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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye, 2019

It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought I'd scoot in here before the end of the year/decade to catch you up.  The stitching never stops here at Southpaw headquarters, so here is the latest update.


A trio of pillows made an appearance.  First up from the
Heart in Hand Square Dance series: December.
Not my best finish (or photo), but there it is.

This one turned out a bit nicer:
Be Merry from Chessie and Me.
The fabric that it's sitting on is the backing.

Finally, just in time for January,
another one from the Heart In Hand
Square Dance series.
Those designs are so stinking cute,
I love them all!


You may remember this start
from my last post:

Well, this has gotten some love...


You'll notice that I added a finish date here.
The last time I did that on a project,
I had to rip it out because I was 
a little overconfident
in my speed as a stitcher.
But with this project, I think it
should be finished in
the first quarter of 2020.
We'll see.
This is In All Things be Exceedingly Diligent
from Needle Work Press.

This was going to be the start of my blackwork piece.
The framework that you see there is
the four-sided stitch (a pulled stitch).
The ground was 32-count linen.
But as I arrived at this point,
I recalled all the problems I had
with my blackwork project on linen last year.
It's a little too diaphanous to hide
even the shortest thread carried where
there's no stitching.
Did I learn nothing from that project?
Apparently not.

So I decided to trash what I'd done and start over.
Those are a lot of four-sided stitches,
but I needed to cut my losses.

Here's where I'm at now.
I have just a tick more of the four-sided stitches completed
than are shown in the first photo,
and three of the areas are filled in.
This is 32-count Jobelan (an evenweave),
and it's working out much better.

The design is Pandora's Box from
Elizabeth Almond's Blackwork Journey.
It incorporates not only blackwork and pulled work,
but also cross stitch, Assisi (a type of cross stitch),
and pattern darning.
There are two sets of instructions:
one for Aida and one for evenweave.
Yes, she even specifies evenweave!
And it's a free pattern!
She is one of the most generous people I know.
(Well, I really don't know her, but I know of her.)

She has all sorts of free charts on her website here.
Check it out, if you're interested in blackwork.

My Charley Harper piece has been
a bit neglected.
It's a little hard to tell right off
what's been stitched on a painted canvas,
but I've got one flower, two birds
and the tail of a third bird stitched,
as well as a bunch of the basketweave background.
A lot of needlepointers of my acquaintance
would not choose the basketweave stitch
as the background,
but I actually enjoy doing it.
It's very Zen.

Last but not least, here is
a January design from Prairie Schooler's
A Prairie Year leaflet...
The chart shows the clock at 11:45,
but I figured that that was still December,
so I changed the time!
This is on a fabric called Molino,
and the reverse of the fabric is a
variegated light blue.
I'd never seen anything like that before.
I'd show you, but there's no sun today,
and the colors are not photographing well at all.
This is actually a little more purple than it looks.

Alrighty then, we are all caught up.

Molly wants to wave a paw at you
one last time this year...
From the looks of things,
she will not be awake at midnight to greet 2020.

Have a safe and happy New Year's holiday.
We'll chat again next year.
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

UFO No. 3

At last, another one of my UFO's is finished!  You may remember this little project in my UFO list from earlier this year...

This was the progress I had made on a reversible cross stitch cyberclass piece from 2015.  Well, I got bogged down with the instructions and gave up on the piece.  This year I figured I should just finish it using the regular cross stitch technique.  So now I present... two new coasters?  Yes, these two were meant to be coasters.  But when I went online and looked for small plexiglass coaster covers, the largest I could find was 3" x 3", and these are 3.75" x 3.75".  They are kind of cute, so I think I'll just set them out and see if anyone uses them.  It's fine if they do; I'm just glad to finally be done with them.

Continuing on with my Year of the Pillows theme, the small Halloween piece that I mentioned in my last post was finished and pillowfied:

This is from Prairie Schooler's Hocus Pocus leaflet.  I love all the designs in that leaflet and I plan on doing more of them--probably not this year, though.

And here is another recent pillow finish...

This is my favorite design from the Little Dove's Year leaflet.  I have seen many falling-leaf designs for October and even September, but around here, most of our leaves fall in November, although most of our trees turn a single color and not many, like the one above!  It's artistic license, I guess.

My last finish is not embroidery and came from a workshop given my by quilt guild:

We all got 24" x 24" pieces of plywood to paint a barn quilt!  It was a great make-it-and-take-it class; everyone left with a finished piece.  OK, we're pretty urban around here so most of us don't have barns, but I do have a shed in the backyard - which I would not hide this on.  It's going to go up on the front of the house.

So, last time I mentioned that I was just about out of WIPs... well, I fixed that problem!  The weird thing about this batch of WIPs is that I have four needlepoint pieces and only one cross stitch.  Usually, I have more cross stitch pieces than needlepoint, and I like to keep the number at or below four total WIPs.  You'll see why I have five in a minute.

I am sooo close to a finish on this one, just the little border which I've already started.  This was a design that was created and taught by a member of my EGA chapter quite a few years ago.  I had it kitted up all this time.  I think the reason that it sat around was that she had stitched the model in all white, which is fine because the textures of the piece are highlighted that way, but it wasn't calling to me.  I like this design a lot, and it was fun to stitch.

This is from a workshop hosted by my ANG chapter that I took this past weekend.  Jennifer Riefenberg is the designer who taught the class.  I like that she gives her students lots of time to actually stitch on whatever areas they want to in class, which is not how most other teachers I've encountered do it.  Well, she did want us to at least start on the large pumpkin, which was the most challenging part.  And between the compensation and the exotic threads used, yes it was.  But almost all of it is behind me now.

This is the gorgeous model that she stitched.
I hope mine turns out half as nice.
Pumpkin Patch is the name of the design.

I've been working on Rainforest Birds for a little while.
It's a Charley Harper painted canvas,
and I find myself spending way more time
puzzling over which stitch to use in each section
than the actual stitching of said section.
But it's a fun, learning experience.

The Tomorrow's Heirlooms ladies
attended the Pumpkin Patch workshop, too,
and they brought me a goodie bag
with this in it, all kitted up...

If it had been anything else,
it would have gone in the voluminous
Soon But Not Now pile,
but I had been itching to get my hands on this one
ever since I first saw it, so...

...yesterday, I couldn't resist; I had to start it.
I'm hoping to get it finished by Thanksgiving
(it falls a little later this year).
There's a surprising amount of
basketweave in it, so we'll see.

Last but not least,
here is my cross stitch start
which has stalled a bit lately.

The design is
In All Things Be Exceedingly Diligent
by Needlework Press.
I don't have a photo of the finished piece.
It's very, very wide, and it contains
several alphabets.

Well, that's it from here.
The meteorologists are predicting
nasty weather, including snow,
for Halloween.
Although it's a day early,
I'll leave you with this...

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 30, 2019

More Finishes... and Galleria

My happy, chubby bird is finished!

Jolly Robin came as a kit from Bothy Threads.
I love the speckled aida that came with it;
it was fun to stitch.

My framer finished him in record time.

This Laura J. Perin piece, Nordic Valentine,
was finished recently, too.
I was attempting to attach the
called-for beads with invisible thread,
when I thought to myself
"Life's too short."
It looks fine without the beads.

This is the second piece from
Jeannette Douglas' Flower Tray set.
I'm going to find someone to make it
into a pincushion drum for me.

And, finally, just in time for October...
This is from Little Dove's Year.
I changed the lettering
from backstitch to cross stitch
and omitted the second spider.
I backed it with the fabric shown  in the 
background of the photo.
It reminds me of centipedes,
so it's appropriately creepy.

I almost didn't find this fabric
because it was at the bottom of a
large pile of various non-purple pieces.
I wound up re-organizing all my fabric by color.
I'll be able to find all of the purples now;
I discovered that I don't have a lot of them.

Almost two weeks ago
I went to the annual
Needlework Galleria
held in St. Charles, Missouri.
The event was bigger than ever this year;
the entire fourth floor of the
Embassy Suites was given over to it,
and about a half dozen shops were on 3.

This is just a smattering of photos
from some of the participating shops.
The bottom photo was from a
counted canvaswork shop,
participating for the first time this year.
See the tall skinny red/blue piece
in the top row.
Doesn't it have my name on it?
Of course it did!

My haul.
I went crazy at the fabric place (lower left).
If you look at the lower right part of the photo,
you can see the instruction booklet,
threads and blue canvas
shown in the model photo above.
These people (sellers) were from Canada,
and I had never seen their pieces before!
I saved on shipping!
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Another thing I really liked about the Galleria
were all the doo-dads at the various shops.
Here's a close-up of those that I bought:

A couple of "square" hoops; 
metal tea balls to cross stitch
for Christmas ornaments;
little rubber cylinders to use when
tightening a hoop or to grab a needle;
and the wooden octopus square
will measure a border of either
1", 2" or 3" if you place it at the
corner of your fabric!
See, not many!

There were many other cute doo-dads
that I didn't buy.
I do have some self-control!

I seem to have finished most of
my WIPs at the same time.
I'm currently working on just
one Halloween small
which should be finished very soon.
I need to start a bunch of new projects now!

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

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Northwoods and Some Finishes

Usually, this blog concerns all things stitching, but today I thought I'd share my little end-of-summer trip with you, too.  We went to a place that I'm guessing not a lot of people have visited - Upper Michigan.  It's a hidden gem.

When we were planning a trip this year, this describes my state of mind perfectly:

We drove up through the Lower Peninsula.
The two peninsulas weren't even connected before 1957!
In Mackinaw City there is a little museum
on the second floor of a pizza place
that tells the story of building the Mackinac Bridge.
It's interesting (and quirky) and free.

If you squint at the horizon to the right
of the bridge, you can see St. Ignace
in the Upper Peninsula.
The "mighty Mac" is five miles long.

We stayed at a cozy, rustic cabin in Hulbert.

The next day, we traveled to Munising which is the gateway
to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

We took a 2-hour boat ride to view the rocks,
which extend for miles up and down the shoreline.
They probably would have been more
brilliant if the sun had been out.

After the boat ride, we ate lunch at
a local cafe/book store where I found this...
The dust jacket is a little frayed,
but the pages are fine,
and for two dollars I'll be happy to
peruse it and pass it on.

Another stop was the
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in 
Whitefish Point.
There have been over 500 shipwrecks
on the Great Lakes since records were kept.
The majority of them occur
in Lake Superior between
Munising and Whitefish Point.

This is the actual bell from one of the most
famous wrecks, The Edmund Fitzgerald.
A replica bell was made and engraved
with the names of all her crewmen,
and lowered down to the wreck
to serve as a memorial.
The crew remains at the bottom of
Lake Superior with the ship.

Just beyond the museum is a small beach
where you can walk or just gaze
at the big lake...
The clouds look ominous,
but we encountered only a few sprinkles that day.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is nearby.
There are several smaller lower waterfalls... the back among the trees...

and a larger upper falls...

On our way west across the peninsula,
we stopped at the
Michigan Iron Industry Museum
just outside of Marquette.
The Upper Peninsula was rich
in both iron ore and copper.

This was very interesting to me personally
because both of my grandfathers
worked in the iron ore mines.

Our last stop was at the
western end of the peninsula
where I got a chance to visit
with some of my cousins...

OK, enough blathering about my trip.

Here are a few recent stitchy finishes:

The Summer Foursome from
Prairie Schooler's Summer Breeze
leaflet was finished,
and I just happened to have
this frame in my stash.

Heart in Hand's Stitching Bird
got stitched and FFO'ed.
I added the four small buttons, 
which were from my stash.
Good that I'm using up stash, eh?

And almost in time for September
(it's not pillowfied)
is September,
from Little Dove's Year.

Well, that's it from here.
Hope your August was fun.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

UFO No. 2

It certainly feels good checking UFO's off of my list.  This one was the oldest on that list, from 2011.

This was an EGA fund-raising workshop,
Sue Reed's Stitching for Autism.
The photo turned out a little dark,
and you can't really tell that there's
a metallic wrap around the sheaf stitches.
There is almost always some bling in needlepoint designs!
It's going to end up in the lid of a Sudberry box,
which is a very easy way to display stitchery.

More pillows have been finished,
and they are...

Long May She Wave from
Heartstring Samplery...

...and A Year of Celebrations - August
from Hands on Design.

Jolly Robin hasn't seen any action
because I was concentrating on the
UFO above.

I've also been slowly working on a
summer design from Prairie Schooler.

This is from the Summer Breeze leaflet,
and I think the reason it's taken so long
is because I'm stitching over one.
It may not get finished before autumn!

That's it for now.
Hope your August has started off well.
Thanks for coming by.