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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lucille's Quilt

Hey Blog Buddies,

The quilt guild that I belong to has many talented members, and there is one lady that does quilt appraisals.  She is very knowledgeable and she will not only tell you what she thinks the real worth of your quilt is, but also what it would probably fetch at auction (usually much lower) and she can guesstimate when the quilt was made and give you other interesting insights about it.  She does not mince words; if she thinks your quilt is not very valuable, she will tell you so.

My late MIL Lucille (she of the shrewd yard sale bargaining talents) had given me a quilt years ago that had been made by one of her aunts.  She didn't really know too much about the quilt, but I was thrilled to get it because, at that point, it was the first quilt I had ever owned--and it was (and is) beautiful.

The quilt is made up of these nine-patch blocks (consisting of 5 four-patches and 4 half square triangles), along with large blocks of solid green, all set on point.  It's not only hand-quilted but also hand-pieced.  I can't even imagine doing something like this.

The petals quilted in the solid green blocks
make the quilt more valuable, I'm told.

In this area there are quite a few
tiny holes in the fabric.
My quilt appraiser ("K") guessed
that a cat might have slept on it
once upon a time.

K thought the quilt was made in the late 1920's or early 1930's because of the fabrics and colors used in it.  The back of the quilt is plain muslin.  She was surprised that the quilt is so large (this, too, is queen coverlet size) because they usually didn't make them so large in those days.  And she was impressed by the condition of the quilt.

I have never had this quilt on the bed because up until recently we had multiple dogs, and you would never know when you'd find one of them up there.  I didn't want to risk it.  Instead, it lived on a quilt rack in the bedroom for many years.  Luckily, I did not put it in my cedar chest because I found out from K that that is the worst place to store quilts and linens.  The oils and sap from the cedar get into the fabric and stain it and start eating it away, and there's nothing you can do to fix it once that happens.  So if you have quilts or other valuable linens in a cedar chest, I suggest you relocate them now.

K also pointed out that it had been on someone's bed at some point because of the way the fabric is somewhat faded and worn in certain spots, something I did not notice and would not have put 2 and 2 together if I had.

The actual appraised value of the quilt was not my motivation for having it looked at, because I have no intention of ever selling it.  But in case you're interested, K thought the value of the quilt was approximately $500, but at auction it would fetch only about $125.

So that's the story of my quilt.  It's currently on the bed and will stay there (at least for a while).  If another 4-legged creature comes to live with us, it will probably seek safer ground.

Have a groovy weekend, and thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Fair Season!

Hey Blog Buddies,
I don't know about you, but this City Girl loves me some county fairs.  My favorite fair for the last couple of decades has been (and is) the Lake County (IN) Fair.  I had to put in IN, because we also have a Lake County here in IL.  (Lake County, IL, may have a Fair, but that's too far for me to drive.  Yes, Lake County IN is way closer to where I live.)

But today we went to the Porter County (IN) Fair.  The Porter County Fairgrounds are just south of Valparaiso ("Valpo" if you're a local).  One of the things I love about county fairs are contests like this:

This is the "tallest corn" contest.
As you can see, they are all
almost 13 feet high.

This year is also my first time entering some of my stitchy stuff in the Fair's "Home Economics Open Class."  (You knew there would be "stitchy stuff," didn't you?)  So, let's get right to it.

The photos are not the best.  It is pretty dark in the Expo Center, and you really can't use a flash because almost everything is behind glass (and I didn't bring a tripod, which would have helped alleviate camera shake).  But anyway.

A couple of friends from my Guild also entered, and I photographed most of their stuff, too.  S entered 5 items (3 are below) and D entered a whopping 12 items (11 are below).  I entered 4 things.  Let's start with the prolific D.  This lady doesn't have a blog.  She really needs to start one.  Wait'll you see her stuff:

This is in the "Wreath, Door or Holiday Decoration" class.
Love it!

This is a very lovely band sampler
being totally obliterated
by the sign which says
"Miscellaneous Needlecraft,
Combination of Techniques."
Why did they do that?

A darling scissor fob and needle case(?)
The blue you see lurking beneath the sign
is a ribbon.

The cutest little amulet bag that we did as a Guild project.
Love the colors that she chose!
Yes, another blue ribbon.

Yes, the category is
"Counted Thread
Up to 8" x 10"
Cross Stitch, Framed"
They have some weird categories, IMO.
Another blue ribbon.
And another great piece.

Very cute pillow (I'm running out of adjective).
The category is
"Special Occasion, Needleart"
Huh?  Isn't it all needleart?

Fabulous beaded ornie.
No ribbon.

The label and ribbon speak for themselves.
Yes, she beads, too.

More beady delights.
Another blue ribbon.

See the second place ribbon
on this Lavender and Lace angel?
This is a big piece, Blog Buddies--
I'm guessing 16 x 20 inches.
This is dedication.
I know by now you're probably
not feeling too sorry for D.
But second place, come on!

Here is what won first place:

This is in the
Counted Threadwork
Linen - Cross Stitch -Framed
Oh wait, I have a better photo.

Yes, it's mine.
But it's not exactly cross stitch.
I had entered it in a different category
(Other, maybe? - can't remember)
and was told to change it
by the intake person
when I brought it in.
It's not really big, about 7 x 7.
I'm not saying it's not nice, but
D, you were robbed!

Here is D's entry in the Sampler class (on linen).

Here is mine (on linen).

And here's the winner.
On aida cloth.
(You never know what the judges are thinking.)

This is a really spiffy canvas piece from S,
which lost to...

This little canvas piece of mine.
Really? Again, hmmm.
(It did look a little better
before the bow came out!)
These are just my opinions.

Here is a really cute needlebook from S.
I don't know if you can make it out,
but there's a darling tatted(!) butterfly
on the cover.

Here is a really stunning beaded necklace from S.
The photo doesn't do it justice.
She is an expert beader, too!

The fourth thing I entered
was this little canvaswork ornie.
There were only five ornaments entered!  Only five!

I often wonder why more stitchers don't try their luck at Fairs.  I know you all are out there.  I was disappointed not to see anything from Lelia or Karol, they've exhibited here in the past.  Maybe next year.  It really is a lot of fun.  The thing to remember is not to go in with any expectations.  Almost invariably, the pieces I think are shoo-ins don't do so well, and those that I think of as cannon fodder tend to surpise me.

I leave you with this:

Now where else but a county fair
could you get deep-fried Kool-Aid???

Hope you are all having Summer Fun.
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The April Bookmark

Yes, I know, I'm a little behind.  It's July 22nd, and I've just now finished the bookmark-of-the-month for April.

The reason the "petals" appear to have "teeth" is that the directions called for twisted bars, something that I had never tried.  I found it to be a little time consuming until I got my rhythm going.

After cutting the four long threads and
withdrawing them from inside the petal,
you bring your thread up in the middle
of one end.
Go down between threads 2 and 3
and come up between threads 1 and 2.

Then bring your thread down before thread 1,
and come up again between threads 2 and 3.

Then, pull your thread tight,
and you have your first twist.

Hard to see, and
not nearly as complicated
as it sounds here.

A close-up of some of the
finished petals.

Don't tell anyone that I
accidentally cut one of the threads
from one of the klosters
in the lower right corner.
I had to rip out
after everything was cut!

But, not to worry.
It was a relatively easy fix...
..not as bad as cutting
the wrong thread from the ground.
(Which I have also done, but not here.)

So, what project will I tackle next?  It's a nice dilemma.  If you are suffering from the heat this weekend, try to stay cool and get some stitching in.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Hey Blog Buddies,

Today is Half  Blogoversary Day for the Southpaw Stitcher but, more importantly, it was also Draw the Name Out of the Bowl Day.  First, I would like to thank you all for such a great response to my Giveaway and making this so much fun for me.  I had a ball doing it.

Yes, there really was (and is, I'm not a prompt tidier)
a bowl with names.

As mentioned in my original post about the Giveaway, my staff (currently only one person) was designated to draw the lucky name.

One of the requirements for employment at
The Southpaw Stitcher
is to be a good sport.
(And he is.)

So, are you still with me
or have you just scrolled to the bottom?
Patience, Blog Buddies!

The winner is:

Karen from New Brunswick, Canada!

Congratulations, Karen!

Again, thank you all who entered.
And thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Don't Forget...

If you haven't commented for a chance to win my Half Blogoversary Giveaway, you have until midnight (CDT) tonight, July 20, 2011, to do so.

I changed my comment form yesterday
to a pop-up window
like almost everyone else, I might add.
(I'm a little slow to catch on.)
So if you've been having trouble commenting,
it should work now.

Remember, don't comment on this post.
Click here to comment,
and for details on what one lucky
Blog Buddy will win.

Good luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Memoriam

Today would have been our Beulah's 13th birthday.
We made the decision to end her suffering
when this blog was about a month old.

She and I collaborated on a lot of things.
She is the co-founder of this blog.

But as much as I miss having her around,
we still remain dogless.
For many reasons,
I am fine with her being our "last dog."
DH is not.

And so, the conversation continues...

Happy Birthday, Miss B!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Third Ornie

Hey Blog Buddies,
I finished my third ornament!  Now I am all set for my Guild's display, items for which are due in November.  Don't believe I have ever been this early in getting them done.  Instead of the LHN ornament that I was planning on making to go with the other two, I opted for (surprise) something in blackwork.

The photos are of really poor quality.  I was rushing around, trying to get the ornament finished (and then photographed) and still be in time for the Guild meeting.  I wanted to include this third ornie with the other two I planned to give to the finisher.  One of the good things about belonging to a Guild--and there are many--is that you meet all sorts of talented people.  Our Guild has at least three members who finish ornaments and other small items for those, like me, who are challenged in that department.  (I strolled into the meeting with about a minute to spare.)

I had originally started stitching the ornament on an ecru ground, but with the gold in the bells, I didn't like how it was turning out.  But I kept on stitching the first bell, hoping that somehow by the time I was done I would love the look of the ornament.  You and I know that never works.  At least I decided to change the color of the ground (and the floss) after making only one bell.

It may not look much different in these photos, but the ground on the finished piece is white and, of course, I got rid of the gold fibers.  I am waiting impatiently for the "finished" finished ornies so that I can (hopefully) show you some decent snaps.

I got the pattern out of this book.  I found it, among other things, when I was cleaning out my closets last month.

It has lots of cute little patterns and gives you step-by-step instructions for a ton of filling stitches.  It would be great for a beginner who is interested in doing a little blackwork.  I believe I got mine at Nordic Needle.  Amazon might have it, too.  I'm sure there are many people reading this blog right now who are saying to themselves, "Gee, what a swell book!  Gotta get a copy for myself!"   One or two of you at least.  Anyone??  Oh well.

That's it for this installment.  If your locality is having hot and humid temps like us here in the Midwest, stay cool this weekend.  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

Hi Everybody,

First off, thanks so much for all of the kinds comments on my little giveaway.  They warm the cockles of my heart.

Today I had an idyllic morning planned.  DH was going to be out until early afternoon, so I had several hours of stitching planned--and I'm now back working on The Uptown Stitcher, my little lady.  But at 8:00 am, I got a call from the Site Manager of our local Meals on Wheels program.  She was in a bind because one of her Tuesday drivers couldn't make it, and she needed a sub.  (DH and I deliver meals to elderly shut-ins every Thursday.)  So, of course I said yes, because she is a very persuasive lady, and I didn't have anything that important planned.

I took photos some time ago along our Thursday route.
The name of this place is "Hope Center."
I have never seen it open in four years.

No, this is not a place we deliver meals to.  Just indicative of what the neighborhood is like.

Many, many boarded-up houses in this suburban neighborhood.
But all of our "clients" are nice people, grateful for the food delivery.

We've noticed that public improvements take quite a long time to get done in these neighborhoods.
These barricades, over a very roughly patched section of the street,
 lived near this intersection for at least a year and a half.
They were still there when we stopped our delivery to this street because our client had passed away.

I did not go into this particular neighborhood alone today. 
I was assigned to a "safer" route.
There was a new person on my route.
She's a real sweetie, and we had a nice chat.
She told me she was so happy to be getting a hot meal every day.
Before, all she was able to make for herself was sandwiches.

So, that was my morning.
We really do enjoy delivering the food.
Unless there's a blizzard.

But, back to my little lady.

There is a reason that she is taking so long to get done.  Here is a little tote bag that she is supposed to be carrying.

This is approximately 25-count, stitched over one.

The instructions were to make a bag by folding
this linen piece and sewing the sides.
Then sew a fabric lining separately, and line the little bag.
Whip stitch the lining to the linen.
That didn't work for me, so I had to frog.

So, I got my sewing machine out.
 With right sides together,
I sewed the lining to the linen on three sides.
Turned the piece inside out,
and carefully hand stitched the last side.

Here's what it look like.
I'm not super happy with the corners--they're too rounded.
But it is what it is.

Yes, Virginia, there is a fabric lining.

So I folded the "tote bag" and held it up to my little lady.
It's really too big.
More frogging, but not tonight.

Hope your stitching is going well, with no frogs.
Thanks for visiting!