adopting out
BBD's than other dogs.
Theories abound on why this is so.
They don't photograph well, and
a lot of folks pick out dogs on the Internet.
People associate them with
Rotties and Dobermans
and are more fearful of them.
They can't be seen as well in
the back of a cage.
BBD's even have their own rescue.

Needless to say, I was surprised.
I had never heard about
the BBD syndrome before.

We chose Molly because she seemed
so calm, we leaned toward females,
and thought she was a "good" size.
Who knew?

This happens almost every time she
goes out into the yard.
She's obsessed with squirrels.

If we had known about
BBD syndrome beforehand,
we would have added "black"
to our list of preferences.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Two (Count 'em) Two Finishes

Greetings, Blog Buddies,

Thanks for all your comments--I enjoy reading every one.  Today I have not one, but two, finishes to share with you.  First is Jack O'Lantern, found in the BBD 'Tis Hallowe'en booklet....

He's such a happy fellow.

This is another 40-count-over-2 piece.

He might be appearing somewhat larger on-screen
 than he is in real life.
Many tiny crosses were involved in this piece.

Which is why I particularly enjoyed my next finish...

This is from Laura J. Perin's
Holiday Ornaments, Series 1

It's on 18-count canvas (love it!).
I don't need magnification to work this one.

This canvaswork piece is a whopping 4-3/4 inches square--
too big to finish as an ornament, in my opinion.
It can't hide behind Jack O'Lantern!

So I decided to make all four ornies in the set
plus one extra, then finish them as a cube.
The sixth side will be covered in fabric.
Fortunately, I realized at the outset
that each ornie in the set was a different size!
They varied from 80 stitches square
up to 86 stitches square.

I figured the easiest route would be to adjust the smaller ones
so that they would be 86 stitches square.
This one was charted for 82 stitches square--
I added the extra ecru border over two
to make it the size I needed.

We're having "October's bright blue weather" here today.
Hope you are enjoying your weekend,
whatever the weather.

Thanks for visiting!