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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stitching Disaster

Hey Blog Buddies,

How's your weekend going?  Swimmingly, I hope.  Mine--not so much.

This past week I had a couple of finishes (more on those later) and decided to start a new project.  It's nothing new, I've been stitching from stash recently, and this project is on my 2013 to-do list.  It's Harper in Stitches - Cool Cardinal.  Charley Harper was an American Modernist artist best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations.  Many of his designs have been adapted to cross stitch.

As you can see, it's a rather plump cardinal
sitting out a blizzard, while snow piles up on his head.
When I saw the stitched model at
a local needlework shop a couple of years ago,
I loved the cardinal and I was hooked.
I like this design despite the fact
that it depicts a snowstorm
(I hate snow).
But I'm really not too fond of
stitching the scores of "snowflakes."
They are 12 stitches each and are
spaced far enough apart
that I have to start and end a thread
for each one.
Tedious, to say the least.
Here is my progress so far:
Can you believe that I didn't notice
the difference in color until
I went outside to take the photo?
It's so obvious.
I couldn't either, until I took the piece
back inside and started to "unstitch."
I use a 21-bulb LED light with magnifier
that I absolutely love.
It really illuminates my work.
But this is how the piece looks under that light...
Believe it or not, I actually felt better
when I saw this (not as dumb).
The light absolutely does not differentiate
between the two whites.
So I have come up with an explanation for the goof.
I was using (or thought I was using) DMC blanc.
I believe that I inadvertently put a strand or two
of B5200 in with the blanc.
I do know that B5200 is a much brighter white
and I always keep it separate from the blanc.
Or so I thought.
I will dig out my B5200 and make sure
that it matches the bottom five rows
before I rip out the top 4 rows
plus one snowflake.
And once I start to restitch the snowflakes,
I'll make frequent trips outside
to check that the white is still
all the same shade.
Because now I'm paranoid.
Let's move on to happier topics.
Here is a design from Prairie Schooler's Nordic Holiday:
Stitched 1 over 1 on
25-count white Lugana
with DMC 815 and 500.
These are darker colors than the model photos.
I like so many of the designs in this leaflet
that I'm planning to stitch several more.
Last but not least,
I'm still keeping up with the
The theme this month is Candy Corn.
I adapted a design from
BBD's 'Tis Halloween booklet.
It was a stocking covered with candy corn,
and I didn't want to "finish" another stocking,
so I used BBD's chart for the candy corn
and made the ornament in the shape of a candy corn, too.
Some may see a Christmas tree.
That's it from here.
May all your stitching go without a hitch.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 18, 2013

November IHSW: Tornado Warning, Power Outage and a Finish

Hey Blog Buddies,
Here in Illinois we had some pretty severe weather yesterday.  There was widespread property damage, some injuries and even some deaths due to the storms, and my thoughts are with those families.   A little before 1:00 yesterday afternoon the sirens went off here and the loudspeaker told us to "take shelter NOW."  Evidently there was a tornado on the ground nearby.  We had one heck of a storm for about a half hour, lots of rain and high winds but no tornado here.  We lost power right away, though, and didn't get it back until 9:00 this morning.  (Many people are still without power.)

Well, before the power outage I had been in the middle of trying to finish-finish my little Tudor Tassel ornament.  When DH went out to get some spare batteries for our emergency lights, I found the window with the most light coming through and continued where I had left off on the ornament.  It wasn't what I would call "stitching light," but beggars can't be choosers.  When he came home and saw what I was doing, he told me he thought I had a Problem.  I quite agreed.  At around 4:00 I was this close (picture a thumb and forefinger a hair's width apart) to finishing, but what little light remained was almost gone, so I reluctantly stopped.  After the power came back on this morning, I was able to finish it and take photos, so without further ado, here is the saga of the Tudor Tassel.

I started stitching this ornament back in August and posted this progress pic:

The above piece, finished, looks like this:
This is a Victoria Sampler design,
from the 2010 JCS Christmas Ornament issue.
It's very, very cute, but I think of it as
a product of the Evil Genius of Thea Dueck.
First off, I don't like doing wrapped bars.
I know, they give a more delicate, lacy
look than woven bars, but still.
And this is only one of three sides to the ornament,
so three of these need to be made.
I've had this kitted up for three years.
I was reluctant to even start it
because I thought the finishing would be very tricky.
For those of you contemplating making (and finishing)
this ornament, I highly recommend getting this publication:
This leaflet had two pages of finishing instructions,
complete with photos, which left
nothing to the imagination.
I believe there was only a short paragraph on
how to finish the ornament
in the 2010 JCS Ornament Issue.
And of course, there are directions for
three more adorable tassels here!
Once I had read and reread the finishing instructions,
I actually was encouraged to try finishing it myself.
So I had my three sides stitched and
was ready to cut out around the hardanger bottom.
Oh no!
Oh yes.  I was careless and the first thing I did
was cut into the blanket stitch.
But it's nothing that a little ripping,
Fray Check and restitching won't fix, is it?  (sigh)
The whole project was very fiddly from start to finish,
and cutting into the blanket stitches didn't help.
So, blanket stitch repaired,
here are my three stitched pieces.
I flipped one over face down to show you the
fusible interfacing called for in the instructions.
Not certain that the fusible interfacing would stick,
Thea also recommended that you sew it down.  (I did.)
By the way, the seams have an overlock zigzag,
per the instructions.
On to the finished product...

I have to say, this ornament
is much cuter in person than any photo.
I got a little carried away with the bead strands--
they turned out quite a bit longer than I thought they would.
It's hard to see, but there are three strands.
The ornament is hanging from a pencil,
and I'm standing in front of my garage door,
taking a photo with my free hand.
If my neighbors thought I was nutty before, they're sure of it now.
I tried out many spots in front of, and inside of, the house,
before hitting upon this one.

Yeah, I know, not as good.
That last one is on my Halloween tree,
cleared of ornaments on one side to showcase The Tassel.
Yes, it's still up, and yes, I have a Problem.
Can you tell I'm really excited about this finish?
And no, just in case you were going to ask,
I'm not going to start any of the other tassels
any time soon.
That's it from here.
To check out what the other Hermitters
were doing this weekend,
click here.
Hope you all had a great weekend,
with better weather than we had in Illinois.
Thanks, as always, for visiting! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two Finishes and a SAL Update

Hey Blog Buddies,

We've had three gorgeous days in a row here in the Chicago area, but it sounds like that will all come to an end on Monday with much colder temps and that 4-letter word that begins with an S.   Snow.  What did you think I was referring to?

On the stitchy front, I've had two small finishes recently.  The first was a gift for a friend:

This is The Primitive Jewel's Gem Keep.
The pocket is for small scissors
and the floss bow is meant to
tie around the finger holes.
I had purchased this little kit months ago,
but did not actually make it until
about a week before my friend's birthday!
She loves it--and has several scissors
which will fit into the pocket.
The second finish is Just Nan's Turkey Lurking.
I love the disheveled turkey peering around corners,
looking for a chopping block, perhaps?
(He won't find one here because we don't eat turkey!)
The beautiful frame was ready-made
and was a real steal at my local frame shop.
I think it's a little too formal for this piece,
but it's hard to find frames for something that's 3 inches square,
so this is where the turkey will live this month.
The turkey will easily pop out of the frame
after November, and I just realized
that I have the perfect piece for it (the frame) in my stash.
It's a delicate little heart by Sweetheart Tree
which has been languishing in a project bag
in one of my drawers for the past eight years.
Now I have the incentive to
stitch it up and pop it into a frame!
Finally, I am keeping up with my Winter Logs SAL.
Here is where I left off last month:
And here's where I'm at now:
I'm a quarter of the way through this project!
Here's a close-up:
This photo is probably the truest, color-wise.
It's a very fun stitch,
and I can finish the monthly stitching
in only a few days.
I'm bad at estimating hours--
maybe 8 to 10 hours?
That's it from here.
Hope you've had a wonderful November weekend,
with maybe some stitching thrown in.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quilters Plus Boutique

Hey Blog Buddies,
This weekend was the Quilters Plus Holiday Boutique, and from the amount of shoppers that I saw there, it was a great success.  On Saturday, my GF Shirley came down from The City with her hubby who is a ham radio operator just like DH.  The guys had tons of things to do and talk about, so Shirley and I were free to do blogging stuff (she is in the process of launching her own blog) and then go shopping at the Boutique!

I did not get photos of the items Shirley purchased, but of course I was able to photograph my new acquisitions!  So without further ado, here they are:

These are very versatile little angels.
They come with a hanger, so they can be an ornament;
they can sit on a shelf, as in this photo;
and the skirt is made of a firm material and they
have no bottom, so they can be a tree topper, too.
One for myself and one for a gift.
Don't worry, the recipient never visits here.   :o)
These were labeled as hot pads,
but they are very firm
(made of fabric-wrapped clothesline I would imagine)
and I will be using them as trivets.
I saw these small tree skirts on Friday
but waited until Saturday to get one.
I was lucky--I got the last one!
Perfect for my 3-foot tree!
A great tote bag/purse at a great price.
Dimensions are approximately 10" by 15"
with two large pockets outside and seven inside!
And how cute is this?
Needle Artisans of NW Indiana was a vendor at the Boutique,
so there was a nice selection of hand-embroidered items, too.
I couldn't resist all the cute holiday motifs on this tree
stitched by Chris R--I had to have it.
I happen to know Chris and I'll have to thank her for making this!
After our shopping spree we were hungry,
so we instructed the boys to go to a local Asian eatery
and met them there for lunch.
It was a wonderful fall weekend.

The photo gallery for this year's Boutique is already up on the Quilters Plus website, so if you want to see how they transform an empty room into a fabulous Boutique with thousands (yes, thousands) of hand-made items for sale, click here.

That's it from here.
Hope you had a great weekend (with an extra hour here in the US).
And thanks, as always, for visiting!