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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013!

the Southpaw Stitcher
and her Staff
are wishing you a
happy, healthy and stitchy
New Year!
See you in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The 2012 WIPocalypse-Final Report

Hey Blog Buddies,
For those of you celebrating the holidays, I hope you had a wonderful time.  I did.  I even managed to carve out time to stitch!

In an effort to catch up with the actual calendar month, I stitched two months' worth of Crabby All Year this month.  If I do the same thing in January, I'll be caught up.  October you've already seen--here is November:
That cat is awfully fat!
I don't know if he's a relative, too, or just a friend...

I've also made progress on my Circle Dance quilt top this month:

I've been sewing just three blocks per day.
As the tortoise said in the fable:
"slow and steady wins the race."
About a week ago I decided to sew
what blocks I had into rows.
Above are four of the five rows I've sewn together.
If I keep at it, this should get done
in a couple of weeks.

I've also made progress on Hare's Christmas.
I'm hoping to finish it soon, and
will show you a photo when that happens.

We survived the Apocalypse and even the WIPocalypse, too!  This was a fun SAL, and though I didn't complete everything on my list--it was a really ambitious list--it kept me focused throughout the year.  I had 22 projects on my list, 12 were finished, 3 are WIPs in my current rotation, and 7 are (cough, cough) still UFOs.  Of those seven, there are only two that are still calling my name.  I'm working on my 2013 to-stitch list, and it's really hard to get it down to a manageable size.  I'm trying to be more realistic about what I will actually have the time to stitch next year!

All of my 2012 WIPocalypse before-and-after photos are on a separate page.  If you have some time and are so inclined, grab a cuppa and click here to peruse them.

Have a good weekend!
And thanks for visiting!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

(vintage ornament from Lizzie*Kate)

To all my friends:
Here's hoping you have the happiest holiday season ever!

Monday, December 17, 2012

December IHSW - A Finish and A Start

Hey Blog Buddies,

This is the last IHSW for 2012, and it was a good weekend here for indoor activities such as stitching:  chilly, gray and rainy all weekend.  I did do things other than stitch:  got my Christmas cards done--another indoor activity.  But Christmas card writing is not what brought you here.  Let's check out my finish...

This is my fifth (of five) Laura J. Perin canvaswork ornament.
The first four were from her
American Quilt Collection, Holiday Ornaments-Series 1.
Not wanting to have to stitch a duplicate from there
(I plan on finishing the five as a cube),
I discovered a bonus ornament chart to go along with
her Red Hot Peppers chart which I also have.
I switched the colors around to make it Christmasy.

Here is a collage of the first four charts
to refresh your memory...

All five of these charts are at the finisher's as I write this.
They won't be ready for Christmas,
but I've got a headstart on the holidays for 2013!

Recently, I've been kitting up a lot of things for next year,
and I had a hankering to start one of them.
But I was good (surprise!) and went off of my 2012 list
and started Plum Street Samplers' Hare's Christmas.
I got more done than I expected...

The fabric is a pretty buttercream,
but the lighting was bad for all the photos.
I decided to stitch this one in hand,
and I think the stitching went faster.
Back in the day (waay back in the day),
I stitched most projects in hand,
but then went to Q-snaps.
Anything bigger than 6" x 6" is a little too heavy
(for me at this point)
if you don't have a gizmo to hold your work.
I have priced a couple of systems out,
and they are quite expensive.
So for now, this will be my
stitching method of choice.

Thank you so much, Joyce, for hosting
this fun SAL this year, and I'm looking forward
to joining in again in 2013.
To see what my fellow hermitters have been up to,
go to Joyce's blog.

That's it for now.
Thank you for all the wonderful comments,
and thanks, as always, for visiting!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zombies in December!

Hey Blog Buddies,

Several days ago I was looking at my Victoria Sampler Tudor Tassel ornament chart--just the cutest thing--thinking I should start it, but when I started looking at the finishing instructions, it gave me a headache.  I realized what I needed to do at that point was some nice, mindless block stitching, so out came Crabby.  Of course, I'm a couple of months behind (October was up next) but who cares if Halloween was six weeks ago!  It finished up fast, so here is October from Crabby All Year:

I'm pretty sure those green things
are zombie hands coming up out of the ground
beside the headstone.

Again, I just placed the buttons on top of the piece.
I'm going to have a lot of buttons to sew on
once all the stitching is done!

The other thing I wanted to share with you
is a gift I received yesterday from my friend Anne.

Isn't this just the cutest thing!
It's about 3 inches long, and it's already on my tree.
Knitting a mitten is something I wouldn't do,
but I do love my newest ornie.
The colors are just perfect!

Well, that's it for this time.
I think I'm going to do something more seasonal
for IHSW this weekend.
Don't know what IHSW is?
Head on over to Joyce's blog
to find out about this fun monthly SAL and join us.

Until then,
thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ornament Exchange

Hey Blog Buddies,

It's a lovely, if somewhat brisk, day here in Northern Illinois.  Our embroidery guild hosted its annual Christmas party last night, and everyone had a grand time.  One of the things we do each year is an ornament exchange.  Those who want to participate bring a wrapped ornament that they made and get to pick another ornament sight unseen.  Here is the beautiful ornament that I unwittingly chose:

This was made by my friend averyclaire,
it's a Little House Needleworks design
and I absolutely love it!
You should check out her blog--
she is not only an embroiderer but she also does
beautiful hand quilting, too.

Here is what I made for the exchange...

This is from the 2011 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
and the designer is Casey Buonaugurio.
I liked the design so much I made one for myself.
The first one I did is on the left.
While sewing it together,
I forgot the cording for the hanger,
so I just used a piece of #16 Kreinik.
I also sewed it really close to the embroidered design
which made the finished product even tinier.
I learned from my mistakes on the second one,
which is the one that I brought for the exchange.
But I'm quite happy with the somewhat flawed one that I kept--
it has character.  heheh
The tree trunks are pieces of one of "Molly's sticks"
from our backyard.
The weird thing is that averyclaire chose my ornament!
This was just a happy coincidence, not planned.

That's it for now.
Hope you are having a wonderful December day.
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIPocalypse 2012 - November Report

Hey Blog Buddies,

It's full moon time, and that means a WIPocalypse check-in--the penultimate one, I might add.  And the exciting news this month is that we have a finish-finish!  I started Shepherd's Bush Take Joy on Sunday evening and finish-finished her up late last night.

The finish-finishing was easy because
I had the perfect box for the piece.
Yes, that's a box and not a frame.
Photographing it was a little tricky
--even with a polarizing filter--
because of the glass on top.
Don't you just love the cute little sheep
standing on top of the basket?

I also made progress on my Circle Dance quilt
and Crabby All Year--click here for photos
if you haven't already seen them.

Only one more WIPocalypse update to go!
Where has the year gone?
Stephen King has an interesting hypothesis
about what happens to time in "The Langoliers"
but I digress.
I've had too much Chai tea this morning, I guess.

Hope your weekend was wonderful
with maybe a little time to stitch, too.

Thanks, as always, for visiting!

Monday, November 26, 2012

September is an Ugly Month

Hey Blog Buddies,

Hope you had a great weekend.  Between all the made-from-scratch leftovers that my friend Joyce sent with us on Thursday (yum!) and the stitching/sewing I got done, it was a good one for me.

First up, as you might expect from the title, is Crabby All Year's September.  Yes, it is ugly, but that's why I like it because all of Crabby's months are ugly in some form!

There was a lot of stitching with this one,
between the bag of leaves and the large pile of
(you guessed it) leaves.
I just placed the buttons on top
to pretty it up a bit and so that
you can see what the finished product
will look like.
I'm sure that there are parts of the world
where all the leaves fall off the trees in September,
but here in northern Illinois it's more like
late October/early November.
However, the ladies have something different planned
for those months.

While I was plugging away at September,
I was also busy cutting fabric for my quilt.
I finished that task, much to my surprise,
and thought I'd start out with sewing a small block.
The plan is to crease the two pieces down the middle,
line up the creases and pin.

The first two pieces:
sew the two curved sides together.
They suggest using the one-pin method,
but that didn't work for me.
I need three pins, one in the middle
and one on each end.
I'm acquainted with many people
who could whip this out in the blink of an eye.
I am not one of them.

But I did get a block finished:

Not really perfect, but kinda close.
For me, this is as good as it gets.
If all my blocks turn out like this,
I'll be a happy camper.

The  construction of the above block took a long time--
and a lot of stress.
I only had to rip out two seams.
My goal is one per day, until I reach seven.
Then, it's on to the larger pieces.

In the meantime, I plan to start another stitching project
from my 2012 list.
It's the hand embroidery that will keep me sane.

Until next time,
thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I'm grateful for you, all the great folks
I've met through my blog.
To all my US friends, Happy Thanksgiving!
To my international friends,
Happy Thursday!

Thanks, as always, for visiting!

Monday, November 19, 2012

November IHSW: Assisi, Batiks and September

Hey Blog Buddies,

I had no finishes this time around--and I knew that would be the case going into the weekend--so I decided to do something a little zany for me:  three starts!  I'm feeling a little chatty today, so maybe you should get a "cuppa" or an energy drink before we embark on our journey...  ...Got everything you need?  Good, let's go!

As the year draws to a close, I keep glancing at the 2012 goals list on my sidebar.  Now I knew quite a while ago that I wouldn't be able to finish all the projects, but it would be nice to at least put a few stitches in all of them.  So that is the reason for the three starts.

First, I chose Christmas Elegance by Milady's Needle.  Here is what the pattern looks like:

I chose the top left version,
only I'm doing it in green silk.
The difference between the top and bottom versions
is that one is the negative image of the other.
In other words, the top trees have the background stitched
and the bottom trees are the opposite.
They call the top versions Assisi stitching.
Normally in Assisi the entire background is stitched
and the design is left blank.
That's true here only for the tree.

Since I was doing the design with one strand
on 40-count linen, I was somewhat concerned about coverage.
The directions suggested doing "Two-Sided Italian Cross Stitch"
for better coverage, and the stitch was even diagrammed.
The best way I can describe it is
a cross stitch with a back stitch on the left and bottom.
This makes for a very dense, chunky stitch,
even if you're using only one strand!

I did the border in regular cross stitch and
decided to do the potted tree in Two-Sided Italian Cross Stitch.
You would not believe how long it took me
to stitch the pot!
And no, ripping the pot out at this point
is not an option.
Ripping anything more than a couple of stitches of
Two-Sided Italian Cross Stitch is not an option!
I don't have a crystal ball,
but this little guy might not get finished
by the end of the year.

Next I decided to go for another challenge:
Elisa's Backporch Circle Dance quilting pattern.
Sewing curves (shudder).
Here is a photo of the pattern to refresh your memory.

I wasn't crazy about the fabric in this photo,
so I decided to start over with some very bright batik fabric instead.
Don't worry--I hadn't gotten far
and the above fabric was used to make
some very cute ort bags this summer.

No sewing yet, just cutting,
and only 12 pieces of each element cut.
I'll need to cut 40 total of each of the smaller elements,
and (ahem) 106 of each of the larger.
But it's a start--and I love the fabric!

The last is not technically a start
since I've been working on this project a good part of the year,
but it's a start on a month.
Yes, Crabby All Year is back after an extended absence!

You can tell this is September, right?  No?
Well you'll be able to recognize it soon,
because I plan to finish September
before I move onto anything else.

That wraps up my November IHSW.
To check out the other hermitters,
visit Joyce's blog here.

Hope you had a grand weekend,
and got some stitching in, too.
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He's B-a-a-ck!

Hey Blog Buddies,

You may remember Quaker Cardinal, my rotund bird, that I finished stitching last month.  I gave him to Karen from our Guild (to finish-finish) at the October meeting and I got him back already!  I wasn't expecting her to do this so soon because this is obviously her busy time with lots of holiday ornies to do, etc.  It's kind of like Christmas in November...

The light isn't good today.
I'm not fond of using flash, so I took him outside.

The sun was trying to shine..

Karen, you are the Greatest. Finisher. Ever!

Thanks, everyone, for visiting!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Craft Project: Finished!

Just Another Button Company's Lazy Turtle Pincushion

Have a great weekend!
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, October 29, 2012

WIPocalypse 2012, October Report

Hey Blog Buddies,

The full moon is here once again, and I'm happy to report I did much better on my WIPocalypse list than I did last month--which was no progress on anything, so the bar was really low to begin with!

I finished Blackbird Design's Night Song Hallowe'en ornament.  The photo is here.  Also completed is part four of Laura J. Perin's Christmas Ornaments, Series 1, as reported earlier this month.  The photo is here.  And since I was in a Hallowe'en mood after putting up my small black tree, I decided to tackle Blackbird Design's Haunted House because I still have a lot of empty branches!

My linen was not as dark as the model's
(it may not look that way from the photos,
but, trust me, it is!)
so I used darker-hued floss instead.
In order to make the house look a little more haunted,
I "turned off the lights," opened the front door a little way,
made the chimney crooked,
and added a couple of bats flying over the roof.
Since I used DMC 3371 for the stepping stones,
they look more like spiders to me.
That was unintentional, but I like it!

Below is the stitched model:

Hopefully, the ornie will be finished-finished
by Hallowe'en!
I'm currently working on a little craft project
but can't show it to you now, because it's going to be a gift!

Click here  to see everyone's October WIPocalypse progress.

I hope everyone on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA
stays safe from hurricane Sandy.

Until next time, thanks for visiting!

Monday, October 22, 2012

October IHSW: Four Down, One to Go

Hey Blog Buddies,

I got a lot of stitching done this weekend and was able to finish my current rotation item:  the fourth square of Laura J. Perin's American Quilt Collection, Holiday Ornaments Series 1:

The photo doesn't show how glitzy this piece is.
Half of the red is ribbon laced with metallic threads.
And, of course, gold metallic ribbon is used liberally.
It was a fun stitch (except for the metallic ribbon!).

To refresh your memory, here are the squares I've done so far:

The color isn't great on these, but you get the idea.
My plan is to have these finished as a cube.
These are all the designs in Holiday Ornaments, Series 1.
However, I just happen to have
another LJP American Quilt Collection chart
(Red Hot Peppers) which has a matching ornament pattern,
so I will be using that for Side 5 of the cube.
All I have to do is change the colorway a little.
The 6th side (bottom of the cube) will be a cotton print
'cause no one will ever see it!

And for those of you who are canvaswork fans,
have you seen LJP's latest, Harvest Moon House?
It looks like another must-stitch.
She has so many fabulous designs!

To see what my 97 fellow hermitters were up to this weekend,
click here.

Hope you had a fun weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Night Song: Finished!

Hey Blog Buddies,

I finally completed another item on my 2012 list:  Night Song by Blackbird Designs!  There's nothing like putting up a black tree with too few ornaments to kick start your Hallowe'en stitching!

This was stitched with one strand over 2 on 40-count linen.
Stitching on the recommended 30-count
would have made the ornie too big for my little tree.

Did you sign up for this weekend's IHSW
(International Hermit and Stitch Weekend)?
It's lots of fun, and there's still time to join.
You don't have to stitch every minute of the day.
Some folks stitch a little, some a lot.
I'm going to try for another finish (we'll see).
Click here to go over to Joyce's blog and become a hermitter.

Hope you have a great weekend!
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seasonal Smalls

Hey Blog Buddies,

For the past few days, we've been having what has been described in a poem as "October's bright blue weather"--beautiful bright blue skies which set off all the glorious autumn colors on the trees, but it's been somewhat chilly.  Great weather for stitching!  But you could make a case that all weather is great weather for stitching!

So, on to the stitching.  I made the last item that I'm planning on selling at the Quilters Plus Boutique (see shameless plug on my sidebar).  It's a hardanger tree that I made earlier this year. The first version was white on white--you can see it here.  I like this new red version better.
I used red congress cloth, #8 red perle cotton
for the blanket stitch and klosters,
#8 red Kreinik metallic for the eyelets,
and white #12 perle cotton for the woven bars.
The color variations are endless on this one.

And, since it's October already,
I finally finish-finished my two little Halloween ornies:

The owl from Prairie Schooler's Heads Up booklet...

...and the tombstone from the same booklet.
Very simple finish--just mounted the little pieces
on some matboard, then glued it to black felt,
with an orange ribbon sandwiched between the two pieces.

I'm also working on Night Song from the
BBD booklet "Tis Halloween."
I'll show it to you when it's done.
Hopefully, that will be finished and on the tree before the 31st!

Hope your upcoming weekend is fun,
and that you have a little time to
do some stitching.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Best of Both Worlds

Hey Blog Buddies,

This past weekend, Homewood Embroiderers Guild participated in the Pieces & Patches Quilt Guild Show--the best of both worlds--and what fun everyone had!  The following are a very small portion of the photos I took on Sunday...

There's a lot going on in this photo--so many beautiful pieces!
There's an intricate Japanese embroidery piece
in the upper left of this photo.
For much better photos of that piece, go here.
The predominantly pink bargello piece (far right)
will be one of our class projects next year.
And if you look closely just under the top right piece...
is it Betty?   No!  It's her long lost twin.
Betty (not pictured) was there, too.  It was a joyful reunion!

A close-up of the large, pink canvaswork flower.

Our Christmas table.
(Sorry for the glare of the glass.)
The large Emie Bishop hardanger design on dark green linen
with the red mat is something I've had
kitted up for over ten years now.
Must put it on on my to-stitch list next year!
(Yes, I've had a 2013 to-stitch list for quite some time now...)

This holiday cone done on canvas is an eye-catcher.
It was started by one of our members who recently passed away,
and finished by one of our current members.

This beautiful cross stitch piece is quite large (30" x 20"?)
The hummingbirds and butterflies are over one!

Lot's to see here, as well.
cross stitch, Hardanger, Sashiko embroidery, temari balls,
a couple of specialty stitch samplers, and we even have our own quilt!

Here's a close-up of the beautiful Chatelaine piece.

Some quilting...

Needless to say,
this handful of photos does not do this combined exhibit justice!

The Pieces & Patches Quilt Guild
put on a wonderful display of quilts and
were very gracious in allowing us
to be included in their show.
I believe that the collaboration
was beneficial to both groups.

Hope you had as much fun as I had this weekend!
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, October 1, 2012

WIPocalypse 2012 - September Report

Hey Blog Buddies,

Ummm, yes, I know it's now October, but I haven't done my September report yet and Measi,  Mistress of the WIPocalypse, gives slackers like me a grace period.  If being late isn't bad enough, I did nothing from my WIPocalypse list last month.  Nada, zip, zilch--not one stitch.  Not even Crabby.  Blame it on commitment stitching.  Oh, wait.  I did have one tiny start/finish last month, which was not really part of my WIPocalypse list (and not commitment stitching, either)--it almost slipped my mind.  Since you haven't seen it finished, might as well show it to you now...

This is Quaker Cardinal by The Workbasket.
He's quite chubby--must have been spending a lot of time
at the backyard feeder.
For the threads, I substituted Gloriana silks in
 Poinsettia, Charcoal and Lacquered Gold.
If the red looks familiar, it's the same red
that I used for CT13.  I had quite a bit extra.
Karen from the Guild will finish him as a stand-up.
He'll make a return appearance on this blog
when he's all finished-finished.

And now for the comic relief:  my commitment stitching.
I crocheted a boa for my quilt guild boutique.
In cotton.
The instructions said to make a chain 70" long (quite long),
but it must have stretched out a little while I was crocheting.
It's now eight feet long.
I took it to my stitching retreat to finish it this weekend
(more on that in a separate post).
The ladies were very kind.
They said some teenager would want to buy it.
But I'm afraid it will come back to me.
So I'm exploring some home decorating possibilities for it:

...a centerpiece... garland...

I'm sure I'll think of more uses for it.

I also started a small, red hardanger tree
that I'll show when it's finished.
It's for the boutique, too.
I wouldn't mind getting that item back,
it could fit somewhere on my tree.
I do hope it sells, though--
the whole point is to make money for the guild.

You can click on Measi's name above,
to see everyone else's WIPocalypse progress.

Hope you had a great weekend!
Thanks, as always, for visiting!