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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rotation Recap

Hey Blog Buddies,

Hope your December holidays were happy and fun-filled.  The Southpaw Stitcher staff had a great Christmas and look forward to a New Year celebration consisting of stitching and old movies.  

At the beginning of the year, I picked out ten medium-to-large-sized projects that I wanted to finish or at least make significant progress on this year.   Here are the photos of how each looked at the start of the year, and how they look now.  

In no particular order...

1.  Pristine by Cindy Valentine Designs

This was the albatross around my neck.
Started in 2006, messed up and cut a thread in the ground,
thrown back into the bag for about eight years.
I got really motivated with it this year.

Now it's all finished!
It's a shame that all the eyelets
and the satin stitch motifs
don't show up well in this photo.
At the beginning of 2015,
if I had had to pick a project
that I thought wouldn't get done,
this would have been it.

2.  A Tree by Itself by Rosewood Manor

The second biggest of the ten,
this one was left "by itself" (ha!) for most of the year,
but I've been working on it this month.

Here's where I'm at now.
As you can see, I'm over halfway done.
There's no good reason why
this piece shouldn't get finished next year.
And if you glance at the lower right,
you'll see I stitched in next year's date.
Now I'm committed.

Here's a close up of part of it.
It's hard to see the individual motifs when 
the entire piece is in the photo.

3.  99 by Ink Circles
At the start of the year,
there were only 55 bottles...

But now there are 99.

4.  Nordic Panel by Laura J. Perin

This is a Nordic Needle exclusive
stitch-along from 2014.
I was only about halfway done in January.

I finished this one, too.

5. Carrots by Jennifer Reifenberg
Not only wasn't I very far along with this in January,
but I managed to photograph the piece
face down!

Luckily, after I finished stitching
and attached the beads,
I photographed the correct side.
Some pieces just become favorites,
and this is one of them.

6.  Liberty Inn by Plum Street Samplers
This was my modest start in January.

I was shooting for an Independence Day finish
(and was successful),
but this piece is being displayed
all year long.

7.  Frederika by Carriage House Samplings
In January I had a wing...

And here is Freddi all her glory.
I don't understand why I had never stitched
anything from CHS/Kathy Barrick before,
but this piece definitely won't be my last.

8.  Summer Logs by Needle Delights Originals
I had just started on the second
quadrant in January
This was my ANG chapter's stitch-along,
with a scheduled finish date in June.

It was pretty easy to keep up with the SAL.
NDO charts are usually fast and fun.

9.  Save the Stitches by Blackwork Journey
This was (and is) a very generous 
free pattern from Elizabeth Almond
As you can see, it's huge.
Here's where I was in January.

I did get a little bit done,
but I haven't touched this since February.
I just had too many projects going;
something had to give, and this was it.

And if you've checked out the newest
freebies on her wonderful website,
isn't Pandora's Box stunning?!
I just love the combination of
blackwork and pulled work.

10.  Dawn Chorus by Long Dog Samplers
This was my New Year's Day 2015 start.

Here's where I'm at now--
about 60 percent done.
I hit a roadblock when I noticed
that my somewhat tight tension
was really showing up in the middle tree.
You can't really see it in this photo,
but there's a lot of white showing.
I tried pressing it, but it didn't help.
Once that tree is "fixed,"
this piece should get finished sooner
rather than later.

Seven finishes out of ten isn't too bad.
The rotation list does help to keep me focused.
I intend to do another in 2016,
which I'll share next month.
My three unfinished projects
will definitely be part of the list.

OK, those of you who know me are
well aware that I have way more than those three WIPs,
or for that matter, even the ten or so
which will make the 2016 list,
but we're ignoring those for now.
They'll get finished someday.
Well, most of them will.

Have a happy and safe New Year,
and thanks, as always, for visiting!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Three More Finishes

Hey Blog Buddies,

I haven't been stitching as madly as my last two posts would suggest.  I do have three more finishes to show you, but one was started over a year ago, another has been finished for a while, and the third?  Well, OK, I did whip that up in the last couple of weeks.  But needlepoint seems to go much quicker than cross stitch for some reason.

Here are the photos:

Long-time readers of this blog may remember this one.
I stitched it up for others in the past,
and thought I'd stitch one for myself.
This is just one of several cute little
hardanger designs from the Christmas 1991 issue of
Cross Stitch Sampler.
I started this piece around this time last year.
When it wasn't finished in time for Christmas 2014,
back into the bag it went until
just a few days ago.
And now it's hanging on my tree.

The next piece was finished about a month ago,
but I haven't shown it here because it was a gift.

This is Jeannette Douglas Designs' Pumpkin Pin Cushion.

The recipient was quite pleased with this.

This is another fabulous finish-finish from my friend Averyclaire.

The last one is Deb Bee's Designs' Ho Ho Ho.
This was a quick and fun stitch.
I will admit to switching out the DMC floss
for DMC No. 5 pearl cotton.
I had it in my stash, so why not?!
Laying 3 to 4 threads is just not my idea of

And here it is, all finished.
Not sure if this will turn into a picture,
box top insert or what.  Stay tuned.

Alrighty then.
That's it from here.
Hope everyone has a happy holiday.
I'll be back before the end of the year
with a Rotation Recap.

Thanks so much for visiting!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Three Finishes!

Hey Blog Buddies,

How's your December been going?  Here in the Chicago area, we've been having very mild weather, courtesy of El Nino.  We've only had one snowstorm in our area that accumulated on the ground, and that's long gone.  I swear the grass in our yard is greening up!  (I hope it doesn't start growing again...)

Anyhow, I finally, finally finish-finished a couple of things that have been stitched up for weeks.  I always have a very hard time talking myself into putting the finishing touches on a project, even if I have all of the materials to do it.

First up is Plum Street Samplers' Serial Bowl No. 3.

Can you tell that I haven't glued down
the end of the chenille yet?  Sigh.

Next, we have
LHN's  Oh Christmas Tree.

I have a few quibbles with this one, too,
but I won't start whining about it.
The main thing is, it's done
and hanging on my tree.

Last (and best, in my opinion)
is the canvaswork scissor case
that I had been stitching on and off for the
better part of this year.
It was an untitled, painted canvas
from Lynn Deininger.


And, ta-da!
I can't decide which is the front
and which is the back,
because both sides have their charms.
This piece was quickly and expertly
finished by my friend Averyclaire.
I love the beads that she added
at the top!

And with three finishes,
don't I deserve a new start?
Of course I do!

This class was taught at my
ANG chapter's meeting last Saturday.
The chart is Ho Ho Ho by
Deb Bee's Designs.
I actually hadn't planned to start this piece,
but I'm in a Christmas kind of mood now,
and I probably won't want to
work on it after the first of the year.

Here is my start.
It's not that big;
I may finish it by the end of the month.
(Famous last words...)

Well, that's it from here.
Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rotation Recess

Hey Blog Buddies,

Yes, the title of this post says it all.  No new rotation photos this month because I've been ignoring the one new and three original projects in my rotation.  But some months I think of the rotation as merely a suggestion anyway, and this was one of them.

Which isn't to say that I haven't been stitching--I have.  I've been to two classes in the past few weeks.  First, I went to Shipshewana, Indiana.  It's an Amish community in the Northeast part of the state.  The class was With my Needle's Kindred Spirits, which was taught at the end of Inspired Needle's annual retreat.

We stayed at the Farmstead Inn in Shipshewana.
Bucolic, no?

Cathy had a fabulous boutique set up
in the stitching room.
This is only part of it.

There was an optional exchange of smalls.
Some of the items weren't so small!

But on to the class...

Students each received this wonderful wooden carrier.
We are to stitch the linings for the sides
and all the accessories, including a needle roll, 
pipkin (squeezy thing), ruler holder,
pin cube and scissor case (not shown).
We got some lovely green Dupioni silk
with which to line our carrier.

This is my progress so far.
I have four sides of the pin cube done.
The sides are less than two inches long.
That big-looking needle you see
is a petite No. 28.
A lot of the stitching is over one
on 36-count!

Needless to say, this project will take me awhile.
I do want to give kudos to Ellen Chester;
she is a great teacher,
and her written materials are very comprehensive.

Next up was a Tanja Berlin needle painting
class hosted by the Indianapolis
chapter of the EGA.

This was our project.
Tanja's rendition of the bird is stunning.

I'm actually a bit farther on than this photo shows.
It was dreary and rained all day today,
so I didn't document my latest progress.
It's my every-morning-before-breakfast project.
What I don't care for is how
stripey the bottom of his little belly appears.
Perhaps some additional white stitches will do the trick?
I'm finding this project to be a little nerve-wracking,
but will try to stick with it until it's done.
It's the type of project that, once put away,
probably wouldn't get picked back up.

Tanja also is a great teacher,
with detailed step-by-step instructions
that leave nothing to the imagination.
I'm just not sure that needle painting is for me.

I started and finished this little ornie.
Yes, I finish-finished it myself!
It's Prairie Schooler's Winter's Eve, found
in the 2015 JCS Christmas Ornament issue.

Last but not least,
I started another smaller project.
(Really!?  Don't I have enough WIPs!?)

This is the right-hand side of
Plum Street Sampler's
Sampler Lesson No. 3.
The saying is:
"The daily labors of the bee
awake my soul to industry."
I have the other charts in the series,
but chose to start with No. 3.

Well, that's it from here.
Thanks for sticking with me
through this rather long post.
Hope you are having a grand November,
and a Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

That Was Quick!

Hey Blog Buddies,

I got so excited when I bought those Shaker boxes mentioned in my last post, that I pretty much dropped everything and went to work on BBD's Midnight Ride.  It was a very fast stitch, and now it is all done and finished just in time for Hallowe'en.

The smallest box was 7" in diameter (the pattern called for a 6" box), so I switched the fabric count from 30 to 28, and voila!  It's perfect!

This treasure was finished inside and out by the talented Averyclaire.  The top of the box is lined with the plaid fabric, too!   I had asked her to line the box, and was flabbergasted when I saw all that ruching!  It's pretty snazzy, as my mom would say.

In other stitchy news, I checked another project off of my rotation list.  This is my progress on Laura J. Perin's Nordic Panel as of April.  I was about two-thirds done.

Here it is now:
 All done!

But when one door closes, another opens, right?
 So here is the latest addition to
the rotation:

This is the start of Needle Delights Originals'
Autumn Logs.  It's my ANG chapter's 2015-16 SAL.
I've done Winter and Summer,
and I plan on doing Spring, too.

That's it from here.
I've got to start packing for
the Inspired Needle Retreat in Shipshewana
starting tomorrow.
It's going to be a fun weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Done and Done

Hi Blog Buddies,
How has October been treating you?  Today near the Big City we're experiencing some of "October's bright blue weather," with temps in the upper 70's.  I'm not complaining.

The big stitchy news here is my hardanger table topper.  Can you believe it's done?!  I got the woven bars finished a couple of weeks ago, and I've been futzing with the hemstitching since then.  There's a lot of prep work involving with hemstitching.  The instructions called for three rows of basting, but I got by with just two:

The basting lines perpendicular to the border were my idea.  I did them in each corner to help me count threads, but fat lot of good it did me.  Four threads were withdrawn for the hemstitching row.  I actually cut two (yes, two!) incorrect threads.  I then had to withdraw the threads cut in error, take a thread from the edge of the warp or weft of the fabric, depending on where I was, and reweave those in.  I didn't see any other way around it.  After those little episodes, DH started calling this piece the Devil Project.

 But all's well that ends well...

Cindy Valentine's Pristine
Started in April, 2006
Finished on October 4, 2015
(I didn't want to take it into the double digits, yearwise.)

I am glad that this is finally done!

This past weekend, we went to the Knox County Scenic Drive here in Illinois, as we normally do each year.  It takes place on the first and second weekends of October.  Most of the action takes place in and around Knoxville and Maquon.  There are folks selling crafts, flea market items and food.  A lot of the items are unusual:

I passed on this quirky lamp, but further down on the same table, three items did come home with me.

These wooden Shaker boxes are not quite as fancy as the very, very expensive ones that are for sale in my LNS, but I got all three for $8.  If there had been more of them, I believe I would have bought them.  I was ecstatic!  As soon as I got home, I went stash diving and pulled out this chart:

The piece will look fabulous
mounted on top of the smallest box!

Knox County is really pretty in the fall.
Here are some photos:

This is Wolf Covered Bridge.

And just north of Knox County is
 one of my very favorite Illinois two-lane roads,
Henry County 5.
It's a lovely stretch of rolling hills and farms.
That's it from here.
Thanks for dropping by.